Add honey to taste. If too thick add some of the date water to thin. Serve with samosas and rice dishes. The name Tamarind reminded me of fellow singer-songwriter who makes his living playing on the beach in Tamarindo Bay, Costa Rica, so check out his song: Under the Stars of Tamarindo , by David Robert. Is your body ecology making you sick? Then allow me to introduce Yerba Mansa, a paleoherb and mythical healer that can restore your body ecology in any season, and whose ancient lineage of wisdom goes back innumerable generations.
It is a beautiful day on the Rio Grande, as one might expect in sunny New Mexico with its low humidity and over days of annual sunshine. One of these herbs is Yerba Mansa, a mythical plant of extraordinary beauty growing along the Rio and as enchanted as the landscape itself. It is a medicinal herb used traditionally in New Mexico, the knowledge of which has been passed down from generation to generation.
I was initially introduced to this plant while living in the Southwest by the late and renowned herbalist, Michael Moore, Founder of the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine. Yerba Mansa continues to be a very important ally in my practice of herbal medicine. A riparian wetland plant, Yerba Mansa can be found growing in the rapidly dwindling riparian habitats of northern Mexico and the American Southwest. Riparian ecosystem environments are some of the most altered and threatened habitats around the world due to human civilizations settling and building along the rivers.
Yerba Mansa is a paleoherb, a small group of flowering plants having evolved over a very long period of time and one of the first flowering herbs that existed on earth. With iconic large white flowers that bloom in the spring, Yerba Mansa is much sought after for fresh and dried arrangements and emits a spicy fragrance due to its volatile oils. The plant is also used for deer resistant landscaping around bogs and ponds and for ground cover in lawns and gardens.
To best understand how this plant works as a medicine we have only to look at the role that it plays in its own living system and where it occurs naturally. The volatile roots add an anti-microbial and purifying element to the damp, boggy and slow-moving ecosystem of the Rio Grande Bosque, changing the soil chemistry and creating a more favorable environment for the growth of other plants which further anchor and aerate the soil.
The part of the plant most commonly used for medicine is the root and by observing it in the wild we are informed of its similar functions in our own bodily ecosystem. Just like in nature, these stagnant pools of fluid in our bodies become fertile breeding ground for microbes. Yerba Mansa dries dampness and safeguards against microbial imbalances and infections.
It helps move toxins out and rids the body of excess uric acid, which causes painful inflammation of the joints. It also tones and tightens mucous membranes and is especially useful during cold and flu season. The plant produces these compounds as a protective mechanism, just as the human must be introduced to situations where the immune system will produce antibodies in response to mild infections which in turn strengthen the immune system. When we support our immune system, and allow the body to do what it is designed to do rather than weakening it through symptom suppression and antibiotics, we create a healthier and more balanced body ecology.
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If it is true that the meek shall inherit the earth, then perhaps, if we humble ourselves to the wisdom of nature, honor the ancestors who shared their knowledge with us, and protect the fragile habitats that give us our medicine like the elders who came before us carrying this herb, then we shall indeed be worthy of inheriting the earth so that we may also pass it down. The next seven generations are depending on it. May it continue…. Actions: Astringent, antiseptic, antifungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, tonic.
Indications: Chronic inflammatory conditions, digestive disorders, skin issues, urinary infections, mucus-producing colds and sore throats, sinus infections, hemorrhoids, oral healthcare, fungal infections, diarrhea, colitis. Preparation : May be used as an infusion, tincture, steam distilled oil, or dried root powder.
Extracts best in alcohol and water. Dosage: Use as directed on label or by your health care practitioner. Tincture can be applied directly to skin for fungal infections. Dental Care: 20 drops of tincture in 2 oz. Nasal Spray, rinse or gargle: 20 drops of tincture in 2 oz. Recent research also suggests that extracts of Yerba Mansa inhibit the growth and migration of certain types of cancer including two breast cancer cell lines, HCT-8, and colon cancer cells.
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See references below. Available as a tincture from Herb Pharm and Artemisia Herbs. Founded in , Artemisia Herbs is deeply informed by the intelligence of the plants themselves and prides themselves in the history of a bioregional, sustainable herbal company that inspires, supports and benefits all those who it reaches. Artemisia carefully blends by hand in small batches, working together to craft products which maintain an energetic integrity from farm to medicine.
Herbs are sourced primarily from a family owned farm in Dixon, NM, and backyard growers and wildcrafters who care intimately for the plants they grow and harvest. Andrea L. Medina, Mary E.
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Bussey, Arlene A. Carter, Joseph O. Falkinham, Nicholas H. Amber L. Lee, Tammy S. Arguello, James Browning, Michael J. Pullin, Alexander Kornienko, Wim F. Steelant, Effects of extracts from two Native American plants on proliferation of human breast and colon cancer cell lines in vitro , Oncology Reports 15 : Wandering across the faerie hills on the wild west coast of Ireland, the only sound I heard was that of the wind and the waves, falling water and the occasional caw of a raven.
A little further down the narrow path I heard a quiet, cricket like song that beckoned to me, so I followed it. Stepping off the ordinary path as if through a portal I discovered at the source of the sound a plant with delicate yellow flowers. The plant itself was unfamiliar but the flowers were vaguely reminiscent of mullein flowers, and aside from that it bore no other resemblance. With the sun setting in the West and the wind blowing cool against us from the north, we proceeded to gather atop a wide, flat surfaced mound with a large flat rock half embedded in the earth at its center.
There the altar cloth was lain. It was on this cloth that we would place two items representing our ancestor or ancestors for which we had come to pray. I reverently approached the altar, laying my items gently at its edge. As I lightly pressed them against the cloth I promptly received a finger prick. An unseen plant lying beneath the surface had drawn blood. How appropriate I thought, a blood offering to the ancestors. And then we prayed: I am sorry, please forgive me, I forgive you, I love you, thank you. As I looked out over the hills I could feel something lifting and then a wave of gratitude from the unseen worlds.
The ancestors had been waiting for me here, for this very moment, and we were walking each other home. The next morning brought waves of fog like clouds rolling over the tops of the mountains to the east as I sat sipping my tea and watching the sun rise. Curious, I took out my phone and pulled up the photo of the plant to which I had been called. My search revealed Yellow Gorse, Ulex europaeus , a member of the pea family Fabaceae which grows well near the sea and is clearly a feature that lights up the Irish landscape.
The scent and taste of the blossoms grow stronger in the sunlight and mildly resembles almond and coconut. They make a wonderfully aromatic flower tea and were also used for dying cloth a saffron color. Dying cloth was an art and considered a magical process in early Ireland to be carried out only by women until the advance of the patriarchy.
Its Irish name is Aiteann ; aith meaning sharp and tenn , meaning lacerating due to its prickly nature and fierce thorns. Aiteann is considered to belong to the Sidhe , or faerie folk and thought to guard entrances to the otherworld, therefore sacred or cursed depending on your belief. My belief was that we were standing on a sacred faerie mound protected by Sidhe as evidenced by my finger prick.
The unseen plant beneath the altar cloth was Yellow Gorse. Aiteann is an evergreen native shrub that is highly flammable and used to fire traditional bread ovens. It was also gathered to be burned on the ceremonial fires of Beltaine, and used for lighting the other nine sacred woods: Birch, Rowan, Ash, Alder, Willow, Hawthorn, Oak, Holly and Hazel. The flowers are recommended for hopelessness, loss of faith or for those who think themselves incurable.
I marveled at how complimentary this felt considering the invoking of ancestral spirits that had taken place the day before.
And sometimes we need only to invoke the spirit of a plant to receive its healing medicine. My Irish grandfather had died of alcoholism, thinking himself incurable. The ancestors before him sinking into hopelessness through alcoholism, famine, slavery and displacement. The loss of faith came through the institutional abuses of church and state. My prayers had been heard and the ancestors had responded with gratitude for my journey to acknowledge their suffering and willingness to forgive.
Forgiving is not always easy, nor is it forgetting, excusing, condoning, or regretting. Forgiveness is a field of energy that releases all placed within it so that we can be restored. Edward Bach, The flower essence of Aiteann helps us to see things in a different light. Some could go no further and some went along, carrying the light of hope into the future. That was the gift of the ancestors to us — our very breath and life. May the light prevail, faith be restored, and forgiveness be yours…. May the nourishment of the earth be yours, may the clarity of light be yours, may the fluency of the ocean be yours, may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
Galium aparine. Mary inquired during our recent phone conversation. It is the type of question I get asked a lot. I, myself, have resolved this issue simply by eliminating coffee and chocolate. But I knew that in order to recommend the herbs that Dr.
Mary was inquiring about we would need to have a deeper conversation. I am an herbalist, not a medical doctor, and a medical doctor is not an herbalist. One practices in a mechanistic Allopathic model and the other in an energetic model. Understanding a few basic concepts of how herbal medicine functions in an energetic model can help us to understand the long-lasting results that can be achieved from taking a more natural approach.
So, I asked Dr. Mary is she would be willing to make the time to have this conversation and she was. Healing takes time, as do most natural processes. The good news is what took decades to manifest as illness may only take months or possibly years to restore to wellness. I began by explaining that the longest lasting result from herbal medicine is in its tonic ability to restore whole bodily systems. A tonic is something that is taken consistently over time, not the quick fix that our fast-paced world demands. The affinity of herbs for certain body systems circulatory, respiratory, urinary, etc.
Healing is also about relationships and it takes time to be in relationship. An herb taken over time brings you into closer relationship with it, especially if you are growing, harvesting, making, smelling, tasting, drinking, digesting and eliminating it. Pharmaceuticals that go directly into the blood stream bypass most of these checks and balances.
Locally grown and seasonal herbs are exponentially more potent energetically. Herbs are some of our greatest allies if we are willing to take the time to get to know them. The action of herbal lymphatics is almost always indicated when there is breast congestion. The plants that nature gives us in Spring deliver a number of lymphatic system and liver tonics for clearing the congestion of Winter. For women, the largest reservoir of lymph is located in the tissues of the breast. Lymph drains away from the breast and breast cysts develop as a result of fluid accumulation inside the glands in the breasts.
Fibrocystic breast is not a disease and may be the result of hormonal changes aggravated by weight gain, stress, caffeine, chocolate, smoking, and poor diet. In addition, restrictive clothing that presses on lymph nodes can impede lymph flow. Research studies show that hormones tend to collect in breast tissue, a good reason to eat organic hormone free meat and dairy, and a lymphatic self-breast massage is recommended. They may, however, make it more difficult to find new lumps or other changes that might need evaluated by a doctor, so be familiar with how your breasts normally feel so you will know when something changes.
One of the ways to identify a cyst is that they tend to feel fluid-filled with distinct edges and move more freely than a hard mass. One of the herbal allies that I was excited to share with Dr. Mary was Galium aparine , commonly known as Cleavers, and with a special affinity for the breasts and lymphatic system. It grows abundantly in our Appalachian Mountains and I gather it every spring. An herbaceous annual it can be found in moist wild areas of all temperate zones worldwide. Not surprisingly it is considered a common weed, as are many of our medicinal plants.
Cleavers, or more affectionately, Velcro Weed, are one of the easiest herbs to identify because of their straggling stems and branches that grow close to the ground, their whorls of leaves, and their clinging nature by which they attach themselves readily with small hooked hairs. The entire aerial plant is harvested in spring in early flowering and used fresh or dried. The fresh herb has a high-water content so care must be taken not to crush during harvest and to dry quickly in order to avoid spoilage.
Geese love the seeding plant, hence the common name of Goosegrass. Cleavers is especially useful for breast cysts and as a premier Spring Tonic is rich in chlorophyll, promoting lymph drainage. It strengthens lymphatic circulation, eases breast congestion, tonifies veins, counters blood clots and has the ability to work fibrosities out of the tissues including uterine fibroids. Useful for urinary tract infections and prostatitis it is a diuretic that cools and shrinks inflamed tissues of the urinary tract.
This is partially because in the spring-time deer find it sweet scented and like to bed down in its dense patches. It has also been used throughout our human history as bedding material, giving yet another common name to this common weed, Bedstraw. To whatever name you cleave, may it encourage your waters to flow clear and current, and restore you once again to wellness.
Dried herb infusion: 3 teaspoons dried herb to 1 cup of water, infuse hours or overnight. Boiling destroys medicinal value of cleavers, use dried herb with warm or cold-water infusion. More than this may thin the blood. Some women report increased menstrual flow after using cleavers to relieve premenstrual breast tenderness. Look who I discovered hiding behind my house this spring!
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