Peel Bark

There is more than what meets the eye in the fall garden.  When the fig tree looses all her leaves, she is not dead.  She is merely reserving her energy for the long winter underground.  Just like we want to hibernate — stay inside, read good books, eat food and celebrate our achievements this year, by scaling back the fig tree will return with vigor in the spring!  The herbal plants hold potent medicine in their bark and roots this time of year too.

Viburnum_opulus_olvonEarlier in the month I experimented with the harvest of an ornamental shrub Snowball or Viburnum, the same genus of Cramp Bark and Black Haw, both fantastic muscle relaxants. The plant is a small tree or shrub with many small trunks; I found it growing in an older garden in the Ingleside neighborhood.  Root or bark, the medicinal part of the plant is usually a wet fleshy strip (cambium layer) of the plant.  I found the ideal piece to be about the size of a 12 inch ruler.  There are nubs opposite each other which created a natural starting and stopping point.   I pointed the lance downward into a bowl and the sharp knife will ran smoothly down the stick, inspiration for a soon-to-be favorite magic wand.  The cambium layer of the wood looks green at first, but turns to a brownish-red after after a short oxidation period.  The change in color not unlike the leaves of this plant from spring to fall.

I tinctured the bark in two parts alcohol, one part spring water.  My intention for this medicine is to be part of a formula for my hardworking farmer friends.  Every now and again I hear the complaint of weakness: one of us can’t lift our shovel so high, or must sit a little longer at lunch.  The cycle of the moon takes its toll on our bodies.  As a muscle relaxant I hope the Viburnum will provide a bit of relief to a farmer, or anyone who works hard though the cycles of the moon.

Happy Full Moon in Taurus!

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