Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lover of Montana Winters

Chimaphila umbellata is a Winter Lover and no doubt in Montana this is the case. Temperatures are frigid here at times and this little wonder stands strong while peaking out of the snow in late fall. A wonderful plant for colds, flu, kidney stones and skin ailments the aerial parts of Chimaphila sp. can be made into a tea, strong infusion, tincture or honey extract.

Commonly known as, Pipsissewa meaning "it breaks into little pieces" it is often prescribed for kidney stones as a dissolver and post therapy associated with urethritis . It is mildly astringent, much less than Uva ursi and the constituents include but are not limited to iron, pectin, chlorophyll tannic acid and chimpaphilin. The herb is an overall lymphatic stimulant-strengthening the blood and cleansing the urinary tract.

I have found this plant coast to coast from the Mountains of North Carolina to the North Woods of Montana. Although rhizomatic it is dependent on host plants and does not transplant well. Collect leaves and flowers in the field before winters deep snow in the Rocky Mountains or throughout the winter months in the Appalachian Mountains. I like to gather from the heart of several separate stands so the growth on the periphery continues to spread without disturbance. I also pinch off only the first few sets of whorled leaves so growth develops branched and laterally with some leaves left to photosynthesize.

Wild harvesting herbs should always be practiced with respect and sustainability in mind. Never harvest the entire or even more than 25% of any stand. Any roots that are disturbed should be gently buried and recovered with material. Pipsissiwea is one of the "at risk" medicinal plants due to overharvest. Choose wisely and carefully.

Infusion Directions

Steep 1 part plant to 32 parts water for at least 24 hours. Strain. Drink up to 12 fluid ounces daily while symptoms persist.


Combine 8 oz of infusion with 1/2 cup honey in pot over stovetop. Heat till honey is fluid. Allow to cool and bottle. Take by the spoonful or add to other herbal teas like Raspberry for a potent lymphatic boost.


Weigh and then fill mason jar with fresh material. Add twice as much in volume of 95 percent alcohol and allow to extract for at least 3 weeks. Longer for a stronger medicine. I normally plan on at least a 6 month extract. Keeps indefinitely. Take 25 drops 3X per day till better.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Omega O'Mama

Omega 3 Fatty Acids are crucial for healthy skin, organ function and immunity. Omega 3 & 6 in a 1:1 ratio is the optimal balance. This happens in diets rich in leafy greens, grass fed chicken, bison, beef and fatty cold water fish. Studies show a ratio of 1:3 Omega 3 to Omega 6, is considered effective in preventing many types of cancer and inflammatory disease and promoting cardiovascular health. There is some quite technical information on how Omega 3 interacts with Omega 6 but I'll spare you the details. Basically one balances the other and you want the ratio to be better than 1:15 which is primarily where Western diets are at.

Quite simply, Omega 3 is found in cold water fatty fish, flax and hemp seed oil, grass fed chicken and cattle and a small amount of soy. Omega 6 can be found in all of the aforementioned food sources plus evening primrose(GLA source), walnut and safflower oils. Most people have adequate but more likely too much Omega 6 in their diets. This is primarily due to soy supplementation in a number of processed foods. Read labels and you may be surprised on all the soy derivatives.

Too much Omega 6 causes inflammation in your system and can manifests itself through the skin and organs leading to several imbalances and disease. Soy is notorious for being rich in Omega 6 and imbalanced in Omega 3. Soy's ratio is about 1:6 in Omega 3 & 6, respectively. If you eat alot of soy really look at the Omega 6 mg values and supplement with Cold Water Fish Oils to somewhat balance it out. I like Nordic Naturals Omega 3D. It has no detectable amounts of heavy metals and rich in Omega 3's of DHA, EPA and has Vitamin D. Omega 3's of DHA and EPA are readily assimilated without the liver having to convert it.

The winters in Montana can be dark with short days and lots of snow. Inversions are a wonderful remedy for winter blues and spectacular to view. Inversions are what lead to the naming of my business. Anyway, the best way to get Vitamin D is through sun exposure directly on the most skin surface area possible. With numerous cloudy days this far north we supplement with fish oils and vitamin d during the winter. Vitamin D supports a healthy immune system and Omega 3's of DHA and EPA are especially important for developing brains of young children and support brain, eye and nerve function for adults. Children that are still breastfeeding will receive adequate amounts through mother's milk that is supplemented with Cold Water Fish Oils.

Swan Range Inversion

Omega 3's found in plants are known as ALA. Our livers convert ALA into usable DHA and EPA. Food sources include two of my favorites Kale and Hemp Seed Oil. Kale is in a near perfect 1:1 ratio. Hemp a 1:3 ratio also provides additional fat and protein into diets. It is quite palatable for children and easily consumed in milk or powder form. I like Living Harvest for Hemp Milk and Hemp Powder and Nutiva for Hemp Seed Oil. All Sun Loving Baby Herbal Salves are made with Organic Hemp Seed Oil because your skin is your largest organ. In addition, Organic Hemp Milk can be used in place of recipes that call for cow's milk. Those chocolate chip cookies are now REALLY good for you.

You heard this all before, but healthy diets in children and adults(although most of us have our processed food addictions) should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains like spelt(ancestor to wheat with minimal gluten content), brown rice and quinoa. Plenty of fluids like herbal tea of raspberry, anise hyssop, nettles or lemon balm, Alaskan salmon or Arctic Cod and grass fed cattle or chicken products and some type of probiotic. Meats, in my opinion, should not be introduced till the canines come in. This is a similar philosophy to not introducing food till they can sit upright on their own. It simply aligns with body and molar development as indicators for food introduction. Children's food beginnings will have a lasting impact on their overall health today and in the future.

Our family has limited our processed foods to organic tortilla chips and wheat free figs. Corn in the form of tortilla chips does not leach out vital niacin in your body like whole corn because it is slacked with lime. Figs are a healthy sweet treat but do create heat in your body. We no longer ingest wheat or soy. Wheat allergies can manifest itself through skin rashes, redness and indigestion(gluten intolerance). These food choices may sound so bland to most but really after committing to this a few years ago I no longer crave the usual processed salts and sugars. Well, maybe some homemade cookies, chocolate ginger cake with maple frosting (1800mg Omega 3-Believe It!)and there's hope that the occassional consumption of organic ice cream is from grass fed cattle and boosting my Omega 3's too.

Trying to limit if not eliminate soy consumption all together can prove challenging from the standpoint of a meat free diet but many other beans may provide an adequate source of protein. Soy has been linked to hormonal imbalances in young girls and boys, kidney stones and inflammatory bowel syndrome. Studies have concluded that too much soy consumption leads to earlier onset of puberty in young girls and later on in life longer periods, infertility and thyroid dysfunction. So, if your a heavy Soy consumer especially, your young children consider switching to Hemp and pick maybe one Soy item to eat daily.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Painting Snow Fairies

We had a wonderful day exploring the snow, feeding our local winter birds and a little painting. The Blue and Stellar Jay, Red Breasted Nuthatches and Mountain and Black Capped Chickadees are feasting.
For painting I use Stockmar paints as they are non toxic-no lead, safe for children and all that good stuff. They come in Red, Yellow and Blue. We can make quite a beautiful palette. Today's color wheel consisted of Red, Yellow, Blue, Orange, Green and Purple.

I like to use Q-tips for a number of reasons. They are easy for grabbing just the right amount of paint from the Stockmar Jars and with a little water running over them in paper cups we make Watercolors. The Q-tip can still be used as a more saturated color stick for drawing or applying the water color to paper. Q-tips also promote fine motor skill development as Talus has to use his pincher grip to hold it.

The adults had fun too! We both created some artwork and Talus really got into it. He progressed from stirring the cups, painting with different brushes, combining all colors into one tray and submersing both hands into the myriad of colored water. This was then followed by some dump and pouring and soaking wet pants. Lots of fun! It's always so interesting how the experience evolves.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Free Organic Hemp Lip Balm

Random Magical Place in Glacier Country

Sun Loving Baby is now on Facebook. All fans are entered to win an Organic Hemp Lip Balm everytime 25 New Fans Join.

For those of you bloggers looking for a "random drawing generator" I found a website that is super easy to use. It can formulate any number of lucky winners for you. You simply place the number of winners you want in the "random generator" box. The "integer value between" is the number of contestants for example 1 to 25. Check it out as it makes more sense in person.

This Thanks-give-a-way is my Organic Hemp Lip Balm in Tangerine. I'll annouce the winner on Sun Loving Baby's Facebook Page.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Corridor Ecology

Recent word from the Itinerant Warbler working in the Wyoming Red Desert is it is threatened yet again by energy development. Maybe you've been to this enchanting place or perhaps driven through on I-80. It is a mix of High Desert and Surreal Energy Development. Approaching from Wyoming's Snowy Range the scene is striking and impressionable. Well worth a trip, this is a place to take a moment to contemplate how the flora and fauna have come to survive.

There another charismatic species, the Pronghorn Antelope, is facing impending disruption and at odds with capitalist energy desecraters. The Wyoming Red Desert harbors one of the oldest migratory herds we have in the lower 48. There are 50,000 head and one of their paths approaches the Y2Y corridor. This specific route has been used for thousands of years by many species.

The upside is Pronghorn Antelope are quite predictable in their annual routes and use of land. Their migratory path can be narrowed down with such precision that it is possible to conserve this area in particular.

Let's give these creatures and other species in this unique ecosystem a chance. Go here to tell Wyoming's Senators you value wild places and don't want this kind of energy development.

How does this relate to Montana? Montana too is a state on the precipice of alternative energy development. We have Pronghorn Antelope and species intimately connected to the Y2Y corridor. The issues in Wyoming are stepping stones to decisions that can be made in Montana.

Population ecology can have many hidden connections. One such connection involves Grey Wolves and Pronghorn Antelope. Healthy Wolf populations benefit Pronghorn Antelope offspring. This is by Wolves keeping Coyote numbers in check. Coyotes are the greatest danger to Pronghorn Antelope fawn surviving. When Coyotes are up in numbers the Pronghorn Antelope loose more offspring, thereby decreasing the size of the herd.

Montana allows trophy hunting of both Pronghorn Antelope and Grey Wolves.

Since May of 2009 Grey Wolves have been delisted and this past fall has proven significant mis-management and limited foresight by the ruling governance of fish and wildlife . One of the major problems among, a whole gamut of other issues, is poached wolves are not included in the removal quota. Additionally, there is limited punishment for poachers and so no incentive to discourage their negligence.

A local hunter here that poached two of the individuals from the 2 North Fork packs was fined a meager $1135 and his hunting license was not even revoked. This is disturbing as the Grey Wolf, not a few months ago, was riding as an Endangered Species. The Columbia Falls hunter and and an unknown other poached a total of 3 wolves in the North Fork Area. In combination of quota and poached wolves the two packs were physically reduced by about 17%. This doesn't factor in wolf mortality that occurs by human negligence, human locomotion and age, pack dynamics or injury related natural causes throughout the year. There is a potential loss of nearly 30-40% total pack reduction this year alone when all is said and done.

FWP is patting themselves on the back saying this " couldn't of been a more scripted" wolf harvest. What?

There seems to be no respect or reverence within the managing authority for predator populations that now have limited ranges due to habitat loss, human conflict and what appears to be unrestricted hunting. These wolves had stabilized and balanced their population size long before humans thought they could do a better job. Still, we continue to disturb natural cycles of ecosystems.

A common sentiment of wolves by wolf hunters is they interfere with their elk hunting and cattle ranching. This view does not persist in the hunting of pronghorn antelope. Pronghorn are not looked on as a threat, whereas, wolves "threaten" elk populations and cattle ranchers.

Did we not learn anything from wolves keeping Yellowstone elk in check? What else would we lose if the Aspen Groves were lost? Values are poorly placed at times. Additionally, wolves are hunted within wilderness areas such as the Bob Marshall, the North Fork (should have wilderness designation) and at the edge of National Parks like Yellowstone and Glacier-not near ranches. They are indiscriminately being killed.

Corridor ecology can have dramatic implications in preserving genetic diversity within species and balancing interactions between all predators, plants and other fauna.
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