This is a blog about the pursuits of Naturalist Alan Russo to incorporate all things Natural, especially Plants, into his daily life. Living close to Nature has always been a passion of mine and I try, with natures help, to live a Healthy lifestyle for myself and for the Earth.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Passion Flower Fruit and Chia

Passiflora incarnata


  My Passionflower Fruit are really beginning to fall, which means they are ready and ripe to eat. More on using Passionflower and when to pick them is found here: http://ethnobotanist128.blogspot.com/2010/09/passionflower.html.
  I wanted to try something different with the seeds this year but couldn't think of what to do. One day I was making Chia Seed pudding and it occurred to me that I could flavor the Chia with Passionflower seeds. I have started eating Chia Seeds for their incredible Nutritional Value and super high Omega 3 oil content, check the web for all the nutritional benefits of Chia.
  I simply took the seeds from about ten Passionflower fruit, added about three times the amount of water as seeds, than blended them to make a drink/puree. I added enough Chia Seeds to gel the liquid, hit them with the blender again, and put them in the fridge to solidify. I guess it isn't really a "pudding", it's more like a gelatin, but it tasted pretty good, not to mention the Nutritional value of the Chia and the Fruit seed together. I love to experiment with new plant stuff especially when it turns out good.
  I also use Passionflower for it's medicinal value, and this year I dried a bunch of it and Tinctured a full quart to have on hand if the need arises. Passiflora incarnata is one of the best plants to use for insomnia and anxiety just to name two of its many nervine qualities.  For a basic rundown see: http://www.stevenfoster.com/education/monograph/pflower.html
 Its easy to grow and even if you use it for nothing else, the flowers are just amazing!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Elder Berries

I am very excited, my Elder plants have berries this year!
 Two years ago, in very early Spring, I took some stems off a large Elder plant that grew behind a place I used to work. I stuck them in water and hoped for the best. They started to grow roots and by the time the weather was starting to get warm the stems started to get leaves. I planted them in the ground and kept them watered well. They didn't do that well and I thought I might loose them but they hung on through through the summer looking pretty beat up when the fall came around.
  Last year I was happy to see new shoots coming up but there were still alot of dead branches on them though they did start to do well by the Summer time. I didn't get any flowers or berries and I was wondering if they would ever produce. This year lots of new shoot came up and I got lots of flowers. The flowers are in clusters and are tiny and white and quite beautiful. I started to see green berries about two weeks ago and almost all the berries have turned a very dark blue almost black in color. The birds and the deer get most of the berries but I also get to snack on some when I go out to water the plants.
  Elder is a very important Medicinal Plant. I use the berries are to make a tincture that I use if I get any sign of a cold coming on and through the winter I use it prophylactically to keep healthy esspecially when I get run down. The berries have been shown to prevent the flu virus from entering the cell therefore keeping it from duplicating. Take the berry tincture or syrup at the first sign of the flu and there is a good chance the duration will be shortened significantly. The Flowers are considered a diaphoretic, a substance that helps your body produce perspiration, and is used to treat colds and flu to help you sweat it out. Please do more research on this awesome herb to learn all the great stuff it is useful for. Or, just enjoy the berries as a trailside snack as you hike and play outdoors.