The locavore or local food movement has gained much attention over the years. It’s a wonderful statement to purchase locally for a variety of reasons, including supporting the local economy, lessening the environmental impact of transporting goods and the health implications as well.
Wellness seeks us, we simply need to be in a place of allowing. The plants we need to heal us are most likely found underfoot. Notice what grows near you. Does it seem that a certain type of plant, native to the area or not, seems to gravitate towards your living area? Then perhaps take some time to learn about these plants. You may be surprised to learn that they offer some type of use, either medicinal or non-medicinal. Please remember that healing is not always in the form of “consume this plant”. Sometimes healing is much more subtle, and has more to do with spiritual and emotional well-being. Do not walk outside and chomp down on a plant that’s growing on your porch and expect results. Take the time to learn how to properly harvest and use the plants first. Learn the risks and benefits associated with its use, as well.
What abundance do you have growing and thriving in your outdoor environment? Take notice year round and connect with the consciousness of the plants.
At our home, there are three plants that seem to consistently gravitate towards us: morning glory, calendula, and dandelion. I honestly believe if I didn’t sweep my floors for a long time that I would have morning glories growing in the house!
Morning glories (Ipomoea purpurea), are healing to me, but not in a medicinal sort of way. Rather, their beauty and resiliency have shared many silent lessons with me. However, since there is a use for almost every plant, morning glories have been used in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). While the seeds are known to be toxic, they are used for several ailments, including stomach and digestive issues. I do not recommend using them at all, unless you are under the care of an extremely skilled TCM practitioner.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis), such a lovely and uplifting little flower. It is a sweet and hardy little plant. And quite prolific! They are best known for their skin healing abilities. Calendula heals wounds and relieves inflammation. It is also beneficial in protecting the skin from radiation damage. As a tea, calendula can provide healing from leaky gut.
Several studies are being conducted to confirm its effectiveness in combating cancer. As a food, the petals are often used in salads. Tinctures, hydrosols, infused into an oil, used as a poultice and as a tea…calendula has many uses.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), well, I could write an entire book on the many uses and benefits of this amazing plant! From tinctures, teas, salves, infused oils and many delicious recipes, it’s quite likely there are more uses of this plant than there are dandelions growing in your yard. What I really love about dandelion is that the entire plant- flower, leaves, and roots are all edible and beneficial in their own way.
The most common use for the dandelion greens (leaves) in our home is either in salads or juiced. The flowers are usually added to an oil for an infused healing oil which will later become a salve or body butter. The roots are dried and powdered. I will also make a tincture using the entire plant, flowers, stem, leaves, and roots.Generally, the flowers and leaves are harvested in spring and early summer. While the roots are left until fall, to grow larger and also to collect more nutrients from the soil.
Make sure to only harvest dandelions in areas that are known to have not been sprayed with any chemical pesticides, fertilizers or herbicides. I save seeds from dandelions and plant them among my vegetable and herb garden. They are easier to harvest this way and also help to nourish the soil.
And when the flowers have gone to seed, it is then, that they offer the most magical uses of all …they become fairy wishes. Little puffs of happiness that welcome beautiful childhood memories of running barefoot through the grass. No matter what your physical age is, these little poofs beckon you to come and play.
Engage in the consciousness of plants. Recent studies have shed light on the fact that plants may possess the ability to experience senses similar to our own. And while there is still much to learn on the subject, it’s an amazing thought to entertain that plants may be interacting with us. Take a walk outdoors…observe your immediate environment. Recognize the plants that are encouraging you to befriend them. It won’t take much to realize that wellness seeks you.
A healthy planet begins with you!