Meeting New (and old) Plants – Midsummers’ Wonder

July 22nd, 2010 § 4 comments § permalink

It’s been a few weeks since my last blog entry, and it will most likely be a few more until the next because I am in transit. All my herbs books and field guides are packed away, as are my computer and cords to import photos; tinctures, dried herbs are put away, too. That leaves me to experience herbalism in the simple, joyous way of meeting plants along the road, field or woods and wondering about them.

I have met a bunch of  plants for the first time recently this way, some of which I recognize from books or from seeing their cultivated varieties, others are plants that don’t grow around Duluth that I don’t get to see often. Here are a few that have piqued my interest…

  • Lobelia inflata – I am pretty sure this is the variety that grows in my area. It must be, because one tiny bit of leaf left on pfizer levitra 50mg'>pfizer levitra 50mg the tongue for barely a minuet was quite stimulating and moving for the entirety of my body, and it’s seed pods have the characteristic inflated appearance.
  • White vervain – Verbena urticifolia looks just like blue vervain in the stem, leaf and flowers, except smaller and more delicate. This white variety grows in similar locals as blue vervain, along roads, in ditches, on shores of rives and lakes. What a beauty!
  • Anise hyssop – I have seen this herbs cultivated in many an herb garden, and have cultivated it myself. It is one of my favorite herbs for children, as Agastache foeniculum is deliciously calming and just try! how to get levitra no prescription carminative. When I grew it in Northern Minnesota, it never came back as a perennial, but a couple hours south it is a common weed in the country, growing in the much the same places as the white vervain. One thing that strikes me about the wild anise hyssop is that it seems even more aromatic than the ones in the garden, as if it’s qualities are augmented by wildness.
  • Wild ginger – I love this plant. Asarum caudatum creates a shiny dark-green blanket under hardwoods and ceders along the steep bluffs of the viagra online shop'>viagra online shop St. Croix River valley. It’s rounded heart-shaped leaves mingle with another heart-shaped plant, violet. Maude Grieve says that wild ginger’s medicinal actions include “stimulant, carminative, diuretic, diaphoretic”, and that is is “used in chronic chest complaints, dropsy with albuminaria, painful spasms of bowels and stomach”.
  • Bee balm – I am not sure exactly what Monarda species grows around here, but it doesn’t really matter because it is sooo freshly fragrant and spicy! I have one cup of honey from Cloquet, MN left that I have been wondering how to use; after tasting the local bee balm I was inspired by Kiva Rose’s blog to make a little Beebalm flower infused honey, with a few anise hyssop flowers added for good carminative and nervine measure. When I get to Oregon this fall, I’ll open up a jar of sweet Midwest summertime.
  • One more mint – Catnip. Nothing too special here, as catnip grows just about anywhere, even in Duluth. None the less, it’s around and I love it. What can I say? The gentle and effective herbs used for children are some of my favorites, chamomile, elder flower, anise hyssop and of course catnip. Fresh Nepeta cataria tea tastes a little ‘green’  but is easily enhanced by lavender, lemon balm and a bit of honey. I can’t say for certain if it was the catnip or the OTC anti-prostaglandins, but after having a strong tea of it with the two other mints and two Aleves, a bad case of cramps were relived and I was able to get the best night’s sleep I’ve had in months.
  • Figwort – The mouth-watering delicious smelling (in my apparently singular opinion) figwort, Scrophularia nodosa, is already to seed but it doesn’t stop me from munching on it’s leaves. It grows in all over the recommended site women and cialis country side as well as in abandoned lots and alleys in towns. Mullein and foxgloves are in the same Scrophulariaceae family, as can been seen in the snapdragon-like flowers.
  • Speaking of mullein, there is plenty out right now in flower. I am not using the leaves or employing it as medicine in any way, just sticking my nose in it’s sparkly yellow flowers on a daily basis. Yum! Verbascum thapsus is one of my favorite smelling flowers, it is so unapologetically floral.
  • Solomon’s seal – One of my first blog entries was about Polygonatum multiflorum, Solomon’s Seal, and it has captured my attention since although I haven’t had a lot of experience using it in practice. Whenever I find it in the woods it takes my breath away for a moment. Its’ line and drape is gracefully beautiful, and it’ particular shade of grayish-, blueish-green is soothing to look upon. What strikes me the most is it’s surprisingly large size; although I probubly think that because I am used to seeing the false Solomon’s seal everywhere, which is quite minscule in comparison.
  • Collinsonia - C. canadensis is quite prolific around these parts. At first it resembels a stunted, rounded nettle more than a mint family member, as can be seen in these pictures. If you look closely, you can see their flowers are indeed little mint flowers. I have not used Collinsonia medicinally, but I have come across it in researching formulas for hernias and vericose veins. Here’s what Henriette’s Herbal has to the best site how to buy viagra say about it (actually, it is Harvey Wickes Felter from the Eclectic Materia Medica). What an awesome online resource!
  • One more, actually two more: an uni-dentified pea family member with tiny pink flowers and transluscent green seed pods, as well as a smaller than dime-sized wild orchid growing on a long (1-3 feet) thin stalk, having pinkish white flowers. I have looked online in an attempt to identify these pretty plants to no avail. Sigh. Sometimes the internet just doesn’t cut it…

Solomon’s Seal – Polygonatum multiflorum

December 27th, 2007 § 4 comments § permalink

Trees VT

It was the last day of buy viagra in new zealand'>buy viagra in new zealand a two-month long internship at an herbal retreat center in Vermont. Between the sadness at leaving the enchantedly beautiful mountain-top and the wonderful plant people I met, and the excitement of being in New York the next afternoon, I felt one last hike through the woods would allow me a chance to say goodbye and collect my thoughts. Against my better judgement, I was taking pictures of the plethora of the blooming fungi while walking. I know it may not sound dangerous to some, walking plus camera equals and accident waiting to happen for me. Sure enough, after returning my camera to its bag, I tripped over a tree root and sprained my ankle for the second time in five weeks.

I surrendered to the pain; and laid down on the exceedingly soft forest floor to rest until I could walk (hobble) on it more confidently. It was there that I met Solomon’s Seal, growing in a pair underneath the maple and birches. He was such a beautiful sight, with ripe blue berries where were once a pair of flowers dangled, weighing down its delicately curved stalk. The slightly fall-faded leaves were translucent in a bit of afternoon sun that made its way through the forrest canopy. Look at the interesting way the leaves bend in the picture below; some reach to the sky, some twist to show the underside of the leaf, others hang parallel to the earth or make hairpin folds to point both up and best prices on brand levitra down. If I were to dig to pfizer levitra cheap'>pfizer levitra cheap expose the roots, we would see how Solomon’s Seal got it’s name. Here is Matthew Wood’s description:

“The name Polygonatum means ‘many-jointed’, referring to the nodes on the stems and on the jointed roots (or actually, rhizomes), which look like a gnarled mass of knuckles in some instances, and like a series of vertebra in others. When the stem dies back at the end of the season, it detached from the root leaving behind a round mark that looks like a little ‘seal'(397).

Solomon’s Seal

The apparent seal on the rhizome has long been associated with King Solomon. Maude Grieve cites evidence that it was thought Solomon himself was aware of the plants virtues and named it after himself. Wikipedia states that “[i]n Medieval…legends, the Seal of Solomon was a magical signet ring said to have been possessed by King Solomon, which variously gave him the power to command demons (or jinni), or to speak with animals”. Yet others believe the seal has less to do with Solomon and more to do with its affinity to viagra sales online “seal up” (mend) broken bones, fresh wounds, too tight or loose “tendons, ligaments, attachments, joints…making the muscular and skeletal system stronger and more harmonious in its actions”(399).

Wood is the only resource I have on Solomon’s Seal; all of the below information can be cited to him. He says Solomon’s Seal, along with Mullein, has the rare ability to set a broken bone in the correct place; use with Comfrey and Boneset for that purpose. It can be used for weak joints (particularly the only here viagra purchase hips), weak and irritated digestion, vaginitis, fever recovery, and as a “mild cardiac tonic” since it contains a small amount of convallarin, the cardiac glycoside found in Lily of the Valley. It can calcify or decalcify when needed, thus useful in bone spurs. To rebuild cartilage, use with Horsetail, as they will “often cure joints damaged by torn ligaments and deteriorated cartilage” (400). These nutritive and bone/attachment actions may be due to the sweet, cooling, mucilaginous, tonic and astringent qualities of hydrochlorothiazide cialis'>hydrochlorothiazide cialis the root.

I have used Solomon’s Seal only once, in a formula for a broken hand, along with horsetail, boneset and other mineral-rich herbs. The person’s doctor was pleasantly surprised after a few weeks of taking the formula; he’d never seen such strong and fast healing of a bone before. Since the broken bone was the middle bone in the palm of the hand, I guessed there may of been some damage to the ligaments and tendons in the hand (not a far off guess since they are plentiful in the hand) and included Solomon’s Seal specifically to “harmonize” the healing of the bone and tendons. I would like to have it on hand, but I am not sure how freely it grows here in Minnesota and buying levitra in canada'>buying levitra in canada thus don’t feel comfortable digging it up. In fact, I have never seen it here, just false Solomon’s Seal! But just because I haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it is not around…every year I discover “new” plants I never thought were in Duluth. This spring I’d like to plant it behind the garage in a shade garden, so I’ll have it around regardless.

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