Cause and Effect
It is all about the plants!
The love of the wild and mingling with the forest. Being free and adaptable the way nature loves to be. What about the perfect, and consistent chaos of the forest floor? Or even our back yard? Getting to know what lies there at our feet. Taking a detour from a main path to explore along the trails made by wild animals. These are a few components of what makes being an herbalist a constant joy.
The love of plants takes our hearts closer to what we all are inherently apart of… the natural world that surrounds us all. After-all, ware nature. Our bodies and spirits match nature. Though we have constructed lines, and imaginary boundaries between us and the natural world, when we are sick, when we are sad, and weak, nature is what brings us back to center.
Each of these experiences take us back to the undeniable connection that is birthed when we enter this world. We are of the earth, always have been and always will be. Beings that were created from start dust to then come to this earth in human form. With a spirit to accomplish goals, dreams and conquer love. When we die, we go back into the earth as soil, ash, and light. All of this is perfectly clear when I walk in the forest. I realize that not much is separating our human bodies from plant, fungi, or animal, we are perfectly connected.
How can Wild Plants Come Into Your Home?
Getting to explore this path of the forest, parries, and sidewalk cracks is not as scary as what we have been raised up to believe. There are easily identifiable plants all around our city lives, our country lives, and the mountain life. Grasping these plants is quite simple. As they are ones that are so common we see them walking to work, meandering through our gardens, or walking around any natural area.
These walks are where it starts, taking the time to notice, and realize what we are connected to in our day to day life. Seeing the chickweed growing around a tree planted in the city. Feeling the bright sunny color of the dandelion that has taken over your neighbors’ yard. These walks bring knowing into your life. As the Pilgrims settled in America, Plantago came with them. It was then called ‘White Man’s Foot’ by the Native Americans because where we walked, plantain followed. Now it is one of the most beloved remedies of herbalists in North American and beyond. This collection, and many others, are the most easily identifiable and common plants of the work of plant healing and therapy. Any of these plants can easily be brought into your home by salad, the medicine chest, or your garden.
This is JUST the beginning…
This simple start is just the beginning and once this a part of your life, more will come. More detail, more specifics, travels into the mountains to find plants in your studies. Plant walks, bring a natural passion. Study and constant research will show up in your life. You will spend hours looking up one plant in countless books, and google searches. After positive ID, you will memorize its many uses and remedies to daily ailments.
When I do this, the plant becomes as much a part of me as my fingers that reach down to mindfully take its life into mine. Not a single day of wild harvest is to be wasted, so, none of your plants brought from the forest to the kitchen should not to be left to rot. When I have run out of menstruum, I immediately run to the store for more processing materials just to save the life of the plants. Nothing left behind, recently I had a geranium left after I stuffed my jars that I decided to put into some white wine I had left in the fridge… we shall see what comes of that blend?
Wild Harvest in your Neighborhood
Wild harvesting, whether in the forest or on the side walks of town, all leads to the same place. The connection we have to nature, and how much that demands respect. How much of that is understood,and how we can go about understanding it further. I want to encourage a connection to plants for everyone. More than that I want most of us into the forest and get you on the ground with me! I can’t tell you how gloriously freeing it is to lay with the earth, and feel it’s vibrations through your back, and head. To have the gift of gathering plants brought home to your kitchen, and medicine chest, is freedom. Knowing herbal medicine is to experience the medicine of the people. This is our medicine.
While most plants are left for the ones who are consumed by here are many plants that can indeed be easily found and are ones mostly weeds to the usual human existence. These plants can be found in our front yards, in empty lots in the city,coming through cracks in the sidewalks, and in pastures of our neighborhoods,or the forest floor. These plants are the ones that I want to see you all experiencing on a daily. Basis to reconnect with our mother earth, the one who pulses through our begins though most of us have forgotten that truth.
What to Expect…
To wild harvest is to be with nature, and to do that is a few plant allies that are so easily recognized, and not mistaken with any plant who may be one that can stop your heart, or cause nausea and stomach disruption that is so painful it revels childbirth. These ones, and most of those in regions should indeed be left to ones who know exactly what they are working with, for the people who spend days and nights looking, observing,reading, touching and mostly being completely consumed with the plant realm. BUT if we could just get to know a few of our weeds well, this might stir something in you that you didn’t realize was there before, something calling you deeper into the forest to be with the plants of the earth and learn to work with their age-old traditions and constituents.
If these few plants that I fully encourage you to seek out were to spark that light in your soul, I feel my work would be complete, I feel that I could fade into my deeper years of life knowing that what I was put was fulfilled, and I am sure since you are reading this collection of writings, that you may already have a clue into what you were put here for, why the forest calls to you and I hope to give you some tools to help that come to fruition… Do you recognize any of these common plants?
Who Are these Plants?
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinal)
Not only a yard terrorizer, but one that strengthens our guts. Encourages regular digestion and processing of foods in the stomach, small intestine, liver and gallbladder. It is a strong bitter green in salad, the root is perfect for extraction, and the flower makes an age-old remedy that I love each spring of Dandelion Wine. More of a tonic than something to sip with cheese and crackers.
Mint (Mentha spp.)
This lovely smelling plant friend is calming to the stomach and the mind. It is amazing for kids with upset bellies, stressful situations that come into the gut, or someone who is struggling to process their meals. It encourages regularity, a calm mind and tummy, and is warming or cooling depending on the preparation. Tea,tincture, and as a food it is all good and easily found all around.
Plantain (Plantago spp.)
As mentioned before, this plant is a beloved one of western Herbalists. It is slimy when you chew it in your mouth which leads to a clue as to how Plantain will react in the body. Plantain adds mucous to dry conditions on the skins surface. It also contains antibacterial properties and encourages cell proliferation. Tea,fresh, or a tincture are all perfect preparations for this plant.
Nettles (Urticia dioica)
One of my favorite spring time plants. It is the stinging guy, but when , doesn’t bite as its reputation states. When cooked the leaves loose their sting . It is great in rice dishes,and on homemade pizza! Think a more stimulating spinach. It delivers a high concentration of minerals, vitamins and even protein making it a common and beneficial food of the woods. If you ever find yourself lost, or in a survival situation in the forest, go for the nettles,they will sustain your muscles and system to give the energy and vitality needed to find your way home.
Chick weed (Stellaria medica)
Little star, a delicious wild green that is one of the first to show up in spring time. She will enliven our systems from the winter time slumber with taste, and fiber, along with being packed with liver strengthening constituents. She reminds our bodies to wake up and get ready for the lively time of summer!