Okay, now where was I? Oh yes, we’re on Mullein now.
Mullein was the herb/plant of the weekend. It covered the entire property and you could easily find it and identify it no matter where you went. Mullein feels as fuzzy at it looks and has thick leaves. It is a 2 year plant and the first year it looks like a rosette:
The second year, the plant grows into a stalk.
Those are rose petals on the plant.
Mullein is a European plant but somehow made it here to America. It’s considered a weed, as it’s highly invasive, but has a lot to offer. In the past, people would use the stalk and dip it into wax to use as a torch. (Even my teacher had done it.)
With Mullein, you can harvest the whole plant (flowers, leaves and root) It can be used fresh in tinctures and oils and dried in tea or oils. When harvesting the root, you’d chop it and then dry it for teas. Mullein is anti-spasmodic and a lung relaxant. It’s a mild expectorant and helps prevent tightness in the chest. It can be used as a preventative lung tonic going into the cold & flu season and can be used long term. The root tea is good for the urinary tract system and helps tone the bladder and reduce inflammation. The oil is good for skeletal muscle pain.
This plant originally grew in Europe and Asia. It’s very easy to grow and attracts bees. This is a blood alkalizing plant and is iron and calcium rich. The plant can be used fresh or dry in a tea, but must be used dry in oils. This plant is also known as “knit bone” because it will literally “knit” your skin back together. In oil, it’s a very powerful skin healer. You can use it on superficial wounds, but not deep wounds. Why? Comfrey will heal the top layer of the wound but not the deeper layers. It can also be used on poison oak or any other skin irritations. It’s considered a miracle oil/salve. You can also use it in a poultice or compress on sprains. It can also be taken internally as a tea, to help fix broken bones. Some people have had problems with it internally (especially those with liver problems) so it’s important to know your body’s limitations before trying it internally.
Who hasn’t heard of chamomile? Most of us have used this herb before in the form of a tea. Fresh chamomile is very fragrant and smells a little like apples. You can use chamomile fresh or dry in oils and fresh only in tinctures. Chamomile is very calming and can be used on babies, children and pretty much anyone. One thing to note is that chamomile is a diuretic, so you don’t want to drink it at bedtime or you will be up all night going to the bathroom. After dinner is okay.
Mallow grows everywhere. I know I’ve pulled it from our garden before. Mallow has a very green taste and can be eaten raw. Just chop up the leaves and put it in your salads. Mallow can be used fresh in teas and dry in oil. It’s a cooling skin healer whether you take it internally or apply it externally. It has astringent, antiseptic and disinfectant properties. It’s also anti-microbial. You can also use this in compresses and is great for dry skin, eczema and psoriasis.
I love calendula. It’s such a sunny and happy looking flower and can bloom all year. It loves sun and only needs a small amount of water. When harvesting this plant, you leave the stem and harvest the whole flower only. Calendula petals can be eaten fresh and can also be used in a fresh flower tincture. Dried flowers can be used in tea or oil. Calendula is a warming plant and gets the lymphatic system moving. It’s great for colds and the flu. It’s also a “delivery” herb that helps other herbs in delivering their medicine. Calendula is also awesome in oils/salves on dry skin and lips.
So these were all the plants we identified and harvested on Saturday. Sunday was much more laid back, with hiking in the redwoods. That’s part 3 and will be posted soon…