Tonight I sit sipping on a herbal tea blend of Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), Oat straw (Avena sativa), Nettles (Urtica dioica) and Raspberry leaf (Rubus ideaeus). I look over to see the jars of dried herbs I have managed to harvest before the heavy humidity of summer sets in.
The calendula I dry hanging upside down so the medicinal and fragrant sap from the stems seep down into the flower heads as they dry. I believe this adds to their potency once the flowers are dried and removed.
Rosemary Gladstar says “Herbs have an inherent ability to channel life energy and to connect with those places in us that are ‘disconnected’ and in need of healing.”
Reflecting on this I know it to be true. There is no where I feel more at peace and more alive than when I am sitting in my gardens, observing the plants, sitting in awe of their beauty, their design. Experiencing their aroma, sometimes wafting gently past me, other times as I lean in towards the plant catching its essence and sometimes pulling the plant close to my nose.
Closing my eyes as I smell a given plant, I feel it communicating, always words of peace, of calmness, of beauty.
My focus these days is on deepening my ability to be present with the plants currently growing in the garden, to expand the gardens to hold more and more medicinal herbal and aromatic plants, and to build my experiences utilizing them for my own health and the health of those who come into my life.
This past week 6 vitex agnus-castus plants arrived from Horizon Herbs (Oregon company). I was (and still am) very excited to be growing vitex. So many incredible applications and the aroma of her leaves is amazing. Vitex was once fed to temple priestesses to suppress libido and was used by monks and priests to subdue desire, which is the source of its folk name: monk’s pepper (its aroma has a light peppery aroma) and chaste berry.
However, according to David Hoffman, famed herbalist, “Vitex will always enable what is appropriate to occur”. It is used extensively as a medicine extraordinaire for women. According to Aviva Romm, vitex is indicated for teenage acne, benign breast disorder, endometriosis, fertility problems, habitual miscarriage, to increase milk supply, breast pain, to relieve PMS symptoms, menstrual irregularities and for uterine fibroids. It is also used regulate and normalize hormone production and is recommended for use throughout menopause.
I am looking forward to integrating into my herbal medicine.