5 of my Favorite Spring Foraging Finds

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

See below for "Ethical Guideline for foraging"


1. TURKEY TAIL MUSHROOM (Trametes Versicolor)


Turkey Tail Mushrooms are an incredibly common mushroom, native to forests all around the world.

Scientific evidence indicates that these mushrooms have high therapeutic value.


Turkey tail mushrooms have a long history of medicinal use in the Far-East and North America. It has been used in Chinese medicine since the early 15th century and the Native Americans too have been using it for centuries.


HEALTH BENEFITS OF TURKEY TAIL :

1. Boost immunity by increasing the count of natural killer (NK) cells in the body.


2. Combat Cancer: The polysaccharide peptide (PSP) is found to increase immunity in 70 to 97% of cancer patients. Polysaccharide Krestin (PSK) extracted from the turkey tail mushroom has received approval from the Japanese government, in the early 1980s, for the treatment of cancer.


3. Displays antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Studies show that the antiviral properties are effective to combat Human papillomavirus (HPV)―the virus that has been linked to cervical cancer. hepatitis C, candida overgrowth and herpes infections.


4. Heals the digestive tract- This mushroom contains prebiotic fiber that help feed beneficial bacteria in the gut and assist in optimal functioning of the digestive tract.


5. Assists in detoxification: A 2010 study observed the mushroom killing off tumor cells that had made their way into the liver, suggesting that turkey tail could be a strong companion to the liver’s own detox capabilities.


A 7-year study carried out by researchers observed that taking #turkeytail mushrooms in the form of pills did help to enhance immunity of women diagnosed with stage I, II, and III breast cancer and had finished sessions of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.


HOW TO FIND TURKEY TAIL MUSHROOMS

Turkey tail mushrooms come in a variety of colors and are found in abundance on logs, dead trees, branches, and stumps. These mushrooms grow in concentric circles and have a leaf-like structure.If there are pores (tiny holes) on the underside of the mushroom then it is a a true turkey tail if there are no visible pores and is smooth on the underside, then it is not a turkey tail mushroom.


2. HORSETAIL


This is HORSETAIL and it’s everywhere right now. Did you know that Horsetail is one of the highest silica-containing plants on earth?

MEDICINAL USES OF HORSETAIL

1. Allergies: Contains quercetin, a natural anti-inflammatory that can stabilize mast cells when they become inflamed during allergic reactions.

2. It’s been traditionally used to help flush uric acid from the body

3. Bronchitis and asthma: The horsetail reduces inflammation and strengthens the lung tissue

4. Can help improve kidney and bladder health. It help increase resistance to urinary tract infections

5. Boosts collagen production to maintain hair, skin and nail health. (high silica content) You can make face and hair tonics or rinses to improve the health of your skin and hair.


6. Important chelator of aluminum: (helps your body detox aluminum, For anyone who has used aluminum antiperspirants deodorant in the past).


7. Treatment for osteoporosis (thinning bone), because it contains silicon, a mineral needed for bone health.


8. Has antioxidant properties and may inhibit cancer cell growth.


Where To Find Horsetail

You can see these everywhere in Squamish. They are hard to miss. Horsetail especially loves moist, marshy areas but it can also be found in fields and forests.


How to use Horsetail


TEA: How to make the tea This is tremendously basic. Put about 1 tablespoon of loose dry horsetail in a stainless steel or other non-toxic tea diffuser, pour boiling water over the dry herb, and let steep for at least 10 minutes before drinking. HAIR RINSE: You can make face and hair tonics or rinses to improve the health of your skin and hair.

HAIR TONIC

HAIR TONIC RECIPE

Fill a mason jar 2/3 of the way full with fresh Horsetail. Submerge with Apple cider vinegar covering completely to avoid mold from forming. Store in a cool dark place for 4-6 weeks. Shaking every few days. Strain out herb. To Use: Rinse through your hair after you shampoo. Follow with conditioner.

DRIED: I like to dry this herb, process it in a food processor and then put it in a coffee grinder to make a fine powder. I then encapsulate it and take 2 capsules daily for 2 months.

CAUTIONS: It’s important to note that, as with most herbs, they are only effective if consumed on a regular basis over a long period of time, at least 3 months of consistent use. Prolonged use of horsetail is not advised. (Don’t use longer than 3 months). People with heart or kidney disorders, diabetes, or gout should not use horsetail.


3. STINGING NETTLE


Did you know that NETTLES are a nutrient dense superfood and a perfect remedy for allergy sufferers during hay fever season? Nettles can also help with joint problems such as arthritis, strengthen the immune system, and eradicate skin issues like acne or eczema.

NETTLE HEALTH BENEFITS

1. Contain minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.

2. Rich in fatty acids like linoleic acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and oleic acid.

3. Contain building blocks for proteins which are the essential amino acids - Contain polyphenols like kaempferol, quercetin, caffeic acid, coumarins and other flavonoids.(Polyphenols are plant-based micro nutrients that have wide ranging health benefits).

4. Nettles are rich in pigments like beta-carotene, lutein, luteoxanthin and other carotenoids. (Many of these nutrients provide much needed antioxidant activity inside your body).

HOW TO USE NETTLES

I like to dry and make a fine powder to throw in smoothies, make tea, make a salt blend, you can also combine with basil to make pesto. They can be also be used in soups, stews, and pasta.

WHERE TO FIND NETTLE

Nettles will begin popping up in early spring, and can be found all across North America. Its proper habitat is in sunny places where there is rich, moist soil. You'll find them growing along rivers, streams, lakes, ditches, fencerows, and on the edges of cultivated farm fields.

HOW TO HARVEST NETTLES Yes they do sting, so use thick gardening gloves or rubber gloves. Simply pick leaves off the plant and place into a container. It’s best to choose a patch of nettles away from roadsides. Pick the top fresh leaves. Best time to harvest is in the spring before the nettles flower and they turn woody. Pick the young green leaves and tips.


4. SPRUCE TIPS


These are my absolute favorite and they smell heavenly! Spruce tips are at the tip of the spruce branches that emerge in spring, they are not only medicinal but have many culinary applications.

SPRUCE TIP HEALTH BENEFITS

1. High in Vitamin C – frozen or dried spruce tips are good source of vitamin C during wintertime.

2. Rich in minerals such as potassium and magnesium.

3. Spruce needles have long been used by indigenous tribes for relieving coughs and sore throats.

4. They also contain plenty of chlorophyll, which helps growing and healing tissues, controlling cravings, as well as transporting oxygen to cells. It also neutralizes free radicals, keeps blood sugar balanced, accelerates wound healing and bonds poisonous metals present in your body. HOW TO USE: 1. Eat em Raw 2. Add to smoothies and salads. 3. Make Spruce tip ice cream. (With 2 Frozen bananas, tsp vanilla, 5 spruce tips, blend in a vitamix or strong blender. Add choc chips on top). 4. Use fresh or dried tips for tea, which soothes throat and upper respiratory ailments. 5. Use spruce needles as rosemary. You can dehydrate and put into a spice jar. 6. Add chopped spruce tips to drinking water and let it sit for an hour or so – water absorbs all the goodies from the tips. 7. Season your soups, pastas, stews, curries etc. with chopped spruce tips. It is also a great way to enhance mineral absorption from grains and legumes. 8. Make a tincture with Alcohol or glycerine. 9. Make a syrup and infuse with Gin or vodka. 10. Pickle them

HOW TO HARVEST SPRUCE TIPS To harvest spruce tips, pop the tips off the end of the bough as if you’re picking berries. When you’re done picking, remove and discard the papery casings, and discard any hard stem that may have broken off with the tip. The spruce tips are now ready to use.