Sawtooth Sage: A Soothing Southwestern Nerve Tonic

Sawtooth Sage: A Soothing Southwestern Nerve Tonic

Botanical Name: Salvia subincisa Botanical Family: Lamiaceae Common Name: Sawtooth Sage Energetics: Cool, dry Taste: bitter, aromatic (skunky) Actions: Relaxant nervine, nervous system trophorestorative Parts Used: Flowering tops Come August and our annual summer rains, a lush abundance of flowering plant will grow in the cool shade of Alder trees. Among these will be a diminutive and graceful plant with tiny blue flowers and sharply toothed leaves. At first glance, it is barely noticeable among many larger and more brightly colored plants. Closer up, its classically Lamiaceae type blossoms draw the eye and rich green foliage invite touch. Rubbing a leaf between the fingers releases a savory and pleasant, yet somewhat skunky aroma. This lovely little herb, a...

From the Lion’s Mouth: Dancing a Weedy Revolution

From the Lion’s Mouth: Dancing a Weedy Revolution

From the Lion’s Mouth: Dancing A Weedy Revolution by Kiva Rose Hardin  http://animacenter.org Common Name: Dandelion Botanical Name: Taraxacum spp. Taste: Bitter, sweet Energetics: Cool, dry “It gives one a sudden start in going down a barren, stony street, to see upon a narrow strip of grass, just within the iron fence, the radiant dandelion, shining in the grass, like a spark dropped from the sun” - Henry Ward Beeche “Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them” -   A. A. Milne,  Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh If there’s a single personal symbol of hope for me, it’s that golden-faced flower that peeks out from under trash-strewn vacant lots, takes over carefully controlled lawns, bursts from sidewalk cracks and blooms even on land damaged by nuclear radiation...

A Golden Torch: Mullein’s Healing Light

A Golden Torch: Mullein’s Healing Light

Common Names: Mullein, Punchón, Gordolobo, Wild Ice Leaf, Our Lady’s Flannel, Hag’s (or Hedge) Taper, Torches, Candelaria, Quaker’s Rouge, Botanical Name: Verbascum spp. Parts used: root, leaf, flower, flower stalk resin Energetics – Root: neutral, sl. drying. Leaf: cool, sl. moistening. Flower: cool, neutral Taste: salty, bland, vanilla This velvet leafed plant with its brightly bloomed flowerstalk is one of the most easily recognized and well known of almost any wild or domestic medicinal herb. Around here, the old-timers refer to it as Indian Tobacco and even the most botanically impaired individuals tend to know at least one of its names, although it often comes out as a slightly mangled “Mew-lin” or “Mully-in” from those who’ve only read about the...

Elder Mother Immune Elixir

Elder Mother Immune Elixir

I don’t find the idea of magic bullets to be very effective in healing, and find that the most successful therapy always originates in tailoring the treatment to the individual person and situation. For this reason, you’ll rarely see/hear me recommending a set formula or list of herbs for any given diagnosis. In fact, my answer is almost always, “it depends” to any question asking about herbs to treat a disease or disorder. This is because I work with people, and with the unique ways a virus or pattern may manifest in each person. For an overall tonic approach to modulating and enhancing the body’s native immune system though, I’ve seen Elderberry really shine, even in people with excess inflammation and/or autoimmune...

Blue Mountain Tea: A Sunny Medicine for Cloudy Days

Blue Mountain Tea: A Sunny Medicine for Cloudy Days

Common Names: Goldenrod, Blue Mountain Tea, Liberty Tea Botanical Name: Solidago spp. Taste & Impression: Bitter, Aromatic, Astringent, sl. diffusive Energetics: Warm, Dry Parts Used: Flowers & Flower Buds, Leaves, Roots Actions: digestive bitter, alterative, stimulant and relaxant nervine, diaphoretic, astringent, digestive aromatic (and carminative), diuretic, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, bacteria-balancing (often termed anti-infective) Specific Indications: Red, inflamed eyes, “bad skin” related to suppressed urine or underactive kidneys, atonicity of mucus membranes accompanied by copious dripping and fluid loss and possible low-grade infection, cat dander allergies Every year, I anticipate the golden glory of late summer and early autumn in the...

The Elder Mother’s Pantry: A Bioregional Herbal Materia Medica for Influenza and Other Cold-Weather Ailments

The Elder Mother’s Pantry: A Bioregional Herbal Materia Medica for Influenza and Other Cold-Weather Ailments

As the colder weather begins to move into the northerly reaches and higher eleveations of the Western hemisphere, there’s been much talk of this year’s especially virulent strains of cold and flu. The most important action you can take this is preventative in nature, including ingesting plenty of fermented foods and bone broth, getting your Vitamin D, being sure to make time for rest and keeping a good stock of immune tonic herbs on hand. For this post though, I’ll be speaking specifically of bioregional herbs that can be allied with in the actual treatment of already present cold or flu. I have striven to create a simple, accessible, energetics-based materia medica based in your backyard rather than an expensive herb catalog. I’ll be dividing up my...