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Drink your Tree

Often times when we think of herbs and natural medicine, we picture and talk about plants but there are many trees that are powerful additions to our #herbalremedies and #medicine chest.

Maybe you already know about use of Willow bark for it's salicin content (like aspirin) to relieve pain through it's anti-inflammatory effect.

And the Elder Tree (though I always thought of it as a bush) with it's flowers and berries being used in many cold, cough and flu remedies as it supports the lungs and lowers fever.

Here are a few others:

1. #Linden Tree - common in this region, the flowers and bracts are harvested (I just finished harvesting mine) when in bloom (and so fragrant). Linden flowers are used in tea blends for anxiety, insomnia and ADHD. Very gentle

2. #Poplar Tree - also very common in this region as it grows quickly. We just cut ours down 2 years ago, they don't have a long life span and send out root suckers everywhere. However, if you harvest the leaf buds in early spring, it is used to make a salve called Balm of Gilead. It is an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial balm.

3. #Pine Tree - I had a terrible viral infection earlier this summer and the cough just wouldn't go away. So I picked some Pine needles and added them to my tea to steep and it really helped. Excellent source of Vitamin C as well

4. #Oak Tree - though I have never tried this (yet), harvesting of the bark and leaves can be useful in a tea gargle for bleeding gums or a wash for hemorrhoids.

5. #Hawthorne Tree - The flowers, fruit and leaves are harvested on this tree to use as a heart tonic.

6. #Ginkgo Biloba Tree (Maidenhair tree) - This tree also grows in our region. It is a massive tree with very interestingly shaped leaves and fruit. It is beautiful all on its own. Bonus is that harvesting the leaves, fruit and flowers of this tree are a powerful tool in the natural medicine chest. I use Ginkgo for memory enhancement and to help with my kids who struggle with ADHD. Ginkgo increases blood circulation to the brain and is cited in many studies in treating conditions such as alzheimers. Ginkgo can also be used for glaucoma and anxiety.

7. #Alder Tree - used for tapping to collect nutrient rich sap, much like Maple trees are. Alder bark contains salicin and can be used for reducing fevers and to help heal deep wounds

8. #Ash Tree - while a great shade tree, its flowering fruits are pretty ugly when they dry up until they fall in a wind. Ash leaf buds are harvested in early spring to use as a laxative tea

9. #Elm Tree - Also common in this area as "boulevard trees". The bark is collected from the Elm which contains a mucilage that is healing to the Gastro intestinal tract and helps with soothing sore throats. (slippery elm)

Have any of these trees growing in your yard or neighborhood? Now you will see them in a whole new light. For many of the buds, you have to know where these trees are around you and catch them early, as they quickly move from bud stage to leaf out.

When harvesting bark, it is best to harvest the bark from fallen or pruned branches. If harvest from around the trunk, you may kill the tree. Also please be sure that the trees you are harvesting from have not had any pesticides or herbicides applied to them. Don't want to drink that!

Enjoy a tea made from leaves and flowers of these trees on this cool, rainy day. Bottoms up - Drink your Tree!

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