“Trees were our first teachers,” Bruce Miller used to say. Bruce (Subiyay) was a Skokomish elder, teacher & leader behind the Salish cultural renaissance of the last few decades. Bruce continues to be a powerful inspiration. and many continue his work of revitalizing Salish culture and rekindling the connection between plants and people. (For more information, see links at the bottom of this post.)
A resonant aspect of his teachings is the consideration of tree as teacher. There’s something about trees that stirs something inside us. Humans have long felt a unique kinship with the trees, and their medicinal qualities represent a vast & untapped potential in the health & ecological field.. Read more
This incredible healer and soother has its origins in central Europe and Western Asia, and has found a home in may gardens here on Turtle Island. It has a rich history of both magical and medicinal uses.
My patch of chamomile yielded many more flowers this year than was expected. I spent many afternoon softly pinching off the blooms, and frequently pausing to smell the sweet scent left by the volatile oils on my fingers. These little sweet flowers teach me about humility and the comfort of being able to relax into who you really are—not what other people or the world wants you to be. Read more
Oats are soothing, nutritive, and one of my very favorite tonic plants. I’ll freely admit that I’m prone to being a stress case. Those that know me won’t argue that my tendency is to be fast-paced and generally over-analytical. So this is one of the plants I turn to to feed and nourish my & my client’s nervous and endocrine systems. The nature of this plant is nourishing and restoring; rich in vitamins and minerals. So it’s helpful in anxiety, fatigue, depression, adrenal burnout, convalescence, and other conditions of that ilk. Rebecca Hartman notes it’s helpful for trouble waking up in the morning–one sign of nervous system depletion. It’s considered a trophorestorative (provided by the stellar Kiva Rose):
A trophorestorative is an herb, food or other substance that acts as a nutritive restorative for the body, usually with a strong affinity for an organ or organ system and corrects deficiency and weakness not simply through temporary stimulation but through the vital nourishment of that organ or organ system.
The theme is exhaustion. Kiva Rose also notes “It’s great for that “tired but wired” feeling so many of experience after long periods of overwork (or child rearing), especially if there is a history of lack of adequate sleep.“ It can also be particularly helpful in addiction issues for feeding the systems that have been depleted and helping with cravings. The King’s American Dispensatory says of oats:
This plant is a nerve-tonic, stimulant, and antispasmodic. It ranks among the most important restoratives for conditions depending upon nervous prostration, and for the nervous exhaustion consequent upon typhoid and other low fevers, and the accidental disorders arising from these complaints, as weak heart, spermatorrhoea, insomnia, etc.
Asides from its restorative properties, it can soothe inflammation of the GI tract (as a result of ulcers, diarrhea and the like) and can help lower cholesterol. It’s soothing and emollient properties can be employed externally for minor skin irritation with poultices or oatmeal baths. Read more