I just got the word on the latest herbal change-over for Cosmophilia's Herbal Experiential Group. We have been working with elderflower for the current season and I have been using a tea mixture (also containing sage and ginger), an elderflower infused eye gel (very refreshing) and brewing dried elderflower into my regular pitcher of tea whenever I whip up a batch. I just finished the last gallon of this tea and will be saying goodbye to elderflower officially tomorrow morning during my Sunday yoga/meditation session.
This was a wonderful herb for the summer season. At camp, elderflower is abundant, although we missed the time for berries and that is my one regret with the herb because I really wanted to make an elderberry pie from scratch like my granny used to. When I was growing up we had an elderflower tree in our back yard. I always found the flowers to be calming and dreamy. I used to use them for bouquets I would pick for my mom and my grandmas.
So, the overall experience with elderflower was interesting because it was a very tiring and trying season for me in so many ways. I would sip on the tea in the evenings while I walked around our place, visiting my faery garden, sitting on the porch of my shop, concentrating on vanquishing whatever was plaguing me at the moment.
I will miss elderflower and probably always remember that it helped me get through a very difficult summer in my life. Thank you beautiful Lady Elder.
Our next herb is Hops! LOL LOL. A beer lover such as myself can't be anything but hugely excited about this season's herb. Could this be the fall that I finally get off my lazy butt and make beer?
In all seriousness, hops is not only about beer ;) and I am looking forward to researching and opening myself up to this herb. It seems perfect for our slow, spiral walk down the dark staircase into the deep, inner season.
The periodic fun filled visit to my local co-op did not disappoint this weekend. I originally went there in order to obtain some Lady’s Mantle because it is going to be the herb for the next season in the Cosmophilia’s Herbal Experiential Group. But, alas, no Lady’s Mantle was to be found. So, I will have to obtain the dried herb on-line.
However, while I was there I decided to go ahead and cruise the
herbal shelf for my next “let’s just pick something out and take it home”game of herbal learning. And Lungwort said – pick me pick me! So, I did.
Later, I found out that Lungwort is such a pretty little plant! Also that you can eat the leaves in salads or dry them for use in teas, or use to make a poultice for various external healings. So, the tea can be used for respiratory problems, coughs, asthma, flu, colds, hoarseness. The poultice is used for open wounds, ulcers, sores, etc.
I found it interesting with the tea that Lungwort is sometimes used in conjunction with Coltsfoot, which was my last herbal pick from the co-op. And also this odd little theme from this season in that the herbs I have been working with including Coltsfoot, Slippery Elm, Shepherd’s Purse and now Lungwort are all known for their soothing properties and related to the throat, coughs, colds, etc…
And guess who was not sick even ONCE this winter? This girl here that is who!
So, magically, I learned that Lungwort was once used in combination with other ingredients to make a mixture that could be given to a woman in order to determine whether she was a witch. Lungwort is also supposed to be able to shift any stagnant situation into gear, possibly calm mental irritation and one source said it is particularly useful when dealing with someone in hysterics. LOL. I need to feed this to some of the
people I work with apparently.
On my latest trip to the co-op I decided on an herb that smelled good and seemed like it would make a soothing tea.
So, what looks like a dandelion but is named after the hooves of a baby horse? The cute little herb Coltsfoot! You may see these flowers growing in open fields or wooded areas while hiking and mistake them for the more common dandelion and they are quite similar - but looking at their leaves you will see that coltsfoot has heart-shaped leaves and the dandelion long, thin very toothed leaves (which pet rabbits love to eat like spaghetti by the way but that is a whole other story).
Many people have been known to eat dandelions, but more often coltsfoot is used as an herbal decongestant to combat phelgm and relieve coughing and even bronchitis. The above-ground
portion of the herb: flowers, leaves, stalk,can be dried and steeped as tea, which is how I plan to use the herb that I purchased from our co-op this weekend.
You can make a tincture from coltsfoot by chopping it and placing it in a jar, then covering it with vodka. Steep for 6 weeks, strain leftover plant matter and save the liquid. That is your tincture!
From my Encyclopedia of Magical Plants I also found that coltsfoot is relaxing when burned as an incense, producing a sense of calm and peace. For love, people would sprinkle a bit of dried coltsfoot outside their home to attract a mate.