journal

It's not about the Medicine

washington-2011-003.jpg
washington-2011-003.jpg

Upon arriving at the grandparents the other day, I discovered Sevi had had a little accident. Nothing major, just a couple of really good skinned knees.

"Do you do the Neosporin and band-aids? I've got some right here." Came the kind offer.

"No that's okay, I make my own" I said, as I pull out the old mini jelly jar swiped from a hotel room, now full of earthly scented green goo.

The Neo and Band-Aids would have been just fine, so why did I insist on using my own? There's a whole host of reasons we use plant medicine. Knowing what's in it is important. Taking back our own power to heal ourselves, also a big one. Then there's the simple fun of making stuff, ya know feeding the DIY urge. But honestly, it's something even bigger than that. It's connection.

When we use the medicine, we experiencing healing in a scientific way, yes. We can say creosote bush has anti-bacterial properties, protects skin, and reduces inflammation. We could even, if we wanted to, locate and name the specific constituents (plant chemicals) that can be linked to how it does this precisely. We can even point to traditional cultures that have been using it as proof of its validity. But here's the thing, you don't need anyone else's authority to know it works. It's important to know what it is and that it's safe. But the best medicine from the plants comes from the connections we make in our own direct experience with working them. The pride that comes from discovering a plant, what it is, and that it has medicine for you. It's a chance to get off the screen and outside to meet old friends. I know it sounds a little hippie dippie, but Nature Deficit Disorder is real. And as Laura, author of Free Range Learning points out in this post, lack of time spent gazing at the big wide world outside may even be leading to measurable physical changes in how we are able to see the world.

So really, it's more than just nature pharmacy and herbcrafting fun. It's how alive we feel when we go on an expedition to find the best bush. How keen our senses becomes as we begin to notice the subtle details as the plant shifts over a season, knowing the perfect time for harvest. Then, when we pull out our little green bottles of goop, we remember that connection. We remember the bees that grazed our fingers as we stuffed the flowers into the jar. We remember the smell of the red dirt on that hot summer morning. We are reminded that this is a gift from the earth that offered us so many ways to expand our vision. And as we apply our warm hands over the wound, the energetic imprint of that positive memory imparts itself in the healing we make with the flesh. A connection between human and earth is restored and true planetary healing begins from the ground up.

Go outside today, meet an old friend, and make a connection.

Love and besos, Latisha

HC404
HC404

Thyme for Everything

catthyme
catthyme

Thyme for President. Seriously. I love this unassuming little healer so much. I use it in all ways possible in our home. Like many of the culinary herbs it has a list of properties (antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, nervine) that are useful in healing. I use it for cleaning, mouthwash, sore throats, in bath for flu ache, for upset tums, and of course food.

Apparently thymus means courage and was used by ancient Greeks in baths and temples as a source for courage, so it seems a fitting herb to follow yesterday's post.  We use it a lot in our food this time of year, and it's a featured herb in my Coyote Cider, but it's also really good medicine. Thyme is probably my most treasured herb....wait, I might say that about all the plants. Well, anyhoo this powerful little spice holds a world of goodness.

A few days after I got back from my trip, our house erupted in a series of unfortunate illnesses. Resting finally upon me, with a head/respiratory/throat something or other. Busy with doing the mama thing, I sort of forgot about dealing with it in the beginning. Working with a cold just as it's coming is the best way to ensure success with herbs. As much as I know these things, putting them into practice when you are living in utter chaos is sometimes so challenging for me.  I didn't really make time for even a cup of tea. Thus, this little bug has marched its way into my body, determined to succeed. I joked on FB, that the universe was just giving me an opportunity to test out my material one more time before HerbCamp started.

thyme
thyme

It took about three days of a terrible cough complete with a throbbing aching throat and a seriously debilitating earache, before I would take responsibility for myself. I remembered the thyme syrup I made a few weeks ago, that was shoved in the back of the fridge. I treated myself with afternoon of dosing up on this amazing healer, along with cups of warm honeyed canela tea, loads of fresh garlic, and some warm drops of mullein oil in my ears. When I woke up the next day, my throat pain was gone. Thank goodness the herbs don't get mad at you when you forget to use em. My cough is now just a tickle. I'll continue with the thyme syrup, and extra doses of garlic for the next few days until my body finds its way back to well, but I already feel like myself again.

You can grab the recipe for my thyme syrup, in my free eBook "8 Essentials to Building Your Herb'n Home."

Or join us at HerbCamp: Big Medicine where we'll be making syrups, tinctures, and salves. Here's a silly outtake video from Camp of me loving up the thyme in my garden, but not the neighbor's dog...

Nothin But Nettle ....Challenge?

image by Gypsy Rae Photography

I was all geared up to announce my next project this week, but the not so subtle lessons of nature are pointing me in a slightly different direction. I dreamed up The Nothin But Nettle 30 Day Challenge as a fun way to introduce ya'll to one of my favorite daily medicines as well as take advantage of the exploring I will get to do for the first time with this plant in the wild when we move to the pacific northwest next month. But this grandmother plant has other plans for me. 

I have been very tired lately, thinking I was getting sick, being impatient with my family, ready to delete HerbMother all together and go hide in a little shell somewhere on the sea. The thing is, this move, this transition is rocking my socks. Being vulnerable about myself, jumping into creating my dream lifestyle/business isn't quite as glamorous as it seems. I think I've jumped over a fence, and am facing the demons of doubt and shadow as everything moves from ideas on paper to real tangible events. I sort of feel like my physical body is morphing into something new as my soul wakes up to a  fuller version of itself. You know, like in the sci-fi movies when the shape-shifters skin gets all distorted and stretched out as they change. My soul is in the battle of its lifetime, and I'm just feeling very tired from it all.

So I've been doing tons of reading about nettle energetically as well as medicinally. We know she is a sweeper. The image of the old grandmother with the straw broom sweeping the dirt floors comes to mind. She helps clean us out after a long winter while still providing deep nourishment, which is why she is my go to brew this time of year. And as we are clearing out our home, packing up the remaining boxes, sending most of them to goodwill, I am reminded of this power in her medicine. During our packing I rediscovered a children's story about nettle that I picked up last year. It is in the book Song of the Seven Herbs by Stan Padilla. In this story nettle is gifted to the people as food and medicine, but the people become greedy and she is over-harvested and left almost to die. But rather than let herself go completely, she desires to remain a gift to the people as she enjoys their company, but to remind them to be grateful and mindful of her presence she grows stickers on her leaves. She continues to offer herself up abundantly, but the stickers remain as a reminder to only take what we need and requiring that they harvest her very carefully.

I think I am over-harvested. Reading this story to my kiddos, felt like reading my own story. I've been giving so much of myself lately, all by choice and willingly and joyfully. But, I haven't taken much time in between to refill my basket. So rather than jump into another project, I'm just going to take it easy over the next month as we make our big transition. So much is happening so fast, I feel like I need to do this in order to stay present with my family in the way they need me. The mama might be the second word but it's really my first priority.

To honor the lesson of this beautiful plant, however I'll be blogging a bit less. But I will be sharing the information I've found in weekly Nettle Lovin' Linkups. If you'd like to contribute a guest post, or have a link to share shoot me an email and we'll get you  in on the party. Perhaps next spring, once I'm all settled in and have located my very own nettle patch, I'll revisit the challenge again.

NBN
NBN

Love and Nettles, Latisha