Fresh schisandra berries and peach fruit, leaf, twig, bark and pit combine in this bittersweet tonic. Adaptogenic, gently astringent, and grounding. For swimming through the river of world grief and keeping your skin intact. For feeling all the feelings and sipping just a little distance, perspective, and vision in the midst of the swirl. Try in bubbly water, or over some vanilla or coffee ice cream.*
Whether it's lung gunk, heavy food, that cold that just won't quit, or hands that won't get warm this tonic will help keep you going all winter long. (You can take it summer too!)*
One of my favorite places to be is the aspen grove when the pedicularis starts to bloom. Lying back, the soft ground holds me. The air is starting to get warm, but the breeze is still crisp. I look up through the filtered light of the aspen leaves turning, and pick a pedicularis leaf, chew slowly, breath deeply.
Aspen, pedicularis and corydalis all grow here together. The skullcap just a little ways down the hill along the river banks.
Try this elixir for aches and pains, tight muscles, menstrual cramps, all the tweaks and twitches and creaks.
1/2 to 1 tsp as needed. A lovely deep bitter cherry flavor. Try with whiskey for a tasty old fashioned.*
Spring hails come through these northeastern New Mexico mountains often. After the storms pass, in the rising steam, the collision of hot and cold, the world smells electric, bruised, on edge, alive.
Hail came mid-may this year. Hail and wind. Walking through the woods the next day, the forest was carpeted in immature douglas fir cones. Beautiful, hilarious creations that look more closely related to a sea anemone than a pine cone. We picked some up from their soft landing in dislodged needles. It was perfect timing to also harvest a few spruce tips. Long steeped in honey and organic cane alcohol, this is the result. A forest concentration. Evergreen and spring hail in a bottle.
Sip when you are exposed to a bunch of pathogens, when the weather changes, when you feel a cold coming on. Or when you want to transport to the forest.
Try in cooking and baking like you would vanilla or almond extracts. Delicious in hot water with a little lemon. Try with gin and limoncello for an evergreen cocktail. Here's a lovely monograph on douglas fir by Renee A. Davis: http://reneeadavis.com/2013/02/04/materia-medica-pseudotsuga-menziesii-douglas-fir/*
A local take on an Italian classic. Three artemisias blend their bitter notes, but don't overpower. Lovage, aromatic and pungent adds a slight musk, and the cardamom brings some warmth. Try a small sip 10 to 15 minutes before eating to set up the order of your digestion, get the juices flowing, or as you would bitters in the mixed drink of your choice.*
Do your joints feel dry and creaky? Try this tonic daily to help bring a litltle more lubrication, a little less inflammation. Sip this birch flavored syrup, or add to sparkling water for a root-beer like drink.
Sumac and Douglas Fir almost never grow together, but they meet here at Feral Gardens, the edge of the mountains, where the woods meet the high desert. This oxymel has a bright flavor with some serious vitamin c punch. Add to sparkling water or tea, or try as part of a salad dressing.*