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  • Mj Pettengill

Grandmother Wisdom: Things I Learned From Nellie

Updated: Feb 24



I rarely get sick. I mean, years go by, and I am able to avoid common colds, tummy stuff, you know... what goes down the pike. This morning, I sensed a head cold coming on, so this is when I remember to beef up the elderberry tincture intake and go outside (in the howling wind) to gather freshly fallen pine boughs and hemlock fir needles for tea. (Steep a tea blend for a minimum of twenty minutes, or simmer in a pot for longer, when the water turns an amber color. Avoid boiling.)

I also add orange peel chips. Okay, what's that about?

I clean organic orange (and other citrus) peels vigorously with a baking soda paste, and break it into small pieces and dry in the refrigerator (or they will mold). Then, when they are dry (chip-like), I store them in the freezer and add to tea blends as desired. They add flavor and vitamin C to your blend. In other words, don't throw away citrus peels, but clean them safely and thoroughly. Got it? I also add mint. I have both dried mint, and fresh mint growing inside. Be creative, yet stick with organic matter. Also, if you feel the need to sweeten to taste, try honey or maple syrup. Cinnamon bark and whole clove add a nice touch. Just so you know, the conifers and mint make a delicious combination.


I have become a bit spoiled, but I already feel these cold symptoms diminishing. However, I have no one to blame but myself. I have slacked off a bit on the immunity boosters and allowed myself to get a little run down.

So, if you have been touched by an upper respiratory / head cold, sinus ickiness thing, and you live near White Pine and Hemlock Fir trees, make yourself some tea (a decoction really). I'm talking a huge pot and sip it day and night. You can use both the needles and stems. Where there's pitch, there's healing.

My focus has always been on White Pine and Hemlock Fir. I learned this from Nanatasis (Nellie) in my historical fiction series: Etched in Granite. I can actually reach out the window and grab hemlock needles in a pinch. It is possible that you may have easy access, too.


Oh, and try not to spread it around. Stay home if you're really sick and it's possible.

Hugs and high fives where needed.


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