Matrix and Salvatrix: Sage as Mother and Healer

Matrix and Salvatrix: Sage as Mother and Healer

I thought the earth remembered me, she took me back so tenderly, arranging her dark skirts, her pockets full of lichens and seeds. - Mary Oliver Nature was my first mother. I memorized the forest floor as I would my mother’s body. This forest skin smelled like pine sap and sweet rot, and it stained my diapers green and perfumed my hair, which was always tangled with bits of leaves, small sticks, and moss… - Brenda Peterson, Nature and Other Mothers Botanical Name: Salvia spp. (Most commonly Salvia officinalis, but nearly any aromatic Sage will work, including Salvia apiana, Salvia subincisa, Salvia lemmoni, Salvia carnosa and many others ) Taste: Aromatic, acrid, sl. bitter to very bitter (depending on spp.), oily (in the more aromatic species usually), slightly...

Sweetbriar by the River: A Romance in Pictures and Rose Elixir Recipe

Sweetbriar by the River: A Romance in Pictures and Rose Elixir Recipe

If I were a plant, I would be this particular plant. Not just a general Rose, but wild New Mexico Rose growing on the lush banks of the Gila’s riparian forest. Not only because the flower is exquisitely, delicately beautiful but because the Wild Rose is tough and tenacious, living through flash floods, long droughts and even cattle grazing. She smells sweet from a mile away but as soon as you get close she tries to shred your clothes and tangle in your hair. There’s something to be said for beauty with attitude. ~~ I’ve written an extensive monograph on the medicinal uses of Rose here, be sure to check it out if this amazingly multifaceted herb appeals to you! ~~~ Here, the Wild Rose grows in hedges along the water, usually in the company of...

A Touchstone: The Blessed Verbena

A Touchstone: The Blessed Verbena

This has been previously published on my website, but I’m posting it here with a few edits and updates for your reading pleasure. Common Names: Vervain, Verbena, Moradilla, Dormilón, Botanical names: Verbena spp. & Glandularia spp. Taste: Bitter, acrid Energetics: Neutral, dry Actions: Relaxant nervine and diaphoretic, digestive stimulant, galactagogue, vulnerary, endocrine/thyroid tonic When most people speak of Vervain, they usually refer to the European Blue Vervain (or occasionally V. hastata, called American Vervain) but I have used our local Southwestern varieties of Verbena and Glandularia with the same indications and results so I am speaking here of a broader selection of spp. Some of them are low to the ground, nearly creepers with brilliant...

Spring In The Village: Common Weeds and Garden Escapees of Rural New Mexico

Spring In The Village: Common Weeds and Garden Escapees of Rural New Mexico

The beautiful blue-purple blooms of the Vinca are just starting, the Honeysuckle will soon have buds and the Elms are drooping under the weight of their fat green fruit. Spring has been coming in small ripples this year, beginning early but the full bloom taking a bit longer than usual, with some unseasonal (but very welcome) snows and rains most recently. Today is sunny and the skies are the brilliant blue of summer in the Southwest. I’m heading out to look for a bit of Golden Smoke (Corydalis aurea) for this year’s batch of tinctures later this afternoon and I’ll be watching closely for the first Chokecherry blooms. It’s always crazy busy this time of year and I often feel as if I need to stay up 24 hours a day just to keep up with both plants and people. Loba,...

A Much Needed Renewal: Peach Bliss

A Much Needed Renewal: Peach Bliss

Yes, I really am alive. And as of late last night, I’m done working on the redesign of Wolf’s new children’s book, I’m a Medicine Woman, Too! That means that I’ll spend the next several days to a week catching up on emails and digging into all the student work that was put on hold during the last week and a half. Despite the complete insanity of my recent schedule, I’ve found time to photograph a few flowers, including the ever elusive Peach (Prunus persica) flowering! I say elusive, because almost every year, the frost and wind get to the flowers before I and my camera do. But this year I managed to capture the brilliant whiskey rose of my very favorite tree in full bloom. I really am in love with this tree, it makes the most...

A General Guide to Creating an Effective Pain Liniment or Salve

A General Guide to Creating an Effective Pain Liniment or Salve

That’s 8 yr. old Rhiannon sitting on a rock ledge looking out at the budding Cottonwood trees, one of my favorite pain salve ingredients. ~ Pain salves are used for a wide variety of purposes, but are most commonly applied to sore and often inflamed joints and muscles. This pain and inflammation can stem from many sources, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, old injuries, myriad chronic diseases that result in systemic inflammation (including many auto-immune diseases and some viruses such as Hep C) as well as acute trauma to some part of the body. With the exception of an acute injury, most of these disorders are symptoms of other underlying issues. With this in mind, realize that using a pain salve as a bandaid for your discomfort rather than addressing...