Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Solsticing with St. John's Wort

St. John's Wort (Hypericum spp.)

Making oil of the Herb of Light
Anyone who knows me knows my biggest plant ally is St. John's Wort! I still remember the first time I really met this plant. I was on a plant walk with my class at Appalachia School for Holistic Herbalism. There in the middle of the trail was this plant saying, "Look at me all sunny and shiny!" Our teacher, Mateo, taught us how when you crush the flowers and leaves it will stain your hands red.

The unopened flower buds have a ton of red juice in them!
Using the doctrine of signatures, when a plant looks like what it is good for, that staining shows us it may be used to treat bleeding and the blood. The pin hole dots on the leaves and flowers also signify the treatment of wounds. It is well known for this powerful healing of cuts, scraps, bites, and bruises. 

This leaf really looks like a bruise.
Here you can see the tiny pin holes in the leaves.
Lots of people use it for treatment of depression and SAD but I have found it is good for most nervous system issues. The beautiful, ruby red oil is excellent as a massage oil for pain and nerve damage. According to Matthew Wood in his book, The Book of Herbal Wisdom, William Boericke, a physician that lived from 1849 to 1929, said that a heavy use of Hypericum in surgery can make morphine unnecessary.  But use with caution especially if you are on other medications. It is a powerful liver detoxifier, which can cause many medications to not work properly as it flushes the pharma right out of your system. However topically I have not seen a problem since it is not metabolized by the liver, but always use your own intuition and best judgement for you! 

I made this tincture last night and within minutes the alcohol was pulling the redness out of the pores of the leaves.
 The red staining is supposed to represent the blood of Saint John the Baptist, which is how it got it's name. Anne McIntyre calls it "heart of Jesus oil" and I completely see that connection as this is a very sunny plant and in my opinion can help us see the Light, Christ consciousness, Baldur's light, etc. There is no way you can look at this plant in bloom and not be happy. It looks like sunshine and stars and fireworks. It smells sweet and almost like warm honey. One of it's nicknames is Sol Terrestris, Earthly Sun. How beautiful is that!!

This tiny Sunshiny Spider blessed my oils a few years ago.
  Rosemary Gladstar says our nervous system is our direct interface with the Universe. I feel like St. J's can be a powerful bridge of reconnection, which seems to be something we lack so much in the modern era we live. I feel St. John's Wort's message is to see the Sun/Son in every face you meet! Cast light on the shadows and they will melt away in the warmth of Spirit.

This is finished Plantain and St. John's Wort oils. The red of St. J's oil is so beautiful!!
 The Summer Solstice is St. J's special harvest time. It is said to be most potent on this date. I always try to harvest now but usually life has other plans. Luck for me it blooms all summer long!! This plant's Sun ties don't end with flower shape and harvest time. It also needs the Sun to warm it while making the oil. It will go from green olive oil to the most beautiful shade of red with the Sun's energy. It is an amazing, almost alchemical action! So I celebrate the Sun and the harvest of the Herb of Light!

Our harvest yesterday was a very good one!!
Xavier Rudd ~ Follow the Sun

***The information on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness. Please seek advice from a qualified health practitioner you trust before using especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a serious medical condition, or are currently taking any medications.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Expanding Vision with Rue

Five petals on the first flowers of Rue
Rue (Ruta graveolens) has been speaking to me all spring. Telling me all about how to heal and how to grow. As care taker of my garden she should definitely know about helping things grow and keeping those nagging pests like negative thoughts and beetles away!

The next bunch of flowers around the first flower have 4 petals instead of 5
Scott Cunningham describes this plant as masculine in energy and that very well could have something to do with how it reacts medicinally in an herbal medicine tradition. However I see this plant in particular as having a female energy. She is feminine and lacy while at the same time very strong. Rue reminds me of Mother Mary in that she is doesn't take center stage with showy blooms but nurtures the rest of the garden so they can shine and strongly supports them. It is even said that adding some of her leaves to compost will help it break down faster to provide yummy nutrients to your soil even quicker.

My Rue plant as a wee baby
Rue has been grown in gardens for a very long time due to its strong medicinal healing properties. It has been used for headaches, earaches, wounds, bruises, sprains, arthritis, relaxes smooth muscles, helps with women's trouble from delayed menstruation to use as a nervine during menopause, and to keep eyes sharp and clear. It was used by a lot of painters for this very purpose.

Rue Flower Essence
While I was making this flower essence of Rue, she showed me that she is not only good for the physical eyes but also for spiritual sight as well. She will open you up to see everything not just all the things you have to do, all the busy-ness our modern life has for us, but to see past the masks we wear and the mundane day-to-day that keeps us "too busy" to see, to talk to Spirit, and do the work we were sent here to really do. Rue shows us how to let our brains and hearts work together and with tons of compassion and understanding all while feeling protected and supported. She is also known as the Herb of Grace.....she works with ease and grace.

Herb of Grace
 While meditating with Rue, she shared this with me...

Meditation with Rue 
Breathe deep,
Deep down where your belly wisdom resides.
To your instinctual needs,
Food, air, water, sleep, safety.
Do you have enough of all of these things? 
If so you have no worries.
No need to think of the next thing you have to do.
So move deeper.
Expand your vision to the nearest person.
Really see their worries, fears, frustration, anger, happiness, and joy.
See how they are just like you.
Even if you don't know them.
Even if you don't like them.
Reach out with your vision and hug them.
Heart to Heart
Being to Being
Self to Self
Spirit to Spirit
We are all part of the same big Greatness.
The Great Spirit
The Universe
Feel yourself being filled by the unending LOVE of that Greatness.
Feel that same feeling for your neighbor.
And keep going
Keep Spreading
Keep expanding
See how everything is connected.
Animals, plants, rocks, air, humans
Would we let someone we love starve?
Would we throw trash on someone we love? 
Look at the whole world as part of you.
See it with love and compassion.
Bring all beings out of the darkness,
By lighting the way with your heart.
Expand their vision with your light until they can see their own.
Shine brightly. 

 *Not for pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant. And not recommended in high doses.
***The information on or about any of my products is for educational purposes only and has not been tested by the FDA. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness. Please seek advice from a qualified health practitioner you trust before using especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a serious medical condition, or are currently taking any medications.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Finding Our Roots

I took some time off from everything while we were in the big city. I felt oppressed and fearful there and it was hard to find inspiration and even a desire to come out of my hidy hole to play and chat with my plant family. Then we had an opportunity fall right in our laps which placed us right back in the mountains of NC that we LOVE so very much! We are laying down roots so we have called our new house Root House! 

My youngest introducing Root House <3
I am still a bit overwhelmed with homeschooling our kids and trying to find time to dive head first into every topic that interests me (there are a lot of them), but I have been finding time where I can to go out and play. This weekend we went hiking and had so much fun creek stomping and digging roots! 

I set out for the hike with the intention of finding Yellow Root (Xanthorhiza simplicissima) and Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). I had almost used up all my Yellow Root tincture I had made a few years ago and needed to make some more. I didn't need any Bloodroot but to see her leaves or beautiful flowers is magical! We found both!!

Yellow Root (Xanthorhiza simplicissima)
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

 And a few more lovelies.... 

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea)

Wakerobin (Trillium erectum)

Sweet Shrub (Calycanthus floridus)
American Mandrake or Mayapple (Podophyllum)

Some that I had never seen before. 

Dog Hobble (Leucothoe)
Blue Star (Amsonia tabernaemontana)

Crested Dwarf Iris (Iris cristata)
 I came home and prepared the Yellow Root for tincturing! 

It was such a wonderful day!! I am so grateful we have found our forever home! 
Until next time, wishing you as much beautiful sunshine in your life as this Yellow Root holds!!