Archives for posts with tag: herbs

Fleurbain is under construction. Fleurbain is moving… moving in, setting up shop, shifting around, clarifying, distilling, and experimenting to compound our knowledge and expertise.

Fleurbain is no longer only a dream and a website… Fleurbain is a site.

We will have a grand ouverture and vernissage soon (probably in early November), but in the meantime we will have small open-houses, host workshops, and meet with our clientelle in the realms of herbalism and art. In coming weeks we will announce regular opening hours, but for now we are available by appointment.

Tammy Schmidt, Clinical Herbal Therapist, is available for appointments through tammy.schmidt.herbalist (at) gmail.com and Natasha Henderson Artist and felt-making crafty Workshop Instructor is available through nhen@videotron.ca. We can both be reached through fleurbain@gmail.com!

See you soon, Montreal!

Tammy Schmidt and Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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A few months back I decided to never dye my hair again. Knowing that the toxic chemicals used in hair dye are linked to cancers, why on earth would I opt to have contact with this stuff? Also, with a bit of white hair coming in, I knew it would only be a matter of time until I would be trapped in the cycle of constantly colouring to keep the impending greys at bay. So I decided to just grin and bear it, look my age, and deal with what nature decided was best.

In all honesty, though, I missed being called “Red” sometimes. I missed seeing my strawberry blond or copper tones in the sun. In choosing to not go for a toxic soup while missing the colourfulness of past days, I was lucky to find an alternative.

it's happening!

In conversation with my Herbalist (Tammy Schmidt, CHT) I recalled that when I was a teen, I had used henna on my hair a few times. I would always go red or copper. I liked it, but eventually changed over to regular hair dye, as it was more convenient for me then. 

Turns out that using henna on the hair is not only safe to do, but some find the process and tradition to be spiritual and rejuvenating, as well as beautifying. Here I will describe a bit about the process that I went through the other evening when I made time to henna my hair. (Thanks to my Herbalist to provide me with information about the process, and for finding me some very good quality, organic henna!)

The experience: After reading instructions and suggestions, I mixed up a subtle and conservative colour mixture that would add a touch of colour to my hair. (In the future I think I will be more daring.) When I had my wonderfully pungent mixture ready, I globbed the henna onto my hair, eventually slapping on piles of the aromatic organic goo. It stuck to my head with the consistency of clay.

Because one ingredient was boiling water, the henna mixture was nice and warm.

post-henna lighter bits

Not only did my hair and scalp get a wonderful herbal treatment, but the warmth was very calming. Another benefit for my skin was the organic olive oil I rubbed into my hairline, forehead, hands, and all over my ears beforehand. This action was in order to prevent the henna from dyeing those parts of me, but a side-benefit was a good moisturizing.

I have never moisturized my ears, before!

post-henna darker bits

When I used old Ms Clairol, I would always have a drip or two of unruly colour left over on my neck or ears… this time that didn’t happen. The aroma was rich, and natural feeling and smelling. With toxic dyes, the smell is a chemical odour or a fake perfumed stench. While my hair was wrapped up and I waited for the magic to happen, I felt good. It is hard to explain, but using a natural plant-based dye made me feel connected to culture and nature, in a way that buying into stinky and mysterious chemicals does not do. I will never dye my hair again… but will continue to henna!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

 

egg cartons take a pause before hitting the recycling bin, to nurture my little green pals

 

I am a proud mama… not only to a cat, but to a vast number of tiny, green lives. This year I started my garden indoors. I was waiting to find out which plot I was allocated in the Community Garden, so I couldn’t plant outside.

baby oregano... awwwww!

I took a couple of egg cartons, a small bag of dirt, and a selection of organic seeds to start lavender, coriander, oregano, basil, tomatoes, arugula, parsley, and peppers. I will plant my carrots directly in the earth, as they require more root room!

widdle baybee tomatoes, hea-wooooah!

My plants are keening towards the sun… but I think the when they’re outdoors they’ll manage to straighten up. I am really looking forward to growing, tending, caring for, and harvesting these little guys. I’ll be careful to collect seeds, too!

 
Natasha Henderson, Montreal

experimenting with some simple natural pigments, pouring and spraying

Lately, our neighbourhood has been decorated with something like Earth Art crossed with graffiti crossed with scenes from an herbalist’s laboratory. We have been practicing and experimenting with “Snow Painting”: using herbs and vegetables as dyes to apply to snow and ice.

practice pouring, seeing what the colours will do

 As part of an artistic process (similar to dyeing fibres, mixing paints from scratch, or crafting makeup) non-toxic Snow Painting is fun, always has an element of unpredictability, and maintains many factors that can affect the final effect.

Join us in these curious experiments at Nuit Blanche, this Saturday 26th from 3pm to about 9pm, in the Griffintown Cultural Corridor (956 Ottawa, and 141 Ann) in Montreal.

red cabbage is like magic... see us to believe it

Having practiced and experimented with our new craft, we are confident that our collaborative effort will yield a beautiful “painting” in the snow for all to enjoy. We will also have a community-participatory location, in which people can try some Snow Painting for themselves.

We are on the free shuttle bus, (Wellington and Ann) so add us to your list of fun things to see that eve!

Curly kale

curly kale

It is such a shame to spend money on tender greens, then take them home and find out that they froze on the way back from the store.  After many years of experiencing this, I now use a variety of foods, other than baby salad greens, to get greens in the winter. Here is a short list of ones that I like.

Tough Leaves. Kale is one of my favourites.  It can be stir fried, steamed, or made into some of the best chips.  Black kale is more tender and can be used in salads.  Collards and cabbage are also great.  Rapini and Romaine lettuce can often make it home, no problem.

Nutritive Teas such as Nettles. Nettles can also be powdered and mixed with smoothies and food.  Matcha green tea is another good option.

Hearty Herbs. I love adding fresh flat leafed parsley to foods.  Usually, it makes it home without freezing.  Yes, it would be bleak to only rely on dried herbs, but I consider herbs, even if they are dried, to be a source of greens.  Herbs preserved in salt are also a source of greens, but obviously they can not be the only source without over doing it on salt.

Seaweed. I love little snippets of seaweed added to all kinds of foods; pizza, salad, soup, rice or other grains.  Sometimes I will add bits of Laver, a wild Atlantic Nori, to a trailmix or I will eat it like chips.  Alaria, a wild Atlantic Wakame, can be added to salads or soups.  Dulse is nice on pizza, mixed with salsa, or in sandwiches.  Kelp chips are fun.  Kelp can also be added to rice, beans or soups.

Frozen Spinach.  At my local grocery store, I can pick-up spinach that is frozen into little individually portioned “spinach pucks.”  I quickly thaw out and use these pucks in dishes.  I add them to fried shallots and eggs to make a nice plate of green eggs in the morning.

Lactofermented Cabbage and Other Veg.  In small portions, this will aid digestion, and it adds a little something extra to a meal.  If you are looking for a great book on fermentation, check out Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz.  This is an awesome , well researched and easy to follow book on fermentation.

Sprouts. I love sunflower sprouts and I am told that they are really easy to grow.  I would like to try sprouting these this winter.

Greens powder. This has got to be my least favourite, but I will take them from time to time.  Many people claim to have good results with green powders, especially when they take them on a regular basis.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

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