Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Rowan helps mama wildcraft.
Spring is not only welcome respite from an overly-long Ohio winter (not really used to that anymore- brrrr!), but it also means lots of great things to harvest in my neighborhood! 

I live in a city that is green, lush, and full of all kinds of great wild medicinal plants. I am excited to go to a place I know where there is some jewelweed soon. (Jewelweed is great for poison ivy treatment. I will make a plaster/salve for the condition.) 

We have cleavers and mallow (both of which I will use for skin care as well, making astringents,toners, and lotions) coming up, too. Wildcrafting reminds me of the abundance we walk past every day- growing in empty lots and in the cracks in the sidewalk- if only we know what to look for! 

Wildcrafting is an exercise in not only herbalism, but Fate. As with any Witchy activity, a little knowledge beforehand allows us to open to infinite possibilities. Because I have studied how to identify plants and what they do that may be of value to me, I can wildcraft. It is the same with astral projection, working with the dead, or conjure work. This is why training with a master is so important in the Craft. The skills are passed and introductions are made on your behalf- to spirits of the green as well as the mighty dead and such. These introductions are so profound and help you later in life. I am teaching Rowan about plants as we go- he will learn a lot of the Craft from me.

This afternoon's bounty.
I remember in herb school going out to a mountain and doing some plant spirit work. We found a grove and laid down and simply listened to see if any messages came. I had my head under a manzanita plant in bloom. I was sent a picture of a desert- barren of much vegetation- until manzanita and madrone came in, settling into hard places and eventually settling the area and breaking down the hard soil and rock enough for other plants to come. I got the message, "I am first.", plain as day. After doing some research, I found out that this is exactly how California became so lush. 

While we wait just a bit more for those other goodies I spied on our neighborhood walk, Rowan and I toured our neighborhood and picked wild violets out of people's grass. Rowan really loves helping mommy make medicine. So he went along to help me pick the violets.  On our street, violets (and dandelions- also valuable!) are weeds that grow on so many lawns and they all go to waste- people just mow them down. Luckily, the folks in our neighborhood are not chemical enthusiasts. Most are aging hippies and crunchy folk who shop at the food coop like me and don't care about perfectly manicured grass. I have yet to see anyone use pesticides or chemical fertilizers- and the yards are a mix of crabgrass, ramps (delicious!), dandelions, violets, plantain (also going to be harvested! Muhuwahahaa!) and cleavers most of the time. I find it charming and far healthier to the well manicured suburban lawns of my childhood (the ones where the "chemlawn man" would come every few weeks).

After stemming the flowers,
I added them to rice vinegar.
This will be used in facial products.
At one home as we picked, the homeowner came out and asked what we were up to. Uh oh. I explained we were only picking the violets- and Rowan chimed in "for medicine!" Our neighbor was smiling and she said, "Oh- how neat. Take as many as you want!" I have half a mind to bring her some of the vinegar as a present for indulging us. It makes a delicious vinaigrette, too.

I got them home and washed the flowers thoroughly, then took the flowers from the stems and added them to the vinegar I had ready in a repurposed bottle.

Why did I pick the violets? Besides being beautiful (they impart such a lovely color to medicines and toiletries), they are quite good for skin eruptions and sores (pimples, boils, acne and other things). So I will be making a violet vinegar that will be a good ingredient for making a facial toner and a pimple treatment. Stay tuned for those in the store!

I have an herbalist friend who wildcrafts violets for lotions and lip balms as well. You can also use them internally- or candy them with egg white and superfine sugar as cake decorations. When I was in fifth grade, we went to a settler re-enactment where a "farmwife" was doing just that and it was so magical to me (my mom was more of a fish sticks kind of mom) that I still talk about it to this day.

Look at the color
after only one day!
While I stemmed the violets, I worked on a decoction of witch hazel, which I later used for a mouth and gum health rinse and will use the rest for astringent. Today I work on more bug spray and labels for the new products. I will have several new things at the next 400 Market!

Boline is growing all the time, with new products (both remedies and toiletries) being added monthly. In addition to wildcrafted items, I have experienced gardeners growing things for me. Around harvest time this year, I will be quite the busy bee, trying to dry and process all my ingredients. Check out to see what is new!

1 comment:

  1. Wildcrafting AND you have experience gardeners growing things for you? Super awesome! Any chance that maybe you'll make a post identifying some of the wild flowers that could be found on an experience like that? I know, there are other resources out there in the world, but I like your perspective.


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