Greater celandines (Chelidonium maius) and calendulae (Calendula officinalis)
Mostly I collect the greater celandines, they grow in my garden. I collect them also now, but you must collect the first flowers in May. They’re against inflammations. You can smear them or drink internally, or eliminate some infections.
How do you prepare them – the flowers?
I collect only the greater celandine flowers, right. I collect them and I pour immediately over them vodka of 40% proof, right. And you can also prepare them this way – you collect the flowers and spread some fresh butter over them. That will also extract everything out of them. Well, if you have some bruises or something bad, then it’ll do.
Well, my garden is sown full with the calendulae and when they’ll start to blossom here, well, then I collect them from the garden because it is very expensive to buy a calendulae’ tincture in a pharmacy. That has been so since the times of my mother, my mother was a real herbal lady.
When the calendulae start to blossom, my mother always eats three flowers, she eats every day the blossoming calendulae.
Fir (Picea abies) cones
You see that the pine and fir cones have fallen down now. I just collected them. I will pour butter over them and then use a teaspoon in winter, well, it doesn’t even have to be winter, when the autumn is coming, you can start to use a teaspoon of them. You can also pour oil over them, the oil extracts everything. But olive oil only.
And how much approximately do you…?
Now I have 6 cones. Then I take about half a glass of olive oil and pour it over.
Do you chop them?
Yes, I chop them fine with a knife. And then I pour oil over them. And then it will extract everything, everything it needs.
For how long must it be put down?
Well, when you pour the oil over, then I put it down for at least 25 days, in a dark place.
And pour it off?
And then pour it off, clean it. And fill into small bottles. Mostly I fill into those ones you get when you buy mustard or horseradish.
Well, then I put them away and when I need them for the little ones or for the children then I, of course, I use them. And also this one, I can surely give it to my granddaughter, she is three years old, I can start to give it to her, when it’ll have extracted everything, I’ll be able to give half a teaspoon of it to her already now as a body fortifier, so that she wouldn’t get ill during winter. Because the fir and the pine and all of the kind, and also the young shoots, are very good. That is so from the times of my mother.
And now I walk around with my granddaughter, we ride with the bicycle, and I pluck a branch, the mosquitos bite us, I take the small fir shoot, I pluck it and eat it. She says: “Granny, why do you eat that?” I say: “The mosquitos won’t bite us anymore”. And it is also a vitamin for my heart issues. It’s very delicious. It’s kind of sweet and sour, the young shoot. Haven’t you tried it yourselves? My mother advised me to eat all the buds every spring. Of course, not too excessively, but, for example, from limes (Tilia cordata), from lilacs (Syringa vulgaris), you can pluck a bud from every one of them and eat it.
When I was growing, my mother had honey pots made out of clay. They were standing in a row, she had them put over there. When she was waking up in the morning, then she filled all the pots every day. There was a different tea put in each of them and [hot water] poured over. And when we came home, she said: ”Drink that tea which you wish”. You poured the extract and boiled some more water. She always had about six or seven pots. There were raspberries (Rubus), nettles (Urtica), I remember also lady’s-mantles (Alchemilla vulgaris). She made me always drink the lady’s-mantles (Alchemilla vulgaris) in the morning on an empty stomach and in the evening before bedtime.
And what is that for?
The lady’s-mantle tea, dear girls, are for the sake that your children wouldn’t be orphans and you yourselves would always stay healthy. That is a women’s tea. Yes. And the dead-nettle (Lamium album) tea also is a tea for women. And also the white lilac (Syringa vulgaris).
Yes, white lilac.
It is said, that they’re poisonous. What about the flowers?
Well, yes. You can take only the flowers, my mother took the flowers. You have to be very careful with the lilacs. But the lady’s-mantle tea you can use without fear. About a chunk of it.
The mantles with the teas, for how long can you keep them?
Every morning a new one.. Fresh only. She never kept them longer. Because we had already drunk them all.
I was given cow’s dung with milk.
Well, and how was that?
No problem, because I read in one magazine, that the cow’s dung is pure penicillin.
Yes! The cow eats grass and then it processes it into dung as penicillin. And then with warm milk. You squeeze it out. You don’t need much, about some 3-4 drops into the warm milk and then it is ready to drink.
Oh, so you don’t eat it with the grounds?
No, then you’d be dead!
But, for example, do you need to have the cow’s dung fresh?
Fresh, yes! Just when it has defecated, you must immediately take the dung and squeeze it in a gauze.
That moist thing, that is left behind?
Yes, that moist thing, you squeeze that and put into warm, just milked milk. Warm milk, warm dung – and then you must drink that. I know that my mother gave it both in the morning and in the evening.
But did she tell, what that was, or didn’t she?
Yeah, right, as if she would tell! She says: ”There’s nothing, just honey with milk.” But you don’t imagine that a child sees anything there, some green thing floating or anything.
My daughter, she had caught a cold and my neighbour had a cow and then I was running back and forth healing my doctor [the daughter].
With the dung?
With the dung and warm milk. The son-in-law comes: “Mum, what’s up with you? I also don’t feel so good”. And I just make another.
And don’t they know anything?
No, I told them.
Before or after that?
No, when they had drunk that already. The son-in-law says: “I didn’t feel anything – that there would be a dung in it!”
Well, what do I do, when my children had sore throats. I strew some linseeds on the pan, grill them, put them in a gauze, tie up both ends. Actually, the best way is to put them in a sock. You can also take a soft woolen sock, that’s very well altogether. Then put it by the throat, swathe it and keep for a while. And after you take it off you smear the throat with some camphoroil and smear the feet and then put them to bed.
You cut one whole lemon and one whole garlic. You wash the lemon carefully and cut it finely, the peel as well, cut a whole garlic and pour boiling water over them and put that down until the morning. And take a table spoon every morning!
We start to drink it in autumn, in September. You wake up in the morning, drink a table spoon then, and that’s it. And then you can have breakfast after 15 minutes. We do like this every morning until spring. Everyone was ill, everyone was sneezing, but we didn’t have neither snivel, nor nothing.
Snakes and toads.
My dad smeared it on his legs, hips… My mother put the snakes, the vipers in a jar with vodka. When she went to the woods and stumbled upon a viper, then she ‘hapc!’ pressed them with a crutch and let them into the jar.
You press it’s head?
Yes, and let it into the jar alive. Then she, when she’s done, rushes home and pours vodka over it.
When it’s alive?
Yes. Vodka and then she packed the jar and put it in a dark chamber. And then later there was nothing left of that snake. Pure vodka, only a bit of clouds underneath.
Well and she prepared also the toad. I don’t know if she put it in alive or not, because I never saw that, I saw it only then when she took it out of the oven and ground a powder in the mill.
And did she give that powder to the animals?
Yes, she mostly gave it to the animals.
And what was it good for?
I think that it was for the pigs. My mother says: ”The pigs contract Diamond’s disease”. In order to avoid that, because the sows were being kept and the piglets were sold. So that the piglets would be healthy. I also know that it was used for the cow. I only saw that she prepared something, crossed herself, messed about and – a bucketful is ready! The cow eats that. She [mother] made a lot of tricks like that.
Note: Edit/Selection by Signe Pucena (LV) from longer interview
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