Saturday, September 27, 2014

Autumn Herbal Abundance for Community Health Projects!

As the seasons shift from summer to autumn, many feel our lives change in big and small ways.  Many of us get much more specific about temperatures (but it is going to dip down below 30° tonight or will it just be a light frost?!) and live amidst a harvest explosion - medicinal herbs hanging from drying racks and makeshift lines across the living room; filling all the Mason jars in the house with tinctures and elixirs and infused oils and vinegars and tomatoes and...; navigating around pots of basil and other frost-sensitive plants and baskets of herbs and vegetables and apples brought in from the cold.

There are many ways to preserve the harvest - canning and pickling and drying and fermenting and freezing.  We cannot possibly gather all the fruit and vegetables and herbs that grow both wild and in gardens this time of year.  We have to decide.  We have to let some things freeze, some things rot.  We have to let go.  And choose what we focus on.  Growing up in New England, I think it's in my bones to always be thinking about preserving food and medicine for the months when all is buried beneath ice and snow, or at least the cold.  It brings a great sense of security when the cupboards and fridge is full of food and when the apothecary is full of medicine.  And while this survival mode may be deep-rooted, so is the drive to share the harvest.  

This summer has been liberating - leaving flowers unharvested for the pollinators to enjoy.  Focusing on the remedies I love to make and share.  Making the medicines I love most for my loved ones, my business, and myself.  I also love to collaborate and make spontaneous medicine with others - creating blends that otherwise would not exist because of the people who come together and the ideas and medicinal plants and ingredients shared.  This makes 
strong medicine.  And an important part of making medicine as a community is to share the medicine with the community.  Making herbal remedies for community health projects helps support vital work that many grassroots organizations are doing both near and far.  I love to send remedies not only for those being served, but also the grassroots community organizers, herbalists, nurses, street medics, etc, that are giving care, to help sustain not only their work, but their physical and emotional health and the health of the collective.

Lately I've been focusing on making remedies to send to No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, a humanitarian aid organization providing food, water, and first aid care to those crossing the desert from Mexico into Arizona.  I made a soothing massage balm to promote restful sleep and protection from nightmares following traumatic events (ie detention, deportation).  I went to a local high school to make herbal lip balm with a student as part of their independent studies.  In the Community Self-Care: Nourishing our Nervous Systems for the Long Haul series we all made relaxing muscle rub to bring home, and a bunch more to send to NMD.  And next week, Sandra Lory of Mandala Botanicals and I are co-facilitating a No More Deaths Herbal Medicine-Making Session & Mapping our Ancestry Activity.  We’ll explore (im)migration, both past and present - including our own ancestries, through an engaging mapping activity. Then together we'll create an herbal salve/lip balm together for everyone to take home, as well as to send to No More Deaths/No Más Muertes.  For more info please see (Im)migration and Lip Balms for Social Justice?!  

With all these medicine-making sessions, the bundle of remedies to send to the desert is growing!  If you're interested in supporting herbal medicine-making for No More Deaths, but can't make it to the event, or you'd like to donare supplies (containers, infused oils, beeswax, essential oils, and others, or money to parchase them) please be in touch:  

Here are some images of lip balms, salves, tinctures, and teas sent to No More Deaths/No Más Muertes in the past.

Labels in English (same remedies with two labels)
Labels in Spanish (same remedies with two labels)

Next weekend, as we send off the remedies to send to the border, there will be a fabulous
Feel Good, Look Good Spaahh! : Remedios Fundraiser! 
Sat Oct 4th 11am-5pm (doors close at 4pm)  
Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism 252 Main St, Montpelier, Vermont  
Treat yourself in solidarity!   Support grassroot herbal remedies for the migrant farm worker community in VT. Come enjoy Massage, Footbaths, Tarot reading, Herbal Teas, Flower Essences, Cupping, Facials, and Haircuts!   Remedios VT is a solidarity-not-charity project getting seedlings and herbal remedies to members of the migrant farm worker community in VT. (Want to support Remedios, but can't join us for the event? You can contact/send a Paypal donation to: Thanks! Gracias! )  

Also, the Stone Cabin Collective is organizing their biannual free clinic for the community members at Black Mesa, resisting colonization, racismo, and forced relocation by the US government and Peabody Coal Co. (more info about the resistance here)  If you have the following dried herbs to donate, please contact: Danny at  Guidelines for donations (how to harvest/dry/package, etc) are listed here

Top needs (all as dried herbs):  *=chopped or powdered

American Ginseng, Ashwagandha*, Astragalus, Bilberry/blueberry lf and berry, Black Cohosh/Black haw/Crampbark/Wild yam, Calendula, Chamomile, Dandelion rt., Echinacea, Elecampane, Eleuthero*, Ginger chopped, Ginkgo, Gotu Kola, Hawthorn (berries, leaf and flower), Lemon balm, Licorice, Linden, Marshmallow root*, Meadowsweet, Milk thistle, Nettle, Oat tops, Oatstraw, Osha, Passionflower, Pedicularis, Reishi poder, Roses, Schizandra, Shatavari*, Skullcap, Turmeric, Violet

Additional Requests

Blue vervain, California poppy, Cardammom pods and powder, Catnip, Chaparral, Codonopsis, Comfrey rt, Corn silk, Corydalis, Damiana, Devil's Claw, Devil's Club, Eyebright, Fenugreek, Ginger poder, Hawthorn poder, Orange peel, Pleurisy root, Prickly ash, Red llover, Rehmannia, Rosemary, Self-heal, St. Johnswort, Stachys, White peony, Willow bark

Happy harvesting and medicine making!  And feel free to leave comments below about collaborations for herbal support of community health projects and grassroots community organizations!

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