Friday, March 19, 2010

Herbs for What Ails Me

"If you wonder what herbs you might need, see what's growing around you."

I'm feeling better today thanks I am completely sure to the prayers and good thoughts from Sparkling readers.  Thank you, so very much. 

Today was an absolutely beautiful day - "severe clear" as our local meteorologists say.  Mom and I dug up a couple of nice big dandelions, a nice bunch of wild garlic, and found a gorgeous snake.  It was small and didn't have the characteristic triangle-shaped head of a venomous snake but we didn't bother it other than taking a few pics (well, Mom asked if I thought she should chop it with the shovel and I liked to have screeched "Don't you DARE!"  XD ).


I've spent some time this late winter reading up on plants that grow around here.  One of my New Year's resolutions was to improve my health between attacks.  I've always been a plant gal but relied on store-bought and a few cultivated herbs for my oils and unguents, salves and balms as my brother used to call them.

I wish I could remember where I heard the adage quoted above but it's lost in the black abyss that used to be my gray matter.  It did pop back into my brain after all these years.  I've made a concerted effort to identify the wild plants - weeds, I should call'em what they are - that grow in the relatively protected area of my back yard.

With the help of webcrawler, a botanist Migraine-Associated Vertigo bud o'mine, and my country-reared mother, I have discovered to my unending delight that a number of useful plants and trees are growing free for the digging and clipping in my backyard:

Sambucus racemosa - American Red Elder
Taraxacum - Dandelion
Rumex Crispus - Yellow Dock, also called Curly Dock
Verbascum Thapsus - Greater Mullein
Viola Odorata - Sweet Violet
Glechoma Hederacea - Alehoof, also called Ground Ivy and gill-go-over-ground
Adiantum - Maidenhair Fern
Acer Rubrum - Red Maple
Quercus Palustris - Pin Oak
Carya - Hickory Tree
Allium Canadense - Wild Garlic, also called Wild Onion
Cornus - Wild Dogwood Tree
Pinus Palustris - Longleaf Pine
Carduus Nutans - Musk Thistle

And at least half again as many more still to be identified!

I know, I know - what on earth could Pin Oak do medicinally?  Nothing that I know of, but the leaves can be used in such things as meadmaking instead of oak chips and oak cubes for aging.  Longleaf Pine?  The green needles placed in boiling water and the steam inhaled help congested sinuses and lungs (and many parts are edible if you're Euell Gibbons, which I am not).

I don't expect to use all of these plants.  The inner bark of Dogwood is a very strong, considered "harsh", laxative.  Not going there.  The American Red Elder berries are not usable this year unfortunately.  Alehoof does have some mild medicinal properties but its claim to fame is in clearing beer.  I actually don't care for Hickory nuts and Maidenhair Fern is endangered in some states so I'll let it be.

But the Dandelion, Yellow Dock, Mullein, Sweet Violet, and Wild Garlic have already been put into use.  Gonna have boiled Musk Thistle root here in a little bit.  And, I've cultivated lavender, roses, a yearly-rotating variety of kitchen herbs, and my mother grows the best tomatoes you'll ever put in your mouth.

So, I'm now adding wild backyard plants to my complementary regimen.  Somehow I feel better already.

Or I did until I heard that my mother, who happened to run into my daughter recently, told her, "Oh, your mother is fine.  She pulled weeds out of the backyard this morning and she's eating them for lunch."  :)

Copyright 2008-2009 Parin Stormlaughter, Sparkling With Crystals, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. I do not grant reprint permission. Use the ShareThis link if you want to share this. Nothing in the above article is remunerated content. Remember that if my work gets published anywhere else without proper citation, I'll pray for you. And perhaps take legal action. Rest assured, prayer is far more effective.

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