Desert Wildcrafting

Head out onto the land.


Take a look around.

Then look closer.

Greet your old friends with a cry of happy recognition.

How well you look!

Make your prayer, offer thanks.

(Tobacco or corn meal do well, but homemade crackers work in a pinch.)

Ah, that joyful exchange of praise and pruning for medicine.

Wander, greeting the plants all around, eyes tuned to the rocks, the sand, the sky.

The dusky green that makes even this dry land abundant.

Oh friends, your beauty and goodness are a song I’ll never stop singing.

Honor the plants by making simple medicine from them,

And they will honor you with their healing.

Before, during, after.


The long, thin “leaves” are Mormon Tea, found flowering and abundant in a wash down south. We’ll add it to our daily tea blend for its rich mineral content and nourishing powers.

The small, shiny round leaves are from chaparral (creosote bush to non-herbalists). This plant reigns over the Chihuahuan desert, and is potent medicine. I’m making oil to use as a base for sunscreen this summer.

Our favorite books for this area are the ones written by our beloved teacher Michael Moore: Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West and Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.

(PS happy Earth Day)

9 Replies to “Desert Wildcrafting”

  1. I’ve always wanted to gather herbs and plants for medicinal purposes but, likewise edible wild plants, this old and local knowledge isn’t in any books.

  2. Ditto exactly what Francesca said., except that there are supposedly several books about it locally, that I have to request from the library before buying.
    Tell us more about the sunscreen!

  3. Wonderful blog! Nice pictures too:) I posted your blog on my public facebook page (@AngieGoodloe) I am am featuring new herbal blogs (past year or so)
    I love to encourage other herbalists to post their pictures and stories on line- so everyone can see how simple (yet amazing) working with plants really is!
    Thanks for the wonderful info!

  4. Sooooo inspiring! I keep meaning to get out there with my medicinal plants of the southeast guidebook and do some wildcrafting. Thanks for the nudge.

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