Anyone out there that has worked closely with me through a winter season, might note that I am often consuming a very different kind of cocktail from the fair weather standards of Bloody Mary’s, Gin n’ Tonics and the Old Fashioned.
This is the time of year when my “Earth Mama” comes out to play! This hippie trait has been in development since I was about 5 years old. I had a babysitter named “Swampy”. This joyful, bearded fellow would take me on long walks pointing out different edible wild flowers and talking about the ailments they could cure. He would collect green leaves in a leather pouch and boil them in water when we got back to the house. These were called, simply “pot herbs”. He said they were his vitamins. Vitamins?? The only vitamins I had ever seen were pastel, chalky and molded into the shapes of Flintstones characters! But I loved Swamp and I happily took some of his vitamins too.
Well, it stuck. This idea that one could cure the body and prevent illness from things growing on the side of the road left quite an impression on my young mind.
Before long, I was curing all of the neighborhood boys with plantain and dandelions. Have a cold? Eat a flower! I was hooked. My mother noticed that I had taken an interest and told me in my pre-teen years that her grandmother used to roll and SMOKE Penny Royal for menstrual cramps! Maybe, I thought…just maybe we’re witches! I spent a few of my months as a 12 year old attempting to cast spells while burning incense and listening to David Bowie. Sadly, no boys turned into calico kittens and the grade on my math test remained a D-.
I tabled my witchy ways for many years. It wasn’t until I had my first snotty, drippy, fevered child that happened to be wildly allergic to “the pink stuff” they gave out like candy at the pediatricians office that I decided to blow the dust off one of my old herbal books and see what I might have on hand that could return this wheezing, sneezing child back to normal.
I still consult this book today along with a few others that I keep in the medicine cabinet. These are a few of my most valuable items and always will be.
Today, you always find a blend of dry herbs in my kitchen. Being in business for my self limits the time I have to grow all of my own so I delight in going to the bulk herb section of Mother Earth Foods!
My staple herbs for infusions are thyme, peppermint, safflower, oregano, rosemary, passion flower, alfalfa and sage.