This is No “Shrinking” Violet!

Did you know there is an abundance of medicinal plants growing right in your own backyard? A multitude of these plants have been used for centuries as powerful plant medicines many of which are still in use today. One such plant is the oftentimes overlooked but lovely Violet (Viola spp.). Violet comes to us very early in the spring bearing gifts of heart-shaped leaves surely the evidence of her connection to Venus, followed shortly by dainty purple, white or yellow flowers. The leaves and flowers of the Violet plant are edible, quite tasty, and a pretty edition to early spring salads. The tiny flowers hold a delightful sweetness that sneaks up on you and says “Hello, it’s nice to meet you!”.


I love to make a tea out of both the fresh leaves and flowers. Violets are mild enough to have a history of use as a medicine for children and are often made into a syrup for that purpose. The leaves are considered demulcent and are soothing to sore throats, dry throats and can help the lungs to release phlegm and congestion. Herbalists of the last few hundred years, often employed Violet leaves as a cure for consumption. Violets have been used for all cancers of the throat and mouth and at least one case of colon cancer is said to have been cured over many months of Violet leaf infusions.


Topically, the leaves have been used on skin cancer and are often poulticed for a variety of skin issues. Both the flowers and leaves are employed as a cancer preventative. Violet is a mild and gentle laxative, safe enough for children. The roots are considered emetic and purgative and have been used to replace Ipecac.


The spiritual energy of this plant is quite healing as well. Violet is a Keeper of the Violet Ray and as such can bring about profound transformation in our spiritual lives.  Violet encourages us to let go of old, outdated energies and thought forms aiding us to replace negative affirmations with spiritually uplifting and profound ways of thinking and being. Working with the enlightening energy of Violet, I often tune in to new and exciting ideas and methods of healing. This is just some of the magic that is Violet!


If you would like to learn more about the sacred medicine plants, be sure to check this page often and sign up for the Green Girl email list to be alerted of future class offerings.



Burdock “the Great”

The Great Burdock (Arctium lappa), or as I like to call her “Burdock the Great” is a transplant originating from Eurasia no doubt secretly hitching a ride from some explorer to the “New World” or perhaps her introduction was more intentional. Were I traveling to distant unknown lands, I know I would want to have this incredible plant by my side.  A biennial, whose large palm-like leaves grow close to the ground and spread in the first year. The delicious taproot reaching down, down into the Earth only to be harvested by painstaking digging preferably with a long, narrow trowel. The most medicinal of these roots can be harvested in the fall of the first year. By the second year, a tall 6 to 7 foot stem emerges as if to reach out and touch the very sky. Pinkish purple thistle-like flowers in summer will give way to the burrs whose ability to latch onto animal fur, hair, clothing, (pretty much any place you don’t want them) have been noted as the inspiration for Velcro. I believe it.


Often deemed an “invader” as if it had been dropped from the silver streak of  passing UFO, Burdock is often terribly maligned, her incredible life-giving health benefits ignored or forgotten altogether. Fortunately, some of us know her secrets and make use of her healing ways as often as possible. Burdock has a powerful effect on the liver acting as what would be considered a “blood purifier” working deep into the body to clear away toxins and waste products and skin eruptions like acne and eczema in the process. Burdock is an herb that works deeply, persistently, and often behind the scenes bringing healing to the digestive system and acting as a mild and most tolerable laxative. She is also a lymphatic and is often included in detoxification blends.  Referred to as “Gobo” in Asian cooking which is the root of this plant. The root is considered a blood purifier, liver cleanser, lymph cleanser, blood sugar balancer and helpful for kidney ailments. The massive leaves can be poulticed on bruises or made into a salve for skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema.


In the late fall, the seeds can be harvested although care needs to be taken as the tiny hairs contained within the seedy burrs can be quite irritating to the skin. This I also know from first hand experience. The seeds of the second year plant are diaphoretic when made into a tea and are excellent as a steam for the complexion. Quite a few insects and birds also rely on the seeds so be sure to leave some behind.



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