The first Ancient Roots Gathering was a great success. Thank you so much to everyone who came out, ready with questions and great vibes! It was a great group and I look forward to seeing some of you back at the Summer session of Ancient Roots! It was a joy to see people of all ages learning and growing together, and today I will share some cliffs notes about some of the plants and topics we covered.
We talked about the ancient principal of Forest Bathing. The basic idea is to really immerse yourself in nature whenever possible. See the colors, smell the smells, hear the sounds, touch, taste and give thanks! Our ancestors historically spent most of their lives outdoors, and among other things this was a contributing factor to their good health and lack of the diseases of civilization. For those of us who live in cities and offices, it can take dedication to be close to nature. Fortunately, the more often we can get out and Forest Bathe, the more we can reap such benefits as strengthened immune system functioning, reduced stress and blood pressure, increased energy levels and ability to focus, deeper intuition and sleep and an overall increase in happiness.
We also introduced people to the wild versions of two common domesticated veggies. We talked about wild lettuce, and how this sometimes slightly bitter ancestor of modern domesticated lettuce, is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. It also has a mildly sedating effect, and calm nerves, anxiety, hyperactivity and restlessness in people of all ages. We also talked about one of my favorite wild foods, wild onion. These wild varieties can be milder than the modern domesticated bulbs, but some pack a punch. These are amazing to cook with, both raw in salads, and cooked as highly nutritious replacement for store bought onions.
We had fun getting the kids involved during the walk, my daughter presented one of her favorite plants: Oxalis. Also known as Wood Sorrel, this plant has a distinct sour lemon like taste that makes it a great addition to salads, vinaigrettes, seasonings, or as an -aide type drink. At the end we gave the kids a parting gift of an acorn cap, and showed them how to use them as a whistle!
In the first aid department, we helped people identify Poison Ivy, as well as talked about plants and techniques including Virginia Creeper that prevent and relieve symptoms of a Poison ivy rash. We talked about Plantain which has been called Nature’s Band-aid, and how to use it as a “go to” plant for minor cuts, bites and burns. Plantain, like so many other wild plants heal a host of common ailments like sore throat, ulcers, cough, cholesterol, diabetes, indigestion, and hemorrhoids.
We also showed people the Wild Soap Tree which grows in the area. This is comparable to Eco Nuts that are now very popular for laundry. Effective and best of all FREE!
One thing we saw repeatedly is the vast number of medical conditions treated by the plants and “weeds” that surround us. I encourage you to take the time to get to know the plants that grow in and near your home, in your favorite outdoor spot, or just outside you window at work. Quite often we find, these UN-planted and UN-tended plants are in fact answers to our prayers for healing. When we view “weeds” and nature as an ally, rather than an enemy to be poisoned and conquered, we find deep peace, healing and FREE MEDICINE AND FOOD!
Keep posted, the Summer 2016 Ancient Roots Gathering is sure to be great! Make sure you follow me on Facebook to get updates on events, and please show some love by sharing this post!