Thursday, April 10, 2008
Spring has Sprung or at least the snow has melted
Ahh, finally a few days of warmer temps strung together. 50s and 60s for a few days wakes up plants. I hear from a lot of people that they don't know what herbs look like when they emerge from the ground. So, I've snapped a few pictures of some herbs that are poking up now.
The first picture is Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). The leaves will turn greener as they grow. Valerian root is used as a sleep inducer. The flowers smell of cherry pie. The root smells of feet and butt! What a dichotomy.
The next picture is Celandine (Chelidonium majus). The yellow-orange sap of the plant removes warts. This works pretty well. There's a folk tale that says swallows use the sap to clear the eyes of their newborn chicks. Humans, don't try that! The tree swallows return around here when the celandine starts growing in the spring. Sure enough, I saw the first tree swallow 2 days ago.
The next plant is Angelica (Angelica archangelica). This lovely perennial is good for a number of things, one of which for protection. The candied stems are delicious. Various plant parts are used medicinally.
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfare) is next and is the first blooming wildflower around here. Coltsfoot is
also known as son-before-the-father because the blooms are first, followed by leaves later. Often, people mistake coltsfoot for dandelion. As the Latin name tells you, coltsfoot is useful for coughs. However, NEVER use coltsfoot without the guidance of a competent herbalist.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is the last picture above. A great anxiolytic and useful for some heart problems as well. Again, make sure you have the advice of a competent herbalist before using this.