Sunshine in the Rain


Housebound for another week of storms, the rains lifted Friday afternoon for our weekend workshop on making plant medicines, then started right back up. My goal this week is indoors anyway. Crafting and fine tuning this blog. I just added a forum, look for the little widget to the lower right. WordPress doesn’t support forums so this is an external forum. Please let me know if you’re comfortable using it.

And we have another writer, Sasha Daucus in Missouri, all set to shed some light on the “Grandmothers of Dauphine Island” for starters. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us Sasha! Any other herbalists who want to contribute postings here?

Our OTS/Earth Offering workshops are really starting to feel like a family affair. New folks coming in quickly morph into “old friends” as we share a love of nature and her healing touch. The camping with our wilderness skills experts from Ozark Trackers is pure fun, camp kitchen, conversation around the campfire late into the night, nature awareness exercises…really rounds out the working with plants.

We had an emergency room physician from Missouri whose grandmother was a granny woman. He mentioned that there were also “male granny women”…called “root doctors”. I think we need a “root doctor” revival, too. There were two medical doctors and a nurse in attendance who recognize that its time for doctors to learn how to make their own plant medicines again. Very encouraging to see doctors returning to their roots. And I might add, they’re supportive of a granny woman revival.

I just loved this class…its diversity (doctors,nurse,attorney,stock broker, attorney,psychologist,computer techs, etc.) and the unity between us in regards to the technologies of independence, the ability of nature to restore. Forgot to take photos (again). Had the whole gang crowded around the woodstove in my barn loft enduring a playful kitten while we detailed various ways to make tinctures,infusions,decoctions. We made a hydrosol of Juniper…divine, try it! I made a hydrosol of Sweet Annie (heavenly fragrance) for a lotion. We finished things off with some of the basics on infused oils and ointments. Then ran out of time!

We also take hikes to identify the edible/medicinal neighborhood. Located a sizeable patch of horsetail and black cohosh (no, not growing together). The horsetail has to be around 6-8 feet tall, I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it myself.

Yesterday I learned that there’s an article on the web stating that Elderberry fosters a cytokine storm so don’t take it for H1N1 flu. I disagree and will explain why in my next post. For now, would you share your thoughts on using any of the following for H1N1 = Goldenseal, Echinacea, Elderberry?

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About dcoda

An herbalist for over 40 years, ten years spent alone in the Ozark Hurricane Creek Wilderness Preserve, working with its brilliant botanicals. I'm an instructor and co-founder of the Ozark Herbal Academy which offers training in medicinal and edible plants through hands-on workshops and online courses.

Posted on October 13, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Love the title and so interesting to read. I so dearly enjoy your poetic style of writing.

  2. I know this is an old post, but that’s such an interesting question at the end I can’t help but get in on it.

    I can’t speak to elderberry actually, I don’t have much experience with it. But goldenseal I know, and echinacea too, so here goes:

    I can see using goldenseal in tiny amounts – a sip of the tea a few times a day – for its astringency, but it has no antiviral capabilities (that I know of!), so it would be a case of symptom management, yes? I find it can have a negative effect on the gut microbes as well, and so I’d be hesitant to recommend it when we’re trying to prevent a cytokine storm. One thing we need to fight viruses is good bacteria base to keep our immune system balanced, after all.

    I’ve never been a fan of using echinacea for viral issues either. It is dandy if a cold or flu turns into a secondary bacterial infection though, so using it preventively seems reasonable. It has its uses in soothing the respiratory tract, too.

    If I was treating H1N1, I’d treat it as I would any flu, and I’d include St Johnswort. I find it a dandy antiviral, with the additional benefit of the liquid sunshine effect and it’s pain relief. Bone broths with lots of ginger and garlic, rosehip tea, rest, hot baths and more garlic. Mullein if the lungs were congested, eyebright if the sinuses were clogged, maybe even my new friend usnea which is so useful.

    My take on every “new” flu virus is that the virus may be new but the human body is the same. Treat the person, not the illness, try to relieve symptoms, and offer the body everything it needs to shake the thing off itself. Keep an eye on fever levels but allow them if they don’t get to the danger point, all the usual stuff.

    This is a very interesting site, clearly I have more exploring to do…

    • Wow, great to revisit this old post with your input.

      The question of antibacterial and antiviral herbs can be so misleading given that their actions are so different from the pharmaceutical antibiotics. Plus, those that have been proven effective in medical research require direct contact with the organism — so they work on external pathogens when used as, say a poultice or salve, but taken internally they don’t work.

      That being said, plants that kick up our immune system a few notches, or help stimulate or relax other systems …are useful for these infections and for that reason are called “antiviral” or “antibiotic”…there are exceptions of course, like garlic with its sulfurs.

      I like your approach, to support the body’s own process.

      I’m curious to know more about your experience with St. John’s wort.

      Also, be sure to check out our affordable herb school for courses at

      Please do stay in touch, I loved your comment.

      • Wonderful – it’s great to speak to someone who works with rather than just writes about plant medicine.

        I’ve got this post on St John’s –

        I hear you about the difficulty with terms, especially the anti-this and that. Really, I find things like echinacea are more “pro”. Nor do I like any terms that encourage an attitude of battling disease, I think of healing as supporting a return to health. Lately I’ve been interested in the role of inulin eg. in echinacea, burdock and dandelion. It’s a prebiotic, feeds good bacteria, so perhaps this is part of how they work? And possibly explains why they do nothing or even cause discomfort in thos who have dysbiosis…

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