Hi- Back again 🙂
One of our recent volunteers inspired me to get more active in herbal preparations again- it is kinda of a scarey thing on one level – I have forgotten so much since having the stroke – but it teaching her, it started to reconnect and needs to be shared LOL.
Please remember , this is strictly folk lore- do not use without consulting a certified herbologist or medical doctor . Be absolutely certain of id on your plants- I usually recommend consulting three reliable books AND a local herbalist .
These are things we use routinely- and feel are very effective, but please consult someone with a solid knowledge base.
Now , with all the warnings out of the way …
Herbs have been a long term part of my life- both grandmothers were “yarb women” granny ladies- who folks went to for information and healing- Mother and Dad were avid gardeners with an intense love for the wild plants and our native lore. I was also blessed to know sand follow several local folks who knew the native plants and their lore.
I built on this – taking classes and apprenticing to various folks- growing over 16 acres of herbs during one period of my life. I also am a retired Critical Care RN with a solid base in Anatomy , Physiology and Chemistry as well as the Endochrine system and Medications. All this underlined that love of the plants.
When we were led to this place , the day we stepped across the creek , I ID’ed more than 80 varieties of wild plants and fell in love with our home 🙂 This is a place rooted in healing and love.
Many practitioner’s are holistic or use a blend of multiple herbs to achieve their end results. My approach is that of the “Simples” Take one plant and learn it’s uses – follow it through the seasons, learning when it is best to harvest for a particular use or what part is best to use. I also love the old lore- the stories and legends the oldtimers told.
This will wander a little- I seem to remember better when I write in a stream of consciousness style…
So here goes 🙂
Mother Nature provides many basics to well being right in your back yard- un knowingly most of us can walk outside and find a healing herb that will work for what is ailing us.
Have you got a bad case of the trots?(diarrhea)
Well, let’s see , what have you got on hand- a little ginger that you had for some stir-fry? how about the fennel seed in your spice rack ? Garlic? Or if your have a garden – look for blackberries- the berries or a tea of the leaves- caution the leaves can increase blood flow and contractions- – so use with caution if you are preganant!
Calendula flowers for a tea-add a little catnip- or how about that pesky chickweed- it is a great blend with plantain!
Nettle is one of my standby internal upset. Slippery Elm is an amazing aid, but vDery potent. I have tried to reduce my use of it- it has been almost harvested to death in the last few years. Do try to forage responsibly. Many of our precious herbs are being “loved” to death – over harvested due to popularity of “herbs”! Now on the other hand our black bear mama highly recommends Black Cohosh root for upset GI problems.
Please find and use well researched recipes for these things- these are just to let you know how easy it is to find some of the ingredients!
What is a simple ?
A basic explanation is that it is the use a single plant used to strength and enhance how your body functions .
One plant can have many uses, based on which part is used when it is harvested, what reaction you are hoping to achieve. Plants often have a strong signature effect, yet in turn they share smaller, more subtle properties as well.
The physical side of simples is very basic, but the part that is more elusive is the connection to the spiritual side of the plant- learning its ins and outs- listening to your spirit, respecting you instincts that help you absorb the knowledge about the plant and its uses. Expose your self to the plant year round- take notes about what ALL your senses tell you of the plant… make it part of your life. Remember it is simple – live with it – find the Mother plant – go see her daily- watch how the baby plant grows around her. Who lives near to her?- many plants have symbiotic needs-soil ph, sun , water- sometime they give off enzymes that promote the health of the sister plant- so if you are looking for jewel weed , look for poison ivy- they frequently grow side by side.
Pay attention – It is really about mindfulness. Simples are not so much about “fixing” you , but about helping you become whole and healthy. Helping your body do what it already knows how to do. when I took a class for midwives at the Farm , Raven taught us to use simples to help with birthing and healing after birth. instead of mixing a number of them together, she used them separately. Her spin on it was that they were even more effective used individually.
One example is Chickweed- it is a yummy salad green – we use it in scrambled eggs in the morning- it is a good helper to allow nourishment to be absorbed.It helps the glands and lymph systems to work better and is high in Vitamin C . I use chickweed due my massive food allergies – it seems to sooth the internal membranes- the scientific explanation is that it makes cell walls and interstitial fluids more permeable.
I often will chop chickweed into our hummus. Another use it salve for sore muscles and bruises. This is one where I will blend several herbs such as comfrey peppermint, chickweed and calendula – macerating them and letting them infused in my oils for about 6 weeks before making the salve.