(webstagram) Great episode today on The Herbal Highway!
I interviewed Lola Venado, The Botanical Bruja, about food and drink as herbal medicine.
Lola shares her rich philosophy behind kitchen herbalism and offers accessible and delicious ideas to incorporate medicina into your daily practice.
Lola is very generous with recipes on her IG @lolavenado so check it out for inspiration of comida as medicina.
Show link in bio. Gracias a @yerba_nomadica for making the connection. Music break on the show by @ladona415
(webstagram) P I N K Y A R R O W
I could spend days speaking to the gifts of Yarrow. Easy to grow and indigenous to this land, Yarrow is useful in first aid, chronic conditions, menstruation, and so much more.
The list is long regarding the physical attributes of this plantita - however, I’ve found that the reason I turn to Yarrow the most is energetic. There is much to say about the spiritual properties of this being - and Karyn Sanders of @blueotterschool generously teaches about the animal medicine behind this plant.
I can share that Yarrow is gifted with the ability to help filter other’s energy from one’s own. For folks like myself that easily take on other people’s emotions, a spirit dose of Yarrow helps to strengthen healthy boundaries - to help you distinguish what is really yours and what belongs to others.
When overwhelm dominates, taking 1-5 drops of Yarrow tincture or even the flower essence is a powerful ally of protection.
Pictured here is Pink Yarrow, a delightful surprise when you’ve think you’ve planted white Achillea millefolium.
I would love to hear, how to you distinguish the spiritual properties between white and pink Yarrow?
(webstagram) Today I had the sincere privilege of interviewing Blanca Diaz of @mama_maiz and @flora_y_tierra on The Herbal Highway.
We spoke about ways to decolonize herbalism, ways to connect with our ancestral medicines, ways to hold space for healing practices, and so much more.
Gracias Blanca for your brave work in the world and all that you offered to this conversation.
Listen to the episode via podcasts or stream from the KPFA website. Link in bio.
(webstagram) PLANTITAS ANCESTRALES
When you wonder if your ancestors can hear your prayers because you’re living so far from home.
When you try to find a balance between a practice of gratitude and the ever present questioning of whether you’re living in the right place.
When the reality of living within the oppressive limits of capitalism means you work more than one job and don’t have as much time as you wished to give to your more meaningful work.
When you realize that social media makes you feel bad most of the time but you can’t responsibly get off it because you’re attempting to run a small business.
One day you realize that Spirit has heard your prayers because when you slow down long enough to properly meet a plant that has been calling out to you for many months now you learn that this plant is from your ancestral lands and it blows your heart open in a really big way.
A door opens.
Gracias, Cempazúchitl. I am honored by your presence near me and humbled by your communication.
(webstagram) CALIFORNIA SPIKENARD
I’ve returned to this plant every year since moving up to Shasta and Winnemem Wintu territory. The first time I met CA Spikenard I was with my friend Rachael in 2015. We were exploring the woods across the river from my father-in-law’s house. We crawled down the slope to the water to get a closer look at the flowers. “I think this is Spikenard!” Rachael said with delight.
I’ve never harvested this plant. Right around the time we met I was first learning the language that helped me identify what I was feeling around wildcrafting and colonialism. I had recently taken a class with Sage LaPena and I remember asking her if it was okay to wildcraft, if there was such a thing as “ethical” wildcrafting. She looked at deeply for what felt like an eternity and finally said, “you already know the answer to that.”
I have had success with the tincture of the berries in my clinical practice. Considered an adaptogen, Spikenard berries are very helpful for stress that manifests physically.
Karyn Sanders @blueotterschool teaches that Spikenard lightens the emotions. I have this experience even when anticipating my visits to see this plant.
Of the same botanical family that houses Ginseng and Devil’s Club, these plants act as tonics and modifiers to the limbic system.
The root is especially helpful with chronic moist-lung problems. I’ve heard that you can harvest part of the root without taking the life of the plant.
Say hi if you find CA Spikenard. Be mindful that this plant is nearly endangered. Filmed here with their physical, non-botanical family: native Rhubarb and the Sacramento River.
(webstagram) MAMA MAMONA
Just listed in the shop. I few years ago I developed a tea blend with this title. Named after what mi Mami used to call her La Leche League breastfeeding support group, I formulated a tea to support pregnant folks and new mamas.
This year I took it one step further to create a non-alcoholic potion that also includes spirit plants. This formula is intended to support creation energy in general, not confined to pregnancy.
MAMA MAMONA is a physical, emotional, and spiritual reproductive tonic for the feminine in all of us so that we may continue to birth heart-based ideas in our fight against oppression.
Visit la tiendita to learn more.
(webstagram) FIRE SEASON
We got our first smoke of the season about a week ago. It’s early again this year. Thought it would be helpful to share this episode I did last year on what fire season means and how we can support ourselves with plants.
Link in profile. Feel free to share. Stay safe amigxs.
(webstagram) A N C E S T R A L
Just added to la tiendita.
This potion was formulated to assist a connection with our healing ancestors. I made this medicine in a prayer to connect with my antepasados, my people, with the hope of reaching them and communing with them. I humbly share this with you to bridge those gaps.
Enjoy this oxymel straight, in sparkling water, or add to foods or cocktails.
Tasty and versatile, this portion is intended for ritual use. Add a few drops daily to your water to set an intention, or ingest for taste frequently to begin that conversation.
(webstagram) ESSENTIAL OIL.
I started my journey into herbal medicine through the avenue of natural perfumery. I was enamored with how scent can transport you to another place and time - its ability to tap into memory in a way that no other sense can.
Once I began studying aromatherapy, however, and learned how much plant material is takes to make a drop of essential oil, I started to feel uneasy about that form of herbal medicine. It takes hundreds of pounds of plant matter to produce one tiny vial of essential oil.
I feel so conflicted about using essential oils in my offerings. Do you too? I know firsthand how much plant material it takes to produce a drop of essential oil. When is it okay to use essential oils? What is a responsible way of incorporating essential oil into body care?
I recently formulated beautiful creams and soaps with infused oils and spirit drops of plants. I feel really good about these offerings (I’ll be adding them to my shop soon) but I noticed at the last craft fair I participated in that most folks prefer a heavily scented product.
I know that an important element of self care involves aromatherapy. Scent is a powerful medicine for the ritual of caring for oneself. But I also feel strongly that intention goes a long way and that reverence is an important element in having a reciprocal relationship with plants.
So I feel a bit stuck. Do I add essential oil to my soaps and creams so that folks feel attracted to supporting my work? Or do I continue on this path of plant magic and wait to see if folks respond to energetic body care products in time?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on EO’s. Feel free to DM me if that is more comfortable for you. Gracias 🧡
(webstagram) My latest episode of The Herbal Highway is out!
Learn basic herbal medicine making techniques with an emphasis on ancestral, folk traditions. I’ve also shared recipes from my own kitchen as well as other esteemed energetic herbalists including: @snakerootapothecary@email@example.com@yerba_nomadica@eyeofcrowherbs & @ripplemedicine (in order of appearance).
Please share with folks interested in making herbal medicine for their friends and family as well as anyone interested in beautiful herbal recipes to add to their collection.
Link in profile.
(webstagram) DE COLORES
One day earlier this year I ran out of limón to flavor my sparkling water and I reached for an oxymel that had been gifted to me and I fell back in love with this preparation.
I remember the first time I heard of an oxymel. I was in herb school and I was like, a what? How do I even write that word down? For me, because Spanish was my first language, it’s helpful for me to learn the etymology of a word since so many are rooted in Latin. Oxy, as in ácido or acid, Mel, as in miel or honey. An acid and honey preparation.
What I love so much about oxymels is that they taste so good. The balance between the sweet and the acidic is at the root of so many traditional foods. They transform ingesting medicine into a pleasurable experience that brings joy and centers taste.
So this year I started taking oxymels daily: in my sparkling water most often, but also straight, or on cooked veggies, or in salad dressings, or in cocktails.
A few months ago I dreamed up three blends: ANCESTRAL (for connecting with ancestors), GUSTO (an erotic potion), and MAMA MAMONA (a creative tonic). Bringing these elixirs to @renegadecraft this weekend in SF and @headwestmarketplace next weekend in Berkeley.
Looking forward to telling the individual stories of these potions soon 🧡
(webstagram) Copal y Palo Santo.
One of the many lessons I’m integrating from my interview with @batultrueheart is their reflection to pull from our own experiences when discussing hot topics like colonization and cultural appropriation.
It is so easy for me to get carried away with these injustices, especially around their intersections with herbalism and traditional cultures. Sometimes it’s easier to broaden the conversation because the personal can feel like such a loss.
Copal and Palo Santo are two plants that tug at my heart and challenge me to be slow and thoughtful, reverent and patient. They are plants that my ancestors were in relationship with but that mis abuelitas did not speak of. They are plants that tell me stories of the land my people are from, hold memories of our traditions, and whisper words of encouragement when I need them most.
I am sooo careful around these plants. Partly because I feel the magnitude of their sacred energy, but also because of the disconnection I feel with my ancestors. Because I was born here. Because I am white passing.
So when I see products scented with Copal or Palo Santo made by folks who don’t have an ancestral connection, it hurts. It makes me angry. It feels like they are further displacing me from the possibility of connection. It scares me to think of the harm they are causing to these sacred plants, to our traditional history, to my ancestors. And ultimately to me.
Sometimes I have the courage to ask questions to help them unpack their settler-colonial patterns around our native plants. Other times I am afraid I won’t be able to hold my ground. That I won’t be able to do it from a heart-centered space. That it will take a piece of me that I won’t ever get back.
In the end, I know it is my responsibility to encourage these conversations because I hold so much privilege. Along the way I pray for more tools to do it in the right way.