Thursday, September 22, 2011

Globe Mallow, using local medicinal herbs.

Before I jump into this post (If you want to skip some jabbering and go to the meat of the post skip this paragraph) let me share a little herb humor...yeah that's what I said, herb humor. Don't hear those words together much do ya? When I was going to school at NMSU I took a communications class, you know the one where they make you speak in front of the class, whoop-de-doo (said listlessly). Could it be that I was only 19 (wow it feels so long ago, almost 10 years!). Ok back on topic (I do have A.D.D. after all...rabbit, squirrel...focus, focus). I shared this little bit of humor when I gave an 'informative' speech on Rosemary, I can imagine that my class thought I was some kind of weirdo, but I was talking about what I knew and loved...herbs; the legal kind. Well I guess mari-ju-ana is legal here in NM now. You know how people can tease us herb lovers..."ohhh you like herbs" insinuating you know...Okay, so here is the herb humor I was telling you about 10 paragraphs ago...dang maybe there is too much build up. So back in the day if you had a rosemary bush  growing vigorously in your garden, it meant the women wore the pants in the family. So our sweet rosemary has been pruned down by humiliated husbands and fed miracle grow by wives, they had that back then right? Don't tell me you won't think about that next time you see a big or small rosemary bush in a friends yard ;)

Now onto the whole point for my post. I got a nasty cough last week and it was dry and non-productive and annoying and hurt every time I coughed deep into my chest. I normally would jump to my good ol' box of herbs but I knew I would have to make some licorice root tea and while it works fantastically for maladies such as I was suffering from..a het a het... I really don't like the taste of it, which is funny seeing as it's the one my husband likes the taste of  the best. I couldn't bring myself to drink it, whiny I know,  I mean I used to make and drink Chaparral tea for pity sake why I couldn't I suck it up and drink licorice root tea. But as I was getting a drink of water a few days ago and looking out my kitchen window, something orange caught my eye and as if beckoning to me, don't you remember me, you learned about me back in your days at NMSU on that herbal walk when you were studying local medicinal plants for the summer and getting paid. OK not the last part but it did catch my eye and I knew Globe Mallow was especially good for coughs. So I walked down there and snapped some pics for our blog and harvested some leaves and flowers to make tea with. Just so you know, however, morning is supposed to be the best time to harvest herbs but I needed it then and I knew it would be OK. I also snipped off several stems about 12 in long and hung them upside down in a closet in a warm room, for later use, perhaps this winter when it's pretty orange flowers will be replaced by snow on the ground and I won't be able to just go pick it at my leisure.

So here's some facts coming your way about the diverse GLOBE-MALLOW: Is a quite reliable plant that is utilized throughout the entire southwest. It's still used as a medicinal plant today and the entire plant was used as a food source in times of need by many South-West Indian tribes. The Navajo word for globe-mallow translates to "medicine that covers." The liquefied roots of this plant help to stop bleeding and are used as a treatment for skin diseases. Globe-mallow is one of the Navajo Life Medicines and is used to treat stomachaches, improve appetites, cure coughs and colds. Globe Mallow ranges in elevation from 3,000 to 8,000 feet. This perennial herb grows from three inches to five feet in height. The tiny hairs on the entire plant can be irritating to the eyes, which is how the name “sore-eye poppy” came into use. Globe-mallows of the mallow family show their orange to red-orange colors in the spring and summer. Blossoms resemble miniature hollyhocks and are especially common along roadsides, although you don't want to gather it from a busy roadside, not because it's not safe to stop to get it but because of the pollution from vehicles passing by. 

It has also been used to strengthen the voice. I wanted to wait to post this until today since I knew I would be starting voice lessons again and wanted to put it to the test especially since this cough isn't entirely gone and what I noticed today was the same thing I noticed when I made and drank the tea a few days ago. It seemed to make my throat feel cleaner and better in some way that's hard to explain...drink it and try and put it in your own words. When I drank it the first time my cough was dry and the next morning it started to become productive and the heaviness in my chest was nearly gone. I am very pleased with this herb all around and its mild taste and will be adding it to my herb medicine chest. To read a little more about Globe Mallow go to this link. It goes into more depth about what it does.                                                                                                                                                       

Tea infuser

How to make your own herbal tea: The general rule is to add one tablespoon of dried herb to one cup of water. If using fresh herbs double it to two tablespoons steep in boiled water 10-15mins. The part of the herb being used determines how it's prepared, most leaves and flowers will acquiesce there healing properties in an infuser while leathery leaves, bark ,and roots must have them extracted by a decoction by boiling in water for 2-5mins and then steeped for 10-15mins. Strain the herbs out before you drink your tea. I included a picture of the tea infuser. This is my favorite way to prepare tea only because I know if I make a whole pot of tea it will go to waste so I prefer to make it cup at a time. The purpose of the lid is to preserve some of those healing properties after you pour boiling water over  your herbs. It may smell great after it starts to steam but you want to preserve as much of the healing properties as possible. When you put the lid on, the steam condenses and falls back into the water. If your goal is to break up a cough or if you have a cold then drink the tea hot but if not drink it through out the day a sip here a sip there. You can drink up to four cups a day. Also remember that people respond differently to herbs. Some may respond faster than others. If you respond slowly, it may take a few days to feel a difference. We're conditioned to think we must feel a difference right away and if we don't then it's not working but restoring balance to the body is no small task...nuff said :)  

One last word on the matter and then I promise I will shut-up :)-  Where ever you live you should become well acquainted with all local herbs in your area and region. For me that would be the SouthWest. Of coarse you should get to know all herbs... you know since there are only a few..haha. But since so many well known herbs don't grow naturally in my area, like stinging nettles for instance, it will not do me as much good if I don't have a large supply. Besides it's fun and fulfilling to see herbs in your area and feel confident that if you need them you know where to find them and how to prepare them for others health and well being as well as your own. There are some books I have had my eye on for some time, especially this one for the Southwest. There are plenty of books out there for any area of the country.  So "Go read some boouks" -Naucho Libre                                                  


1 comment:

  1. I'm with ya on the licorice..that's one of the worst flavors on earth!