Our Mother's Little Helpers

Greetings, this is the month that we say goodbye to summer and greet fall. This summer has flown by! I spent 7 days in Virginia in July, a much different climate -- hot!!! But withs similar herbs, that grow lushly by the roadsides and in the fields, though it was hard to find any herbal preparations -- we are spoiled on the West Coast with so many places to find herbal remedies. I was a few short miles from the Blue Ridge Mountains where our fore-mothers used herbs as their main source of healing. At a small park display, there were sooooo many excellent herbals -- ah, to be rich. I also stumbled across a small business that makes aromatherapy jewelry that I have seen in passing in some of the catalogs I receive. It certainly is a small world.

This month I'd like to share a few of my favorite "healers" -- herbs that I use again and again for many different applications.

Golden seal has been used widely since the mid-nineteenth century, and used for a long time by the wise healers of the North Americans. It grows, and can be collected in, the southeastern United States. Golden seal has been used as an herb among several tribes of the Appalachian areas, throughout the Carolinas, and in similar areas of the country.

Golden seal is an important herb in treating wounds. It can be powdered and applied directly and often as a poultice. It also aids in the removal of phlegm both from the bronchial and sinus areas. It is a comfortable remedy to use to correct constipation.

Hyssop likes a pleasant climate; does not enjoy the cold. It is thick and bushy and appears as an evergreen in mild climates. It flowers profusely and rarely grows above knee high. It has been mentioned numerous times in the bible, it has been used since ancient times. Its ability to cleanse can be carried over into the spiritual and is sometimes known as the herb of protection.

Hyssop is an excellent choice for the use in colds and flu. It is often mixed with horehound. It contains a volatile oil which creates sweating and stimulates circulation. Hyssop can also be used externally for the treatment of rheumatism and painful muscles.

Mullein can reach extraordinary heights, it is not uncommon for it to grow taller than a tall plants are easy to distinguish by their tall spike which reaches up from the base of low growing leaves which are like coarse velvet to touch. The spike has been used as torches after being dipped in tallow. In monasteries, it was burned as a banishing herb and is still considered an herb of protection.

Mullein is valuable in the treatment of lung disorders such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is often found in herbal smoking mixtures, though in several instances I have known of people who were irritated by the mullein in this blend. The leaves are sometimes prepared as a thick poultice and used to treat hemorrhoids, as they are emollient and gent soothing pain and reducing the swelling.

Plantain is found most everywhere. There is scarcely a large area of grass to be found without some growing in it. It has distinctive flat leaves which grow near the ground and send up a club-like flower on a thin stalk. Plantain, since it is so widely and readily available, is best used fresh. The leaves are worked until moist with their own juices and then used to treat burns, minor wounds and rashes. It also has a cooling property and therefore is used to help reduce a fever.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and may the fall greet you gently and with open arms as you enjoy your gardens in these sunny days.

Love and light,

Sentient Press.

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By Morrigan Benton-Floyd

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