Spring is coming, I promise, and with it the bounty of green blessings! Every spring I look forward to the return of my many green friends, welcoming back the simplicity and restorative wholeness only plants and digging in the earth can bring. Just the aroma of warm soil quickens my heart with anticipation of the joyous partnership forged over the years with my earthly allies. Quiet early mornings spent, sun warming my face, tending lovingly my personal plot of the Mother, joining with Her in singing Her gifts to life.
Memories of gardens past, their bounty and their failures, adorn my inner landscape, beauty full, all. But for all the tomatoes and peppers that I have grown, the plants that hold the keys to my heart are weeds. Yes, weeds or as I call them Wondrous Edible Earthly Delights. In her infinite wisdom and love, the Mother provides us (her children) precisely what we need to thrive—as surely as the sun rises each day.
Much maligned, weeds offer service, healing and protection.
They are the truest warriors in the green movement and often the least understood. They blanket the bare earth preventing erosion and waste. They draw nutrients to the surface to feed superficial plant roots and to store nutrients. They appear for us when we need them most, sensing our physical imbalance and spiritual morass. They fill a certain void within us, both physical and spiritual, the longing for partnership with the unseen yet loving force that is nature (god/dess). Communing with plants is a joy that fills my heart. Whether sampling the dew off a ripe crabapple or munching fresh chickweed as I cultivate my garden beds, the plants and the Devas who tend to them, offer wisdom as well as nourishment.
There are myriad ways to incorporate healing weeds/herbs into your daily routine to promote radiant health and restore balance. Of them all, I love the simplicity of nourishing infusions. More potent than a tea, not as strong as a decoction nor as medicinal as a tincture, the nourishing infusion offers a powerful healing impact. Nourishing infusions are a great way to get to know a plant. It’s beauty lies in its simplicity and in it’s wholeness.
- The first step, choose a plant ally. You want to choose a nourishing plant versus a plant that contains high amounts of volatile oils, resins, alkaloids, or glycosides. While volatile compounds pack an impressive punch, this is not what we desire in a nourishing infusion. We want an herb that is of a gentler nature, one that is higher in protein, minerals, and vitamins, an herb you would consider food. I would like to add that I, personally, would only use organic/chemical free herbs for my infusions.
Herbalist and nourishing infusion Deva, Susun Weed, explains it best. “Because nourishing plants, by definition, can’t kill, they are scorned by many herbalists. Their effects are said to be slow and weak. Yes, poisonous plants do create instantaneous results, and I do use them when I need that immediate reaction. But they always undermine health. Nourishing plants always build health. Their effects are slower, but still rapid — with significant improvement in well being seen in ten days or less — and powerful, often life-changing. I call the nourishing herbs ‘people’s herbs’ because they are safe for anyone to use for any reason. And the use of nourishing herbs is ‘people’s medicine,’ our birthright of health. People’s medicine is a direct threat to hierarchy medicine, whether mainstream or alternative. It returns the power of health to the hands of the individual, out of the hands of the elite. Nourishing herbs are powerhouses of protein, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals that counter cancer and prolong life. The best ways to extract this richness are those that rely on water and dilute acid as solvents: that is nourishing herbal infusions and mineral-rich medicinal vinegars.” Perfect! Viva la revolucion!
Here is a simple guide to get you started. Please practice due diligence before consuming any herb. See this blog article by Susun Weed for more herb specifics.
Here are just a few ideas.
If you are feeling stressed and frayed, your hair and nails a mess? Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is your gal. Are your hormones out of whack? Red clover (Trifolium pratense). Feeling stagnant and gluggy from a long winter? Chickweed (Stellaria media). Nerves frazzled and shot? Oatstraw (Avena sativa).
- Second Step: Procure your herb. You may do this by mindfully harvesting and drying the plants yourself or by purchasing from a reputable source. Frontier wholesale has organic bulk dried herbs for a great price. I run a Frontier coop if you live near me. Mountain Rose Herbs is another favorite of mine.
- Third Step: Make your infusion. You will need a clean quart Mason jar and lid. Add to the jar 1oz by weight/approximately 1 cup by volume of dried herb to the clean jar. Top with boiling water, lid and set it aside for a minimum of 4 hours to overnight. I like to make mine before bed so that when I wake, it is ready for me! Strain, really squeezing the juice from the plant material, compost the used herb and consume your infusion. Your goal will be to consume the entire quart in one day. But if you cannot do that at first, refrigerate what is left and use within 3 days. Water your plants with any infusion older than that.
I like to keep a journal when beginning any new routine, especially when it involves consuming anything with consciousness. Paying attention to any changes I experience both subtle and overt; provides the opportunity to fully embrace my process and embody new discoveries. Although this step is not necessary, I find it thoroughly enjoyable and quite complementary.
Simple. Extraordinary. Wholeness. Living in harmony with all of life. ♥