Plants of the Southwest Part 4
The desert is a place of extremes. Take the area I live in. The High Prairie or High desert. Edgewood NM is 6700 feet above sea level. To our west is the Sandia Mountains with the peak at 10680 feet. Summers hit 100 frequently, and we have hit 48 below but that is an extreme. Usually its only 10 to 12 below. With out the wind. My grandmother used to tell us that 80% of the plants are either for medicine, food or both. 10% are for pretty and the rest poisonous. But all have their uses.
This weeks plants:
Sagebrush and Sage (Use they are different!) Piñon, ( The NM State tree) And a old home favorite flower Hollyhock.
Sagebrush grows almost all over North America, The one that are the prolific here in the Southwest are Bigelow Sagebrush, Sand Sagebrush Fringed Sage.
The sage that is most often seen in the herb shops is White Sage. It is not in the sage brush family, it is Salvia apiana a true sage. It is not native to New Mexico or most of the desert southwest, more a native of California and coastal ranges under 3500 feet. Now it will grow well in the desert and has been known to escape and establish it self in the wild. But I wont include it in the news letter past this brief description.
True sagebrush is of the Artemisia family If the name Artemisia sounds familiar will its also known as wormwood, the drink Absinthe is made from it. But that is not our topic.
Desert sagebrush uses are numerous, it is one of those medicine cabinets in a bush
Sand Sage is one of the most common and the one I use mostly. My main use is in salve of pinon sage plantain and comfrey for a antibiotic salve that is soothing and very effective. The main uses of it are analgesic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, digestive, disinfectant, emollient, febrifuge, poultice and sedative. One thing about sagebrush is it can cause minor dermatitis reactions in some people so a small amount placed on the person and check for reaction
The Piñon (Pronounced Pin Yone) is a fantastic tree. If you have ever been to Santa Fe in the winter it is the smell of the city. Piñon has a lot of uses, one is a a splinter remover. It works well on glass splinters also. The pitch as difficult to handle as it is, is a great bandage. In my wound care classes, I show how to use it like Benzoin. We use Benzoin to anchor steri strips, and make sure a pressure dressing stays in place.
Using the piñon I spread a light amount on both sides of the wound and a light coat on top. Steri Strips are then used to bring the wound together. But what if Steris are not available? Easy cut cotton cloth in to strips, add some pitch to the cloth and place them on the wound and draw it together. Dress the wound with a bandage and leave it alone. The pitch will last about a week and wear off on its own. I use a pit of the pitch the needles and the smallest twigs in my salve I talked about earlier. Pine Needle tea is super high in Vitamin C and is vital in preventing Vit C deficiency. The inner bark stripped of the hard outer made as a decotion and sweetened with honey is a strong expectorant best used after the main part of the cold has passed and the heavy congestion has set in.
Hollyhock. This is the plant that all our grandmothers grew in the front yard by the door. This beautiful plant is related to the marshmallow plant hand has the some properties, namely the mucilage. The sticky slimy gluey …stuff that is so vital to healing. Tisanes made from the leaves is soothing to an upset stomach. The roots. This is where the power of the Hollyhock lives. Gather the roots in the fall the lighter the color the better, chop and dry and use as a cold infusion for longer storage tincture is the way to go.
The dried root ground to a powder and soaked and spread on clean gauze makes a fantastic drawing poultice. Now wheat flour and bananas work as well but the its the mucilage that is the key. It literally excites the white blood cells and focuses them directly on the infection. To really get a powerful poultice use a tincture of chaparral or that is not available then soak the root powder in the juice of prickly pear and use the leaf to hold the poultice in place.
Some NEW additions have been added to the Medic Shack! I am going to be working with a herb store in Cedar Crest NM The Village Apothocary She hasn’t got a web page yet but here is her address 12220 NM-14, Cedar Crest, NM 87008 (505) 286-5794. Go in and see Melody, she is a certified herbalist and from talking to her she is like my friend Cat Ellis of The Herbal Prepper in that she truly cares more about helping than making a fortune from people.
I want to thank Chili Hills in Edgewood for offering me a place to teach. Check them out and stop in grab a bite (The Pub Burger is AWESOME) and say HEY to Steven. They are at #5 NM-344, Edgewood, NM 87015 (505) 286-9202
So We are redoing our classes and with the help of Melody at the Village Apothecary and Steve at Chili Hills look out for some new and exciting offerings.
October 22 We had scheduled a wound care class, but I am going to replace it with a Herbal Medicine class. I want to get folks trained up on herbal medicine, because I have a plan to place herbal trained first responders (Shh its a SECRET still!) in the community to assist when or if there is trouble.
Sign up on the Medic Shack Page
Class date is October 22nd 8am to 3pm This class is priced at $75.00 at Chili Hills #5 NM-344, Edgewood, NM 87015
Herbal first aid kits are almost here!
These are the salves and glycerites, powders and one tincture for basic first aid uses.
The kits will include:
Cuts and scrapes: Sage Pine and Plantain Comfrey salve
Burns: Chaparral Plantain Calundula Marshmallow salve
Insect bites: Yarrow chaparral salve
Upset stomach: Mint/Mesquite glycerite
Rashes: Plantain Comfrey chaparral salve
Diarrhea kaolin clay and pectin
Muscle aches strains and sprains: Arnica Cayenne salve
Cold Flu AND sore throat: Elderberry Echinacia slippery elm and osha glycerite
Sore throat Osha, Yerba Mansa, licorice slippery elm
Allergy Mormon tea tincture
Pain relief Willow bark Devils claw glycerite
And of course activated charcoal.
I chose to use glycerites instead of tinctures for most of the internal meds to make it easier on people. The Mormon Tea tincture, will the tincture works so much better than a glycerite, but a glycerite or acetum can be substituted.
These recipes are either direct copies or slight modifications of my grandmothers recipes that us grand kids had to take. But I have NOT included her primary cure all for ANYTHING that kept kids out of school. 1 Large Wooden Spoon of castor oil!
I should have these packaged and ready to go with in the week or so so stay tuned for updates!