It’s that special time of year when many of our favorite plants are expressing themselves to their fullest potential and we find ourselves getting lost in their summer magic. We get to know them in their flowering stage of growth and experience their beauty as well as their medicine. Whether we dig their roots in the fall, or harvest their fresh greens in early spring, it’s safe to say that seeing plants at their peak potential during these sweet summer months is medicine in itself. We have a few that resonate with us this time of year, not only because they are in bloom but also because they are appropriate for the times we live in and can act as everyday medicine. Each of these plants has a special place in our medicine cabinets and can be found throughout our formulas as they confer unique qualities to each one.
Motherwort, Leonarus cardiaca
Parts used: Aerial, leaf, and flower
This weedy herbaceous plant is part of the mint family and is one of the most beloved herbs by herbalists. As a true nerve and heart tonic, Motherwort has been used throughout history to soothe worries and nervous tension. Motherwort is one of our best herbs for calming anxiety in the moment, especially when felt in the heart center.
True to its name, Leonarus cardiaca translates in Latin to “lionhearted;” and this plant sends a message of tough, fierce love during the times when we need it […]
We all know the feeling; we get a little queasy, or bloated, there’s a tight knot in the pit of our belly, or those nervous butterflies. Sometimes, our body is rejecting whatever we just ate, or the balance of our gut bacteria is off, or we just have a queasy stomach to begin with. Other times, nervousness and the body’s stress response can show up as symptoms in our gut.
When it comes down to it, everything in our body is interconnected, and research has shown that the brain and the gastrointestinal system are directly linked in more ways than one.
When you experience psychological responses, such as a stress response, it can influence the basic function of the digestive system and lead to abdominal discomfort. Our gut is like a second brain that produces its own set of chemical messengers in the digestive process, and when digestion is disrupted, it sets off alarms to the nervous system that exacerbate the symptoms of our stress or “fight or flight” response. If you are busy and run down, it is important to recognize this unique relationship between the gut and our brain as it can offer insight and guidance to your overall health and well-being.
Whether for a nervous butterfly stomach, an upset tummy or gas and bloating, the following herbs can be helpful for a number of reasons.
Many people know chamomile for its calmative power and the gentle support it offers the nervous system. What not everyone knows is that this familiar flower embodies very similar qualities when it comes to […]
As herbalists, one of the first things we think of when we feel the season shift is that in a matter of weeks, there will be an abundance of medicine to harvest, eat, and preserve. Plants we don’t grow in our gardens can be wildcrafted in surrounding areas and we enjoy what the earth provides. As herbalists, we know the plants intimately, and we deepen our relationship with them each year. Knowing how to use wild medicine, and where to find food, also bears a significant commitment to being an herbal steward and to be radical in our approach to preserving the wild plants around us.
While the growth of the herbal and wellness industry is exciting and ever on the rise, what has come with it is a mass production of herbs and a severe increase in over-harvesting.
Wild foods have become hip and are sought out in trendy restaurants that will pay a good price for a few pounds of local wild edibles. What isn’t always apparent is that this has been resulting in the over-harvesting of popular favorites—like Wild Ramps, Fiddleheads, Ginseng and Goldenseal.
Instead of thinking with money on the mind, we need to retrain ourselves to think about what happens to these populations of edibles that are quickly becoming at risk. Is it worth it?
It is important to think about this delicate relationship as we approach the peak seasons of abundance. If we are harvesting our food and medicine, we then become accountable for the wild gardens, their health, and their upkeep.
At Urban Moonshine, we make conscious decisions to […]
Malaria is a deadly disease. Because of its reliance on tropical mosquitos for transmission, it disproportionately affects people living in the developing world: of the more than 600,000 deaths from malaria every year, over 90% occur in sub-Saharan Africa where resources are few and transportation to care facilities is difficult. What’s more, over the last fifty years the malaria parasite has evolved considerable resistance to tried-and-true treatments (such as chloroquine, quinine and its derivatives, along with other drugs such as sulfadoxine) in most areas where the disease is widespread. That’s why most physicians in the developing world are now using a class of drugs derived from a molecule called artemisinin. This compound is very effective against the malaria parasite, and is derived from Artemisia annua (Sweet Annie, or quing hao as it is known in the Chinese materia medica). It forms the cornerstone of current antimalarial therapy in the developing world. Unfortunately, isolating artemisinin from the whole plant has led to the development of drug resistance – still localized mostly to Southeast Asia, and not very widespread. Nevertheless, as combination artemisinin therapies […]