Medicine Woman

  (Waynesville, North Carolina)
dangerous herbs, medicinal herbs, culinary herbs
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I used to live in the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York State and also in the state of Maine, so, I have had plenty of experience with cold weather, including getting stranded with my car, sliding into  snow banks or ditchs and, with children with me.  I also have looked up a couple of good websites, listed at the end of this blog and scrambled everything up to give you friends some ideas of how to dress properly in this freezing cold stuff.  ENJOY! And thanks to the websites that helped out here!


To start with ..stay inside as much as possible.  If you have to go out, shorten your stride in snow, ice, sleet, or heavy rain. Dress in layers. What does that mean? 



Layers means clothing that accommodates other clothing to keep your body warm in cold weather, whether you are going to stay inside or go outside.   Proper winter dressing means three layers:  wicking, insulating and protection.



The first layer is what is called wicking: This is the layer worn next to your skin, usually consisting of  thermal underwear made of a synthetic , usually polyester,  fiber that has "wicking" power. This means the fibers will wick (move) moisture away from your skin and pass it through the fabric so it will evaporate. This keeps you warm, dry and comfortable. Silk is good, as is cashmere and is a natural fabric that has wicking abilities.  Wool also is good. While the polypropylene layers are important, keep in mind that wool offers added protection to stay warm because, even when wet, wool will keep you warm. The wicking layer should fit snugly (not tight) next to the skin in order to effectively wick moisture. Comfort is key for the insulating layer. It should be loose enough to trap air between layers, but not so bulky that it restricts movement.



THE SECOND LAYER is called Insulating layer which includes sweaters, sweatshirts, vests and pullovers. The purpose of this layer is to keep heat in and cold out, which is accomplished by trapping air between the fibers. Popular insulation materials include:


•Fleece, a synthetic material which maintains its insulating ability even when wet and spreads the moisture out so it dries quickly.


•Wool, which naturally wicks away moisture.


While denim is not waterproof,  denim jeans is a good wind breaker when just doing errands or anything that isn't going to involve much water.  Also, if you wear denim jeans, wear them inside your boots so that they don't get wet and it won't be next to your skin. Water will soak through and you'll end up cold, wet and miserable. (Trust me! Jeans don’t dry fast and will stay wet and even get ice on them!)


Don’t wear cotton including: cotton athletic socks, cotton jeans, cotton sweatshirts, or cotton T-shirts. Cotton absorbs moisture (sweat and snow), and retains it. When the wind blows, you will get very, very cold.


Wear tights , long johns or  thermal leggings whenever you wear a skirt or dress or pants.  (Ladies, this will keep you warm whether you are inside or out! )



For men or women, a good choice will be a shirt that is a blend of Merlino wool and polypropylene or a heavier shirt of polypropylene, several of which have a “waffle” style construction on the underside. On really cold days a wool shirt will be the final layer that will be topped off by a cold weather, windproof jacket. So a wool shirt is a good investment!


One pair of light-weight or medium-weight socks works best for skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing. Socks are made from a variety of materials, including polyester, silk, wool and nylon. Some socks have wicking properties similar to long underwear, meaning your feet will stay dry and comfortable. If you are going to be inside, a pair of slippers  that are crochet, knitted or even another heavier pair of socks is nice to wear over regular socks.



THE THIRD LAYER is known as protection layer or exterior layer. This is generally outside clothing such as coats, jackets and pants, hat, gloves, etc.  They serve as your guard against the elements of winter. They should repel water from snow, sleet or rain and block the wind, while also letting perspiration evaporate. For jackets and coats, goose down is the warmest insulation for its weight, and the higher the “fill” number, the better it insulates. Don’t let the down get compressed or it will loses its insulating ability.  A nice wool coat isn’t a bad investment either. I'm partial to fur coats and jackets as well as hats, as there isn't anything much warmer.


For recreation in the snow and cold, such as skiing, skating, snowboarding: one-piece suits, which combine a jacket and pants, are popular with many skiers, (and not a bad idea for the kids to play outside in either) especially on cold days and days where there is a lot of fresh powder snow. Look for functional hoods, cuffs, pockets and zippers ; details that truly make garments comfortable in a snowstorm.  Most snowboard clothing is still designed to fit looser than alpine skiwear, giving snowboarders freedom of movement. In addition, many snowboard pants are reinforced in the seat and knees for extra protection when kneeling or sitting on the snow.



Up to 60 percent of your body's heat can escape from an uncovered head, and can give you a headache. Wearing a hat, especially made from fleece or wool is or crochet or knitted a good idea. Next a wool or crochet or knitted,  scarf tucked in around the collar of your coat. The scarf can be loosened when needed to regulate heat loss during exertion. Wearing the scarf around your neck, mouth and nose will keep out the cold from entering your lungs. 


Look for gloves and mittens that use waterproof, breathable fabrics. Mittens, in general, are warmer than gloves, but offer you less dexterity. But, if your are just walking, mittens are good.  If you get leather gloves, be sure that there is a good lining in them and they should feel warm when you first try them on. Other gloves that are warm can be found in places such as Walmart, Target, TJ MAX, etc.  Snowboarding gloves and mittens often have a reinforced palm because of extra wear from adjusting bindings and balancing on the snow. Some snowboarding gloves and mittens also have built-in wrist guards, which are excellent for novice snowboarders. Cross country skiing gloves tend to be lighter-weight for extra movement and because you perspire more.


Sunglasses and goggles protect your eyes from damaging solar radiation. Look for 100 percent UV protection in sunglasses. Make sure the glasses fit snugly behind your ears and rest gently on the bridge of your nose. Snow, or any other reflective surface, makes ultraviolet (UV) rays stronger, while increased altitude also magnifies the danger. On flat-light days or when it's snowing, goggles are vital. They protect your eyes and special lens colors increase the contrast so you can properly discern terrain features. Goggles should form an uninterrupted seal on your face, extending above your eyebrows and below your cheekbones. Watch for gaps, especially around your nose.



FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE CHILDREN:   Cold weather can be dangerous for kids if they aren't dressed warmly.


  Avoid Cotton. Clothes made of cotton do not have the ability to insulate the child if they do become wet. Buy winter garments and clothing made of fleece and wool in order to keep your child warm.


Also, children can lose ‘up to sixty percent’ of their body heat if their heads are exposed so make sure that your children always have a hat on whenever they go out in the cold weather and keep it on. Always make sure that your children have socks and shoes or slippers on when  inside and warm socks and boots on when outside, no matter how young they are.  Also, put tights or legging under their dresses or pants; put a sweater or sweatshirt over their dresses or shirts. Wearing long john pants and shirt will help keep your youngster warm and toasty! Make sure that their dresses and shirts are long sleeved.


Keep an eye out that your children do not get wet while playing in the snow or on the ice, as it may seem “warm” to them.  However, the wetness makes children that much more vulnerable to the dangers of hypothermia and frostbite.



If you can’t just go out and buy all this clothing that is needed, you can find a lot of good, warm clothes at thrift stores , Good Will and Salvation Army places.  For those of you who are having financial difficulties, try calling the Red Cross  or shelters and see if they can help you. 




 Read more:


Charlie Burchfield is a past president of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association


















 Look for boots that go up to just below the knee and are made of insulated material or leather with a good, warm lining.  Stay away from the manmade pretty boots that will get ruined if they hit the water and are oftern cold to wear.























We often hear words such as aleratives,  anti

microbial , aperient, cholagogue and other strange

sounding names.  But, what are they?  These are all

called actions or herbal properties. They refer to the

energetic pathway of how an herb affects the body. 

Every herb has more than one such action. 

Here we will find out some of the actions and which

herbs have these actions.  This is just   enough

information to give you an idea of what these terms

mean and what herbs would be in each category. Many

herbs are in many different categories, thus, making them easy to work with. 

This is by no means conclusive and I probably won’t be

able to list every herb in every category. 

Like I have mentioned before, herbalism is a huge

field.      Also, I am mentioning herbs that have been

used   and some people have found them to work. 

This does not mean that I necessarily condone the use

of some of these herbs.  For herbs that I really would

not use myself I have an * just after the herb.  





DIAPORETIC  this is an action that aids the skin in the

elimination of toxins and promotes perspiration.

Commonly used as an aid in the relief of common

colds.  Diaphoretics act most favorably when

administered hot, before bedtime.

EXAMPLES:  angelica*, bayberry, blessed thistle, 

 Boneset,  catnip, cayenne, chamomile, elder flowers,

garlic, ginger, golden rod,  hawthorn,  hyssop, linden

flowers, lime blossom, peppermint, sassafras root,

thyme, white horehound,  yarrow


DIURETIC  increases the elimination of urine from the

body.  The fastest action generally is obtained by liquid

diuretics taken on an empty stomach and taken during

the day.  Physical exertion retards the effects of


EXAMPLES;   agrimony*  , bearberry* ,   bilberry,

boneset, borage, broom, buchu,  burdock root, celery

seed,   corn silk*, couch grass*,  dandelion leaf, , elder,

Hawthorn berries, horse tail,  juniper, lime blossom, 

 parsley , saw palmetto,  yarrow



EMETIC   herbs cause one to vomit. The main use of

emetics is as a first aid treatment of poisoning, where

they will empty the stomach content. .Most emetics

work through irritation, either of the stomach or the

nervous system.


EXAMPLES:  blood root*, boneset, elder flowers, white horehound, Echinacea,  lobelia* senga*, squill*




EMMENAGOGUE  Stimulate menstrual flow and activity. This term is often employed in the wider

context of tonics to the female reproductive systems.

EXAMPLES:  beth root*, black haw*, blessed thistle,

chamomile, chaste tree*, cramp bark, fenugreek,

gentian*, ginger, golden seal, juniper berry, calendula,

motherwort, mugwort, parsley, pasque flower*,

pennyroyal*, peppermint, raspberry, sage, rosemary,

rue*, southernwood*, squaw vine*, tansy* , vervian*,

wormwood*, yarrow


EMOLLIENT  herbs are  applied to the skin to soften,

soothe or protect it. They act externally in a manner

similar to the way demulcents act internally. Emollients

should  NOT  be used externally.


EXAMPLES: borage, chickweed*, coltsfoot*, comfrey,

elecampane*, fenugreek, flax seed, licorice,

marshmallow, mullein, oatmeal, plantain, slippery elm bark.



EXPECTORANT  support  the body in the removal of

excess amounts of mucus from the respiratory system.

Expectorants are often combines with DEMULCENTS .



EXAMPLES: aniseed, Balm of Gilead, balsam, blood

root*, coltsfoot*, comfrey (never used comfrey

internally), elder flower, elecampane*, garlic, golden

seal, hyssop, Iceland moss*, Irish moss*, licorice,

lobelia*, lungwort, marshmallow, mullein, pleurisy root,

senega*, skunk cabbage (if you’re brave), squill*,

thuja*, thyme, vervain*,white  or black horehound, wild




FEBRIFUGE a/k/a    ANTI PYRETIC   they bring down fevers.

EXAMPLE :   angelica*, blessed thistle, boneset,

borage, cayenne, elder flower, hyssop, pennyroyal*,

peppermint, raspberry, sage, vervain*




GALACTAGOGUE  help increase the flow of breast milk

EXAMPLES:   aniseed, blessed thistle, centaury*, fennel seed,  goat’s rue*




HEPATIC  aid the liver by toning and strengthening  it,  and increases the flow of bile.


EXAMPLE :  agrimoney*, aloe* (not internally), balmony*, barberry*, boldo, cascara segrada*, celery

seed, centaury*, clevers*, dandelion  root or leave,

elecampane*, fennel, fringe tree, gentian*, golden seal,

horseradish, hyssop, lemon balm,  milk thistle,

motherwort, Mountain Grape, yarrow, yellow dock*




HYPNOTIC    these herbs are meant to induce sleep,

but, not in a hypnotic trance as in a “high”.   I believe

these would be used in an instance of helping a person

to go into a deep sleep so that the body can heal. 



EXAMPLES:  chamomile, lime blossom, vervain*,

hops, skullcap*, valerian*, Jamaican dogwood*,

passion flower*, black haw*, cramp bark




LAXATIVE    these herbs promote the evacuation of the bowels


EXAMPLES:  balmony*, barberry*, buckthorn*,

burdock root, cascara sangrada*, clevers*, dandelion

root, flax seed, fringetree*, Mountain Grape, yellow


Personally, I think the best ones to use to get the

plumbing system moving are four sticks of licorice

candy and handful red grapes every day!  Easy!


NERVINES  a/k/a  RELAXANTS       these herbs tend to abate or relax temporarily, non-serious nervous

irritation, due to excitement, strain or fatigue.  Nervines

are beneficial in toning and strengthening the nervous system.



EXAMPLES:  black cohosh*, black haw*, blue

cohosh*, bugleweed*, chamomile, cramp bark,

damiana*, ginseng, hops, kola*, lavender, lemon balm,

lime blossom, lobelia*, mistletoe*, motherwort*, oat

straw, pasque flower*, passion flower*, peppermint,

red clover, rosemary, skullcap*, valerian*, vervain*




OXYTOCIC   stimulate the contraction of the uterus

and can help in childbirth for reasons such as: to

induce labor, in the removal of retained placenta and

management of post-partum bleeding. However, some

of these medicines have harmful side effects and

when taken in large quantities can lead to the death of

the unborn baby and/or uterine rupture, and other

longer term effects on the mother or baby. ( i.e you

might not want to fool around with this type of thing)


I personally would not use the following, however,

raspberry leaf, partridge berry and stinging nettle would

likely be safe enough to use.

This I found at  US National Library of Medicine

National Institutes of Health /

however, once again, I personally would not advise

using the herbs.  According to the just mentioned

website; “to induce labour (blue cohosh, black cohosh

and beth root) [99]. Preparations of black cohosh root

(Actaea racemosa [Nutt.] L.), Goldenseal root

(Hydrastis canadensis L.) and Chaste tree fruits (Vitex

agnus-castus L.) are listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia

and are available as dietary supplements to be used

for premenstrual stress syndrome, as emmenagogue

agents and for gynaecological problems” 

  HOWEVER, My findings   come up with the facts

that:   BLUE COHOSH is potentially toxic effect by

constricting the coronary blood vessels, thus

exerting a toxic effect on the cardiac muscle and

causes internal spasms.     BLACK COHOSH can

cause nausea and vomiting; low blood pressure

and Black cohosh should not be taken at all, for

any reason, by a pregnant woman!.  BETHROOT 

a/k/a birth root  can cause vomiting and has toxic

effects on the heart. Bethroot may stimulate the

uterus, but, not in the way one might desire! Little

scientific evidence supports bethroot’s traditional

uses in promoting childbirth and delivery or 

 managing postpartum bleeding. CHASTE TREE

side effects include abdominal pain, cramping,

diarrhea, headache, increased blood flow in the

vagina area, uterine bleeding.   GOLDENSEAL

ROOT  causes excessive sleepiness, slows down

breathing , reduced mental alertness , tingling in

the arms and legs, paralysis, seizure, slow pulse,


I delivered two of my babies at home and the placenta

held back on the first one.  So, after ½ hour of this

stuff, I simply put a (throw up pan or wash basinJ) in

between the toilet seat to catch the placenta  and made

myself an 8 oz glass of orange juice and 2

tablespoons of caster oil.  Trust me, it works and fast! 

The placenta was not torn anywhere.  End of problem!  J




THAT HERBS CAN NOT DO.  You’re messing

around with two lives!  (particularly  if you really

don’t know what the heck you are doing!)



PECTORAL    These herbs have the general

strengthening and healing effect on the respiratory

system, in other words, good for the lungs.  These

herbs are used to strengthen a weak chest. 



EXAMPLES: elecampane*, mullein, white horehound,

coltsfoot*, yarrow,  cayenne,  lobelia*,  blood root*,

sage, thyme, marshmallow, licorice, elder, hyssop, garlic.





You can find excellant quality and  safe herbs, herb teas, bath herbs and salves in my store here on LOCAL HARVEST!


Local .  Look for






US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health


THE HERBALIST by Joseph E.. Meyer


THE  COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERBAL MEDICINE  by Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila both pharmD

THE HONEST HERBAL  by Varro E. Tyler

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