Saturday, July 26, 2008

Carbon Footprints & Stepping on Others

This article can now be found at

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Herbal Identification and Chaparral

This post can now be found at

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Natural Rabbit Repellent - Tested Last Week

(Picture is of my son and our rabbit at home)

Natural Rabbit Repellent - Tested Last Week!

Dear Members,

A while back I heard from some friends that raise sheep that a little sheep's wool sprinkled in the garden will repel rabbits. It sounded worth a try to I kept it in mind for this summer. However, we have not had any rabbits around at all. Perhaps they all got "flooded out" or something? However, I did manage to test the results anyway.

I found an old sheepskin in my closet and (completely forgetting the sheepskin/rabbit relationship) thought that it looked very snugly and that my free-roaming house-rabbit would love to sit on it in front of the air-conditioning vent that is her absolute favorite place to sit. So I placed the sheep-skin there while she was eating her hay one day. I "knew" she would try it out soon and was eager to see how happy she would be since she spends about 80% of her time by the vent and loves it there!

However, once I placed the sheepskin there she completely avoided the vent. She would not go near it at all for three days. Finally I remembered the sheepswool/rabbit relationship and moved the sheepskin. It took her a full 4 days to decide that the AC vent was a suitable place to sit again.

So guess where the sheepskin is now? It is serving as a bed to all my computer and printer electrical cords. I don't think I will have any trouble with bunny chewing my cords anymore!

Blessings & Health,

Kristie Karima Burns, MH, ND

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

This herb is popular all over America as an immune-system enhancing herb and many people use it instead of using anti-biotics. German medical studies have proven that echinacea does indeed boost the immune system, and is useful in treating a number of common ailments. However, because of its popularity Echinacea is becoming endangered and over-harvested. To help keep this from happening I grow my own Echinacea (which is VERY easy to do...they are perennial wildflowers and grow in any sunny part of the garden) and only harvest what I need. If you have any garden space at all this is very easy to do and if more and more people do this, then Echinacea has more of a chance of surviving on this earth. Planting time is over for this year, but if you have some in your garden or along the nature path you walk you are welcome to wildcraft it gently in the following manner.

I have included a picture from MY Echinacea patch that I took today. As you can see, since the flowers are in full-bloom they are PAST the time when I can harvest the tops and it is way before the time when I can harvest the roots. The bee was very kind in posing for me. He didn't seem to mind my company :)

Harvesting Echinacea

For medicinal purposes, you'll want to harvest some roots and some flower tops. For best quality, wait until your plants are 3 years old. Roots are harvested in the fall when the tops have gone to seed and the plants have experienced a couple of hard frosts. Tops are harvested just as the flowers start to open. Whether harvesting tops or roots, the dried herb will be good for one year. Be sure to date the jars containing the herb so you won't use them past their potency date.

Harvesting Roots

1. Using a sharp knife cut off a portion of the root, leaving plenty for the plant to grow on.
2. Cut any pieces larger than 1 inch into smaller pieces to avoid mold growth during the drying process.
3. Wash thoroughly and pat dry.
4. Hang the root pieces or lay them out on screens in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. If the pieces are large it may take several weeks for them to dry.
5. When completely dry, store in a tightly covered glass jar in cool, dark place.

Harvesting Flower Tops
1. Using a sharp knife, cut the plant at the point where the first healthy leaves are growing.
2. Lay the tops on a screen or hang them upside down in bundles out of direct sunlight. Make sure they aren't crowded so that air can't circulate around them.
3. When completely dry, the leaves will crumble when touched. Store them in glass jars with tight fitting lids in a cool, dry place.

There are two ways to brew an herbal tea: Infusion and Decoction. Use the infusion method when preparing a tea from leaves, flowers or seeds. Decoction is the method of choice for roots. For a pleasant cup of tea, most people prefer an infusion of the flowers. Decoctions are very strong.

To make an infusion:Place 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb or 2-4 teaspoons of fresh herb in a teapot. Cover with 1 cup of boiling water and steep for 15-20 minutes. Strain out the herbs and enjoy.
To make a decoction:Combine 2 teaspoons of dried root and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour. Strain out the herb and enjoy.


Blessings & Health,

Kristie Karima Burns, MH, ND

How to Find & Harvest Wild Garlic on a Nature Walk

We are lucky enough to have a plentiful supply of wild garlic in our yard, however, as I walk down the bike trail and the nature trails around town I notice that there is plenty of wild garlic "for the taking" as well. Learning how to identify it and how to harvest it will help you in benefiting from this free gift from nature. I have included some photos of our wild garlic to help you and some simple harvest instructions. You will understand the instructions more by looking at the photos too.

All the plants of any given variety of garlic will come to maturity at about the same time, but some varieties will mature in the early spring and others not until mid-summer. Once any given variety of garlic starts losing its leaves and there are still eight leaves left (a week to 10 days from harvest), discontinue watering and let the soil begin to dry out some so as to make harvesting easier - it's easier to pull garlic out of loose soil than mud. In my case I never planted these plants and never watered them either - LOL - since I live in the Midwest where it has been raining a lot.

When your garlic is ready to harvest, there are several ways to do it. It is important to remove the garlic from the ground without injuring it as it is still a living creature and germs can enter through wounds at a time when its ability to ward them off is diminishing. If you have real loose rich soil, you can simply pull them up by their necks as long as doing so will not tear or damage their necks or roots. Few of us are fortunate enough to have that kind of soil. For most of us the best way is to use a shovel or garden fork and slip the blade down beside them and then work it under them and pry them up from the bottom. Be very careful not to cut the bulbs as you do this.

Then immediately take them out of the sun and into a cool shady place to cure out for a while.
Be very careful in handling the bulbs at this point and do not bang them together as that can cause them to be bruised and invite storage problems and ruin them for seedstock. Do not throw them onto the ground or into a wagon, place them down gently - you have spent a lot of time and effort to grow them right, don't blow it all now by handling them rough. Get them out of the sun as soon as possible as the sun can scald them or cause them to dry down too quickly and may result in problems.

I've included some picture of some of our wild is ALMOST ready to harvest!

If you are harvesting on public land be sure to follow the rules of wildcrafting - only take what you need and only "thin out" the gifts that you find. Do not take everything from one place.

Blessings & Health,

Kristie Karima Burns, MH, ND

Sunday, July 6, 2008

How to Get the Healing You Need

This is now located at

Friday, July 4, 2008

Kristie's Consulting & Seminar Trip Dates

This article can now be found at

Natural and Effective Wood Board Cleaning

For wood cutting boards (would probably work on plastic too but we Don't use plastic cutting board so I can't say for sure....) cut a Lemon in half, sprinkle the cutting board with sea salt (coarse grain) And rub the lemon halves over the board vigorously. Rinse with clean Cool water. This is a fun activity for children as well.

Blessings & Health,
Kristie Karima Burns, MH, ND

Aggregate Berries

I was very excited today to teach one of my friends and her daughter one of my favorite foraging "secrets". Since all the berries are ripening in our yard and along the bike path I took them on a little berry picking adventure. At first they seemed a bit worried that we might eat a berry that was poisonous. Then, I explained that I only harvest aggregate berries with kids - they are easy to identify, never poisonous and ALWAYS Delicious and packed with nutrition.

Aggregate berries are berries that have little bumps on them like raspberries, blackberries or mulberries. Cherries, strawberries, and elderberries are NOT aggregate berries because they do not have the little bumps and they are smooth.

As soon as I explained what and aggregate berry was the little girl that was walking with me shared with us that she knows where "a bunch" are near her house. So... with this little bit of knowledge an entire new world opens up for her to play and snack in while she is at her house.

Letter to the Editor: UTIs

Thanks for the ideas on dyeing. I have another question to ask I am looking for a more natural way to take care of a urinary tract infection. I'm not keen on using antibiotics and wondered if there was anything other than loading up on cranberry juice that could help. Thanks, - E

Dear E,

Urinary tract infection can be very serious so it is best to consult a health care practitioner to see what can be done. Each of the clients I have seen have benefited from different suggestions.( However, there are two things that always help all the clients (no matter what other recommendations I have for them) and they are:

1. Reflexology sessions (given by yourself to your hands, or by a family member to the feet) in the abdominal area of the palms.

2. The homeopathic remedy cantharsis in 200C dose taken once and then taken again in 30C doses if needed. You can find info at:

Hope this helps :)

Blessings & Health,