I like to learn the latin names of the plants I’m getting to know. Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis has such a gentle name for such a powerful, strong plant.
She is native to the Mediterranean region and is part of the mint family! Her name came from the myth that mother Mary layed down on a bed of white blossomed rosemary bushes, with her blue cloak and the flowers opened and turned blue. The shrub then became known as Rose of Mary.
I could look for specific research on this plant and the myriad of health benefits to this amazing plant. It is resilient and can sustain itself on just the wet air from the sea! But, there is just as much importance in the experience a person has with a plant. The plant is a teacher of itself and if we care to listen, meditate and respond to it’s movements, we can be changed.
I just made these mini viles of rosemary sun-infused oil. Simply by handling the dried leaves and stems, the aroma has lasted now for a few hours on my hands! This plant to me is many things. It is invigorating as well as calming. It inspires my mind to action and also goes deeper into the underbelly of my thoughts and starts to loosen the stuck parts. Emotions will often surface for me if I take a bath intentionally with rosemary essential oils. I find I will get more vivid dreams and memories of my past will surface.
Is this all possible with one plant? Yes it is. Plants have chemical properties. And Rosemary has the ability to lower cortisol levels simply by inhaling the oils.
I struggle with this fight/flight response on a daily basis and so perhaps having a vile in different spaces of my life would be beneficial, especially the car!
artwork by Nathalie Parenteau, Cranberry Picker
I have been growing a lot in my knowledge of plants and preparations this year. It truly is a magical experience in every way. I find it incredibly soothing to commune with the plants while making medicine. I must say, it is one of the most empowering experiences I have participated in. To see others as well as myself experience the healing benefits of the plants, roots, barks, flowers and fruits. All these magical parts, willingly working together to give us assistance in our struggles here in a broken world.
I was privileged this summer to go up to the Boreal forest and gather my own Labrador tea leaves, willow and a few juniper berries. I have yet to collect my own crampbark. But I now have a place to go for next year.
There are so many anti-inflammatory plants. I keep my eye out for them since I have struggled with joint pain and many other pains throughout my life, especially in the last few years.
This infusion recipe comes from the incredible herbalist, Beverley Gray from the Yukon. Her book, The Boreal Herbal has been just what I hoped for in a resource book. Teaching me about each plant, it’s growing habits, it’s incredible health and medicinal benefits and also it’s historical and cultural relevance to the Indigenous people. I am so grateful for the work she has done and many others in recording this knowledge for others to learn from. What a gift. And here I share my adapted version with you!
Boreal Muscle-and-Pain Relief Oil Infusion
- 1 part willow inner bark and leaves
- 1 part juniper berries, crushed
- 5 parts crampbark
- 1/2 part Labrador tea leaves
- with Vit E oil
- 4 drops Peppermint oil
1 cup infused oil
2 tablespoons beeswax
1/4 teaspoon vitamin-E oil (2 capsules)
4 drops benzoin oil (optional)
Essential oils (optional)
- Measure out herb-infused oil.
- Melt beeswax in the top of the double boiler, then add the infused oil and stir with a stainless steel spoon.
- When the oil and beeswax have melted together add vitamin-E oil, benzoin, and/or essential oils. Pour the mixture into a measuring cup.
- Carefully pour into clean, sterilized jars.
- Wait until the salve has fully cooled before putting on the lids.
- Cap and label your salve.
I cannot help but be here with you.
Even here in winter, as we approach the longest night of the year. I feel connected and close to you.
I can drink you in my tea which was so lovingly grown and harvested in my back yard.
I can smell you in the smudge and the steam, so calming and reassuring that all is well.
I can feel you on my skin, when I rub the healing balms into my sore joints and muscles.
I can see you sitting by the sunny windows, collecting radiance and life energy to share with the rest of creation.
I can hear you as you whisper teachings of the ancestors, though my ears are so dulled by the noise of technology.