Regional Herb Exchange


Well it’s a banner year for grindelia, which gringos call gumweed, here in the high desert. Times like this, the bioregional herbalist in me comes on strong and I think, hey, that’s good medicine. Let’s use that little weed like the gift it is. I basically went to the school of bioregional herbalism, the place where we were taught again and again that the medicine nearby is the right stuff to use, that the mallow in the garden is not meant to be pulled and left for mulch but dried with care and used through the year for the myriad ailments the kind creator gave us the wisdom to use it for. So I’ve got baskets of it on the counter, and horsetail and nettles and mint and mullein and all the other things that are so abundant and good.



And there’s a few things I find myself yearning for, too, things I know are as common where you live as gumweed is here. Like red clover blossoms, or black elder berries (dried or tinctured or elixired), or even things you might have an excess of in the garden, like lemon balm or comfrey or calendula blossoms or tarragon.

So I thought maybe we could do a little swapping. Maybe you could harvest what is abundant around you, and trade it with me and others who have a different sort of bounty in their life. If you have a knowledge of the weeds and herbs abundant where you are and want to join in this exchange, please do. My only request is that those participating do so with care and respect for wild plants, and use ethical wildcrafting practices.

Whether you are my neighbor down the road, or far off in an unthinkably moist land, we all have something to give. If you’d like to offer herbs, or ask for an herb or two that you need, please do so in the comments. I’ll serve as matchmaker and figure out the logistics later in the season, when we’re done with our joyful gathering.

(I’ll start: I’ve got mallow to spare, in case it’s not a weed where you are and you need a good marshmallow family member to soothe your lungs and tummy and skin, and also osha root, which is a special Rocky Mountain medicine famed for its antiviral and respiratory uses, arnica oil, and mullein garlic ear oil, and my own special blend of mineral rich tea, mint–of course, and lots of fragrant oregano.)


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