The Healing Earth Of Wildflower Farm
The air blows cool but not cold. It is the soft gentle autumn breeze. Today, you can feel it, fall is coming…. Not with a bang. With a slow gradual relief from the heat and humidity. It is a gentle time. It brings the fairy queen with it. She will wear her maple leaf red dress, as will my favorite tree Tess. Already I can see it starting. The green of the grass and trees looks tired. Some are browning just a little at the edges. A few are just beginning to change color almost unnoticeably. The trees whisper their excitement for the end of this year’s extreme heat. It has been hard to watch them standing tall through the worst most horrid summer climate I have ever seen. I pity them. I am so thrilled they will finally get the break they so richly need.
Yesterday it rained. It poured all day, and the air was so thick the trees actually looked like they were suffering holding it up as well as the sky. It was unbreathable. It fell from the sky in what felt like endless droplets, yet again as it has done all summer. Though through the summer no amount of rain seemed to clear the horrible humidity, today, after the rain the sky is bright and blue and there isn’t a hint of the awful air quality of yesterday. The climate is changing… Not for the better.
I went for a walk with the dog earlier, Pikku, and I walked the edge of the woods through the brush, and into the forest… There is something old and powerful about nature. Something deep and unfathomable. To connect to that is a gift. Every day, I am grateful for the healing the ground beneath my feet offers me. I feel a duty to this place to preserve it. Not because it is natural or beautiful, but because all over this property, the fairy queen offers some of the most wonderful medicines. If only you know how to recognize them. She allows me to keep and maintain her living apothecary. For me, that is a sacred trust. All around this farm there is health. Health from just breathing the air cleansed by the trees of the woods, health from the trees flowers and other plants….. There is even I believe a healing magic in the water here that is piped into the house from our private well. But that is my doing not that of the Fairy Queen, though I am sure she is pleased with my enhancement of this place. Several years back, I went to Europe, to the place where Avalon, of old Arthurian Legend was located. I went to the home of the Lady Of The Lake. I gathered water at the holy spring of Avalon. I brought it back with me. I poured it down my own well so that the water might be charged with all the sacred power of Avalon, and so that the stones at the bottom of my well could become forever charged with that power, and could infuse that sacredness into all the water that comes into our well, from which it is then piped into the house. That was my contribution to the magic of Wildflower Farm, it pales in comparison to what the Fairy Queen, has gifted this little piece of land.
Goldenrod, grows wild. It can be found all around this property right now in it’s bright yellow. Not to be confused with ragweed, the above ground parts can be used for medicine. It works against inflamation, it is a diuretic, relieves pain, and causes muscle spasms to cease. It can be used to help with arthritis and joint pain, and even offers assistance in fighting eczema and other skin conditions. Bees love it. It makes for a fabulous tea, or a topical treatment. Urinary tract issues are no problem for goldenrod, and it also impacts allergies, it is an excellent decongestant. Gargled with sage, it can help a sore throat. This is one of those herbs that is of so much value. And here, it grows wild at the edge of the little gravel road and the woods.
You can also find Red Clover, growing along side it. Red clover, comes from the bean family, it is native to Europe and some parts of Africa. It contains isoflavones or phytoestrogen (plant estrogen.) So we know already, that it should perhaps not be taken with other estrogens as that theoretically could possibly cause estrogen overdose. It offers compounds of estrogen very similar to that of the human female body. Which makes it great for menopause, or for other hormonal conditions and issues. it can be very useful during PMS, though it is far from alone of that front. Another great option during pregnancy or PMS is raspberry leaf…. Which also grows here on property both deliberately planted, as well as growing wild. Red clover, has been used to treat asthma and whooping cough, it is also a fabulous choice for osteoporosis.
One thing that is plentiful here, is poison ivy. I don’t know that because I can actually recognize the three leaves and shiny. I know it because of how plentiful these little orange flowers are. Jewel Weed, grows near poison ivy. It is nature’s way of offering you a curse and a boon at the same time. Jewel Weed, is one of the best treatments when used topically against poison ivy. It is native to North America, it offers anti fungal action as well as anti histamine function and and is an anti inflammatory. It works against nettles and bug bites, rashes, fungal infections, and even eczema. Primarily used topically it really offers a lot of relief. It has been used to promote blood flow and for post child birth pain, inflammation, and bruising. I caution here taking it internally may be a truly terrible idea for those unaware of the dosage, and I don’t recommend it’s use in that capacity except by highly skilled and trained herbalists or doctors. But crushed and rubbed on poison ivy or other skin irritation, it is something anyone can use. We know nothing about it’s contra indications, so I suggest talking to a doctor before using it to make sure they are comfortable with you using it prior to use. In fact, that is a super good rule of thumb for all herbs you seek to use for your health. Always discuss any herbs you plan to use with your doctor first. Some herbs can impact physical conditions negatively, or they can impact drug and other treatments you have on going. The goal with using nature as a healing agent is always to work with and not against your health conditions and other drug treatments. The goal is for herbs to be beneficial and never harmful.
Evening Primrose, can be found with some frequency in carefully curated gardens, as well as sometimes growing wild. The seed contain oils high in a very valuable fatty acid. An acid not typically found in in the world of phyto chemicals. So it is a rare substance for plants to offer. It can be used in skin care, and as dietary supplements. It’s special fatty acid can also be commonly found in breast milk that infants and young babies drink. This particular fatty acid is an important building block for our bodies in that capacity, from breast milk we drink as babies. It can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, for breast pain and menopause… There is even evidence from scientific study showing a very small amount may also be good for diabetic neuropathy. Evening Primrose, has been in use by people for healthcare for more than 500 years. Topically, the root can be used as a poultice, it is beaten then applied to skin for bruising, and boils, the roots have also been used historically to treat hemorrhoids. It has been used for gastro complaints, and to even treat laziness. (so glad I found some here on the property… I am feeling a little lazy.) You should always talk to your doctor before using evening primrose like all other herbs. But especially while pregnant or breast feeding. Make sure you eat prior to taking this substance, avoid if prone to seizures or schizophrenia, Like all herbs even those considered GRAS (generally recognized as safe) it can cause side effects. Such as headache, or nausia, etc….
Queen Anne’s lace, lives amongst the golden rod and the red clover. Originally native to Southern Europe, it is often known as wild carrot. it’s volatile oils can soothe smooth muscle cramping, making it good for gastro disorders and gas. it is used against parasites and as a diuretic. During the middle ages, women ate copious quantities of the seeds as birth control. Though it’s value in that capacity is rather dubious and far superior birth control options exist in both the herbal world and the modern birth control pill world. It can be used both to expel and prevent kidney stones. It has been used as a feed for young turkeys, and butterflies love it. In many areas it is considered a noxious weed. I suppose it is, but it is not without it’s uses. And it is pretty. And anything that brings us butterflies, it is catnip for white tailed deer we see them regularly here, and it feeds our bees so weed or not it is welcome in our yard. It can cause phytophotodermatitis.
Herbalism is a form of nature based chemistry and a healing art. Any time you put a chemical into your body your body will react. All these herbs have side effects just like drugs. Which is another reason to ALWAYS talk to your doctor before using herbs and plants of any kind as a healing agent for your body or mind. I can’t stress this fact or it’s importance enough. Any good herbalist will work with your doctor not against them. Any good herbalist, will have you talk to your doctor first. Know that before you go see one. We know plant medicine they know another variety of medicine. The two can compliment each other. It isn’t necessarily one or the other. But for an effective safe treatment the left hand must know what the right hand is doing and feel comfortable with it.
I love herbalism. I love being natural when ever it is effective and when ever possible. But never trade your health and well being just for a natural solution. There is a time and a place for every kind of health care. Vaccines are good. If you are not yet vaccinated for covid, get vaccinated. If you are not yet vaccinated for other things get vaccinated. It is the best preventative medicine that we have on planet earth, vaccines. I love my herbs. I think there is something very wholesome and wonderful about seeking health in nature. But there is nothing wrong with seeking health anywhere you can find it. Use what works. And always keep your doctor informed and up to date on the herbs you take as well as anything else you take. Talk to your doctor before you take any herbal medicines.
Every day, I am at this little tiny farm, I feel more at peace the more I learn about the gifts the nature here offers me. I feel more protective too of this space where so many medicines can be found. It is truly a privilege to live amongst the trees like the large eastern white pines which are a great cough medicine and are presently under study as a possible base for a future covid treatment. (jury is still out the science is not done studying this tree in relation to Covid, so we do not know yet if it is a solution.) It is a gift also, to live where I can walk amongst the goldenrod, red clover, and numerous other healing plants. I am so lucky to be here now and educated in the use of so many plants I have all around me.
Pikku, and I had a lovely walk and we made a new friend back in the woods.
It is truly the most awesome gift, to be a steward of a place that offers so much beauty and so much in the way of medicines and healing. A keeper of nature’s apothecary. Because of this sacred trust from the forest and the fairy queen, I went back to school not that long ago. I studied and became certified through Cornell University, in the wonderful medicinal plants that grow all around this little homestead farm.
Thank you for reading and exploring some healing herbs with me.
Amanda of Wildflower Farm