Brown Bear Herbs Herbalism & Tactics for Thriving Together

New Video: Shepherd's Purse
New Video: Shepherd's Purse
Shepherd's purse is a wonderful herb used for the reproductive health women and nonbinary folx. Historically it has been particularly helpful for uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse due to muscle weakness, and trauma. Menstrual blood that is dark and has clots can be an indicator this herb will be supportive. Learn more by reading our plant meditation club experiences here.  
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Reveal Date: 7/18, Herb of Traditional Western Herbalism
Reveal Date: 7/18, Herb of Traditional Western Herbalism
This week we will be meditating on an unknown herb of traditional Western herbalism.  The reveal date on your pouch should match the date on the post--7/18 (a Thursday!).  Meditate and share your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual observations in the comments.  A summary will appear here when I reveal the herb. If you would like to join in, we'd love to have you. Check it out here.  Some areas of observation during your meditation and the day/days thereafter: -bodily changes (physical) -energetic shifts -mood/attitude changes -thoughts that arise that aren’t things you normally would think about (like you might normally be thinking about cooking dinner (so skip sharing that), but after taking the plant, you are also thinking about an old relationship and felt remorse, or forgiveness, or new awareness—share that) -images that come to mind -songs that come to mind -messages and/or phrases and their meaning to you if not the same for everyone
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Coixseed, Job's Tears, yi yi ren, by Agnieszka Kwiecień, Nova
Yì Yǐ Rén 薏苡仁, Job's tears, Reveal Date: 7/11/24
This week we tasted and meditated with Job's tears, or coixseed, yì yǐ rén 薏苡仁, scientific name: Coix lacryma-jobi. Alyssa, my daughter, and I were in attendance. We had a zoom Plant Meditation Club gathering :)   Areas for further investigation: Jobs tears, yì yǐ rén, as a means to increase wood energy. Yì yǐ rén to facilitate sacred, spiritual sex. Use of this herb as a food for hypothyroidism. Pre Meditation: Taste, etc The seed looks small popped popcorn (see photograph). The tea of the crushed seeds had the color of light straw and is mild in taste. The tea was fairly mild and neutral. Later on in the steeping the flavor became more sweet--light sweetness of a grain, like corn or wheat. Initially I felt the tea’s energy more in the back of my mouth and nose. Alyssa felt energy in her forehead and eyes in the beginning. Meditation 1: Alyssa: forehead pressure, around eyes, sinuses cleared, alert and content, no specific thoughts or visions My daughter: The Soul Glo commercial song from Coming to America is playing. It is a disco scene with colors flashing everywhere. There is a Black person with a large afro. The voice over is “Soul glow, get your inner colors on.” Cut to a comedy news show: Old white guy says “More like, ‘get your colored on.’” and other racist stuff. Next scene: A Black woman with a rainbow behind her (is this lesbian?) twerking to the song “Get Your Freak On”. My daughter seems bright and excited, laughing a lot. She was fired up, talking about racism before the meditation and this herb seems to have increased her passion. Me: My mouth is happy, feels fleshy (I think this is a spleen herb, which is associted with the mouth), aware of teeth, forehead, mild third eye headache. I feel grounded but I noticed I am scattered mentally. I have become more conscious of that lately, not just this meditation. I feel my nose. I tried to talk to it, but it is not a chatty herb. It motioned energetically that it does what it does in the reproductive area and also the mouth and other herbs have done this too for me but it doesn’t feel the need to say anything about it. Generally uplifted, grounded but light. I feel a lot of sexual energy in my yoni area.  Meditation 2:  Alyssa: Uplifted, mood uplifted, a little cooling (on a hot day), still energy around the nose. Calm and stable. My daughter: A Black, curvy, woman is on the TV, shaking her hips to “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira. Colorful fireworks are going off hehind her. The same douchebag white guy is sitting in his LazyBoy. When he points his remote at the TV the fireworks behind her changed to fireworks that spelled out the word “Colored” in brown. The white guy turned out to be the president. Then, there is a movie banner for the movie “The Color Purple”. The main actor is giving a speech. She says the Black community would not be what it is without Tupac and Ian McKaye.  Me: I feel my reproductive organs highlighted. I feel lots of sexual energy. Energy moves from chakra 1 to 2, then 1 to 4, then 1 to my face. I am feeling my heart chakra rotate in a big way. I feel a lot of sexual energy. The herb is quiet and I am scattered but I feel like I should be able to get a little more direct information from the herb. I try out different strategies and land on, “How should your medicine be used?” Response summary: Energy moves down to my genitals. “A lot of people want to have sex with the genitals.” This appears to be a relatively shallow type of physical pleasure. The herb can be used to have sex with the liver (the framework is Chinese medical conception of the liver). The herb elevates the energy from the genitals to the liver. The plant indicates the liver's ability to push up through earth (wood element). Once the liver is involved, the liver can bring energy up as desired to make it a spiritual act. It seemed like the energy created from sensual/sexual interaction can move up through the hiatus of the diaphragm and ascended from there. I asked for other examples, because it seemed to be indicating the liver having a lot of possibilities. It seemed mostly focused on that, but did mention, with the air of irrelevance (because it is not applicable to me)--making babies. The wood energy and other qualities of the liver remind me of the kundalini energy. Rather than affirming that idea. It seems more like the plant shared that the liver has the ability to give energy to spiritual activity (and a lot of other things, rather than being the source). At any rate the plant was indicating it has the ability to elevate sex to the liver level and at that point hand off the goal of spiritualizing sex to the liver, which will help. The plant may also support the liver.  Summary and Traditional Use: This herb is mildly cooling. It is used to relieve dampness which typically impacts the lower limbs and pelvis first. So it can improve damp digestion (diarrhea) and damp reproductive health issues. This herb is traditionally thought of as supporting the stomach, spleen (both associated with the mouth), and lungs (nose). In our plant meditation, two of us experienced highlighted eyes, which are associated iwth the liver in Chinese medicine. I don't know of this herb being used for liver support. In the meditation it was giving me insight into the movement of the wood element through the earth and the connection between the two organs. I think that alleviating damp can improve brightness and, in this case, perhaps free up liver energy. All three of us for brighter and more excited after taking this herb, though in a stable way. This herb did not seem chatty by nature, but seemed to support insight and growth. The cultural references that came out around racism and Black community culture, were complex and while mostly in my daughter's awareness, were presented in new light. The musicians and songs referenced connected Black culture to several other cultures and to history. There is a lot to dive into with all those videos and cultural references! Enjoy.  This grain herb is used as a food. This gluten free grain may be helpful as a gluten free grain option for hypothyroidism. With Hashimoto's thyroiditis gluten often is a contributing factor to the body's reaction to the thyroid. Job's tears seems to increase enthusiasm when it is present, so it may help with apathy, which is a common low thyroid symptom regardless of etiology.  This seed is also used in traditional jewelry making. It may share some of its medicine when used for craft too.    Invitation: Do you have knowledge or experience of this herb as medicine, food, or for crafting? Please share in the comments below. :) If you are interested in getting to know plants in general and new things about plants through meditation and shared experience, sign up here. 
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Jade Gem Essence, Reveal Date: 7/4
Jade Gem Essence, Reveal Date: 7/4
This week we meditated with jade, a gem essence. Meditation 1: My daughter: This meditation was hard. I did see a summer scene with people on a blanket, in the grass. They are drinking lime mojitos with lavender and cherry. I hear the following poem: "Mojitos under the sun. When it rains it pours, Soon the divorce will have begun." Me (Lily): A hand offers me a light green stone (the color of aventurine, which is also a jade color). They say, "When I give you this...". I see women, this takes them deep into their hearts. So deep they cannot feel it so much when things happen with more peripheral layers of their body. I think of women in China, the wives were sex slaves too. This is a solution. A friend of mine was a concubine for lifetimes. She learned to dissociate then. There are ways to deal with this that are not positive: to dissociate or make up a love story, like Stockholm syndrome. Three ways to manage these situations more positively: this, women's kirtan kriya, and 8 (8th chakra, ascension/awareness). This gem takes you in, in, in, so far inside your heart--in a tiny space there. This also seems related to not being able to speak. It is a silent, safer space.    "There are two ways to get inside." This means inside a woman's body. I think they are vagina and heart, but the stone is very quiet about most things.  Meditation 2:  My daughter: I see 80's girls. Then I hear another rhyme: "Lime mojitos under the summer sun, 'Run, run, run' he said, and so I ran, and it was never the same again."    Me: I asked what it was best for. It said in many ways it is easier to be depressed than to be 8. When you are depressed there is a really easy way out (suicide). When you are 8 you have to think about things from a broad perspective.    Traditional Use: Heart--dealing with shock, good for calm in the midst of a storm--perhaps being in the eye of the storm in a small space inside your heart. Pathological normalcy--this makes sense with traditional, and perhaps contemporary Chinese culture, where there was a need to follow the leader under extreme, controlling leadership. Love--new love, inspiring fidelity, especially love in later years.  Protection from sexual or financial manipulation. This seems related to the feelings and dangers around wives and concubines in China, and the idea of it being "a solution". Kidney: support (heart plus kidney: shaoyin support).  Dreams: calms the mind and brings insightful dreams (this is associated with heart in Chinese medicine) Relationships: improves dysfunctional relationships, supportive for people who have been bullied and belittled.  Invitation: Have you worked or meditated with jade? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
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Muxiang flower closup from this cool blog post: https://cultivate3d.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/mu-xiang-%E6%9C%A8%E9%A6%99-aucklandia-kappa-story-a-potpourri-of-examination-survey-method-and-identification/
Mùxiāng, 木香, Costus Root, Reveal Date: 6/27: herb of classical Chinese Medicine
This week we meditated with mùxiāng, 木香, costus root, whose scientific name is Aucklandia lappa.    Mù xiāng for promoting emotional connection and devotion to the human race warrants more investigtion. Mouth/Taste:  Smells like fake cheese, or faintly of goat milk. The flavor is tangy, mushroomy, a little sweet (especially on the second steep). The feeling is dry. Energy comes to my nose (which is associated with the lungs in Chinese medicine).  Meditation 1: My daughter: At the start of the meditation we were at a pizza shop and there was pepperoncini on the pizza. You said (meaning me, Lily), "Oh god, I really want it, but I can't have it." Then a cup of this tea appeared.  I asked the plant "Tell me what the big thing is that you are good for."  I saw a scorched Earth with a giant bomb that was exploding.  I heard (like a song) "Think of the human race."  Then I see a giant pepperoncini in the sky.    Me (Lily): I feel my nose, then my base (first chakra area). Two thin (about 1" wide) yellow energy lines go up my abdomen and torso (this is along the stomach meridians). Gradually the yellow lines get wider. Then there is more yellow on the left and it spreads out to fill my left lower quadrant. It talked to me about my digestion slowing down, suggesting maybe I need to get a thyroid test. I felt increased peace and grounding.  I decided I did not want to go to my school because it is so oppressive of my voice, which is bad for my thyroid (my hashimoto's is in remission and if I continue to comply with the wishes of the school I do feel it will become an active problem again, I would not be surprised if it is already moving in that direction). This does not mean I will stop attending, but the herb is making me honest with myself, and I will need to find a solution that works for my health if and when I continue my doctoral program in acupuncture and Chinese medicine.  My daughter gets giggly. Meditation 2:  Me: I am ruminating about my conflicted feelings about the people at the school who are giving me trouble and the school in general, my heart hurts a little. My daughter: I see nothing for seven minutes. Then I see a pepperoncini with a mouth and two eyes. It says: "I will be very important to your life, but mostly your mom's life. Very important!" Summary and Traditional Use: This herb showed up for improving digestion, most likely for digestion of fats, like cheese*, thyroid health, and having more humanity/the cost of bombs.  *Pepperoncini peppers have a capsaicin level of 193 parts per million (ppm). Capsaicin is known to help digest fats. Pickles contain vinegar, which debatably helps digest fats and/or calm inflammation when the gut is irritated by certain foods. For easier fat digestion (with cheesy pizza) this herb offers a formula: a cup of mù xiāng root tea, and pepperoncinis as one of your pizza toppings. Gut bombs and bombs. Use of this herb for promoting more emotional connection and devotion to the human race warrants more investigtion. This traditional Chinese herb is known for activating the gallbladder, large intestine, spleen, stomach, and triple burner. The gallbladder helps break down fats into food which eases digestion (spleen, stomach and large intestine in this case). This herb is used for eliminating food stagnation and diarrhea. (Bensky, Materia Medica, ed 3). This herb can help strengthening the will, and over time reducing waking from nightmares (Divine Farmer's Classic of Materia Medica, trans: Wilms). To me this indicates it moderates heat, which can be involved in nightmares and diarrhea (excess heat), and prolonged excess heat (eg autoimmune attack and inflammation of the thyroid) can lead to hypothyroidism and slowed digestion. Thyroid: this herb is used in ayurvedic medicine for thyroid support. In the Ayurvedic strategy for supporting hypothyroidism it is important to reduce ama by moving food along at the appropriate pace, clearing the body of toxins and/or undigested metabolic waste. This herb has been historically relied upon to  Invitation:  Do you have experience with costus root, mùxiāng, 木香 or Aucklandia lappa? Please share in the comments below, we would love to hear.     
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Video: Dú Huó likes yonis and plant meditation
Video: Dú Huó likes yonis and plant meditation
Here is the report on Dú Huó, or Angelica pubescens, from Plant Meditation Club. This plant meditation had a very sex positive/empowered woman vibe. The herb can be used for self-suffiency, lower back issues, and meditation. The herb shared a vision about how plant meditation works. Read our Plant Meditation Club post about Dú Huó.
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Plant Meditation Club, Brown Bear Herbs, Reveal date 6/20 on top of a picture of a cloth tea bag, pink roses, and evergreen needles on a green background.
Black Cohosh, Reveal Date: 6/20
This week we meditated on Black Cohosh, or Actaea racemosa.   Black cohosh is well established as a support for women experiencing intense emotions and intense relationships. This herb did bring up depression in men, and I wonder if it has an application for them as well.   Mouth/Taste:  Sweet, pungent, deep flavor, warming. Back of throat to top of mouth to tip of top lip activated. Bitter/acrid aftertaste. Much more bitter and heavy in quality the second tasting.   Meditation 1:  Black energy at inner thighs (kidney channel in Chinese medicine) and energetic focus on the root chakra. When we are depressed or brooding we hold our pain and look at it. We can send it into the earth. We can learn to "tuck and roll". When life hits up we roll with the punches.  This plant has strong energy. Emphasizing the power and drive I exhibit. Emphasizing my strength and adaptability. This plant is grounded and able to respond to threats and fears (realistic ones and others) pragmatically.    Meditation 2:  This plant stressed the importance of assessing what people are doing on earth, on the ground level of life. The first chakra relates to the stability, security, and basic needs. Movement, nature, interconnection (family and loved ones), and healthy routines for keeping your body well are supportive. It is wounded by birth and very early childhood traumas, housing insecurity, physical illness or instability. When strong we feel supported and a bit fearless--we have faith we will make it through. If it is out of balance we may have trouble being centered in daily life, we might work busily rushing from task to task, have trouble focusing, and have trouble putting ideas into action (see partner plant: blackberry). The herb we are meditating with proceeded to analyze multiple people in my life to see how they were acting on the physical level, posing a question to me about who they could be to me. The plant also pointed out the sadness in men in my life in regards to their ability to command the material world (through possessions and money). The plant pointed out their sorrow and how they expressed behaviorally.  Summary and Traditional Use:  Black cohosh has many applications for women's health including menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, etc), uterine pain, pms (including cramps and back pain), said to help prepare for delivery (when used in very small doses the last month of pregnancy--always consult an experienced and knowlegable provider!).  Emotionally this herb is helpful for (to paraphrase) magnetic and brooding women with sexually and/or financially manipulative partners. This herb can help recovery after such intense relationships end. (Matthew Wood, Earthwise Herbal: New World).  This herb is good for front to back whiplash--which may be metaphorically how these manipulative relatioships feel. This herb is good for intense, brooding women, for depression. I think of this herb as a warrior herb for women. It does help you stay strong and navigate the sudden upheavals that can come from manipulative hurtful people, such as partners or exes--people who know you so well that they can hurt you the most, and want to. I feel this herb encouraged thinking objectively and critically. This plant is also known as black snake root. It is used for snake bites.   Invitation:  Do you have experience with black cohosh either personally or clinically? Please share them in the comments below. 
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color photograph of Acorus calamus, by Mokkie
Shǐ Chāngpú, 石菖蒲, Acorus gramineus, Reveal Date: 6/13
This week we meditated on Shǐ Chāngpú, 石菖蒲, Acorus gramineus, known in English as Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus). Possibly the weirdest plant meditation so far. But, in the end, an informative exchange with the plant.  The Shén Nóng Běncǎo Jīng (trans: Wilms) states this plant is non-toxic. This plant has a history of debatable safeness. The plant information came through that it was not good for some of us to consume it. Indigenous use in North America suggests only to use as a cold infusion. Further investigation of proper use and safety is warranted.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Taste/Mouth:  This herb had a dry, warm feeling. The steeped roots had a mild flavor, a bit like black pepper corns. Meditation 1: Me: -Energy to face and forehead.  -Smiling so big it felt like I had dental cheek retractors in. My cheeks started to hurt after a while. -Very happy. Some laughing. -Then I licked my teeth, relaxed my face and went into a regular silent meditation. My daughter's vision: People running across the beach. There is a sunset. I hear "Dentures can save lives. As a young park ranger once said: 'Jo Malone (a candle and perfume brand) was right about everything'." "Sponsored by Coach" The RITE-AID logo floats across the sky at the end.  Meditation 2:  Me:  Warmth in middle (above naval) abdomen.  My daughter's: The plant indicated it is not safe to take much. The plant said she should not drink more, nor should I. A guy in his 60's is talking. He is wearing a cowboy hat, he is a sheriff-type dude from the country. He says, "Billy Bob Thornton once said 'what's mine is yours and what's your's is mine.' I really like to take that into consideration for my life, and especially my marriage." Summary and Traditional Use:  The combination of our experiences makes this the strangest plant I have worked with. I have tried Acorus calamus before for laryngitis and head injuries. I did not respond to it. This time I felt very happy to the extent it made my daughter concerned. Based on the advice not to take it, and given it is not to be used with yin deficiency with heat signs, I have some concerns about dosing. Looking at traditional use can help. Traditional Chinese use includes "opening the orifices" which it did! My mouth was open--in a muscular way, not a joint way. lol. It is also used to restore the "bright yang of consciousness". I did feel the top half of my head lit up (not with light, a clear energy). It harmonizes the Earth element (possibly indicated by the gentle warmth in my mid upper abdomen). Acorus calamus (the western varietal) is used for "senility" along with head injuries, and lack of comprehension/dull mental state.  In both Chinese medicine and native use in North America this herb is used for laryngitis as a remedy for singers from overuse of the voice. (Wood, M., The Earthwise Herbal, New World, 2009) In Ayurvedic medicine it is to help nervous speak. It is said to connect heart to voice.  Teeth: We both had teeth related experiences and indeed this herb has a history of use for oral health. Bad breath (Wood, Earthwise Herbal: New World--tribal use); toothache, periodontal disease, periodontal regeneration (Research review, multiple sources were from tribal use--unfortunately I am not getting specific tribe names)  Toxicity concerns: Calamus is prohibited in food by the FDA because most species contain the cancer-causing chemical beta-asarone. Studies on this were in high doses. It is also believed that beta-asarone is anticancer.    Cold Infusions: Multiple sources from indigenous tribes (North America) suggested that this herb should be prepared by cold infusion, left to soak overnight. This is unusual--the herbal properties are different by cold infusion and it may be less of a risk when prepared this way. It would be interesting to see an analysis of the herb prepared by cold infusion vs hot tea or capsule/dry powder. This might be a good herb to use by cold infusion with white oak bark as a mouthwash for dental health. I often use white oak bark as a mouthwash to cleanse and remineralize my teeth. (tip from Matthew Wood is to do this for 7 days, then swish and swallow thereafter). I find that drinking whole cups of white oak bark can be too drying. It is a powerful herb. It sounds like shǐ chāngpú is too, and while it may not be good for me internally, I think it might be supportive as an oral rinse. I have been procrastinating a dental visit for a while now and I do not want to find out how great dentures are!  Invitation:  Have you had experiences with shǐ chāngpú, vacha, calamus, or sweet flag? I would love to hear your experiences. Please post them in comments.
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Video: Hashimotos, Metabolism, and Lust for Life
Video: Hashimotos, Metabolism, and Lust for Life
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that impacts the thyroid gland (which is shaped like a butterfly). This condition is ten times more common in females/afab. The incidence can be up to 25% of women depending on socio-economic factors and where you live. Thyroid replacement is one of the most commonly prescribed medications. I put my Hashimoto's into remission and here are some of the key strategies I used, that I have seen help others: My favorite herb for the feeling of dullness and cleaning your blood: black walnut (this is a specific protocol), address anemia (women/AFAB: compare your blood levels to male lab standards), use naturopathy standards for healthy thyroid levels (not MD standards), eliminate gluten, acupuncture can be supportive, and custom flower and/or gem essences to support you getting the most joy and excitement out of your life!
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Shepherd's Purse Flower Essence, Reveal Date: 6/6
Shepherd's Purse Flower Essence, Reveal Date: 6/6
This week we meditated with Shepherd's Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris, flower essence.   Shepherd's purse for moving from shame to "it is what it is" & then embodiment. Meditation 1:  Me: The essence says, "Your shame is in your mouth, right?" And I say "No, not anymore". The plant slowly scans a body's energy field moving from head downwards. Throat, shoulders, heart. Below these full areas, is a line, or angled lines. It is energy being pulled in as much as possible below the heart. This is a reaction to trauma.    Question from plant about trauma: What does it matter if it is above or below? Answer: [either way] we pull our energy back in there.  Once we can shift from shame to "it is what it is" Then we can fill in "down there". I see the lower part of the body (which had been a line/lines) become filled with energy again.  Then the plant gives me some brain help. I see pink petals (like Uva ursi flowers) come around my head and wrap around my head closely.    My daughter: I see dirt (like normal ground) but it has crystals in it (stereotypical crystals). There are flowers growing from the earth, and a giant tree. I keep hearing    Very Ape, by Nirvana.  I am buried up to my neck inContradictionary liesI take pride as the kind of illiteratureI'm very ape and very nice If you ever need anything, please don'tHesitate to ask someone else firstI'm too busy acting like I'm not naiveI've seen it all, I was here first   Out of the groundInto the sky (x2) If you ever need anything, please don'tHesitate to ask someone else firstI'm too busy acting like I'm not naiveI've seen it all, I was here first   Out of the groundInto the sky (x3)   She thinks the plant is a medicine. It may be a supporting medicine, to take with something else. She doesn't like "don't hesitate to ask someone else first."    Meditation 2: Me: now I feel a gentle pulse of energy in the area of my mouth, then my nose.  The herb says it works gently. First it assesses, then move from shame to "it is what it is", then the energy fills back in, then gentle pulse. It says it works much more gently than other herbs (like thyme or goldenseal).  Summary/Traditional Use: Shepherd's purse is a tiny, weedy, plant, that is helpful for binding soil. It is said the average plant produces 3000 seeds, but large ones are estimated to produce 38,000 to 60,000 seeds! You can see from the picture above how the flowers go to seed moving upwards along the stem.    I use this medicine frequently for fibroids and prolapse due to muscle weakness. Clots during menstruation are one indication, as is a history of sexual abuse or intimate partner violence. It can be helpful for reducing clots and stopping or slowing thick, dark, oozy blood. The flower essence has strong messages around healing shame. Shame can be related to manipulation, lies, and gaslighting to protect the perpetrator. Shame may increase when people do not want to help, because they do not want to see the problem. It is hard to completely heal trauma, even emotionally stress-free traumas like a broken bone can cause us to pull our energy out of an area in shock. When there are many layers of emotional pain it is even harder to re-enter our body. I do think of myself as having healed the trauma around my mouth. After this experience I feel there is more work to do, and it is work that shepherd's purse can do gently.    I felt sorrow and comfort after this meditation. The sorrow comes from being grounded in the reality of what is. That groundedness gives us the ability to take steps to move forward into a new way of life.    Again and again I have heard this plant say "What fills you up, keep in your purse. The rest? Let it go, bleed it out." It is a reminder of the power menstruators have to release each month when they bleed. If you menstruate, take time to consider what you want to let go of, and enjoy the freedom you have to cultivate and enjoy that which you want to keep.   Invitation:  Have you worked with Shepherd's Purse as a tea, tincture or flower essence? Have you seen it in your neighborhood? it is so tiny that if you see it, I wonder if it is calling to you, with it's little heart shaped seed pods. Please share your experience in the comments below. 
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Easter Lily close up, lillium longiflorum by Mustang Joe, wiki commons
Video: Easter Lily for Sexuality, Resurrection, Lung Health, & PCOS
Spiritually and emotionally the flower has associations with resurrection and purity. Those drawn to this energetic essence may feel torn between the extreme goals of pure living, ie chastity and Godliness that the flower represents, and feeling like any deviation is living like the devil. The archetypal polarity may be referred to as the nun/whore vision of feminine sexuality. The dynamic is too rigid and controlling to work in nature. Easter Lily can help us integrate our sexual expression and enable a more authentic presence in the world, while releasing strict, outdated gender roles. Flower essences are water that has been imbued with the energy of a flower and preserved (typically) in brandy. They work by transforming energy within the body and can be helpful for physical dis-ease. They reliably are emotionally supportive. Start experimenting with flower essences and see how they work for you.  
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Angelica pubensis, Du Huo, photograph of flower by Koichi Oda
獨活, Dú Huó, Angelica Pubescens Radix, Reveal Date: 5/30
This week we meditated with Dú Huó, 獨活, Angelica pubescens radix, an herb from Chinese medicine.    Dú Huó, areas for further investigation: Plant Meditation Club comparison with Dong quai, Angelica sinensis, and Angelica archangelica. Mouth/Taste:  Me: Spicy, the steam smells like incense from a hippy resale shop (nag champa? patchouli?), the taste goes all the way to the back of my tongue.  Pre-meditation: I drink a few sips, and then my sides squeeze in (below my ribs), like they would to vomit. So, I stop drinking and prepare to meditate. My daughter: Honey-like aftertaste. Stays on my tongue. Pre-meditation: "This is improving the stomach ache I had. That could be the herb or the hot water. I never want to drink this again"...proceeds to drink the entire cup (lol, why??) Meditation 1:  Lily (me!): My third eye is very active. It looks like the three prongs of a triden are across my forehead and they are on fire, like a torch. This went on for a while. It is hot energy but not physically hot--I could see it being quite heating over time/multiple interactions. My stomach feels pretty hot, like pushing up energy. The herb pushing my energy up towards my crown. My mouth feels hot and dry. I feel the energy as a deep orange (low ember) color (this color/image reminds me of shaoyin). Energy moves from my mouth through my soft palate, to my nose (interior), and then up to my crown of my head. The herb spirit appears as a very strong female presence. She says, with respect, I like how much writing you do online from these lips (as she is looking at my labia). She has a very feminine and solid feel to her. She likes sex and enjoying the female body, but calls upon a retreat and pulling upwards when needed, for example to balance relationships. My daughter: Mr Rodger's song "Garden of Your Mind" is going through my head. The following outline drawing images tell a story. 1. Outline of a planter 2. A "V" appears on it (possibly vaginal) 3. Giant tree is coming out with swirly branches. It is a magical, mystical tree. 4. It reaches out to other smaller plants in pots. These plants are not fully formed yet. The smaller planters have keyholes on them. (More vaginal symbolism?) 5. When the plant is taken, as tea for example, this is the key, and it unlocks memories and/or thoughts and/or little potted plants waiting to join the mother.  6. One of the plants got unlocked & it was the hippie resale shop (the one with the incense smell) by the coast. 7. Also, I saw a female testifying in court using the plant. They had taken the plant beforehand. The plant helped them remember something that helped them.  Meditation 2:  Me: My third eye is strongly activated again. I am slumping. I sit up and there is an even stronger feeling of heat pushing up in my middle jiao (abdomen), as if to make me vomit from heat. I did eat a little before the meditation which may not be helping as the plant strongly pushes energy up. My daughter is laughing the entire 10 minutes of this meditation. I am feeling very light and happy too. I feel happier than I have in a long time. I think she does too. I ask her later, why she was laughing "Oh just because you are funny." I hear "what if you got a crown?" I see a white delicate crown made of light on my head. It looks a little like an ice crown, like a disney princess might wear. Sounds fun! My daughter: I was in the hippie resale shop. The people at the shop lead me to their loft, and Lizzo opens the door. What followed was her from Vogue's 73 Qs with Lizzo.   (Lizzo's into meditation too! -mom) Summary/Traditional Use:   The name of this herb means "self-reliant existence". The image of the woman in court being helped by the plant works with this message. At that same time plants are so intelligent that many plants help align you to the correct amount of what they know, such as moderating excessive self-reliance. I feel this plant has such good messages that allow for strength and self-determination while solidly engaging in joy and healthy connection. Angelica archangelica, which I am more familiar with also has strong feminine female energy as well, and also promotes self-sufficiency and meditation. I typically recommend it when there is a desire to "fill the void with people or substances". It is also very warming to the digestive tract and, when taking in excess can cause vomiting. On the other hand, when my daughter was an infant, she was vomiting frequently. I dreamed of angelica multiple times for her. I thought of as such a strong herb I wouldn't think of as for a child. (ALWAYS work with a very knowlegable and experienced herbalist during pregnancy, lactaction and early childhood!) I started her on a half drop (diluted). The angelica worked wonders stopping the vomiting. If you have a damp (slow, cold) gut, hers was also challenged by dairy received through my milk, angelica can warm & stimulate your gut so that food won't sit and get uncomfortable and come back up. If you have a warm gut you don't need it and it may make you vomit. This herb brought a lot of joy to me and my daughter. It came to mind that part of that could be memory of those early months. If you have too much Angelica (or, reputedly with Angelica archangelica, the fresh rather than dried root) it can cause vomiting. I loved the images of the "Mothership" plant connect with the small plants, consuming the plants, the garden of your mind, and this plant's playful yet strong personality. You can see that Dú Huó has a beautiful white crown that looks like a snow flake or ice crystal. How beautiful! Unlike many Chinese herbs, the root of this herb is cut, dried in the sun and used in it's unprocessed form.  In historical Chinese medicine this herb was used for eliminating damp, wind damp, and bolting piglet syndrome, or running piglet qi. Running piglet qi involve palpations moving up from the abdomen to chest, and may be considered a "panic attack". It is the feeling of energy moving in the abdomen and rushing upwards. It happens when the heart fire cannot contain the kidney water and the kidney water ascends. Imbalanced kidneys are associated with fear, and there is the sensation "one is about to die". This herb is for dispelling damp, so it can help dry out the excess kidney water. **This herb is contraindicated when there is heat in the body or yin deficiency. Invitation:  Have you worked with Dú Huó personally or in your practice? Please share your experiences below. Curious about plant meditation? We'd love to have you in our club!    
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Thymus vulgaris color photo by David Stang, wikicommons
Thyme, Reveal Date: 5/23
This week we meditated with thyme, thymus vulgaris, a common but powerful herb. Many participated in this by zoom :) I hope you will join us soon. Areas for further investigation:  Thyme for recovery from "the battlefield". Thyme for support for pregnancy. Taste/Mouth:  Savory, dense flavor, warming. Meditation 1:  Lily/me: I feel my feet very firmly on the ground, going into combat, into the battlefield. My body feels heavier. I am able to delegate and direct the other warriors. "I can do this." I feel a sense of nose to the ground, like blood hound. This reminds me of yarrow and being able to get what you want on the battlefield. This time it is not as strong. I think this is not the main intelligence this herb works with, but one of them. I see dark green, almost like a dark slimy algae, seeping down from the top left of my head to my left forehead/eye area to fix it. I remember when Chrysanthemum told me I would be to my left (frontal brain) for a while then to right (frontal brain) for a while then to the center again (third eye). As I remember, this herbs kind of readjusts/stutters and says, well we could do it that way (going back to the right to balance out, then to center) but this way is more efficient. It made me smile a little. I feel life/flesh feelings coming back to my lips and face. So many things happened to my face including a fall on my teeth in the last year. The herb says "That is what started the anger journey you are on." That is when I began expressing angry intolerance of people stepping on me. Historically I have disapproved of anger. But I am on an anger journey. It has yielded surprisingly positive results to be angry. I asked the herb if it helped with getting over the battles just as well as going into them and navigating them. It was very happy and gave me a strong affirmative, shaking my head yes, yes, yes.  I hear the song lyrics "Thyme [sic, lol] is on my side. Yes it is."  Alyssa: see comments   Theresa: I did not see a lot of visuals this time. I did see animals, rabbits, deer, it likes being near water (a stream). I asked it what it could help me with and it said it can help a little with acid reflux. It felt restful and generous. It said, "I want you to do what is right for you everytime."   Amanda: I felt movement through the body, especially areas of body pain--going straight through to pain. "Be playful and strong, be like me" Then I saw a bee. "Take care of the time, take care of me, take care of yourself. The song "Time is on my side".    My daughter: Before the meditation I see an image of grass and flowers growing inside of a pregnant belly with the moon facing backwards (as in the side of the moon we don't typically see**), all inside the belly. The moon is functional. During the meditation the pregnant belly was taken off the body and turned upside down. Cut off (not gorey, this looks like a line drawing) and hanging from the moon. There is still grass and flowers inside the pregnant belly. Meditation 2:  Me: Less activity this time. I feel calmer, smoothed out, warmth spreads over my belly, it is green in color, brighter green, more like a kelly green. It helped with my digestion (I had more pizza than I needed, as my convenience food that my body only wants so much of). It indicates my tattoo on my left forearm. It says "This is the kind of thing I help with too." I have past life memories of WW-II and being in the concentration camps. Eventually I got a number on my arm. I would remember the number a lot, so I got a tattoo of blackberry, hawthorn, wild rose, and ladies thumb (all plants that grow fabulously even through concrete, most with thorns and all super thorny). I don't think of the old tattoo much, I just see the response nature gives to oppression: vibrant, determined, medicine for the masses. I have used thyme many times for nightmares related to those memories. It has been such a strong ally for me. It doesn't make the nightmares go away, it makes them feel managable. Like that "I can do this." energy as we go into battle. The plant says "Sometimes life is pencils and chopping vegetables. Other times you can't get out of the way of yourself fast enough." Drawing and cooking are simple pleasures. Getting out of the way of "yourself fast enough" felt like abuse, being on the battlefield, and being in the concentration camps. In other lives I was the soldier that hurt others in the name of being on the "right" side. In these moments of pain, in some ways I face myself--I face the darkest parts of humanity, the murk we can blossom out of. I am inspired to work on my black quilt about gun violence. I am inspired to simplify it. I had added some comfort and medicine, but the violence (in this lifetime) occurred around concrete, there was no medicine, there was only violence--let it be what is was. The text on the quilt is the things I hear that make this kind of violence possible. Let them be written and seen, let it be done. Alyssa: see comments Theresa: The tea was harder to drink the second time. It gave me a little headache, and then it helped with relieving the headache (mid forehead). It helped with my sinuses. It can help with eyes in some way. It gave me the song "Yellow Submarine".   Amanda: I thought of gumdrops from my childhood that we had around Christmas. I wonder if it in the flavoring. It was playful. Then I got a message about boundaries. It went straight to my stomach again--it made circular movement. "Get rid of the things that no longer serve you." It says "Rest and boundaries" multiple times. It is asking me to recharge. All my pain is on the right side of my body. It pings each spot--neck, hip, abdomen. The hip and abdomen improve. The neck: maybe a little better, hard to tell. It gave me advice about separating flower essences for a client so they to choose, to empower them. The person is having high emotions, lots coming up as anger.  Summary and Traditional Use:  This herb was historically used to help warriors head into battle and to treat serious infections such as whooping cough, MRSA, and COVID-19. I also use it for nightmares. I think of it as having an affinity for supporting you in life or death situations. You can learn more about my take on this herb before this PMC group experience through this post. This meditation brought out some different sides of thyme. I loved the generally supportive messages. One person had expected experiences with the herb helping with cold symptoms. Others experienced its carminative effects with improving/promoting digestion activity. Multiple people experienced Thyme helping with pain and healing the head area, headaches and eyes specifically mentioned multiple times. I had not heard of thyme specifically for use during pregnancy, but apparently it is a fairly common herb for digestion during this time. It may be useful for other aspects of pregnancy. In general food herbs (herbs we commonly use for nourishment and condiments) are considered safe but some can have unexpected effects during pregnancy and nursing (for example a couple doses of sage and stop milk production during nursing), so it is good to get advice some a provider who is experienced with both herbs and pregnancy/nursing before using herbs. We laughed pretty hard about two of us hearing "Thyme is on my side" I felt like it came through as on "your" side, but i don't remember clearly. Regardless it really feels like thyme makes a great herbal ally for both going into the fray and recovering from it.  **The image of the back side of the moon reminds me of dark moon lilith (which I know from astrology). My favorite resource for lilith is Tom Jacobs, a feminist astrologer. The rest of the resources and myth interpretations I find are negative and demonizing of this archetype. Here is a video, he has many and a book on the subject.  I value this herb so much, I offer it in multiple forms. These include tincture, essential oil, Humanity tea (for lung health and engaging with your heart space), Nightmare Spell pillow, and Sweet Dreams tea (with other herbs to help with nightmares, stomach aches, colds and flus--for all ages).   Invitation: Have you experienced thyme? Please share your personal or clinical experiences below and add to our collective understanding of this often overlooked herb. 
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Plantago asiatica, by Ishizaki Yushi, c 1823-29 wikicommons
車前子 ,Chē qián zĭ, Plantain Seed, Reveal Date 5/16
This week we meditated on Plantain seed, 車前子, Chē qián zĭ, Plantago asiatica.   Plantain seed, Chē qián zĭ, areas for further experimentation: plantain has often been seen as a "cure-all". I consider herbs like this to have an affinity beyond the physical. Is it in the realm of crime solving (who was responsible for this tummy ache or heart break?) or crime absolving (by perspective greater than convention)? Taste:  This seed had a distinctive, but for me, hard to pin down taste. I got tastes from "it's sweet bro" to peppery to soapy. I feel like there are some volatile oils in it that are not very familiar to me. Regardless of which direction it went in, it was mild to moderate flavor to me. I have a special love for botanical illustrations of plantain. It is a simple, weedy plant yet not unpleasantly so (in my opinion). I love seeing how elegant it looks when treated with care by the artist. Good luck making dandelion look this good. Notice that on the leaves, rather than veins and a midrib, this plant has ribs that run along side each other. Meditation 1: My daughter: I saw a persimmon, mango, pickle and quesadilla, all pinned to a cork board with red string—like an investigation board. Me: I see my arms are plantain leaves (my favorite, thin variety, Plantago lanceolata). They curl out to my daughter next to me and to other people I think about. They curl out with my consciousness. The plant explains this is enmeshment. My daughter has hiccoughs--it is hard to meditate. I pull my senses in to deal with both the distraction and the outcurling of my energy. I see my head energy shaped like a triangle going into the base. My head is very heavy. It is nearly black, dark brown, like the seeds we made tea from. My head is sinking, leaning back heavily, pressing hard from the weight into the back of the sofa. I pull the energy of my mind interior, into my base. I see small white roots—like an inverse crown. Meditation 2:  Me: Aha moment: This plant is good for getting to the root, for investigation. All lines on my plantain arms go straight to the root—there no branches or middle pathways to navigate. I see a man corrupting his daughter by showing her explicit pornography, he is training her to think of this as normal. This is corruption. There are many things perceived as corruption. There is gross corruption like this example. What is corrupt to one person may not be to another. For example two men falling in love may be seen as a corruption of desire and the flesh to some, but to others and themselves it could be a love that saves them from a life of misery and hurts no one. Some see any deviance from societal rules as corruption. An act that goes clearly goes against a positive societal norm may indeed be a net positive. One may see themselves as corrupt--because there are aspects of their choice that are potentially or realistically problematic, but from a broader perspective their motivations and outcomes are more important or beneficial than their problematic deviance.  The plant says “when we connect at the base level—such as by giving birth or being with a lover—we can easily become enmeshed, and our actions come out of our base/the root (chakra 1) area of our body. What is our base?  We build tiny roots around the base—the plant asks “what is the purpose?”. I am very conscious of these little roots. The base is the nexus. If we stay at our center/base, it/the nourishment (implying also the people we want to be close to) will fall into us. “That is how I am built," says plantain. Stay at the base and what we need will fall into us. My daughter: I hear a song about someone being cheated on. It was a mystery who cheated on whom. This mystery is akin to "who did the murder?" and which food was responsible on the pickle-mango-persimmon-quesadilla crime board. These are all examples of doing an investigation and getting to the root of the matter. Summary and traditional use:  I cannot say how much I love this plant! I have a fondness for it as a Western herb. I use it as "gardener's bandaid for owies in the garden including stings. I chew it and apply it to stings. it works wonderfully even when the body is having an extreme reaction to the sting. The seed of the Chinese varietal has been observed to have many benefits for the physical body. It works through the Lung, Bladder, Liver, and Bladder channels. It can resolve various issues with mismanagement of fluids, including any type of edema, urinary dribbling, and diarrhea. It also improves liver heat stemming from yin deficiency. My experience of the dark brown/black heavy head felt very yin nourishing. The seed is used as part of the treatment plan in obesity. Studies in mice show it is helpful for metabolizing fats/lipids.  The part that got me was all the imagery and awareness of releasing us from our "prisons". My experience of healing many chronic health conditions (including emotional dis-ease) is they often stem from patterns or past reactions that imprison us. For this plant to have an affinity towards opening those chains could indeed give someone the impression they are a cure-all. What is the root of the problem? The acid of a pickle? A moral quandary?  The way the plant is structured shows what is can teach us. The leaf structure enables quick passage of the photosynthate to the roots. The plant often forms many small, white, adventitious roots, that are helpful for holding topsoil together.  Invitation: Have you worked with this herb? Share your research and/or personal or clinical experiences in the comments. If you haven't tried it yet and you are curious, check it out:  
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New Video: Herbs for Embodiment
New Video: Herbs for Embodiment
Greetings! I filmed this video during the new moon in taurus, 2024. The month of May is full of Taurus energy which is all about enjoying life on Earth, including your physical body and all sorts of Venusian delights. Here are some herbal formulas to support your embodiment goals. In this video I am sharing two products made with herbs traditionally used to support embodiment/living a fuller life. When we pull out of certain areas of our body to avoid pain, depression, or other feelings the flow of energy is not as supportive to health. When you have space, try leaning into challenging feelings. Experience and acknowledge what you feel with as little judgement as possible. Then see if you can imagine allowing new good feelings as you continue to work with the difficult ones. The better you are at holding space for yourself, the better you will be with honoring what other people are going through. Humanity Tea, for those struggling with living in their hearts and emotions. Perhaps you have been told it is wrong to express emotions (common with males and females depending on culture). Burying emotions can lead to alcoholism and substance use disorder. The herbs in this tea blend, hawthorn, yerba santa, agrimony, and thyme, help integrating deep emotions and help with being brave and strong.   ASMR tincture, if you are out of your sex life due to trauma or fatigue the herbs in this tincture are here for bringing stamina and life back! Often trauma and bad experiences give us the feeling "let's not go there". I observe this leads to energetic imbalances that can perpetuate health problems. Healthy engagement with your sex life (whether that is solo or partnered) is good for your health. ASMR stands for ashwagandha, shatavari, maca, and rose. The first three herbs have been traditionally used to bring sexual energy and enjoyment into your life. They are herbs that encourage sensual expression and appreciation, slow down and enjoy feeling. Rose is there to make sure you keep your heart in the equation. Sex or sensuality without love and support will sooner or later feel less than full/embodied.
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Lapis Lazuli close up by Parent Géry, wiki commons
Lapis Lazuli Gem Essence, Reveal date 5/9/24
 This week we meditated with Lapis Lazuli gem essence.    Of note: Use for mastery of a subject--this can come out in craft and voice, such as speaking on the subject. For further inquiry: Is lapis lazuli good for breast health? Experiences: •Download of processes around playing as a method of perfection/mastery. Developing the mind, developing craft, developing voice/articulation, creating a playful interior world that is shared. Growing communication. •Very, very warm heart, burning. Reflections on change in personality, realizing the reaction to relationships resulting in negative personal tendencies, that may not be inherent to their personality, but situational. •Two people trying it when tipsy: one becomes immediately sober, as in clear headed. The other immediately feels high. •Seeing breasts, all sorts of breasts, bouncing breasts, milk shooting out of breasts. At one point a woman has a round darker pink area on her breast, a sore, when she touches it, it disappears as if her finger was an eraser. •Dream of becoming like a cat (boss energy: does little work and gets served) and using lapis. Lapis lazuli encourages mastery through repetition with the goal of perfection. It is joyful to work in this way, not stressful or drudgery. Whatever the work it helps to bring more joy and perfection to the process. Historical Use and associations: This gem (as a stone for meditation or presence, a wearable stone, and/or gem essence) was historically seen as a power stone and used for manifesting, throat chakra support and speech. This gem is helpful for autism (voice), lymphatic system, and thymus (Gurudas, Gem Elixirs and Vibrational Healing). Heals emotional wounds (Star Riparetti, Bliss and Blessings). This stone is used to clear deep emotional wounds, develop stability and power of the mind. It "helps clear your own darkness and illusion, your own subconscious, to truly identify with your own god-self." (Raphaell, Crystal Enlightenment). Breast health: Due to the relationship between emotions and the breasts and the lymphatic system running through the breast tissue, it makes sense lapis lazuli could support breast health. Furthermore the lymphatic system is dependent on movement of the body to circulate. Unlike other body parts the breasts typically do not move unless bounced. The cultural goal tends towards restraining breast movement in brast. Bouncing would help lymphatic movement and health in the breasts. It warrants further investigation whether lapis lazuli in combination with bouncing or other breast movement for promoting breast heatlh. Breast cancer risk is reduced in women who nurse for a total of a year or more (lifetime total). Nursing  is another way that breast tissue receives more circulation than in normal bra-restrained living. Invitation: Have you had an experience with Lapis Lazuli, either the stone itself or the essence, or through dreaming? Please share your insights in the comments. Interested in learning more through experience?      Interested in participating in Plant Meditation Club research, we'd love to have you! Check it out here. 
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Cuscuta chinensis, dodder, growing on another plant. by Vinayaraj, wikicommons
Dodder Seed, 菟丝子, Tùsīzǐ, Reveal Date 5/1/24
This week the Plant Meditation Club meditated with Cuscuta chinensis, 菟丝子, tùsīzǐ, dodder seed, an herb of classical Chinese medicine.   Areas for further exploration: Dodder seed: how does it support emotional well-being, what are the mechanisms through which it brought us peace and/or reassurance. Parasitic plants in general: are they specialists in the realm of attachment, detachment, and very close relationships? Smell "Stale cornbread", mild smell  Taste mild, neutral flavor; second steep: sweet like straw, still mild and neutral Meditatation 1 Me: My energy goes to my left forehead, then right, then center. Then the energy begins to circulate between my heart and high forehead. This is happening at a fairly quick pace, over and over. After a while this regulates to go with my breath: inhale and then energy moves to my heart, exhale and it moves to my high forehead, meaning the top, the inch or so beneath my hairline. Next the energy is in my heart, rotating for a good ten minutes (we didn't hear the timer, so maybe longer, lol).  My daughter: I see water washing down someone's spine, down their bones. I hear the word vertebrae over and over. I hear Applause by Lady Gaga. Zoom in on someone's fingers, I saw the bones. Then water washing down the bones. I think this herb is good for arthritis.  Meditation 2 Me: The energy stays in my heart. The space feels cooler, but not cold and not cool. I may have been warm in that area and became a little less warm. It felt a little like a cool (like room temperature, not cold) wash had come over my heart. The experience was quite simple. By the end I felt at peace. My daughter: I didn't see much, just a picture of water dousing out a fire and cooling inflammation.  A Parasitic Plant Cuscuta chinensis is a parasitic plant. In this image you can see how it climbs all over its host. When the meditation was over, after listening to Daughter by Pearl Jam ("don't call me dodder"), my daughter was acting suprisingly like Tùsīzǐ, clinging to me so closely I could barely get out of her grip. We are huggy but this was extra! After reading a little about the plant it makes more sense and is making me smile instead of being confused. This is the second parasitic plant I have connected to, the other being mistletoe. I am interested to explore type of plant more. Maybe they both know hug medicine (although the tree above looks like it is being hugged to death). They both brought peace. Summary This herb brought up two themes. One was around bone health, cooling inflammation, and bones. The other, around emotional shifts and support warrants further exploration.  Emotions: This herb is often used as an adaptogen, to help the body manage stress. Since it supports the liver and kidneys, both organs that process toxins, it would feel affirming and help feel stronger again. I can't help but thinking of the near death-grip this plant appears to have on its hosts (especially having experienced it briefly with my daughter! I was having a hard time moving.). There is no advantage to dodder to kill its host, but it can weaken the host, or reduce "productivity". Science doesn't seem to have determined any benefit for the host plant, so dodder is considered a true parasite. As usual the scientists have ignored dodder's continuous hugs, all over, all the time--that's moral support people! This is classic underappreciation of emotional labor, lmao.  Per the Divine Farmer's Classic of Materia Medica, Shén Nóng Běncǎo Jīng (Wilms, 2017, p 44) this herb is "indicated for reconnecting damage from severance". It is considered an important herb for "calm the fetus" in cases of threatened or repeated miscarriage. (Bensky, Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica, Eastland Press, 1986, p 505). Arthritis: This herb is currently used for pain, inflammation, and various effects of aging including arthritis and osteoporosis. Here is a study illuminating how it helps with gluco-corticoid induced osteoporosis. And another study showing it improving osteoporosis caused by estrogen deficiency (in rats). The washing vision (water washing over bones and heart) is interesting. This herb is considered "acrid, sweet, and neutral". Neutral means the herb is neither stronger cooling nor strongly heating. It is interesting that visions included washing with water, which sounds cooling, and the experience of comforting warmth. I wonder if this is in line with the neutral quality since they were not major changes in temperature. I can't see how something that improves inflammation wouldn't be mildly cooling at least.  Vision: Dodder seed is also used for vision problems too (associated with the liver), which is perhaps related to activation of forehead in my case, as I am having ongoing vision issues related to a concussion. The experience I had seemed related to healing the injury. Thanks dodder :) Traditional Use Traditionally Tùsīzǐ was used in Chinese medicine to tonify the kidneys (which relate to the bones), deficient liver (relates to emotions like frustration and initiative) and deficient essence (it nourishes vital energy). The kidneys are associated with the emotions of disproportionate fear and realistic optimism. This herb is primarily used for anti aging and osteoporosis, and both male reproductive health (erectile dysfunction, nocturnal emission, sterility), and regulation of reproductive hormones in women. Generally improving endurance and sexual functioning, it is also considered an aphrodisiac.  Modern Use   Classical Chinese medicine does not discuss the brain very much. Cuscuta may be helpful for neurogenesis and be neuroprotective. Studies on neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and  Alzheimer's indicate it's capacity to improve damage to the brain.  What were your experiences with Dodder seed?  I loved learning about Tùsīzǐ, Cuscuta chinensis. It felt pretty subtle at the time but now seems complex and is making me very curious. While some argue it gives nothing to its host plant--harvesting keeps the host plant healthy and gives us medicine. Some of my favorite herbs are the most sustainable because they are overgrowing in their environment. They know how to live and using them helps restore balance. If you have experience with this herb, either personally or clinically, please share in the comments below.  Mistletoe is an herb I appreciate for comfort after miscarriages. I am curious about the wisdom of parasite plants in understanding clinging together and healing from very close connections. If you know more about parasitic plant medicine, I would love to hear! 
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Yerba Santa, Reveal Date: 4/22
Yerba Santa, Reveal Date: 4/22
Trigger Warning: This post discusses violence including Intimate Partner Violence (Domestic Violence), and harm to children.    Yerba Santa, areas for further investigation: Physically: Yerba Santa for vein health. Emotionally: Recovering from miscarriage. Recovery from abuse by people who use drugs and alcohol, and/or are violent. Yerba santa for greater resilience and allyship.  This week we meditated on Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon californicum, an herb of traditional Western herbalism. This plant is native to parts of California, Oregon, and Northern Mexico. Prior to this plant meditation I already considered this herb to be one of the most powerful herbs for psychological issues, particularly in use with alcoholism and substance use disorders. I now feel it may be the strongest herb I know for use with deep psychological issues, particularly related to addiction, whether through personal experience, or being close to addicts. I look forward to others meditating with the herb and sharing their experiences.  Mouth:  Resinous and sweet. Sweeter on the second steep. Bitter then sweet and sweeter.**   Pre-Meditation: My daughter recognizes this herb instantly, because of its distinctive sweet flavor. She starts being atypically goofy. She grabs her belly and starts making it "talk" like we used to do together when she was little.   Meditation 1: Me: I see my lungs fill up with blue/green energy (the wood energy color in Chinese medicine). My lungs are full of vital energy. The energy rises to the top of my head and it shakes strongly as a reaction to the energy movement (feels like a typical kundalini response). The rest of the time I feel energy gently coursing/massaging upwards along the left side of my face. It is healing me where I need help. My daughter: This is an extensive vision that she explained her higher self had very specific instructions for her to write down and draw out and they were not to be amended in any way. I have strict instructions to not alter or change anything by interpretation. (I wasn't planning on it.) So here you have a very helpful new insight into this herb's capacity to work in relation to the impacts of substance abuse and for healing from miscarriage.  She was hearing the song "I Kill Children" by the Dead Kennedys. The intuition was to specifically draw out the illustrations below.      On the left there is one vein that eventually becomes two veins. She heard the blood pumping first and saw a straight line. This is a woman trying to have a baby. Where the vein curves out to the side, that is a pregnancy attempt. Eventually there is a successful pregnancy and childbirth, and one line becomes two. In the top center we see a mother and child (like us) they are separated from the rest of the family. In the frame below is a photo of the two of them, it is like a photograph of us we have taken in tall grass. Then it shows the two people in the photograph being separated. They are becoming individuals. It is unclear whether this is positive or negative. Then the image shifts to the "make way for pregnant people" sign from the city bus. Meditation 2:  Me: The energy is at my 6th and 7th chakras. I am having a deep meditation experience. I have a deep meditation but, I am not getting information that is more specific. I am a little distracted because there is a lot of fast pencil work happening, and usually this is silent meditation time.  My daughter: "I have a side vision that Superman is talking to Lois Lane, saying, 'Are you getting this all down?' I have to make sure I do the drawing right so everything is recorded." Second drawing: Again, in this vision, there is an arm with veins. There is the sound of blood pumping. The vein represents her life (the mother). The vein is straight. A second vein comes out from the first and comes back when there is a miscarriage. When another attempt happens the curving out of the vein below shatters like glass. Eventually there is a a child. After there was drinking there was a miscarriage. After there was drug use (represented by cigarettes) there was a miscarraige. After there was violence, she was punched in the stomach, there was a miscarriage. She wanted to kill herself or the baby, with a knife. She wanted to give up. She even believed that God did not want her to have a child. This herb helped with that. It proved God/the system wrong. She took some pills from the doctor to help her keep a pregnancy. She also took the tincture of this herb, not thinking it would help. It helped. Then she had the baby.  "I believe this herb can help healing from miscarriages. You should take it to help heal from your miscarriages."' 2007 Plant Meditation with Yerba Santa: In my early years of studying herbs through plant meditation with Scott Kloos this was one of the first ones I explored. From my old notes: Physical Use (from meditation): for a very sweet woman, a mother (but not a specific mother). She introduced images of soot (where light is absorbed completely) in the Winter. Good for cold and darkness.  Spiritual use (from meditation): To give a winter tree to the lady: "Ascension causes grounding to grow stronger and stronger." The energy pushes upwards and as it does it earths. Up and out through the crown, and then the energy comes down around the and into the earth. It is wider at the base than the top, like a tree or a mountain. The impulse is up, causing grounding. Rather than down, causing ascension. Summary & Traditional Use: This herb was traditionally a lung herb, helpful for grief, helpful for alcoholism, walled-off emotions, tuberculosis*. For "Obscure disease; brings the disease out of hiding and makes its nature more evident." (M Wood, Earthwise Herbal, New World, 147). In my previous plant meditation (from my younger days) it came through as evergreen (give the lady a winter tree). Because of this, I use it for the first cold type illness as the darkness comes (ie in the fall) it has been reliable. I also use it in the Social herbal smoking blend, for its way of addressing emotions that we deal with by using alcohol to avoid them. From Scott Kloos, this is "For people who have strength of character but problems that cancel it out". Such as when we know what is called for but cannot carry out the impulse. Often referred to as for the 'Fallen leader' or drunken leader. This person has all it takes to lead, give fabulous speeches, etc, but they will also be found drunk in their vomit. They may have forgotten their integrity. *It can help with TB, a condition where the body walls of the tissue that is infected by germs which makes it hard to treat with antibiotics, this herb helps approach difficult emotions and integrate them. Avoiding emotions is a common problem with drug and alcohol misuse.   There were several mentions in meditations to the circulatory system, as well as affirmations and good feelings, and springy/wood season (in Chinese medicine) energy. The Amah Mutsun used this herb for purification of the blood (a common historical need in the Spring, due to months of eating meat and/or preserved food). This plant was adopted into the US Pharmacopoeia by the US medical establishment by the late 1800s. It was primarily used for lung conditions but also for as a last resort treatment for hemmorhoids (a vascular issue). The hot tea improves circulation to the extremities (School of Forest Medicine). This herb is used for inflammation and wasting. Matthew Wood writes this about this herb, “The sanctity of psychic space is the internal, property, which Yerba Santa guards” source.   This seems related to the experiences illustrating miscarriages due to drug and alcohol use and violence. I did have several miscarriages (and a domestic violence situation with a person with alcoholism and substance use disorder). I notice that people who are surrounded by a certain condition may develop the energy patterns of the condition even if they don't have the problem. For example a bartender who doesn't drink or rarely drinks may have energetic symptoms similar to alcoholics, or a therapist dealing with abuse victims may develop some energy patterns of abusers, because their clients are often imprinted by energy patterns of abusers. In a different way, as a nurse I found those working with pediatric patients (even very sick ones) seemed much more youthful and to have more spirit than people working with adults with similar health problems. I believe that it is sometimes helpful to use treatments that would work for the person with the original problem on those associated with them. Because the collateral energy imbalances are not usually as deep, this often does not require an extensive connection with the herb or other tool for energetic shift/realignment. Because of this general observation and personal experiences it makes sense to me that this herb would help victims of abusers who have substance use disorders or alcoholism as well as the abuser. They both would likely be burying their emotions, one because they are overwhelmed and probably cannot process the intensity emotions while being abused/living in fear, and the other frequently using substances to check out of difficult emotions and bypass responsibility.  Trauma leading to wisdom and appreciating the sweetness of life is a common thread.  Dreams: I tended to think of the extensive miscarriage information as being about addiction paired with violence and its impact on the environment the sensitive fetus must grow in. Overnight I had two dreams about about people I know and pregnancy. One with a woman who has experienced intimate partner violence, and another being someone who had had two children successfully and was trying for a third but also had a history of abuse and very limited ability to access emotions, especially empathy. While I still think it has a lot to do with repressed emotions, in my daughter's vision the woman did not appear to be thinking at all that the negative emotional evironment and abuse were impacting the pregnancies. I will try taking yerba santa and see if it shifts things around my miscarriages. I tend not to think about them because I was able to have a child, and so it seems like part of the past that was conquered. It was a long, difficult time to live through. Anyways, because of the dreams, I think the herb would be good to experiment with taking for anyone who has experienced a miscarriage (regardless of cause). Indeed if stress is repressed, the person may not be conscious of harm they are experiencing. *Abuse risk increases during pregnancy (read more here).* Another herb that people have reported being helpful after miscarriage is mistletoe. **By the philosophy of the doctrine of signatures, by starting bitter and becoming sweeter this herb indicates the intelligence of being able to move from bitter times to sweet times, or joy and revitalization after hardship/trauma.   As always, please consult your healthcare provider before taking any herbs. Herbs consumed for the Plant Meditation Club are taken for experimental purposes only. Please join us in you are curious about learning directly from herbs (and sometimes gem essences).  Join the conversation: Have you worked with or experimented with yerba santa? What was the context of using it? What was your experience? Please share in the comments.   
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Ginseng for Personal Resilience and Allyship
Ginseng for Personal Resilience and Allyship
The herb Ginseng, or Rénshēn (Bái) 白人參, has many traditional uses. In our plant meditation the herb felt fortifying and helpful for increasing the ability to sit with emotions—either your own or those of others. In other words, both personal resilience and allyship. Experiment with taking this herb for shorter time frames (a day, week or a couple months) to see if it helps you with your ability to ground while experiencing emotions so you can be a better ally. This herb helps lower blood sugar, so use caution or do not use if you tend towards low blood sugar. Learn about Ginseng, or Rénshēn (Bái) 白人參 in this video and check out the more detailed blog post and comments here.   Plant Meditation Club information is based on meditation not scientific research. Historical use is also discussed. These videos are intended to share about personal experimentation with herbs that are commonly used. This video is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases or conditions. If you experiment with Plant Meditation you do so at your own risk. Many of the herbs we use are used in commercially prepared teas and are easily found online, they may have contraindications or cause drug interactions.
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Cyathula plant, niuxi, plant meditation brown bear herbs
Cyathula root, Niúxī, 川牛膝, Reveal Date: 4/16
 This week we meditated on Cyathula root, Niúxī, 川牛膝.  Mediator A: Mouth: Cooling, woody but light in flavor, sweet after steeping for a while. Feeling the throat/neck area being highlighted. Intuition: the whole neck but referring to voice primarily. Then the energy shifts to the third eye and crown chakra. Sees a golden crown on their head. Energy stays at the crown. After the second steep, the third eye feels strong, I see deep blue, the color indigo, in the third eye area.  Meditator B:  Mouth: Cooling, mushroom flavor, love the taste, want to drink much more for the flavor, the flavor was addictive. Meditation: I see a fire in my belly. It looked a little like a drawing of fire. I felt I was overheating for about five minutes. Then it felt like I had ice on the tips of my toes and fingers of my right hand. I had sweat above my lip and the feeling of chills, like my body was trying to cool down from a fever (but failing). I have a feeling this would be good for menstruation. Traditional Use:  This herb is used according to tradition to invigorate the blood, ie for blood stagnation and to "unblock menstruation" and reduce menstrual pain. It is considered "anti-inflammatory" and used for joint pain (an alternative name is "ox-knee from Sichuan"). It was used for rheumatic fever. It was also used for nosebleeds, dizziness and pains in the head (headache, toothache). Though this herb is used for some fevers, inflammation, and other signs of heat, it is considered neutral in terms of yin/yang.    Plant Meditation Club information is based on meditation not scientific research. Historical use is also discussed. These posts are intended to share about personal experimentation with herbs that are commonly used. This post is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases or conditions. If you experiment with Plant Meditation you do so at your own risk. Many of the herbs we use are used in commercially prepared teas and are easily found online, they may have contraindications or cause drug interactions.
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Pear Flower Essence, Reveal Date: 4/8/24
Pear Flower Essence, Reveal Date: 4/8/24
Pear flower essence, areas for future investigation: Use for upheaval to the home, community, or local environment. Such as sudden moves, earthquakes, shocks to the community. This week we meditated with Pear flower essence. The flower and gem essences are subtle medicine and more likely to work through shifting energy, emotions, or mental patterns. They do not have a flavor or smell. My Meditation: First: The flower talks about how "we" used to play with flowers and sticks. We could imaging a door that went into a bush and there was a space for us, and no one would see us. We would delight in fruits and berries. I see observing picking young people picking blackberries.  Having a backyard filled with plants meant a lot. Now we have all the prime we want and throw-away toys. The fruit falls off the tree because it is too high to gather. It is a nuisance to clean it up. The fruit is so much! So many people can eat, put away the fruit, make pies and crisps. I smell cinnamon and baking--I feel the warmth of the house.  Second: The essence talks of and shows me the first time a baby picks her first fruit (pear) from by herself, held in Mama's arms. The essence likes seeing a mother and child sit in the shade and shows me this. The tree shows me many things that are about youth, time to relax, play, being at home in a relaxing way. I like to work at home, so I note this as an entirely different way to experience home that many people might feel is the normal way to be at home. It reminds me a little of playing in my backyard as a child. The energy is very Taurus (enjoying the home, food, garden) and home as in family.    My Daughter's Meditation First: I see pink, a flower that is turning pink. I hear singers associated with pink. Barbie pink. I saw a barbie too, a traditional one, not like in the movie.  Second: I felt like I was drinking pink, when I drank the water with the essence in it. It looked pink. "I love you like a love song" was going through my head.  Summary/Common Use The energy of pear flower essence felt playful in a simple way. Enjoying the simple pleasures of backyards, childhood, and simple emotions. I found it interesting that it was nostaglic for children that were satisfied with berries and bushes to play with but interacted with my daughter with pinks and barbie and love songs. These things are so not her current speed, but she definitely had pink phases. The flowers are pure white. I feel like the pink was more about connecting with a youthful, playful energy. The essence reminded me of a grandmother--someone who would want to please a child even if it wasn't in the way they would prefer. I do think it is interesting that it mostly showed me mothers with their girls. I don't know if this was because the tree itself observed these or (given the pink thing with my daughter) that it wanted to make me feel grounded and happy as I have so many times doing simple nature activities with my daughter. Connecting with this tree really reminded me of my grandmother, she seemed so rooted in her home and the grandchildren would come and visit, dancing and running around her, lighting her up. This experience made me imagine what it must be like to be a tree and witness lives around you (like the giving tree, but without the over giving!). I made this essence from the tree in my last backyard. I read that pear essence is used to help you when there is a feeling of like we don't belong, to establish stability, belonging, and contentment. Pear can bring comfort when there are sudden emergencies. I like it for tonifying our hearts after all the tragedies and upheavels of the pandemic. Though I am not a pear person, I appreciated having this tree's medicine on site when we were forced to move. It is a feeling of observant love with a gentle desire to make people in our lives happy. It gives such an amazing sense of stability and contentment. Feeling these nurturing memories that are brought to mind from this essence, is making me ball my eyes out. I am reminded of all the simple good in the world, and very much looking forward to when Uranus, a dominant planet in my chart, exits Taurus (permanently in 2026), and my living situation will likely stop changing suddenly (three rather sudden moves since it entered the sign in 2018!). Each home was pretty great and neighbors too...it was never that we wanted the change. Now I have my little pocket sized bottle of pear medicine to experience someone loving and wise, helping me feel soft, comfortable, stable and simple feelings.  Thanks Pear!  Since it felt like this essence was specifically loving towards me and my daughter, I am very curious to see how it works with others. Please share your experiences below. Plant Meditation Club information is based on meditation not scientific research. Historical use is also discussed. These posts are intended to share about personal experimentation with herbs that are commonly used. This post is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases or conditions. If you experiment with Plant Meditation you do so at your own risk. Many of the herbs we use are used in commercially prepared teas and are easily found online, they may have contraindications or cause drug interactions.
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Chai hu, bupleurum chinensis, from KEW Plants of the World
Chaí hú, Reveal Date 4/1/24
The root we tasted this week was Chaí hú, 柴胡, Bupleurum, also known as rabbit ear root. Interested in joining the mostly online Plant Meditation Club? Click here. I did this meditation with my daughter. Mouth and Taste: This tea that looks like twigs (but is roots) was very light in flavor. My Meditations First one: I feel my energy at the front entry of my nose. Then then the energy is located in pathways going up my forehead. No words, completely silent. At the very end it started to look like strawberries and cream, in color. The energy pathways were pink like strawberries, and the other areas like cream. Second one: Again, silent and empty. The first approximately 6 minutes involved energetic focus at the outward edges of my eyebrows, at acupuncture point San Jiao 23, Sizhukong, silk bamboo hole. It moved over and for the next few minutes was at the arches of my eyebrow, at Extra point, Head and Neck 4, Yu Yao. Then at the end it was at the inner edges and between my eyebrows, focused on Bladder 2, Zanzhu, gathered bamboo. These points are good for the eyes. This experience reminded me of some eye massage techniques I was taught a while ago by a vision therapist.   My daughter's Meditations: First: I kept my eyes open because it was difficult to keep them closed. When I did close my eyes the Tunic Song for Karen. I heard, "Dreaming, dreaming.." and then I fell asleep. Second: I think this would be helpful for trauma. I was thinking about a book I read where the character gets over trauma. The song Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies is in my head. Thinking about passages in books where they descibe using drugs, and they say they 'slowly pour through my system'. I am a little scared of this tea. It feels gross, like I am doing a drug. It felt like too much for my body. Institutionalized lyrics (seems like a relevant vibe for this herb's uses): Sometimes I try to do things and it just doesn't work out the way I wanted tooAnd I get real frustrated, and its likeAnd I try hard to do it and take my timeAnd it just doesn't work out the way I want it tooIt's like I concentrate on it real hard but it just doesn't work outAnd everything I do and everything I try, it never turns outIt's like I need time to figure these things outBut there's always someone there going Hey Mike: You know we've been noticing you've been having a lot of problems latelyYou know, maybe you get away, and like maybe you should talk about it,You'll feel a lot better And I go: No it's okay, you know I'll figure it outJust leave me alone I'll figure it outYou know I'll just work it on myself, And they go: Well you know if you want to talk about it I'll be here, you knowAnd you'll probably feel a lot better if you talk about it, so want don't you talk about it And I go: No I don't want to, I'm okay, I'll figure it out myselfAnd they just keep bugging me and they just keep bugging meAnd it builds up inside So you're gonna be institutionalizedYou'll come out brainwashed with bloodshot eyesYou won't have any sayThey'll brainwash you until you see their way I'm not crazy - institutionYou're the one who's crazy - institutionYou're driving me crazy - institutionThey stuck me in an institutionSaid it was the only solutionTo give me the needed professional helpTo protect me from the enemy - myself I was in my room and I was just like staring at the wall thinking about everythingBut then again I was thinking about nothingAnd then my mom came in and I didn't even know she was there she called my nameAnd I didn't even hear it, and then she started screaming: MIKE! MIKE!And I go: What, what's the matter?And she goes: What's the matter with you?I go: There's nothing wrong momAnd she goes: Don't tell me that, you're on drugs!And I go: No mom I'm not on drugs I'm okay, I was just thinking you know,Why don't you get me a PepsiAnd she goes: No you're on drugs!I go: Mom I'm okay, I'm just thinkingShe goes: No you're not thinking, you're on drugs! Normal people don't act that way!I go: Mom just give me a Pepsi, pleaseAll I want is a Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to meAll I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to meJust a Pepsi They give you a white shirt with long sleevesTied around you're back, you're treated like thievesDrug you up because they're lazyIt's too much work to help a crazy I'm not crazy - institutionYou're the one who's crazy - institutionYou're driving me crazy - institutionThey stuck me in an institutionSaid it was the only solutionTo give me the needed professional helpTo protect me from the enemy - myself I was sitting in my room and my mom and my dad came inAnd they pulled up a chair and they sat down, they go:Mike, we need to talk to youAnd I go: Okay what's the matterThey go:Me and your mom have been noticing lately that you've been having a lot of problems,You've been going off for no reason and we're afraid you're gonna hurt somebody,We're afraid you're gonna hurt yourselfSo we decided that it would be in your interest if we put you somewhereWhere you could get the help that you needAnd I go: Wait, what are you talking about, we decided!?My best interest?! How do you know what's my best interest is?How can you say what my best interest is? What are you trying to say, I'm crazy?When I went to your schools, I went to your churches,I went to your institutional learning facilities?! So how can you say I'm crazy? They say they're gonna fix my brainAlleviate my suffering and my painBut by the time they fix my headMentally I'll be dead I'm not crazy - institutionYou're the one who's crazy - institutionYou're driving me crazy - institutionThey stuck me in an institutionSaid it was the only solutionTo give me the needed professional helpTo protect me from the enemy - myself It doesn't matter, I'll probably get hit by a car anyway   Summary and Medicinal Use: Bupleurum is used primarily for liver support in classical Chinese medicine and traditional Western herbalism. These meditations were really different but displayed uses accurately. In Chinese medicine the liver opens to the eyes, so supporting the liver will support eye health. The plant's intelligence covered this treatment of eye tension and strain. This herb is also used for anger, irritability, phobias, and depression (often with mint) from liver qi stagnation (during teen years the liver is under more stress because of all the hormones it must process, this can lead to acne and mood swings) and liver toxicity from drugs and alcohol. The mood communicated through the song and the sensation of being on drugs very clearly indicated the plants ability to support these issues, including trauma. I am always grateful for the way the plants communicate so well. This herb is also used for colds, fever and chills, immunity, liver support in general, asthma (which can be related to poor fat processing (liver), indigestion, and hemorrhoids. It is used to strengthen the spleen which helps with prolapse and decision making. I also think of herbs that work with the spleen/immunity as cleaning out psychic spaces. I love how different the experiences were--it shows that diversity of its impacts.   Have you worked with Bupleurum or Chai Hu, either personally or with clients? If so please share your experiences below and add to our knowledge base of this plant.
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Yarrow Growing in the Grass, Photographer: Valentin Hamon
Yarrow, Reveal Date: 3/22/24
Yarrow, areas for further investigation: "The successful warrior is an average man with laser-like focus." -Bruce Lee This week we tasted the flowering tops of Yarrow, Achillea Millefolium. This herb is has long been an indispensible herb in traditional Western herbalism. The Plant Meditation Club met for our first zoom gathering. It was great to get to know everyone and meditate at the same time. This is our experience: Mouth/Smell: Woodsy, slightly spicy and flavor, floral, favorite smell so far!, different after taste than initial taste, grassy, some sweetness, similar to chamomile, masculine smell.  Sensations: Stabilizing, increase in energy (just enough, was feeling slightly sleepy), slightly warming, pleasant, peaceful. Soothing. Third eye pressure. Tingling and pulsating in my hands while meditating. Comfortable. Chill, calming, felt in the back of the throat/esophagus, stimulating, felt sinuses. Sore throat, phlegmy. Sleepy. Third eye. Felt on diaphragm, feeling a little hunger (possibly an appetite suppressant?), warm near throat, soothing to tonsils, jaw relaxed.  Clearing nose, clear heat in ears. Helps with some kind of process with the heart.  Female reproductive organs: Vaginal walls feeling relaxed, ovaries mellowing out, cervix and vagina, opening the process of allowing outward flow.  Lots of energy moving into the perineum. Feeling flower cluster up-side-down at labia and vagina. Energy is stimulating, feeling like I am being 'sorted out' in that area.  Visions/Communications: Habitat: near mountains, likes to grow in the grass, sway in the breeze, be in the sun, be near a river/water source, but not right next to it.  Image of a reclining woman, with her outflow as the river. It can support reaching for your desires. Circles like a galaxy. Believe in yourself or it's over.  Give you what you need. Balancing.  Able to feel anger (had some reasons to be angry today). The plant said "I can help you say 'Don't fuck with me.'"  How can it be most useful for resilience? "I can do anything," it says solidly. "If I want to take someone to the top (7th chakra), I can do it. If someone needs to be driven into the ground, I can do it."  My energy gets funneled to my nose. I have a way to sniff out what I want and how to find my way to it. Reminded me of warriors and blood moving through veins. Heart covered with metal (iron or steel). Heart rotating after I acknowledge this. Energy moves to the top of my head. I feel nub-like horns and curly hair up there. It reminds me of Pan. I see my energy go to the top of my skull like a white pompadour. Then the energy moves up further above and in front of my head, still my close in field of energy. It is bumpy or lumpy white light. I stay there for the rest of the meditation. Summary/Traditional Use:  This herb has many uses! It is most often thought of as a blood regulator, with a history of being used on the battle field for cuts to the artery. The warrior applications of this herb go beyond first aid for serious injuries. The herb hones the energy to believe in yourself, go after what you want, get it, and tell people not to fuck with you. This herb has confident, focused, goal-oriented energy. 6th chakra: yes! Grounding: 100%. Balancing is a good word for this herb. That fits with the blood regulation too. Blood is all over our bodies. It is extremely destabilizing to have clots within our blood or significant cuts. This herb has the ability to help us have a strong blood flow within. Definitely good for menstrual health. We had a fairly lengthy discussion about the intuition about this herb helping with labor and menstruation, both of which are historical uses. This herb is also used for sweating fevers, and flu symptoms. It is used to stimulate hunger and with the intuition about it supressing hunger I wonder if it might be a hunger regulator too. This may be in association with making a highly functional 3rd chakra which is necessary for making your will done on the battlefield. I frequently use and recommend this herb for energy field management. Strong boundaries. Field injuries can be long term symptoms of trauma, not uncommonly from significant physical injury. This herb helps get everything back ship-shape. Have it around for first aid for cuts and bruises (I prefer the tincture for ease of use). Use it for maintainence--bath, tea or tincture--if you have blood and especially for those of us who menstruate. I could go on and on about yarrow, suffice it to say this plant meditation revealed more about its determined powerful nature and its desire to help you get what you want and need.  Enough said! Wage on!   Do you have experiences with yarrow in the clinical setting or personally? If so please add to our knowledge in the comments. 
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Gan Cao, Chinese Licorice, Herb of Chinese Classical Herbalism
Gāncǎo, 甘草, Chinese Licorice, Reveal Date: 3/16/24
Gāncǎo, or Chinese licorice root was the herb that we tasted this week. Mouth: This herb has a distinctive flavor, that is sweet, and reminded more than one person of "Throat Coat" tea, which includes licorice as a primary herb. Felt in the back of the throat and sweetness on the sides of the tongue.  Sensations: Pain in chest (upper). Coating, soothing, grounding (out of head), mucilagenous. Takes weight of fluid out of ears and clears front of face (sinuses). Participant who had a sore throat prior to starting the meditation immediately felt relief and fell asleep. Restful, pacifying, palliative. Dispersed energy in lungs...like blowing out a cloud of white Spring flower petals. Visions/communication:  Inky black spreading and deep purple rising to white. In both cases these color visions were like ones that the participants have had in the past that they liked. "Sweetness is good for the heart." Heart: purple. Eventually purple turned into the same lavender as my binder for the Plant Meditation Club. I felt this plant is one that supports many other plants ("all plants that would be in the binder"). Perhaps the feeling is that it supports the other plants in their actions and supports the desires of the person taking the plant. Here to spread love and support in whatever way it is desired. Wise enough not to judge. This plant reminded me a bit of the Fairy Godmother from Brian Froud's Fairy Oracle:   Summary and Traditional Use: It is estimated that licorice is used in 9 out of 10 Chinese herbal formulas!  I believe a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, as every good fairy godmother and grandmother knows! It is also believed that it can reduce toxicity and increase efficacy of many herbs. I have seen this before in chocolate--I created many herbal chocolate recipes and found that the herbs are much more potent in the chocolate than in isolation.  Licorice is sweet and thereby enters through the spleen channel (in Chinese medicine). This goes right along with its behavior soothing early cold and virus symptoms like sore throat, lung and upper respiratory tract irritation. I loved how it was so soothing to the our participant with cold symptoms that they immediately and thoroughly slept! This has given me new appreciation for this sweet herb.  I found it interesting that the herb presented itself in visions that were of things we already appreciated from our herb experiences. I liked hearing that Alyssa felt licorice "had their back" and felt some defiance. Both with the vision of purple and the inky black I know their is some rebelliousness or "not what the world wants" feelings but still what we enjoy/desire. I think nature or a fairy godmother or a grandmother's version of thriving and health has more to do with enjoying life than most systems that govern us, including medical systems, spirituality and religion, governments, and even the most benevolent leaders with power and rules. I am curious to hear more experiences with licorice, tuning into the flavor of its support. If at all possible I make my herbal formulas taste good. I find people are more likely to take something they will enjoy. A good provider is wise to practice some indulgence. Other physical uses: diabetes and balancing blood sugar (preventing low blood sugar, possibly other ways), supporting the adrenals, reducing toxins/antidote, supportive for tumors, cancer, longevity. Licorice can reduce estrogen production, which can reduce fertility in younger women if used very frequently. Recent studies are looking licorice's ability to reduce hot flashes, and reduce risk of breast cancer in post menopausal women.    Invitation: Do you have personal or professional experience with this herb? Please post your experiences below. Want to try 甘草, Gāncǎo, Chinese licorice?  
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