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Issue No 106
Winter 2006
page 48

Comforting
CONIFERS

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I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines. —Henry David Thoreau

Build you a fire with hickory, hickory, ash and oak. Don't use no green or rotten wood; they'll get you by the smoke. You just lay there by the juniper, while the moon is bright, Watch them jugs a-filling in the pale moonlight. —Bob Dylan “Copper Kettle”

 
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tons.” Pour olive oil into the container; cap and steep for two weeks, shaking the mixture daily. (Oil is a good solvent for resins and mastics. This is why working peanut butter into hair tangled with bubble gum dissolves the sticky culprit.) Don’t pack the vegetable matter in tightly; the oil solvent needs to be able to course through it. After two weeks, strain out the vegetable matter and use the oil for massaging strained and sprained muscles, arthritis, and rheumatism.

Evergreen Tea
Pick a generous tea-spoonful of fresh pine or fir needles (the newest growth is best) for each 8 oz cup. Pour boiling water over the needles in the cup, stir, and cover with a saucer to keep in the volatile oils. Let steep for 5-7 minutes, or for a stronger cup, 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink. You may add maple syrup or honey. Several cups a day of this will loosen phlegm and ease congestion, coughs, and sore throats.

Evergreen Steam
For asthma, sore throats, and coughs, simmer a handful or two of fresh needles (Continue on Next Page)

Mulled Pears with Juniper

When the winter holidays roll around, bringing with them rich confections served at every turn, I like to make this elegant, but light dessert. It features the juniper berry (Juniperus communis), a diuretic and carminative that helps treat rheumatic and arthritic conditions. This recipe is adapted from the Reader’s Digest Home Handbook: Herbs by Lesley Bremness (Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1990.)

4 firm pears
2/3 cup red wine
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 juniper berries, crushed

Peel the pears whole, leaving the stalks intact, or peel, core, and quarter them. In a saucepan, combine the red wine, orange juice, brown sugar, and juniper berries together. Bring to a simmer and add pears; then simmer for 15-25 minutes more if the pears are whole. (I leave the saucepan top on loosely.) Turn and baste from time to time. If you prefer, present them whole with their sauce in a copper chafing dish and keep warm with a candle underneath. Add a dollop of sweet whipped cream at serving. Serves 4.

 
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