LMH Plant Walk Tuesday

Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: Evening Primrose *Oenothera biennis*

Hello, and thank you for joining this weeks Plant Walk Tuesday with LMH. I am so happy to have you here! Today I will be introducing you to one of my favourite herbal allies, Evening Primrose {Oenothera biennis}. This beauty received its’ name due to its’ sensitivity to the moonlight which allows its’ bright yellow flowers to bloom at night. As a result, it has received the nickname “Evening Star”.

Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose

Evening primrose is native to North America, but can also be found throughout Europe. During the Second World War, Evening Primrose seeds were used as a coffee substitute due to food rationing. In the traditional medical system of India, Ayurveda, Evening Primrose is used  for inflammatory disorders such as arthritis. Evening Primrose is utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine to increase the flow of Qi (energy) and blood. Please remember, that these highlighted points are not all encompassing and there are many different uses, purposes, and actions regarding the plants discussed in my blog. My intention here is to remind you that this plant, like many others, is used by many communities around the world in different ways and for different beautiful reasons. To learn more about the cultural significants of different herbs, I urge you to connect with someone from that culture and allow them to share with you the medicine of their peoples and the plant’s historical understanding to them. 

This herbal staple can be found in every province. It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. In the late summer yellow flowers sprout out of the top of the leafy stalks. These four petaled flowers have a beautiful lemon aroma

Evening Primrose can be utilized as an infusion for a sore throat or topically as a poultice for wounds. However, it is commonly used as an oil for a wide range of healing benefits including:

  • As a vaginal lubricant before and during sexual intercourse. The oil helps increase vaginal secretions and aids those suffering from vaginal dryness. You can purchase the oil in capsule form and poke a hole into it, apply the oil to your fingers, and massage as needed.

  • Breast pain, PMS, and hormone related issues.

  • For a variety of skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Adding a few drops of Evening Primrose oil to the skin can enhance cell structure and elasticity.

  • Relieves symptoms of arthritis & osteoporosis. Massaging the oil into the affected areas can reduce pain by increasing blood flow, enhancing circulation, and reducing stiffness.

  • Beneficial to use during pregnancy for preventing high blood pressure, and shortening labour time.

  • Can reduce hot flashes in menopause, and relieve PMS & painful abdominal cramps associated with menstruation.

  • Add to foods for a high source of essential fatty acids.

Energetically this night bloomer reminds us to shine our light even in the darkness. It allows us to face our shadows, and feel more at peace & whole by accepting our own true essence. As a flower essence, Evening Primrose is a wonderful remedy for someone feeling rejected in life or who has absorbed negative energy from their parents. It can help those who feel sexual and emotional repression.

Evening Primrose with Lisa Marie Holmes

Evening Primrose is a safe herb, however, although the oil is a great source of nutrients it should not be used for cooking. Its’ low smoke point will cause the oil to go rancid when heated. 

Thank you for following along with me this week! Evening Primrose is such a lovely ally that is often neglected in the herbal world so I appreciate you taking the time to learn more! It brings me so much joy to be able to share my love of herbal medicine with you! This post is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. It is my intention that you will feel inspired to go out and learn more about this beauty since I was unable to share all of the useful ways Evening Primrose can be incorporated into your life in just one short post. 

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

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Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose

Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: *Medicinal Mushrooms*

As herbalists we immerse ourselves fully and whole heatedly into the world of plant medicine and its complex healing potential. Mushrooms are something we learn about and revere, but often with caution and hesitation. Their complexity and amassment can seem daunting and overwhelming at times and can cause us to overlook these invaluable medicines. In a world where our immune systems are bombarded and overwhelmed on a daily basis, never has it been more important to dive into the use of mushrooms as medicine. 

Although mushrooms feel like a foreign entity, ironically, they have journeyed beside us all along. One of the oldest known organisms on earth, they dominate in species numbers up to 10,000 and span unfathomable mileage as they grow in complex mycelial networks below our feet. They spy on us from trees while they spit spores into the air so inconspicuously yet intentionally at numbers that would astound you. It is one of the many heartbeats of nature, sharing an alarming number of genetic similarities to you. They don’t just adorn your pepperoni pizza and attempt to pass as a vegetable… mushrooms are more complex and intelligent than you could ever imagine. 

So why are we becoming so aware of our fungal companions? Psilocybin is being toted as a powerful tool to treat a wide range of ailments, from PTSD to depression making it hard to ignore. But this is only one mushroom, one drop in the bucket of so many unique and powerful fungal allies. 

You may be familiar with some of the other top contenders; Reishi, Lions Mane, Cordyceps, Maiitake, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, Chaga, Morels, Chanterelles and Oyster mushrooms (to name a few.) Yes its true some mushrooms are more buzzworthy and trendy. This is because research and cultural uses have gravitated towards the most well known and medicinal species. 

Turkey Tail

Turkey Tail

Although we are still on the cusp of understanding how mushrooms interact with the human body, much of the research focuses on constituents called “Beta-glucans.” Beta-glucans appear to dance with our innate immune mechanisms in a way that orchestrates a variety of healing or ever so gently guides our body in its own healing processes. Think of beta-glucans as a pesky parent telling you to clean up your room and pointing out what needs to be cleaned. That’s sort of how they function in the human body; they tell our immune systems what to start cleaning up and what to become aware of (with a swift kick in the butt.) Each mushroom contains different fungal beta-glucans, unique in their directive and intentions in the body. This means that different mushrooms may be more fitting to certain people or conditions. 

Lions Mane Mushroom (for example) has been researched for its role in cognitive health, memory and treatment of dementia. Turkey Tail Mushroom contains certain constituents that are used as a standard treatment for people in Japan who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. Shiitake mushroom has been researched to be anti-tumour and anti-viral (with a staggering ability to support the host in its defence.) These are just small examples of why mushrooms are gaining attention. In a world where cancer impacts so many individuals, having a natural substance with limited side effects (if any) on your side is worth taking note. 

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

There are a few important points to take into consideration before using this beautiful and powerful medicine. 

Firstly, not all mushrooms supplements are made equally. Unfortunately, when it comes to mushrooms powders or capsules, you get what you pay for. Looking for companies that provide sustainable and organic harvesting and test for beta-glucan content is an important process. Furthermore, if you choose to harvest your own mushrooms, please do so in a sustainable fashion and always leave more than 2/3 of the source.

Secondly, “not all medicine is medicine for everyone.” This means simply that mushrooms are not necessary for every person to take on a daily basis. They do however support the body in times of stress, lowered immunity, or where a history of cancer or chronic illness is present.

Chaga

Chaga

If you want to begin to reap the benefits of mushrooms today, a great way to start is by cooking with organic mushrooms you purchase in the store. Look for Shiitake mushrooms, Morels or Chanterelles and add them to your favourite dishes. Cooked is always better when it comes to mushrooms and trusting the source is also massively important. Lastly, when you find yourself out for a walk in the woods look up… observe the way mushrooms grow on trees or on roadsides, or creek beds or cracks in the concrete. They grow in families with strength and endurance in even the most adverse conditions. 

If you are like me and are interested in learning more about mushrooms and benefiting from their medicinal gifts, the ladies at Thrive Custom Herbals are a great source of information and offer beautiful products. Located on the west coast of Canada in British Colombia, you can access their website at: www.thrivecustomherbals.com and if you get to see them in person make sure you give them a big hug for me!

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

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Giant Puffball Mushroom

Giant Puffball Mushroom

Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: Horehound *Marrubium vulgare*

horehound with lisa marie holmes
IMG_5811.jpeg

Hello, and thank you for joining this week’s Tuesday Plant Walk with LMH! I am honoured to have you on this journey with me. Today I am introducing you to Horehound (Marrubium vulgare).  Horehound is a member of the mint family and originates from Asia, Europe, and Africa. Horehound, also known as white Horehound has a close relative, black Horehound (Ballota nigra). Although the two Horehounds are similar, black Horehound has a more bitter taste, and they have slightly different medicinal properties. 

Horehound can be distinguished by its’ musky smell. It has green leaves covered in white fuzzy hairs. In the summertime little white (or purple depending on the strain) flowers bloom out of its’ leaves. Horehound grows all over, but it is a heat lover, making it easier to find in warmer climates. It can be viewed as an invasive plant, however Horehound can be a great addition to your garden as it keeps harmful insects & animals away. I suggest growing your Horehound in its’ own container to prevent invasiveness. 

Horehound has been used medicinally for more than 2,000 years. Ancient Egyptian priests used Horehound for its’ potent respiratory effects and ability to treat malaria & fever. Swiss Physician and alchemist Paracelsus referred to it as the “medicine of the lungs”.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine Horehound is used to clear heat, move Qi (energy and life force) throughout the body, resolve phlegm, and calm tremors. Although this may be the first time you are hearing of Horehound, there is a good chance this medicine has helped you ease a cough, as it is an ingredient in the famous Ricola cough drops. 

Some of Horehound’s many beneficial qualities include:

  • Its’ bitter properties help to stimulate digestion & balance appetite.

  • It’s an expectorant meaning it promotes stimulation of the bronchioles - soothing coughs and runny noses.

  • Horehound strengthens the immune system & relieves fevers.

  • It’s antispasmodic, meaning it can ease spasms, making it a great menstrual cramp remedy.

  • Can be used externally to promote the healing of wounds.

My favourite way to incorporate Horehound in my medicine cabinet is by making an herbal syrup. Making a syrup helps to combat Horehound’s bitter flavour, and it is so delicious! Having a cough never tasted so good 😉. 

Ingredients:

-½ cup fresh Horehound or ¼ cup dried 

-2 cups of water

-3 cups of honey 

-Stainless steel pot 

horehound with lisa marie holmes

Instructions: 
Place the Horehound & water in the pot, and then bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes. Strain the plant material using a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer, and add the honey. Taste your medicine, and if it needs some extra sweetness add additional honey. Take one teaspoon as needed. You can store the medicine in a glass container in the fridge for up to two months. 

Horehound can be a beneficial medicine for everyone as we all are burdened by common colds far too often. However, this medicine can be especially helpful for the elderly. Its’ ability to stimulate digestion, balance appetite, ward off coughs, and improve the immune system make it a powerful ally for those with weaker constitutions. Horehound is a relatively safe medicinal herb, but should be avoided if pregnant. 

Thank you for following along with me, I am so grateful to have you here! I am unable to share all of the beneficial properties of Horehound in one post, but it is my intention to inspire you to learn more about Horehound on your own, and the benefits of incorporating herbal medicine in your life. This post is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. I hope that the next time you catch a cold you feel inspired to utilize your new friend, Horehound. 

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

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horehound leaves with lisa marie holmes

Plant Walk Series with Lisa Marie Holmes: Motherwort *Leonurus cardiaca*

Motherwort leaves

Hello, and thank you for joining me for this week’s Plant Walk Tuesday! Today we will be meeting the herbal healer Motherwort. This bitter, spicy, and warming herb is a member of the mint family. It is thought to originate from southeastern Europe and Asia. Traditionally used by the ancient Greeks as a remedy for postpartum women suffering from anxiety, this plant received its binomial latin name “Leonurus cardiaca” (which directly translates to “lion’s heart”) for it’s ability, both energetically and physically, to calm the heart, ease palpitations, and sooth the nervous system.

In the right environment, Motherwort can grow quite tall reaching heights up to 10 feet. It has a strong & sturdy stem with leaves branching out. In the summertime, beautiful pink or white fuzzy flowers bloom. This is a great herb to add to your medicinal garden. Once planted, Motherwort will multiply, and continue to grow for years! For this reason it is advised to plant seedlings about 1 foot apart

The meaning behind both the common & Latin name of this phenomenal herb pays tribute to it’s healing powers. The name Motherwort relates to how this vitalizing medicine has been used for centuries to heal mothers, and play a supportive role for all women as they transition through all the seasons of life.  

LMH with Motherwort

Motherwort can be used to reduce anxiety and heart palpitations, treat postpartum depression, and ease menopausal symptoms. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Motherwort is used to regulate the menstrual cycle, and reduce symptoms of PMS. 

Energetically, a herbal infusion of Motherwort can be equated to the feeling of a mother’s embrace - calm, soothing, full of tenderness and warmth. Let’s be honest who doesn’t need a little extra tender lovin care from the powers of a lioness’s heart from time to time? 

A great way use Motherwort is as a tincture. Due to it’s bitter properties I find this medicine more enjoyable, and the tincture loosely reminds me of the smell of chocolate. This medicine calms anxiety, loneliness, and stress by giving extra love to the heart centre. For this reason it can also be a great remedy to use to draw deep into meditation or relaxation of any kind by taking off some of the weight we as humans carry around with us in our heart, and therefore allowing us to drop into a clear and centred head & heart space. 

This is a safe medicine, but should be avoided for those that are pregnant due to it being an emmenagogue, which means it can help stimulate menstrual flow.

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know a little bit about the powers of the Lion’s Heart, Leonurus cardiaca, Motherwort. I myself have been fostering a deeper connection with this beautiful plant lately as it has been calling to me for some time now. 

This post is intended to shine light on the medicine especially for the ladies out there who can benefit from this vital ally (men can use it too of course!). However, the list of actions and benefits that Motherwort has is extensive and by no means summarized in totality in this post. Everyone can benefit from using this medicine but please remember that this is intended to be fun and shed light on different plant medicines so you can feel inspired to discover more about what is calling you! This post is not intended to be used as medical advice or a prescription. Thank you so much for taking this walk with me! See you next week 😊

LMH with Motherwort

Sending Love and Light
xo
Lisa Marie Holmes

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LMH & Motherwort