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.


Jeanne said...

Hi Betty,
I saw the pics of the herbs, and guess what ? we have here, in Switzerland , just the same ones , and just now, although the tussilago has almost finished flowering. Is that not amazing ? I appreciate very much your blog , thanks for sharing.
Have a nice day,
Jeanne ( French Switzerland )

Betty said...

Jeanne, thank you so much for responding. I think it is amazing that the same herbs are springing up in your part of the world. Vive les herbes.

Growing in the Green said...

The pictures are lovely. So glad you wrote aobut their ID as some of these I have never seen live (only in a tincture bottle or dried):)

Susan Hess said...

Betty, David Winston likes to say Valerian is high in DSF.... Dirty Sock Factor!!

Betty said...

Sue, how Valerian can have such a wonderful smelling flower and such a terrible smelling root, I don't know! Yeah, the root smells like feet and well, another body part that can smell rank!