Monday, May 05, 2008

Back to My Roots...

I have decided that it was time for me to get back to restudy/relearn from the French & European traditions of herbalism which are strongly rooted in Folk Medicine and Grandmother Remedies. The Materia Medica can be easily found in one's garden, nearby woods or at the farmers market and is a blend of edibles with aromatic, wild and not so wild medicinal plants.
It's the people's medicine: onion syrup, cabbage poultice, hand & foot baths, thyme tea, herb infused wines and blackberry liqueur, just to name a few remedies...

I like the approach of Maurice Mességué (who likes to work with "the Simples") and Germaine Cousin-Zermatten (a charming grandmother who makes healing concoctions with the wild medicinal plants of the Alps). I also like Jean Palaiseul's "Grandmother's Secrets: Her Green Guide to Health from Plants"; and have rediscovered the works of Maria Treben, Sebastian Kneipp...and even Hildegard von Bingen!

There are herbalists out there, whose greed has taken over the joy & pleasure of teaching, learning and sharing this ancient healing art. This same greed clouding their judgement, raising their ego and darkening their heart...How can such people claim to be teachers, healers or even guides?

I have never followed one way of thinking, learning or doing things. It is important to learn from difference sources and compare them to have the best knowledge and understanding of one herb. I especially enjoy ancient herbals with tidbits of information that have often been overlooked, forgotten or lost.

For example, I enjoy drinking nettle tea/infusion at night. I've noticed that I sleep well this way. Since nettle is a nutritious herb with a tonic effect on the body, one might not think of having a cup of nettle tea before bed time. Yet I have found one source mentioning that in the British Isles, nettle has been used as a treatment for insomnia.

People from the past still have a lot to teach us...

8 comments:

Hedgewitch said...

Absolutely! Couldn't agree more.

Thanks for the tip about nettle tea .. I would never have thought to take it in the evening (not that I have trouble sleeping!)

Alchemille said...

Let me know what you think of a nettle as bed time tea...;).

I don't usually have trouble sleeping either, but it seems to give me a good and restorative night of sleep.

Mystery Ranch said...

Loving your website and your philosophy of life. Everyone is at their right place on their own path. Would love to have your comments (whatever they are) on my website www.wisewomenofthewest.com
especially my Herbalist and Souk pages. And also of my blog
www.mysteryranch.blogspot.com
What do you know about beldi?

Mystery Ranch said...

Oh yes, my email

Alchemille said...

Thank you for your comment Mystery Ranch, I will check both your website and blog out ;).

I know beldi has been used as soap (and even exfoliant with the help of a washcloth) in hammams. I would love to try it (and even better, make some myself) but the few places that I have some to sell some online, make it a little pricey.

So far I've used African black soap which I recommend from head to toe ;).

Mystery Ranch said...

Thank you so much for your rapid reply. I bought beldi in Morocco when I was there last year. You can purchase it from Nectarome www.nectoarome.com in bulk. I want to know how to make it too, since here in California we have an abundance of olive growers and olive oil makers. It is made from black olives. I make a soap with beldi in it, as well as ghassoul (clay from the Atlas mtns), seaweed, argan oil and black cumin seed oil. You say in your profile that you are part Tunisian. Do you know anything about their herbal tradition? I went on an herbalists tour of Morocco last year (have been there 2 other times as well) and have friends in Tunisia who have invited me to visit. Hope to go soon.
Best wishes

Alchemille said...

Amoressence http://www.amoressence.com/ also carries Moroccan products, including the beldi soap.
I am familiar with rhassoul and argan oil that I use quite often; they both unique to Morocco.
I haven't tried black cumin seed(as herb or oil) yet though I have a booklet about it, I think it's mostly used in Egypt.
My father is Tunisia; I was born and raised in France. I've never been to Tunisia unfortunately.
It is hard to find much about Tunisia since most people are more familiar with Morocco. I believe that there are common medicinal plants used throughout North Africa and sold/traded in markets/souks but I'm sure there are local specificities (just like for food).

Mystery Ranch said...

Yes, I went to the site you listed and the products they sell are made by Nectarome and you can buy them much cheaper than that. Black cumin seeds are put on bread like sesame seeds. Your profile says you are in California. So am I.

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