Friday, September 26, 2014

Plant Medicine






Over the last six years, as I have consciously worked to deepen my connection to nature, I have developed a love for wild plants, in particular, wild foods and herbs. My identification field guides are well used, I have staked out my spots for harvesting, returning year after year to gather plants for us to eat, and to make medicine from, and I am now growing many medicinal plants both in our gardens, and around our property. Time has been spent learning from people who are not only experienced and knowledgeable, but also have a deep love for the natural world. They have shared so much information with me over the years, and slowly I have gained trust and confidence in my identification skills, and in making medicine.

Sitting in the corner of the main part of our schoolhouse home is a corner cabinet. A gift from, and made by, my dad. It was meant to be a china cabinet, and was for quite some time, but things change, and it is now my own little apothecary. In it I store my essential oils, dried herbs, infused herbal oils, tinctures, supplements, candle making supplies, ingredients for body butters, salves, bug spray, soaps, and lip balms, and product ready to be used.

This little cabinet is magic, in so many ways. It holds the very things that help keep my family healthy, from healing salves for cuts and scrapes, to nourishing teas, to tinctures for PMS to fever. When our bodies send us a message to rest, via a cold or fever, we take note and listen. We stop the daily plans and we rest. And while we rest, I open this cabinet and pull out a little bit of nature to help our bodies heal.

When I rely on plants from Mother Nature to heal us, I feel like I have come full circle. I have walked her paths, climbed her trees, and studied her plants. I have carefully and respectfully harvested plants, and turned them into medicine. As I harvest, I thank her, and more gratitude is offered as I work with the plants. The day then comes when I call on these medicines to heal us, and I recall where the plants were harvested, the kind of day it was, the work done to turn plant to medicine, and I again offer gratitude..to this earth, to Mother Nature, to the people who have shared their knowledge and experience with me, and to this journey, that has brought me to this place.

Plant medicine is so very powerful, from the healing connection I have gained with the earth, to the teas, tinctures, and salves that heal us. Mother Nature is amazing, and this cabinet reminds me of that every time I open it.

42 comments:

  1. Just when I think there cannot possibly be another reason that I wish we lived closer I come across one! Oh, how I wish we did so you could teach me about this very topic! I'd love to learn more about this but don't even know where to begin as it just feels as if there is so very much to learn! xo

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    1. There is a lot to learn Shel, and I still don't know it all. I say begin by picking up a field guide of wild plants in your area. Learn as much as you can about them. Then move onto wild edibles, and herbs. It takes times, and plants are seasonal, so it forces you to be mindful and in the moment.

      This site is a wonderful place to start. I have had the opportunity to do a wild edible food walk with Karen, and she is so very knowledgeable. Her site is a wealth of information....http://www.ediblewildfood.com/

      So I guess we have one more thing to add to our list of things to do when we meet up in person. That list gets longer by the day. We might have to spend a week together :)

      Have a wonderful weekend. xo

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  2. How inspiring. One day, my cabinet will be as plentiful. But we all have to start somewhere don't we? You just push me further in my quest for knowledge.

    May I ask : Your red clover : Do you infuse fresh or let them dry first? I dried a platter full, but that means they have browned. Yours still look so pink. Thank you in advance for the information.

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    1. We most definitely all start somewhere, and then we keep moving forward one step at a time. And when you are talking wild foods and plant medicine, that is the best way :)

      I dehydrated my red clover. It can brown if it dries too fast or too slow. It also needs very good air flow when drying. Hope that helps.

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    2. It does. Never thought of using the dehydrator. Guess I'll be picking more then! :-) Thank goodness it flowers so late.

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    3. I only use it for the red clover, everything else I just air dry on the dehydrator mesh. Have fun!

      PS Even though they have browned it is still okay to use them, they just aren't as pretty :)

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  3. Fantastic! I am learning more and more about plants, herbs, oils, flower essences for healing and health. We have a small go-to stash and slowly adding to it. The power of mother nature really is amazing!!

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    1. Thanks Elisa. Mother Nature is amazing. I am the same way, every year, I add new wild foods and herbs to our diet.

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  4. you are amazing !!! thank you for sharing all your wisdom with us...

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  5. How wonderful! I do use plants medicinally sometimes, but hope to expand my knowledge as I find snippets of time. I wish I could live closer to you and learn from you hands-on!

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    1. Now that would be fun. I would love to spend time with you in the woods :)

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  6. WOW!
    You are such an inspiration Kim, I would love to hear more about your home apothecary - what you collect, what you do with it etc etc.
    I've just made some calendula infused oil that I was planning on using for soap and maybe some salves (last time I made them they came out a bit oily and after only a short time they became sort of grainy to touch) Any tips?

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    1. You are much too kind Emma, but thank you.

      Hmmm...not sure about your salves. I use a ratio of 1 cup of infused oil to 1 oz of beeswax. I always check it by putting a little on a spoon and sticking it in the freezer for a minute. If I like the consistency I pour it into containers, if I don't I either add more oil, or more beeswax. Hope that helps.

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  7. That is a cupboard I would love to raid! :) Your writing sounds like the Native Peoples philosophy. A beautiful one to live by.

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    1. Come on over my friend, I would happily let you raid it. I would make you a cup of tea too :)

      Thank you, your words have warmed my heart this evening. xo

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  8. Nature is amazing, and for so long was all people had and they managed amazingly with that. It feels sad that we are all losing the skills and knowledge our ancestors had in so many areas of survival, so I love that you are keeping these skills and all that knowledge alive.

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    1. She certainly is. It is sad that we are losing that connection to the past, there is so much goodness in the skills our ancestors practiced.

      Thank you. xo

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  9. I have to say, I'm very impressed.
    It's amazing what nature offers us and what we have been taught to overlook in our society.
    Thanks for bringing us back to the roots, literally!

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    1. Awe, thanks Cory. And it is my pleasure, always happy to remind others how much goodness Mother Nature has to offer.

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  10. I have to agree 100 percent, Mother Nature truly is amazing!!! I can't begin to tell you how impressed I am with your knowledge. Thank you so much for passing it along to all of us in blog world. : ) Have a wonderful weekened!!

    ~ Wendy
    http://Crickleberrycottage.blogspot.com/

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    1. My pleasure Wendy. Wishing you a lovely weekend too.

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  11. What a wonderfull occupation to harvest some plants and prepare all sorts of products to heal end to drink tea, and to eat...I like also to harvest plants in the nature, and to eat, for exemple " aîl des ours" ( Allium ursinum)...or "mûres" ( rubus fructicosus.)or others.
    And I admire your great knowledge ..

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    1. Sounds like you enjoy harvesting too. Thanks for stopping by.

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  12. This is so nice to have on hand and ready to go when needed. I to have been learning about all that Mother nature has to offer. Thanks for sharing

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    1. You are welcome, happy to share good stuff :)

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  13. I wish I lived next door and you have you teach me all about plants and medicines. I am trying so hard to learn about plants, tea and salves, but have a long way to go. I have my guides and visiting blogs like yours have really helped, thank you.
    Have a super weekend.

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    1. Okay, I think we should all just meet and make a weekend of it :) Can you imagine all of us in one place, exploring in the woods, harvesting food and herbs, and then spending time making medicine. Goodness it would be so wonderful!!!

      I still have a long way to go too Tracey. Each time I go in the woods I learn something. Each year I add new wild foods and herbs to our diet. One step at a time.

      Enjoy your weekend too. xo

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  14. So inspiring Kim! This is a subject I am really interested in learning more about. I use a few essential oils and elderberry syrup for colds, but don't know anything about harvesting/storing/tinctures etc.

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    1. Thank you. I say go for it. It is pretty amazing how many of the plants out there are edible and medicinal. Amazing actually. Start small. Salves are a great place to start, and drying herbs for tea. Tinctures are really just was easy as infusing oils, you are just doing it in alcohol.

      Pick a place to start, and start researching. Happy to answer questions too, if you have them :)

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  15. Wow! This is fantastic. Mother Nature is wonderful and you've certainly gotten to know plant meds well. I'm really glad you shared this with us!

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    1. Thank you Robin. She certainly is wonderful, and I still have so much to learn from her. Slowly, but surely :)

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  16. I can attest to the beauty and healing power of the balms you make! This is such an inspiring post. Now I adore you even more.

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    1. Awe, KC, you are too sweet. Thank you. I am so glad you are enjoying the ones I sent to you. xo

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  17. What a lovely sight, especially in the autumn. Apart from the basics I know very little about identifying plants and what they can be used for, but it's something I want to learn more about.

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    1. Thank you. That is exactly where I started, so it's possible. Just takes a little time, and maybe finding someone who can share their experience with you a little bit. Good luck!

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  18. I agree with Tracey, i wish I lived next door to you. Nature heals while being in it for the soul and knowing that plants can heal is such a restorative feeling.

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    1. I think that would be wonderful Karen. I could teach you about plants, and you could teach me about knitting :)

      So very true, it heals in so many ways. I feel very blessed to be able to receive her benefits both by my time in nature, and by the medicine I create with plants.

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