THE MEDICINE JOURNEYS: NOURISHMENT AND RITUALS FROM THE PLANTS
I left for Black Rock City and my annual pilgrimage to Burning Man, (which is truly a live shamanic journey of epic proportions where I do deep self work with and through the music, the art, the lights, the people.), and it was summer, my corn and squash plants still green and flowering. 10 days later, I returned to Autumn, in all her golden glory. The plants in the southwest all bloom golden in September, the mountains are swirling with moist clouds, the wind is suddenly cold, and my garden is drying up and turning toward harvest.
I also came home with the first seasonal respiratory crud of the year, and spent three days in bed for recovery. And it was so damn delicious to sleep and rest. How often do we give ourselves the space to do absolutely nothing but nourish and rest our bodies, especially before we get sick? And when we do come down with the crud, do we give ourselves permission to really REST, (which in my professional & personal opinion is a much more powerful form of medicine than herbs in a lot of cases.)
I am feeling the seasons change so deeply, so viscerally. The energy is heavy, thick, ripe and turning me so inward. I just feel like sitting on the Earth, soaking up the last warm sun rays, and picking up and eating all the pinyon nuts I can find. And I’m making soup, and thinking about supporting and warming nourishment for the winter months, and my tuckered out immune system.
Our plant allies have the gifts we need in all seasons, and supporting our immunity, and our deep resources with warming, grounding and immunomodulating plants is the gift of the cold season.
I have two ways that make sure to get these grounding, restorative and immunosupportive plants into my daily routine. One is through a continuous brew tea blend in the crock pot, and the other is deeply nourishing herbal soup bone broth. (You can use seaweed instead of bones if you are a strict vegetarian.)
Crock pot (or a pot on the stove on low with a lid can also work)
1 - 2 gallons of water
Immuno - Herb Roots and Mushrooms Blend
4-6 Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) mushroom slices (these are very bitter, go easy at first if you are not accustomed to bitter taste)
8-10 Shiitake mushrooms (dry or fresh, break them up or slice)
a generous handful of Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) root slices
⅛ c licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root (omit this herb if you have high blood pressure or taking bp medications, or are pregnant)
¼ c schisandra berry (schisandra chinensis)
½ c Codonopsis (codonopsis pilosula) roots
¼ c fresh or dry ginger (zingiber officinalis) root, chopped
¼ c fresh or dry turmeric roots (if you use powder add 2 tsp)
For soup add:
2-4 cloves of garlic sliced
1 onion chopped
1-2 lbs of chicken, beef or lamb bones (organic, free range, happy animals)
1 cup or a handful of seaweed (kelp, wakame, nori, bladderwrack)
½ lemon or 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
carrots, celery, roots, greens and other stock veggies as desired
For tea add:
Cinnamon, clove, cardamom, cacao, sarsparilla, hawthorn berry, elderberry, rose hips, hibiscus, vanilla bean or evergreen needles (pine and fir are yummy) as desired to taste.
Mix water, herbs and any additions (bones, veggies, fruits etc) in a crock pot or large pot on the stove, and simmer on low for 4 hrs for tea or 24 hrs for soup with bones. The longer it cooks the better the medicine. You may add more water to the brew if it looks like it's getting low. After cooking, strain the herbs/bones/veggies out of the liquid brew, and sip as a tea daily, or use as a broth for soup, cooking grains, or sauteing veggies.
You can sip, brew and enjoy these types of immunity brews all fall and winter long to support your natural immunity, and help you ground and root down in the cold months to the Earth’s deep nourishment and rest. And rest, as much as you can, get your 8 hours every night. Turn off the lights and relish the darkness within and without, just as the roots and decomposers work deep in the dark womb of the Earth.