Sunday, June 22, 2008

New Plants

I went up the mountain for more grape leaves this evening, and was on the lookout for Evening Primrose to make tincture with. I found the primrose, but it wasn't flowering yet, so I'm waiting on that. I got lots of grape leaves. More to add to the brine, and some to eat fresh this week.

While wandering about I also found quite a lot of the native marigold, tagetes lemmonii.
This plant has a strange and lovely sort of anisey skunky scent that can be almost overpowering. But alas, this plant has healing powers, and its been growing up there in the mountains just waiting for me to discover it.
Seeing how I haven't YET used this plant, I'll quote its uses from Charlie Kane's book, which incidentally is the only source I've found on this tagetes. I'm pretty sure I've heard of other Tagetes being used in Latin America by curanderas, but it isn't coming to me at the moment. Anyone familiar with its use there??

Anyway, a soothing antinflammatory antispasmodic and analgesic for irritated digestive tract, from physical or emotional stress. Gastritis, ulcers, gas.
It also acts on the nervous system as a mood lifter. Charlie says it is specific in cases of "fixated emotional morbidity" and it offers a "calming quality with a lightness of mind, bordering on giddiness."

It is diaphoretic, beneficial in fever, and beneficial as a salve for poorly healing wounds and cuts.

Tops of the plant, both foliage and flowers can be collected and dried for tea, tinctured fresh, or made into an oil.

No known cautions.

Sounds like a plant worth getting to know, eh? I'm planning on drying the small bundle of leaves I gathered this evening for tea. I think this will be useful in gut healing teas, in place of less native chamomile and/or plantain. I also suspect it will be beneficial in general indigestion and plan on trying it as an after dinner tea to improve digestion (maybe mixed with fennel and coriander) and bring on a relaxed and happy state to spend the evening in. It has a peculiar smell, that I rather like, and tasting the leaves was definitely pleasant. It leaves a minty sort of aromatic taste in the mouth and sinus.

It is worth mentioning that this grows in abundance on our desert mountains, and should it promise to be as useful in gut healing teas as I suspect, I'll have a wonderful native medicine to replace not so natives. Though I'm not sure I could really give up chamomile entirely, it will be nice to have something so useful close by.

I love getting to know new plants. I'm so grateful to have the time to be able to wander on the hillsides and spend time with my beloved plant friends. After saying hello to all the plants this evening, I sat on a big rock in the middle of the wash as the sun went down and the wind blew in through the pines, and ate my dinner. Rosemary polenta with homemade beaver tomato sauce. Mmmmm....I spooned my polenta and sauce onto large grape leaves I had just picked and had a wild meal bursting with wonderful wild flavors. A few monarda leaves as garnish finished off the meal to a tee.

1 comment:

Heather ~ Wild Vitality! said...

Mmmm, marigolds! Rosita uses Tagetes erecta for spiritual bathing. Any Tagetes will do though, it doesn't have to be erecta. She had some lovely marigolds that resembled the Queen Sophia variety when we went there. I've planted lots and lots around my veggie garden, both for the bugs and for baths. I'll mail you the page from her Rainforest Remedies book, she has lots of great traditional uses there.

"The mother of us all, the oldest of us all, Hard, splendid as rock, Let the beauty you love, be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth"~ Rumi ~