01. April 2013 · Comments Off on Yarrow’s Garden Blog~Remembering Rosemary · Categories: Yarrow's Garden Blog · Tags: , , ,

REMEMBERING ROSEMARY~

Lightly brush the leathery leaves of Rosemary and then bring your fingertips to your nose. At once, a rush of expansive “scent-sations” will flood your consciousness with your own presence. In this moment, your senses are awakened, your mind made clear. You are aware of your body, mind and Spirit, the whole package, interwoven as one being–YOU. This is the unforgettable experience of Rosemary.

Rosmarinus_officinalisRosemary is powerful medicine. Familiar to all of us as a well known culinary herb, Rosemary can take us far beyond taste to experience its essential nature. Its spicy, resinous flavor wakes up the circulation. Close your eyes and its aftertaste will transport you to the blazing heat of the sunny, dry Mediterranean coast. Go ahead, taste a fresh leaf!

Rosemary is a woody shrub of Mediterranean origin in the family Lamiaceae (mint), with square stems and bi-labiate lavender to blue flowers. The family itself contains many of the familiar aromatic herbs we use in the kitchen, as their volatile oils promote digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Early Roman, Arabic and Renaissance European physicians valued the medicines in the leaves and oil of Rosemary as some of the most potent and versatile in their plant pharmacopoeia.

In traditional western herbal medicine, Rosemary is a valued circulatory stimulant and restorative tonic, not only aiding the digestion of fats and starches, but also dispelling wind and cold, promoting bile flow, restoring the nervous and glandular systems, and reducing infection in order to promote tissue repair. Rosemary is well known as an anti-oxidant, promoting a healthy immune system and stimulating sharper brain functioning and memory.

In our high elevation Rocky Mountain habitat, Rosemary is considered a tender perennial. If you can adapt your growing zone enough to create a Mediterranean micro-climate, you might possibly get Rosemary to over-winter outdoors. Without a greenhouse, most of us here in Colorado will grow Rosemary in the potted protection of the warm indoors for winter’s duration. Given a sunny location and maintaining soil moisture, it may even bloom indoors. My preference is to let my Rosemary live permanently in a container, porting it outdoors in the summer, allowing its roots to remain undisturbed, and returning it indoors once again during the winter months.

Through its ability to promote movement and heat, Rosemary taken internally as a simple infusion (tea) or a more concentrated tincture, works as a heart, nervous system and lung restorative, to alleviate symptoms of fatigue, mental depression and low self esteem. In any circumstance that would benefit from increased blood flow, Rosemary can help. As a foot or full body bath Rosemary can relieve sore or tired muscles; used topically in a salve or linament it can rejuvenate skin elasticity and promote tissue repair. A Rosemary vinegar makes a lovely medicinal food atop a fresh green salad, or can be used as a hair or clarifying body rinse. The infused oil makes a warming massage preparation to increase circulation, promote detoxification, and moisten dry skin. A steam preparation of Rosemary using the essential oil opens the sinuses by breaking up the mucous congestion that interferes with clear breathing.

In both folklore and esoteric (Spirit) medicine, Rosemary symbolically holds the energies of remembrance, loyalty and friendship. Using fresh sprigs of Rosemary, today’s traditional Mayan healers work with the plant to clear the energy of the healer’s hut, and to prepare participants for entering the sacred ceremonial space of the Primicia. Fresh leaves are often placed on the patient during prayers for spiritual healing. The flower essence of Rosemary is strongly awakening, offering an invitation for the Spirit to seat more deeply within the physical body, and for one’s conscious awareness to become more clearly attuned with the present moment. The Light essence energy of Rosemary brings its uplifting qualities and cosmic warmth to those who need to experience a deeper and more radiant sense of Self. One of my closest Soul friends, Rosemary keeps me mindful, always reminding me to embrace ALL of who I am.

♣ Photo credits: Courtesy of THOR and Wikimedia Commons

Christina MacLeod, Westcliffe, Colorado, April 1, 2013

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PLEASE NOTE: Posts on Three Sisters Medicine are for informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. Herbs are Medicine! Proceed with care. Self-diagnosis and self-treatment of serious medical conditions is inappropriate and unwise. If you have or suspect a medical condition, it is your responsibility to consult a medical practitioner for appropriate treatment.

THREE SISTERS APOTHECARY offers a variety of dry tea blends and tinctured formulations.Formulas are custom blended for your specific health and healing needs. Contact me at skyedarter@gmail.com or phone: 719.783.0465 to schedule an appointment.


21. March 2013 · Comments Off on Yarrow’s Garden~Comfrey:Strength and Resilience · Categories: Yarrow's Garden Blog · Tags: , , ,

Comfrey: Strength and Resilience~

As we swiftly move into the throws of Spring, I find my visitations to the medicine garden happening almost daily now. I admit, I am anxious to see the first sprouts emerge from the seeds I recently planted in my cold frames. But my curiousity has taken over as I get down on my hands and knees to search for even the tiniest speck of green emerging from my perennial friends. This morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see the return of the nettles, yarrow, motherwort, valerian, and comfrey; plants so hardy that even the deep winter nights of 28 degrees below zero could not dampen their determined life force.

Home-Texas Creek 004My introduction to comfrey and its powerful medicine came when I bought my first comfrey plant in Denver in about 1994. Deciding that the safest option for growing it, outside of a fenced-in garden, the comfrey was initially contained in a clay pot, while my herb garden was under construction. Soon after its arrival, I found the broken clay pot tipped upside down in the yard and my best friend’s dog happily chewing on the plant–right in front of my eyes! Jumping to its rescue, I was fortunate to find a small portion of leaf and root floating on the dog’s tongue, still intact! Gingerly, I removed the orphaned plant, and repotted it until I could permanently introduce it into its new medicine garden home later that summer. With the newly amended garden soil, moderate watering, mixed sun, protection from playful canines, and almost-daily visitations with words of encouragement and love, the comfrey grew to an amazing almost six feet in height by summer’s end! Now that’s life force–strength, resilience, and determination to thrive! Quite impressive.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a native to the cold climates of Europe and Asia. Along with its North American cousin, Hound’s Tongue (Cynoglossum officinale), often considered a noxious weed, these characteristically large, rough and hairy-leafed plants are members of the Boraginaceae (Borage) family. Comfrey is easy to grow in Colorado, best propagated through digging and dividing its roots by hand, and replanting. The plants prefer a rich loamy soil, mixed sun and part shade, and moderate water, but grow freely because of their strong vital energetics. Their tender leaves can be steamed and eaten as a green; both the leaves and roots having highly valuable medicinal properties. In a tea, the leaves are considered nutritive, rich in minerals, with emollient, nourishing, and astringent qualities. The bell-shaped magenta flowers, also edible, are characteristic of some of the plants in this family.

As far back as the Middle Ages, Comfrey was used as a healing herb to treat wounds and fractures by the armies of Alexander the Great. Particularly beneficial for muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bone, its main active ingredient, allantoin, works on a cellular level stimulating the repair and regeneration of torn, damaged or traumatized tissues.  Other plant constituents are B12, iron, potassium, calcium, amino acids, tannin, sterols and inulin. Taken internally as an infusion (tea) or topically as an ointment, salve or poultice, the leaves aid in reducing swelling and inflammation, staunching bleeding, and lessening the pain that comes with traumatic injuries; even burns. Its taste is sweet, cool, and moist. As a bath herb, a concentrated infusion may be made and added to the bath, to soothe and moisten the skin, bringing healing to eczema and burns, and reducing the pain of arthritis.

As a word of caution, Comfrey taken internally is best used for short periods of time (two- four weeks) only. The root especially is known to have slight levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are thought to create toxicity in the liver.  Also known as “knitbone”, Comfrey applied topically in either leaf or root form is totally safe and remarkably reliable in healing bone fractures, wounds and ulcers, traumatic contusions, burns, cuts, boils or abcesses; any skin damage that will benefit from healthy cellular proliferation. Digestive inflammations such as colitis and other types of ulceration may benefit from simple infusions of Comfrey tea taken several times per day.

Three Sisters Medicine makes a number of different salves for topical wound healing~~Seven Sisters Healing Salve, The Bees Knees, and Oh Be Joyful Healing Salve. They all contain substantial amounts of Comfrey leaf infused oil and beeswax provided by our resident beehives.

As a flower essence, Comfrey is both remedy and enhancer. It serves to bring life force energy to the nervous system that has been damaged by injury or weakened by stress. It also promotes the permanent healing of present life situations that have underlying roots and scars brought forward through ancestral inheritance or another lifetime.

Comfrey is truly an amazing healer and would be well suited to home use or first aid on the trail. Acquaint yourself with this Old World plant, that continues to offer its healing self through the centuries to the present time.

Christina MacLeod, Westcliffe, Colorado, March 21, 2013

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THREE SISTERS APOTHECARY offers a variety of dry tea blends and tinctured formulations for your Spring cleansing and detox program. Formulas can also be custom blended for your specific health needs. Contact me at skyedarter@gmail.com or phone: 719.783.0465 to schedule an appointment.

PLEASE NOTE: ~Herbs are Medicine!~ Proceed with caution. Self-diagnosis and self-treatment of serious medical conditions is inappropriate and unwise. If you have or suspect a medical condition, it is your responsibility to consult a medical practitioner for appropriate treatment.