May 082007

This weekend, at the far edge of the Gila proper, near Socorro, I was blessed to find a thriving community of Mormon Tea and beautifully blooming Creosote Bush! I’ve been looking for a local source of Creosote bush since I first came to this region, so was thrilled to be able gather a very large supply of leaves and flowers for drying, tincture and oil. I also harvested a good amount of Mormon Tea to dry for tea. And I’ll be sure to stop by and visit this lovely miniature ecosystem whenever passing through the Socorro area.

Then, while teaching in the desert outside of Albuquerque, I came across many bloom laden bushes of Desert Wolfberry (Lycium pallidum), a native relative of the ever popular Goji berry. I was sadly unable to take pictures but Michael Moore has a very nice picture here. And Tucson herbalist, Charlie Kane, has a very nice account of its medicinal properties of it here. It’s very similar in many ways to its close relatives, Tobacco and Datura, but milder in effect and lighter in spirit. Nevertheless, it shares the intensity of all of the Nightshade family plants and should be respected as such. The fruits of the plant were considered to be very sacred by some SWestern indigenous tribes and were/are used in ceremony. Less tasty than their Chinese counterparts, the berries are still a good medicine (nutritive blood tonic), especially when cooked.

Other plants found at the workshop site included Mormon Tea (picture), Fourwing Saltbush (picture), Artemisia, Spectacle Pod (yummy flowers and seeds for salads, picture), Puccoon/Stoneseed (picture), Scorpionweed (picture), One-seeded Juniper, Tufted Indian Paintbrush, Evening Primrose and Banana Yucca. Many of these same plants grow right here in the Gila as well, so I was pleased to be able to give a fairly comprehensive plant walk for the other women attending the retreat. It was also wonderful to have the chance to give a workshop on Healing as Wholeness with my partner Loba.

And here at last are a few lovely pictures of the Anemones I found while traveling through Estes Park, Colorado. These Anemones are synonymous with the Pulstatillas of herbal commerce. Michael Moore has a very nice PDF monograph of the Anemones here. I was very charmed by this delicate and somewhat hypnotic little flower, and look forward to working with her on a deeper level. This plant has very specific indications, and are best used by individuals with deficient (cold, wan, weak and weepy in this case) conditions rather than excess, it’s effect is primarily on the nervous and reproductive systems and can work wonders for those with painful cramps, deep sadness, anxiety, insomnia and migraines . It is effective in very small doses (1-5 drops) and should not be used in larger amounts as its effect on the body can lead to unpleasant nervous systems symptoms such as increased coldness and dizziness. I’ve only worked with Pulsatilla a little bit as of now, so will return with deeper insights when more personally experienced.

  7 Responses to “Wild Plants from the borders of the Gila and beyond…”

  1. I usually give 1-5 drops of a Pulsatilla tincture; 30 drops sounds like way too much – if it’s a fresh herb tincture.

    I use it to let people out of their cages. It gives them more choices in their perceptions of their future, it gives them strength to change focus.

    And it’s a very nice herb for that. Of course, this use comes straight from homeopathy … talk to a classical homeopath, they’ll nod and say “yep, I know”.

  2. Thanks Henriette… I certainly personally wouldn’t use over five drops (but I’m always using the very low side of most doses) so was using the average dose I’d found in my reference material. I’ll go edit the post now, wouldn’t want anyone ODing on Pulsatilla 😉

    And thanks for the extra indications, that’s very helpful.

  3. Hi Kiva, the Creosote Bush reminds me of perseverance and determination. I have never used the plant. Can’t wait to hear about it’s uses.

  4. Creosote Bush has taught me alot about ancient wisdom and primal knowledge, and unlike some other people I find the scent really really soothing…. I will do a post on Creosote bush just for you then, Angie! And sorry I haven’t replied to your Rose email yet, after being gone so long I have an enormous blacklog… and now I’m back to work 😉

  5. hi,

    i have used anenome pulsatilla quite a bit and a more complete picture is slowly emerging to me of it’s personality as a whole. also known as wind flower or pasque (as in easter) flower there seems an obvious connotation with winds of change, movement and this is in keeping with its ‘ovarian’ activities, relating to the egg, easter, spring, symbol of new life. pulsatilla has for me a quite sanguine, child-like character, with a toughness to weather winds high on apline and inhospitable terrain.
    there are myths which connect it to the tears (or blood, but for me the tears is perfect) of aphrodite’s mourning for her lost lover, adonis. the plant was supposed to spring from these! when this is placed in context of the winds of change, it’s treatment of depression, ovarian and reporductive problems for me it represents the movement to new cycles, to letting go and specifically to processing the grief of lost and broken relationships. it is the hope of new life, new vigour, youthful energy and resitution of innocence to a grieved heart and spirit, allowing joy to enter. the burden of the past can be eased and released. helpful also at stages of movement into maidenhood (puberty), motherhood and into the wise age of the crone.

    i also never use the fresh plant but the dried plant tincture as the fresh is said to contain a chemical called protoanemonin which can have irritant side effects. dose should be small. think the max i have used is in range of 10-15ml a week, but usually go with about 5 ml a week.

    love, sarah brade

  6. Hi Sarah, have you checked out my full post on Pulsatilla? It’s here:

    I, on the other hand, would never use dried plant and stick purely to fresh plant tincture in small drop doses.

    Thanks for reading!

  7. hello,
    i hadn’t read your other post at the time as this one caught my interest when i was searching for something else! i have now read and was very interesting. i think my mother has been in need of pulsatilla recently and is generally well suited to it, and going on your description that seems more likely still. i definetly get the sense of belonging and security in a whirlwind of stress and fear that your portray, and for while the cobwebs of the finished and over get blown away which i also feel it can help with – bringing airy liberation with the confidence of the tightly clinging groundedness and protection – those lovely fluffy stems and flowers, with beautiful but slightly drooping heads. good balance for fragility and strength through flexibility.
    also great to hear i could maybe be more confident to try fresh tincture. i don’t know where these ideas sometimes come to limit possibilities. guess the more pharmacological books tend to seize on a constituent and a myth can perpetuate that it could be taken otherwise. as this is such a potent herb i had never really looked further at using it fresh so thank you! glad to know no ill effects. don’t think i have ever had opportunity to try the fresh either as always seems to be sold here dried and that was what we had in the training clinic dispensary. i have a lovely plant but not sure which variety it may be now, but will think of tincturing a bit to try in spring.
    always a pleasure to read your stuff – lovely resource so many thanks.
    would so much like to take one of your courses some day and have set it in my sights and heart, but is not possible as things are now (long story!) in the meantime will enjoy your posts!

    with love and thanks

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