It's officially Spring. Though it was official according to the calendar about a month ago, Nature has now spoken in northern New Jersey. Here are three plants that signal spring to me:
The first colts foot flowers are up - bright yellow sunshine that can be turned into a beautiful tincture.
Coltsfoot Flower Tincture
- Coltsfoot flowers, freshly gathered
- Vodka or Brandy
Gather fresh flowers, enough to fill whatever size jar you are using. Cut or tear them up into small pieces. Include the furry, scaly stems. Fill a clean, wide mouthed jar with the flowers almost to the top. Pour 100 proof vodka or 80 proof
brandy over the flowers. Fill to the very top of the jar and then cap securely. Label the jar.
When it’s ready, in six weeks or more, pour off the liquid. Squeeze out the flowers and compost them.
This yellow coltsfoot tincture can now be used in hot water, or in a good expectorant herbal infusion, decoction, or syrup such as can be made with flowering hyssop, mullein leaves, or white pine needles, for a few examples, to make an excellent remedy even more effective to help ease a cough, especially a dry one.
The Gift of Healing Herbs contains hundreds of effective recipes for remedies like these that are just as easy to make!
The purple periwinkle flowers with tell-tale, square tipped petals, are springing up everywhere. Various species of this plant are used in cancer treatments, both as chemotherapy and as herbal medicine, but I mostly just enjoy nibbling the flowers.
Finally, the nettles are popping up through the brown leaves that are thickly covering them. I will rake them off, but the nettles are unimpressed with their weight. They are so tough and resilient! And guess what? They impart these qualities to us, every time we eat or drink them, or even simply hang out with them, perhaps consciously exchanging breath: you breath out, they breath in. They exhale, you inhale. That simple practice can gradually take you deep into relationship with the plants you use for food and medicine.
The same spirit animates us all and plants have much to offer when we take the time to listen to them. And nettles, well cooked in water and seasoned with butter and salt, are so delicious! If you don’t have your own to pick, get them at your local Farmer’s Market. You’ll be glad you did!
Sign up for my free newsletter at WiseWomanHealingWays.com. You can find hundreds of healing recipes in, The Gift of Healing Herbs-Plant Medicines and Home Remedies for a Vibrantly Healthy Life and clear guidance on how to connect with Nature and your own true nature in Healing Magic, A Green Witch Guidebook to Conscious Living-10th Anniversary edition. My meditation CD's are available through CD Baby.