Friday, September 27, 2013

Healing Plants – Getting To Know Them



                                                                        

It has been almost a year since I have made an entry in this blog. I have returned. It has been a year of growth, learning and a wide array of rich experiences. Because of my constant connection with the natural world, my Wildcrafting way of life has expanded greatly. 
I am blessed to be surrounded by Our Mother’s healing abundance. I spend countless hours researching plants for identification; healing properties; knowing which parts are effective for each specific purpose; proper, ethical harvest methods to ensure an increase in the plants’ existence and abundance; the correct way to dry, store, prepare and cure.

I have a handful of guidebooks that I use, which is very important because each book has unique illustrations and focal points. I cross-reference for accuracy. I also have many books in my library on natural healing practices; permaculture; folklore; Native American healing traditions; wildcraft; teas; oils and tinctures.

I take my time learning about the healing plants in my environment, making sure that the information, practices and art of wildcraft are imprinted within my entire being. I really get to know these plants in their natural spaces. In addition to the physical properties of each plant, I study the soil, light, seasons and general life cycle. I am aware of how they respond to our shared environment, including insects, birds and other living creatures that frequent the plants and how we exist in unison.

It is also vital to my practice to put these healing remedies to use and not rely solely on written material.  For example, my son faces allergies in late summer into the fall. He has been drinking “Goldenrod” tea to address this issue. I get feedback from him during allergy season and he has reported that this tea is very effective. I have friends in all stages of their femininity ranging from Maiden to Wise Crone who have reaped the benefits of “Mugwort” tea. I also use these healing remedies, teas, tinctures and oils for my own well-being and healthcare. I can share dozens of healing benefit stories with you, but you can get this information from my website or facebook page where I share posts, articles, photos, videos and sell my products. If you don’t already know, the name of my company is Marigold Moon Wildcraft & Garden.
I believe that the miracle plant of the present season would have to be Mullein. I am in awe of the miraculous healing properties of this plant. Because of the unearthing of this knowledge and the massive Mullein fields, I have responsibly harvested the plant in various stages, leaving more than enough to propagate and multiply for the next season. I have made tea blends, Mullein Flower Oil and Mullein Tincture.

I will admit that during the peak season, I was taken aback by the presence of rather large ‘Grass Spiders’.  They lived in and around the tall Mullein stalks and bright yellow flowers. They are actually beneficial, consuming bugs that would otherwise possibly harm the plant. Initially I thought that I would be unable to cope, should one of them crawl on me.

Arachnophobia is common, however I did suffer greatly when bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider about four years ago. I am always making my peace with spiders and will not kill them and have learned to be calm and honor them in our shared common space. I have done well with this. I have faced many very large spiders this year and have managed to maintain my composure and even take close-up photographs of them. I am rewiring my brain to admire them instead of wanting to flee. The spider has become my animal totem symbolizing the weaving of stories and wisdom, and working diligently to continue to build your dreams.

After a few days of looking longingly at the yellow Mullein flowers, I dressed in long pants, socks, shoes and a long sleeved shirt in the high heat of summer and carefully picked the small flowers. When I came face to face with these giant spiders I pulled my hand back and reached for my camera, which I always carry in my basket. This is progress.
I will leave you with a brief profile of the Magical Mullein Plant.

Mullein Leaf, Flower and Root (Biennial)

Parts Used: Stalks, Flowers, Leaves, Roots

Uses: Traditionally used as a tea, and is frequently combined with other herbs in mixtures for treating cough. May be taken as an extract if fresh material is used, and is very rarely found in capsule form. The fresh or dried flowers have traditionally been used to make an oil infusion for external use. All parts of the plant have been used in making tinctures.

Medicinal: The soothing mucilage of mullein coat sore throats and make coughing more productive. The German E Commission relates that mullein is good for catarrhs of the respiratory tract and as an expectorant.
Mullein Flower Oil – Used for soothing ear aches and applied externally for relief of aches and pains from arthritis, sprains, swelling and tendonitis.

Mullein Tincture – Used for incontinence, spine and disk alignment, coughs, sore throats and respiratory illnesses.

The Native American’s smoked Mullein leaf to help with coughs and it is believed to aid in clearing the lungs during and after the quitting of tobacco smoking.
Properties: Mucilage, Flavonoids, Iridoids, Sterols and Sugars.

Folklore: The name mullein itself is derived from the Latin word "mollis" which means soft. It has its origins in the Mediterranean, but has been naturalized in North America. The flowering stem was dried by the Greeks and Romans and dipped in tallow, and then used as a lamp wick or as a torch. These torches were said to ward off evil spirits and witches, although it was certainly not uncommon in a witches herbal garden. Frazier writes in the Golden Bough that mullein was added to the bonfire on Midsummer's eve to ward away evil from the celebration. Some ancient grimoires (magical ‘textbooks’) have been found to list powdered mullein leaf as a substitute for graveyard dust when that was unavailable.
(Journal - Babies Breath)
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