Sunday, 14 October 2018

oh f@ck off (a series)

As I peruse the interwebz, I come across articles - and entire websites - that infuriate me.

Sometimes it's medical research articles, sometimes it's snake oil salesmen hawking harmful products.

Behind all of these lurk ideas that - I believe - endanger all of us.

I think it important, maybe essential, to keep an eye on the enemy, so to speak. If you'd care to have a peek at what I'm finding, I'm keeping track in a running series, the "oh fuck off" series, over at my other site, the angry herbalist

I'll be back here with more Medicine Chest posts shortly.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Stinging nettles as a houseplant?? (and pics of glorious chaos)

Why not?

I've grown dandelions in pots on my kitchen windowsill - and let me tell you, a bitter/sweet fresh leaf to nibble on was a very welcome gift in January, (and February, March, and most of April) while I waited for spring. So why not nettles?

I can't imagine I'll get enough nettles for eatin', but that's not why I'd be growing them anyway. What I want them for is this:

little hypodermic needles of joint pain relief!!

Friday, 14 September 2018

Medicine chest - wild lettuce (Lactuca spp.)

Whenever I try to write about wild lettuce (the various Lactuca species) I find myself getting all tangled up in myth-busting. There's a lot of b.s. questionable information floats around the interwebz when it comes to how and why and when to use wild lettuce, and while that may be true of most herbal medicines, I find it particularly annoying in this case. There's so much more to this plant than most people know! The preppers (and stoners) seem to have embraced wild lettuce in a big way and there are scads (scads, I tell you!) of youtube videos about it. And if anyone tends to be - shall we be charitable and say "shortsighted"? - about medicinal plants, it's your average youtube prepper (and stoner). There, I said it.

"Legal opium", they call it. Or they go the other way and call it a "wild edible". It's neither - and yet it's both, if you insist on using it that way. But there are better (legal) ways to get high - wild lettuce is definitely not a 'party drug'. And there are definitely tastier wild edible leafy greens!

In the interests of my sanity (and yours) I think I'll just draw a line under any discussion of its "popular" uses and have a go at telling you about how and why and when I've found it useful over the years. So useful, in fact, that I've come to consider it an essential part of my medicine chest. Remember, this is my experience, yours will probably be different according to metabolism and, as we will see, intention.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Stalking the wild grapes

Oh lordy I love fall, it can't come fast enough for me.

Summer this year - with its extreme heat and humidity but lack of rain (with the exception of those damaging storms) - sucked, to put it bluntly. But it did, at least, produce a bountiful crop of wild grapes. And apples.

And the rest of this post is on my other blog. It's a long 'un, so if your attention span is short, feel free to skip it. I'll have other, more succinct posts coming up here in the near future.

Or not. I haven't yet decided if this blog will live or die.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Wolf Medicine (Agrimony)

"Totem" animals - Wolf, Badger, Eagle, Rabbit, Mouse, Mole, Ant ..

Many of us - modern White folks - who have probably never met a wolf or badger or any other truly wild animal, let alone shared an environment with them all our lives, have nevertheless found ourselves drawn to the idea of Totem Animals as our companions and teachers. Never mind that our understanding of the true nature of these animals in the wild can only be, at best, on an intellectual level.

We seem to have a yearning. A longing. An ancestral memory of the time, many many generations ago, when our own forefathers and foremothers lived perhaps not so differently from the way that the Native peoples of North America were living when European explorers "discovered" them. After all, in the distant past, long, long before those explorers set out, even we Europeans were once "Native peoples" in our own lands. We once knew our own animals intimately - and they knew us. Do we not have the right to rekindle that old understanding that lies hidden in our genes?

Because this post fits into both categories - herbal medicine and spirit medicine - the rest of it can be found on my other blog, here

Thursday, 26 July 2018

The many moods of monarda (beebalm or bergamot mint)

(click to embiggen the pics please)

I can't think of another plant that has as many names hung on it as this one. But then again, it's a plant that has more uses than most, too, so I guess it's fitting enough. I like to call it "sweetleaf", most Canadians and British types call it bergamot mint, or just plain bergamot, Americans seem to call it bee balm .. which is confusing, since we Canadians sometimes call lemon balm bee balm .. see? It's crazy!

Monarda is in the mint family, but it's not a minty mint like spearmint or peppermint. While it shares the minty mints' nifty combination of heating/cooling sensations, it often has a spicy taste that is more akin to that other cousin in the mint family, oregano, and in some cases, monarda has a buttery feel to the leaves that as far as I know is all its own.