August 3, 2017
Sniff, sniff… Just had the most wonderful call with the interns last night. It was our last call as I’m simplifying things to prepare for the birth of this little one.
Two of them have worked with me directly at the apothecary. And, one was a friend who became a satellite intern, of sorts.
Normally, each month, they turned in a plant profile or monograph and we went over that for an hour. They explored so many herbs and now have the tools to approach a plant through different perspectives (energetics, taste, actions, traditional uses, scientific research, their own observation, etc).
With all of these tools in their toolbox, it feels they are all ripe to be cut off the vine and more-than-ready to each take their own steps down the plant path.
This last exercise was completely different from all previous ones and very free-form! I participated as well and we all procrastinated (smile). Basically, we were to do something creative and artful regarding a plant. We were to experience a plant from a place of open curiosity…from a place of just presence…and expressing that through art…allowing the plant to transform us and our understanding of it.
We had a check in and we each talked about our projects… I just have to share ❤
Intern #1 – Now lives in CA and is finishing up an Associate’s degree in Environmental Studies… He is of Latino descent and had a realization recently that food is not just about eating to be healthy…but that food is actually *medicine.* This has been a game-changer for him. He has started to explore the pre-colonial, largely plant-based diet of Mexico and some local Native tribes of the US (here is one book he is excited about).
His presentation (over the phone) was on mesquite flour which he has been experimenting with. He decided to focus on mesquite flour because he recently had a powerful experience in Tucson while visiting. He was raised in the desert and had always been so tired of it…couldn’t get far enough away from it… But, something shifted this time…he opened up to the plants there for the first time and fell in love with it. He visited a local native seed store and found the mesquite flour…
Intern #2 – Is finishing undergrad in MS…has one more year to go. After really pushing herself, she has been exploring a healthy work-life balance so that she feels vital and energized and not drained. This summer she shadowed some Naturopaths in Texas and visited a couple of Naturopathy schools out West to consider next steps in her life. She plans to take a year off of school after she graduates to take some deep breaths.
Her presentation was on wild carrot. We had worked with this plant in the field and she remembered it could be confused with poison hemlock or water hemlock, so she doubled-up on her ID and researched the plant. Once she confirmed it was wild carrot, she painted the beautiful umbels of this flowering plant ❤
Intern #3 – Is in her last semester of nursing school. She is exhausted by the program, but knows she can contribute so much to people who are ill…and from the unique vantage point she has about health and healing. She has been experimenting with foraging and gardening full-force! She has grown much of her own food this summer and harvested a lot from the wild, including kudzu and wild amaranth.
Her presentation was on purple nut grass or purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus) which has been a pesky garden grass this summer. She decided to look at this plant differently and explore it as a food and even a medicine. She also discovered that this plant is a close relative to the popular health food/powder, tiger nut. She is currently experimenting with the tuber-like rootlets of this plant.
To wrap things up…I’ve just got this to say… Like many of the students I work with…I’m so curious to see where life takes these interns… One thing is for sure, their feet are firmly rooted on the plant path…so only good things will happen ❤
I have experienced mesquite. Living in Abilene, Texas I was never very far from mesquite or prickly pear. Or rattlesnakes, scorpions and brown recluse spiders.
Try juicing a prickly pear. I have never seen anything go through the human body so fast or come out so stunningly. This is an explosive subject, if you know what I mean.
Note that mesquite is often infected with a ‘parasitic’ herb called mistletoe which is itself considered, by many, to be toxic to humans, and by many others to be highly beneficial.. Now, I have eaten the berries and the leaves of mistletoe, just a few, and noticed actions. Sufficient to say, don’t eat very many.
I have also eaten the leaves and beans of mesquite and would like to say it is not lima beans or chick peas you have here. This is quire different.
However, I would suggest here, as in other situations with different plants working together on their own without our interference, that they are creating a formula for us.
That mesquite bean definitely will make a flour with a short line protein complex but it is not very tasty. I suggest that when mistletoe is present on that knarly mesquite tree that the bean then becomes food for a queen.
“an explosive subject” – lol – i’ll take your word for it! i just love prickly pear as a food and medicine…
i know an herbalist that works with mistletoe for heart conditions — namely edema of the heart… i don’t work with it…yet,,,
interesting to know that it grows on mesquite…and what you suspect off their collaboration…i’ll keep that in mind!