Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) This plant is one of the first to appear in burn sites. This is reflected in its medicine. It is useful for any condition that burns, skin abrasions, haemorrhoids, burn guts, etc.
Mullein (Verbascum thapus) is an amazing lung plant. It cleans up dirty lungs, from air pollution, smoking, toxins, etc. It loves to grow in disturbed soil and it catches bits and pieces of debris floating in the air in its furry leaves. This hints at its ability to clear out unwelcome toxins from the lungs. A simple tea of the leaves is quite effective.
False Solomon's Seal (Similicana acemosa) This little beauty can be used in wilderness first aid. Dig up the root, rise it off, chew it up and place it over tears in the skin. It will knit your skin back together again.
Black Cohosh (Cimmicifuga racemosa) This picture was taken on a rainy day wandering in the botanical gardens in Tofino, BC. The beautiful spike of white fairy like flower gracefully with stood the Tofino downpour reminded me of this plant's medicine. It brings a sense of graceful ease durning life's many transitions, when we may want to pout about having to let go of the past instead of embracing the change. Good for achy joints too.
St John's Wort (Hypericum perfoliatum) St John's is traditionally used as a liver tonic with anti-viral actions. Today it is thought of a as an anti-depressant. For many people it relieves the pain of depression. However, traditional herbalist consider the a sluggish or weak liver function to be an underlying cause of depression. The liver is after all intimately involved in the production of seratonin, the feel good hormone. Also, sub-clinical viral infections can manifest with depression-like symptoms. I often think of depression as a symptom and not a disease.
Labador Tea (Ledum glandulous) is found across the northern part of Turtle Island. Tea made with its flowers is eases digestion after too much camp food. Herbalist Darcy Williams writes a hydrosol of this plant can be used to treat the effects of lyme's disease. High in volatile oil, it makes an excellent anti-septic cough syrup.
Angelica (Angelica archangelica) is gracing my herb garden this year with a magnificience. I wish I was better photographer, the pictures do not reflect her beauty. Angelica, coming to my garden from the coldness of the Russian steppes, warms. She warms a woman's womb when it is barren. She warms lungs that struggle for a breath. She warms tummies when bloated and tense. Angelica after a herbalist monk had a vision of her. In the vision he was told to use her to help those suffering with the plaque. From that day, Angelica became a primary ingrediant in many plague formulas. This fall I will make medicine with her seeds and save some to germinate next spring.
I discovered these curcuma plants growing in the grocer next door to my Mom's apartment building on Yonge Str in Toronto. I was surprised to find these elegant plants as they love the hot, moist climates of Hawaii and India.
Curcuma is a very important medicine for relieving chronic inflammation in the body. I use it most frequently in cancer formulas.
After I had been really ill traveling through Asia, returning to Canada I weighed 85 and could walk no further than 1 city block, plant medicine gave me hope, when I saw growing in the cracks of downtown Vancouver sidewalks. This purslane, Portulaca spp., was thriving along a curb, next to park cars on a congested street in Toronto. It is used to replenish resource after chronic illness and stress...definitely a plant one could use if too much time is spent in city traffic.