Saturday, May 21, 2005

Valerian Update and Nettles and Dock

I went to my friend Liz's house today to cut some stinging nettles she has growing on her property. She's always complaining about them, but to me they are just a delicious tea. (Then again, I don't have them on my property, and I wasn't eager to dig them up to plant some here either. They do pack a wallop. )

They are very nutritious and have so many vitamins and minerals. I look forward to having them in the winter when I lack those things. Nettle seems so deeply nourishing.

Anyway, I got there early in the AM and talked to them, left some little pinches of tobacco and cut a bunch. There was much more than I thought there would be. Plenty left for later.

Liz's sons came out and wanted to help, they are 5 and 7. They told me in detail how much the nettles hurt when they sting and how important it is to wear gloves, and how they had discovered that if they put some fern on the sting it seemed to make it go away. They had their little garden gloves on and their clippers and we made 2 piles, one for me and one for Liz.

Liz came outside and pointed out the dock that was plaguing her garden. I said that I had heard the dock takes away the sting of nettles. "Nettle in, dock out". I also told her that dock is good for anemia, as it helps the body absorb iron. She encouraged me to dig some up, which I did. Those roots are deep! I need to read up on dock. She wants to get rid of it and I'm sure I can find a good use for it.

Then she invited me in and offered me some cinnamon rolls she had just baked from scratch, and let me tell you, they were fabulous. The recipe was from an old cookbook from the 1950's with cool old corny illustrations. I wrote down the title so I could try to find it on half.com

As we ate, I mentioned to her that since her husband has fibromyalgia, the nettles stings might actually help him with his pain. And I told her I had noticed wintergreen growing on a different part of the property last fall when I was deer hunting. I said maybe she might want to try a liniment from it, since she has pain in her neck from a car accident years ago.

Sometimes the land offers us plants we need, but we just see them as a nuisance. Hmmm, maybe I should think about that in relation to my valerian seedlings (see post below).

Anyway, after that I went to the farmer's market and gave the herb guy my valerian seedlings and he gave me some hidcote lavender in exchange. I felt it wasn't a fair trade, since valerian is prolific and lavender is more marketable and also less hardy and harder to propagate. I paid for half the lavender after arguing with him about it. He laughed at my reverse hagling.

Then I ran into another friend of mine, Ruth Ann, who is the person who started me on this herby journey anyway... by suggesting I read Stephen Harrod Buhner.

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