Saturday, March 8, 2014

Photos of Herbs From the End of February.

Branch with a lot of Usnea on it.
I took these photos last week. We had many trees and branches down from the storm. Most of the branches are covered with Usnea (Old Man's Beard). This is a great time to harvest it.
Close-Up of Usnea

I also took a close up photo of one of the Usnea lichens. 
These lichens are in abundance in the Pacific NW where I live. They contain usnic acid and are called "Natures Antibiotic" by some people. 

Populus trichocarpa buds
There were many plants poking their heads out last week. The poplars (Cottonwoods) were in bud. I may have missed my window of opportunity in getting any buds this year. Some trees will bud out earlier than others and I may find a tree that still has buds on it, but I doubt it. These buds in the photo are perfect for picking to make poplar oil or tincture. They are super resinous and taste good in a cough elixir where their expectorant properties are much appreciated.

Willow flowers in full bloom.
Additionally, the pussy willows are in full flower. Remember a couple weeks ago they were just starting to put their buds out. Here they are with tons of pollen on them for the bees. 

Bellis perrenis

Then we have the lovely little Bellis perennis. A small daisy-like flower that covers our lawns. This flower is used in a similar manner as Arnica for bruises. It is specific to deep internal organ bruising and is often used with deep tissue injury to speed up the healing.

Leaves of 
Berberis aquifolium
Buds of Berberis aquifolium

I went a bit crazy taking the Oregon grape photos. There were so many good shots. They were gorgeous. Most parts of this plant can be used in one way or another. The berries make good wine, they are used by some in jams and pies. The flowers can be eaten also and the root and stem bark is used as a medicine. This is a bitter herb and as such is of course a wonderful cholagogue and cholaretic. It is also used to stimulate digestion, as an antimicrobial, antiparasitic, for diabetes, and many other uses. There is a lot of research surrounding its use decreasing biofilm formation of microbes recently. It shares the constituent berberine with some other plants such as Goldenseal and Gold thread.

Berberis aquifolium

Buds of Berberis aquifolium

Indian Plum - Oemleria cerasiformis

Indian Plum has small fruits on them. Not super tasty but edible. They are one of the first fruits of the year and the birds usually grab them before I do.

Lemon Balm - Melissa officinalis
Lemon balm is just sticking it's head up. It has a slight lemonish/minty taste to it. Makes a nice cold drink in the summer and has many medicinal effects that include being a digestive aid, use in hyperthyroidism, a calming effect and antispasmodic effect.

Mother wort - Leonurus cardiaca
Another mint family plant was also poking its head out next to Lemon Balm. This is Motherwort. Like Lemon Balm it is an antispasmodic, and nervine. They are also both used to lower a hyperactive thyroid. Motherwort is used often in menopause.

Hopefully, I will get some time to take more photos of one or two of these lovely herbs and give you  some detailed data on them.

Sorry if this is a bit choppy. I am not exactly a computer wiz. I have trouble with the photos and type working together. I just don't have the time to figure out how to get it perfect currently. It is what it is.
Cultivating Herbal Friendships