This time last year I was heading off to Western New York to spend some time with my family, and to study Aromatherapy at Aromahead Institute for the summer! I was so excited for this venture! I hadn't been home in two years, my sister was having a baby, and my brother and his wife had a little girl that I was so excited to meet! My first niece and nephew!!!
So my son, myself, and Kahnayt (my wolfie) kissed my love farewell for the summer and took of on a jet plane across the USA... Oh it was a painfully long flight!
We arrived in Western NY, and the weather was surprisingly cool... Hmm this weather is not like I remember, balmy and warm~ no it was more like the weather I normally expirence in Southeast Alaska! Oh nOooooooooo.... a bit worried now, I'm a total sun lover.... well you probably know that about me as I live in southeast Alaska right? haaahaa!! You see every time I go back to visit NY it seems they are always having a cool rainy summer, and AK is having the best summer ever warm and sunny!!! Well this actually happened!! Did I mention that I would be camping six weeks out of the summer? More about that later...
Of course I was restless in thought thinking of all of the new plants I could discover, and Wildcraft! So I headed out across the street to see what I could find. My parents warned me about the ticks, they said they were bad this year, and to spray My son, & myself with Off (deet) wear long pants and long sleeve shirts... as the natural women I am, I refused to use Off, made a spray with doterra's blend Terrashield, and was like okay let's go... My attitude on the whole thing was like, I'm sure they are overreacting... I mean I grew up in these woods I'm sure the ticks are not that bad...
Boy was I EVER wrong......
We went out exploring and found a few Wild Plants!! Red clover, Mullein, Teasel (well Teasel skeletons last years dried Teasel).
and poison Ivy. I was in total bliss... So many opportunities to wildcraft! Different plants than I would find on my nature outings in Southeast AK. Accept for the Red Clover we have that one:)
I planned on returning the next morning to harvest Red Cover Trifolium pratense flowers because there was a field of them!!! I love making tea with these flowers. Red Clover is great for women's health, It helps balance hormones, reduce hot flashes, it is high in iron, contributes to bone health, aides the thyroid, and is a great choice for issues with infertility. I make a delicious tea blend for women with it. You can purchase it here.
It's properties are: Alterative, Anti-inflammitory, Anti-viral, Anti-fungal, Anti-microbial, Anti-spasmodic, Anti-tumor, Blood purifier, Diuretic, Expectorant, female tonic, Laxative, Nutritive, Sedative (mild)...
Parts used, Leaves, flower blossoms.
If you look closely you will see a lady bug!!!
The next plant we discovered was Mullein Verbascum thapsus. When I first came across this one, I didn't know what it was. I knew it was a medicinal herb intuitively I guess, or maybe my subconscious remembered seeing it in one of the many herbs books I have explored... I don't have any wildcrafting experience with this herb, as it is new for me~ it doesn't grow in Southeast Ak. I have used it in a ear oil that I purchased from the health food store, and it worked really well for my earache.
I was intrigued at the stature of this strong plant. Hardy, with fuzzy light green foliage it was a joy to find!
Mullein's properties: Anodyne, Anti-spasmodic, Anti-tussive, Astringent, Demulcent, Diuretic, Expectorant, Vulnerary.
Parts used- Leaves, flowers, roots.
For more information on how to use Mullein check here.
This picture is a young Mullein, It hasn't grown tall and flowered yet !
Ahhh Next on the adventure we came across Teasel Dipsacus sylvestris. this is another herb I am not familiar with, but I was happy to meet it. It is a biennial, I witnessed last years growth which stood like a tall brown skeleton flower! Here are a few highlights that I have found on my research for Teasel..
Properties: Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Astringent, Diuretic, Regenerating to muscles, ligaments, and bones.
Parts used: Roots.
Making an infusion with the root and drinking it daily is is very helpful for incontinence.
Making a tincture from the root can be an effective treatment for Lyme's Disease.
It has regenerating effects on muscles, bone and ligaments.
For some more information about Teasel, and how you may use it click here.
Below I posted a short video of what the skeleton plant looks like! My photo's of Teasel didn't come out that great.. This was taken on this plant walk in Western NY...
I Had to share this video too... This is a video about Teasel and Lyme Disease~ and Susan Weed is the host! She is one of my many Plant Mentor's... Enjoy...
Now that we are talking about Lyme disease I feel it is the perfect time to finish the rest of my story about our little wanderings into the beautiful fields across the street from my parents house. Remember when I said I didn't think ticks were going to be that big of a deal? Well I was sooooooooo wrong...
After the next day or two I was going to wake up to the harsh reality of how bad the tick situation really was. It started with my son getting out of the shower and showing me what he just pulled off his leg... Yes you guessed it a tick. It was a Brown Dog Tick, and it wasn't very swollen so it hadn't fed for too long. This is a good thing... My parent's then freaked out.... We checked my dog, and she was loaded with them, all Brown Dog Ticks as well... and so then we started to clean everywhere my dog, or we were in the last few days... Now this is where it gets a bit creepy. I went and sat on my bed and there was one crawling on my bed, I rolled up the top bedding to clean it just in case there were more, and yikes there were!!!! AYE YIE Yie!!! Totally heebie geebied out... My son saw one on his drinking glass totally perched in it's ready to grab on what ever is coming by stance.
I was totally in the dog house with my Dad... He was soooo mad... Thinking we may started a tick infestation in the house!! It was not a good way to start off my summer long stay with my parents!!! Luckily we hadn't found any Deer Ticks ( the ones that cause Lyme Disease). But you never know, some Deer Ticks are so tiny (when they are Nymphs) that you may not even see them, or find them.
For those of you who are fortunate to never really deal with ticks or need some information on the many species, diseases that they carry, and the proper way to remove them here is a link. There are many tabs of information and it is best to educate yourself especially if traveling to places that ticks may be an issue...
As you can imagine this experience had really changed my view on tick safety. I hope that I have inspired you to investigate on your own... Happy and safe trails to you...
There is much more to this summer story and I will be writing a part two...
Weed, Susan S, New Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way. Ash tree Publishing Woodstock, NY, 2002
Ritchason, Jack, N.D. The Little Herb Encyclopedia: The Handbook of Natures Remedies for a Healthier Life, Third Edition. Woodland Health Books, Pleasant Grove, Utah, 1995
Hi there! Being a spirited women who has many passions I thought it would be fun to share bits and pieces of my journey here.