All posts filed under: Plant Spirit Medicine

looking for practice clients for herb school

I am looking for a few folks who would like to receive a free health assessment from a budding herbalist. I have been working with medicinal plants since 2007 and am currently in my second year of the School of Traditional Western Herbal Medicine. I just learned a great in-depth way to do a client intake and need to practice it at least twice before June 20th. Are you interest in taking a closer look at your health? Do you have any current illnesses that you would like to get some help with? Would you like learn which herbs and lifestyle changes could best support you in your next step of healing? Do you suffer from chronic aches, pains, allergies or digestive troubles? Wholistic Herbalism looks at the entire person, not just the symptoms that are presenting themselves at the moment. Therefore we schedule 2 – 3 hours for the initial client intake. This allows us (the practitioner and the client) to look for patterns in the dis-ease. When did it start? What brings it …

Happy with the Plants

A stroll through the Reed College Canyon reminds me of how much I love the plants. How much I love to walk and talk about what they mean to me. Kate took a whole bunch of amazing photos of me and the plants growing there. I am happy there in a sea of green. and blue and white See more of my favorites from the photo shoot. Someday, join me for an herb walk. I’ll be sure to talk your ear off.  

Seeds are sprouting

I put a tray of starts out on my windowsill a few weeks ago. It’s been cold and grey so it was all just soggy and started to mold. Yesterday I moved the tray into the living room, where I’m still using the heat and it’s much dryer. I was sure nothing would come of it all. But lo! Today seeds are spouting. My first borage plant has risen from the soil. Look at its cute little fuzzy stem. It’s barely even a plant yet. Just white and all bent over. But it promises to be as beautiful as its ancestors. Bright blue shining star flowers, sweet and mucilagenos to eat. I can hardly wait for them to grow up. They are one of my favorite flowers.           And right beside it in another box the ‘evil’ mold has sprouted too. The most delicate strand with little balls of light on top, glowing in the sun. I love mosses, ferns and liverworts. I love fermentations of all sorts and now I …

Some things I really like

Walking in the sun is one of my favorite activities. As is thinking about things to write. Today I’ll write about some things I like. I like the way the new Tulip Poplar leaves glow in the sunshine against the stark blue sky. And the dark squiggly lines the branches make among them. I like the bright yellow dandelions that have taken over the neighborhood. I like the large, brown and grey striped caterpillar that I saw sunning himself on the stem of a weed, perhaps it was wild lettuce. I’m still working to identify that one. I like the feeling of pebbles and stones, grass and warm cement under my feet as I walk. I like the satisfying ache in my muscles that reminds me of last night’s late night of Contact Improv Dancing. I like my little heater behind my back that takes the chill off as I type in my little room. I like being able to write and publish my thoughts to the world. Ahh. So many nice things in life. …

Wormwood

Wormwood, Artemisia absinthium (Compositae)    “Nature’s promise that out of devastation life will spring up anew.” M. Woods Names:  Apsinthion, bathypikron (Gr) , Herbs fortis (Lat), Madderwort, Mingwort, Old woman, Wermut, Elss, Magenkraut, Wurmkraut, Bitterer Beifuss (Ge) Taste: bitter, warm, frarant Tissue States: cold depression, internal damp heat Effective Qualities: warming and binding; stimulant, detoxicant and restorative; cooling and draining Constituents: ess. Oil (incl, thujone), terpenoids (incl. azulene, tanacetone, bitter sewquiterpines and their lactones, triterpenoid, flavonoids ruitin, quercetin and hydroxycoumarins, polyacetylenes, ketepelenlide, tannins, organic acids, arabin, ascorbic acid, amino acids Characteristic Symptoms: Coldness and Deadness. People who have been through rough, brutal, dehumanizing events or harsh environmental stress resulting in emotional and physical coldness, lack of somatic activity, suppressed psychological affect, with stiff, cold extremities. Brutal, insane, idiotic. Pulse: hard in the middle on right hand, dead, masked feeling. Characteristic Uses: Stomach, intestines, liver, uterus Bitter Tonic. Stimulant to stomach, gallbladder and digestion. Promotes bile flow, reduces liver congestion, removes accumulation and relieves fullness, relieves bilious headache, (right flank and epigastric pain)Travelers indigestion and nausea. …

Walnut

There is a great walnut tree that I like to visit on my walks around the neighborhood. The crows like it too. I know it’s a walnut tree, a black walnut in fact, because in the fall there were thousands of rotting black walnuts around. I brought some home to use the hulls but they molded in my house. Clearly I need to do some more research on when to harvest and how to dry them. But the crows knew just what to do with them. All winter long they flew into the tree and surrounding telephone wires and dropped walnuts onto the street. Over and over again until they cracked open. Now there is just one muddy, brown nut left.

Psyllium

Oh Psyllium, I have been taking you almost daily now for over a year and your smooth, gelatinous ways help keep my bowels moving. But for some reason I have resented you. I have held it against you that my bowels have this embarrassing habit of getting slow and dry and painful. I’m so sorry, you have been my savior, really, and I am deeply grateful for it. Today I look a little into who you are as a magical plant being, more than just a powder I buy at the co-op and ‘have’ to take. Psyllium is of the Genus Plantago, closely related to our average garden Plantain, Plantago lancelota and P. major. The seed husks contain a great amount of mucilage and when they are ground become a fine, tan powder that is strongly hydrophilic. Meaning that it absorbs water. Which helps to soften stool in constipation as well as firm up stool in mild cases of diarrhea. It is one of the most commonly used bulk laxatives in the US and is …

Cottonwood buds, Balsam poplar, Mount Talbert, winter harvest,

Cottonwood Ghee

what did I do with my pound of Cottonwood buds? I made it into amazing, golden Cottonwood Ghee. Cottonwood, or Balsam Poplar, buds are very resinous. They contain salicytates which are anti- inflammatory similar to aspirin and aromatic resins which act are antimicrobial, increase blood flow to the surface of the skin and promote healing. The oil or salve can be used for sprains, arthritic joints, burns. It is helpful for both hot and cold pains and swelling. “The salve has been used for burns by Native Americans and Europeans for millenia. It lessens pain, keeps the surface antiseptic, and also  stimulates skin regeneration” ( Michael More, Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West) Last harvest I made lots of Cottonwood tincture which is amazing for chest colds so this year I aimed for oil and salve. I did two different recipes based on Michael Moore’s instructions. First, I’ll share the one that went well even though I did it second.

Surprise Cottonwood Harvest

Cottonwood buds are usually the first harvest of Spring. In Oregon in February when the sap first starts flowing and the big winds blow branches break off the big trees and litter the forest floor. This year I harvested the sweet, sappy buds in December! On a balmy winter day I was out for a little stroll to one of my favorite, secret hills. Mt. Talbert in the fine town of Happy Valley is tucked away behind a freeway and retirement center. It is actually an amazing wildlife refuge and a unique area where the oak savanna is being restored. A loop around the mountain leads across a little stream, past the ancient Elder, through a dense Cedar forest, around the Oak savannah and a back via a Doug Fir forest. A fabulous variety for such a small area. Since dogs are rare there and people too birds are easier to see and I have lots of space to dream. I have been keeping an eye out at the leaf less trees to practice my …

Naturally Occurring Nervous Tension

“Back Flower Essences for Naturally Occurring Nervous Tension” it says on my bottle of Oak flower essences. And probably all the Bach essences. What struck me about it today is that it refers to “naturally occurring” nervous tension. I believe I have been under the assumption on some level that nervous tension is not natural. And suddenly I realize the weight that that belief carried. If I am nervous then it is something that I should not be and I must fix it right away. Ahh, dear Dr. Edward Bach, already in 1932 when you were presenting your work on flower essences you knew that nervous tension is a normal and natural part of being alive as a human. And what a relief for all your patients. I can see this shift of thinking applying so easily to my own work as a healer. When I work with someone, whether with herbs or Reiki or sound I am mostly honoring them as a perfect being in the process of awakening to themselves. Any discomfort is …