Herbal First Aid on the Colorado Front Range

Herbal First Aid on the Colorado Front Range

When used correctly, plant medicine can be super effective for those bumps in the road that seem to come with any proper adventure! Fortunately for us, there are a number of super common weeds here on the Front Range of Colorado and throughout the US that make up an ever present summer first aid kit.

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Sumac: A Late Summer Tea

Sumac: A Late Summer Tea

The Perfect Summer Tea

If you pick your sumac fruits too early, you end up with slightly yellow water and the merest trace of flavor. Make sure your fruits are deepest red, and have a sour tang to them when you taste a drupe-it should be a pretty potent flavor.

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Fuzzy Drupes and Dr. Seuss: Staghorn Sumac

Fuzzy Drupes and Dr. Seuss: Staghorn Sumac

Doctor Seuss was definitely consulted when this plant was created.

From the fluffy, alien looking fruits, to the scraggly antler-like fuzzy branches, this plant is straight out of the Lorax.
 
Its also one of our more charismatic New England plants, and makes one of my favorite teas for hot weather.

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Goodness Graminoids!

Goodness Graminoids!

The other graminoids, while not true grasses, are truly beautiful, and full of fascinating flowers and uses.

Of course, 'graminoids' would also be the perfect name for the main characters of a plant based alien movie "The Attack of the Graminoids"-someone should get on that.)

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Medicinal Mints

Medicinal Mints

Mints have a tendency towards stirring up the mucous membranes (that’s all those pink shiny places inside the body that we try not to think about).

So while they definitely affect the whole body, they have an especial affinity for a few specific areas.

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Spicebush: Tiny Flowers, Awesome Medicine

Spicebush: Tiny Flowers, Awesome Medicine

Like so many fragrant herbs, spicebush is a carminative. Carminative comes from the Latin carminare, meaning ‘makes you fart’. Okay, so not really. But it’s actual translation comes to something along the lines of ‘remove impurities’, so in essentials it comes to the same thing.

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Yellow Dock: A Spring Tonic For Shaking Off Winter

Yellow Dock: A Spring Tonic For Shaking Off Winter

A potent medicinal, this herb has all the right actions to shake things up for spring.

A prodigious weed, yellow dock has a tap root that ends only once it reaches the earth’s molten core (at least this is what I assume, because I can never seem to get the whole root out). 

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Skunk Cabbage: A Whiff of Spring

Skunk Cabbage: A Whiff of Spring

Alien space pod. Harbinger of spring. Stinky. Miraculous.

All across the Eastern US, people are feeling the stirrings of spring.  Sun on our faces. Birds singing merrily. And the pungent skunk cabbage, giving us a sense of hope for the new season, and eliciting the common, “Is that a skunk?” argument.

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