Wild Plants from the borders of the Gila and beyond…
This weekend, at the far edge of the Gila proper, near Socorro, I was blessed to find a thriving community of Mormon Tea and beautifully blooming Creosote Bush! I’ve been looking for a local source of Creosote bush since I first came to this region, so was thrilled to be able gather a very large supply of leaves and flowers for drying, tincture and oil. I also harvested a good amount of Mormon Tea to dry for tea. And I’ll be sure to stop by and visit this lovely miniature ecosystem whenever passing through the Socorro area.
Then, while teaching in the desert outside of Albuquerque, I came across many bloom laden bushes of Desert Wolfberry (Lycium pallidum), a native relative of the ever popular Goji berry. I was sadly unable to take pictures but Michael Moore has a very nice picture here. And Tucson herbalist, Charlie Kane, has a very nice account of its medicinal properties of it here. It’s very similar in many ways to its close relatives, Tobacco and Datura, but milder in effect and lighter in spirit. Nevertheless, it shares the intensity of all of the Nightshade family plants and should be respected as such. The fruits of the plant were considered to be very sacred by some SWestern indigenous tribes and were/are used in ceremony. Less tasty than their Chinese counterparts, the berries are still a good medicine (nutritive blood tonic), especially when cooked.
Other plants found at the workshop site included Mormon Tea (picture), Fourwing Saltbush (picture), Artemisia, Spectacle Pod (yummy flowers and seeds for salads, picture), Puccoon/Stoneseed (picture), Scorpionweed (picture), One-seeded Juniper, Tufted Indian Paintbrush, Evening Primrose and Banana Yucca. Many of these same plants grow right here in the Gila as well, so I was pleased to be able to give a fairly comprehensive plant walk for the other women attending the retreat. It was also wonderful to have the chance to give a workshop on Healing as Wholeness with my partner Loba.
And here at last are a few lovely pictures of the Anemones I found while traveling through Estes Park, Colorado. These Anemones are synonymous with the Pulstatillas of herbal commerce. Michael Moore has a very nice PDF monograph of the Anemones here. I was very charmed by this delicate and somewhat hypnotic little flower, and look forward to working with her on a deeper level. This plant has very specific indications, and are best used by individuals with deficient (cold, wan, weak and weepy in this case) conditions rather than excess, it’s effect is primarily on the nervous and reproductive systems and can work wonders for those with painful cramps, deep sadness, anxiety, insomnia and migraines . It is effective in very small doses (1-5 drops) and should not be used in larger amounts as its effect on the body can lead to unpleasant nervous systems symptoms such as increased coldness and dizziness. I’ve only worked with Pulsatilla a little bit as of now, so will return with deeper insights when more personally experienced.