Herbal Medicine Roots: Dig & Delve

Herbal Medicine Roots: Dig & Delve

Sunday, January 12th, we dug and processed the roots of Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea), Teasel (Dipsacus sylvestris), Elecampane (Inula helena), Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera) and Angelica (Angelica archangelica) at the Herbal Heart in Winter Advanced Apprenticeship . Although we were blessed by a brief rain on Saturday, the roots were smaller and less fleshy than most years when our rain is abundant here in Philo, CA.

Nonetheless, it was great. Pitchfork and shovel in hand, we gave our intention to make healing medicine to the plants and then carefully dug around the roots of the plant and gently brought them up. Then to the washing and cutting, which was carefully done by the students. We used different menstruums for different plants: Echinacea, Teasel, and Elecampane went into a mix of brandy and Sonoma County Herb Exchange amazing alcohol for tinctures that will mature in two months. The Angelica honey will take longer – I sometimes leave that up to a year.

The Ashwaganda is very different. Ashwaganda has some toxic properties when fresh. What we did was to put the root into the Vitamixer with some water, make it into a slurry, boil it up, then spread it onto a cookie sheet to dry on top of bricks on the wood stove. Then it goes into the dry container of the Vitamixer to be powdered.

Also in the picture is Aralia californica, on the right, in honey and in alcohol.