Today’s farmshare includes:
PLANT MEDICINE: Willow
By Shawna Schenk, farm school graduate and lfull time yoga teacher, Reiki Master, herbalist and aromatherapist. Learn more about Shawna at: www.yogawithshawna.com
Willow has been used for its medicinal properties for literally thousands of years. Records date back as far as 400 BC, during the time of Hippocrates, where people were advised to chew on Willow bark to reduce fever and inflammation. Its use has been recorded for centuries throughout Asia and Europe to treat pain, and today this power plant, can be found growing freely (with its many varieties of species from pussy willow to weeping willow) throughout the world.
In San Diego, Wild Willows can be easily found: they grow freely around Wild Willow Farm (hence, our name!) and I’ve seen them every where from the beach area to Julian. Take a minute to observe the trees around you and you have a good chance of finding one.
All species of Willow (may it be a tree, bush, or small plant), contain a chemical called salicin which is a chemical similar to that which makes up aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), so you can use this healing plant in the same way you would an aspirin. Although aspirin is quicker, willow does not have any side effects and especially won’t bring sensitivity to the stomach or digestive center; because of this, studies have shown it can reduce colon and stomach cancer by using it instead of its modern, chemical “cousin.”
You can literally chew on the bark of the willow to relieve pain and inflammation! Willow is known for helping headache, fever, arthritis, and heart disease. Note: Willow should not be given to children to fight colds, flus or chickpox, and its use is not advised for people with ulcers.
A really effective way to use Willow is to make a tincture. Tinctures are a mixture of a plant and grain alcohol, submerged for at least a month, then diluted with water, and taken internally or externally. Herbal tinctures have deep roots in healing in various cultures which have proved them to be effective for thousands of years. For the modern man, tinctures don’t work as quickly as modern medicine, but they are long-lasting which makes them ideal, especially for chronic illnesses. If you are someone who takes an aspirin a day to prevent heart disease, try a daily dose of a willow tincture instead. Your stomach will thank you.
Tinctures are quick and simple to make:
More so, flower essences and their healing attributes have been studied from many different angles, and not just their physical healing properties. Willow has been linked to emotionally aiding in bringing acceptance, forgiveness and taking responsibility for one’s current life situation. It also helps people to be adaptable to change. For emotional healing, Willow works well for those who feel resentful, are inflexible or ridged with emotional memories that turn to bitterness, or those who have a tendency to blame others or see themself as the victim.
Powerful stuff, huh? Happy medicine making.
NOW ON SALE!
San Diego Garden-to-Table ALMANAC 2015
Guide to Growing Food Organically in San Diego... A Date Book with gardening tips for San Diego!
Inside you’ll find:
Go to our website for more information and to find a vendor near you: http://www.sandiegoroots.org/farm/events.php
Proceeds from the sale of the almanac support Wild Willow Farm & Education Center, allowing us to expand our ability to teach everyone about their food, where it comes from, and how to grow it.