My Herbal Medicine Cabinet, and Then Some

We had a little pop-up challenge in the NM discord last night. I posted a picture of my herb cabinet and @riverflows decided we should all take pictures and put them on chain! Can do, it'll give me a reason to make a quick post.


There it is in it's expanding awesomeness! Last night I added the three jars of mullein that I harvested on our hunting trip. The larger leaves are still in the dehydrator because those stems are really hard to get dry. Much like comfrey, but fuzzier and the fuzz is less irritating. Each quart jar of mullein has an ounce of leaf in it.

Next to the mullein are a couple jars of my yarrow, comfrey, and plantain salve. My first attempt at a salve, and at a combination of herbs. I really love that stuff.

On the bottom are various dry herbs and concoctions. Yarrow, plantain, and comfrey of course. There's some dried elecampagne roots from @sagescrub, some of which are soaking in water in preparation for tincturing. There's a mullein root and leaf tincture soaking, and some of this season's dried red staghorn sumac leaves too!

I was excited to find the mullein last weekend because I wanted to make some into a smoking blend with the staghorn sumac. See, the sumac is smoked to intensify dreams, and boy, does it work, but smoking it often will make the lungs a bit irritated. Smoking mullein helps calm irritated lungs and is a treatment for bronchitis and pneumonia, which I am annually susceptible to. Now I have plenty of mullein for tincturing, smoking, and even the occasional tea!


There's one of the mullein plants I harvested, with a root that was 2m down in the ground! Incredible!

Back to the cabinet. There's some of the elecampagne tincture from @sagescrub, and some hypericum oil from @mountainjewel. @papa-pepper's toothache plant flowers are there too. Way in the back is my most used concoction: turkeytail tincture, the first medicine I ever made.

A couple of small vials of CBD oil, and some store bought echinacea and mullein capsules are in there too. I doubt I'll buy many herbs again, as I came to find out it's best to take a whole bottle of mullein daily at $30 a bottle and half a bottle of echinacea at $25 a bottle. Not quite big pharma costs, but you can see the obscene profit mentality is spreading to the herbal medicine industry. I just need some good wild supplies of each, so I'll be putting out more mullein seeds and ordering gobs of echinacea seeds for the forest garden.

My comfrey stash is very small, about half an ounce left. Not even enough for an infusion. I'll harvest more this coming week. In the spring, my three best plants will be harvested for root cuttings to propagate more comfrey. Somehow the ~50 plants I have aren't enough of this voraciously useful plant. I know just the place for it. The soil around the south hugel stayed damp all year, as I discovered on a late summer watermelon hunt. That'll be an excellent place for a comfrey and blueberry patch, as both of those plants like plenty of moisture. It'll give me a second hope for blueberries too, which all quickly dried out thanks to my low maintenance approach to gardening. (That means I'm lazy.) By count, most of what I've planted in the forest garden is actually medicinal, not food. I'll try to work on balancing those numbers out this spring, with more trees, blueberries, and strawberries. I fear most, if not all, of the strawberries have also fallen victim to my lazy take on permaculture. The Ozark Beauty patch on the north side is still thriving though! They must have been blessed with a lot of love from @mountainjewrl when she sent those original four plants.


In case y'all missed it, there's a pic of the forest garden from a week or so ago. Dressed in the golden cloak of an oakey autumn. Rain has since come over, softening the leaves for their journey of decay. I'm starting to see more rhythm than ever in the changing of the seasonal guard. There's purpose in every breeze, every cloud, every sunny day that warms the ground again so the bugs come up to eat. It's enchanting, and easy to see why people have based innumerable deities on these cycles.

The leaves I used in the swales last year have all disintegrated into loamy soil and half-filled the swales. I'll harvest it into the beds I've made with logs along the swale berms. That'll provide a nutritious planting space for next year. Perhaps some epic strawberry beds, or places for the new blackberry bushes that are propagating. God, it's good to be brainstorming about the garden again. As bummed as I get about unmanageable industrial factors, there's a distinct glow of hope in my tiny garden and my miniscule efforts here. I'm not gonna stop the damage of busted oil pipelines, but I can help heal and invigorate this small place. I can resume the managerial position of a conscious natural human, and interact intensively with this small patch, helping it thrive into a symbiotic ecosystem for it's own good and the good of my family and friends. And maybe someone else somewhere out there can see and do the same.

I can't get over the bible study Melissa and I did, concerning the Word of God. The Word of God is right and powerful, natural and profitable. Those themes are repeated throughout scripture, and I can't help but believe that those bits were translated rightly. Perhaps by accident, as those words condemn any damage that's been done in the name of Jesus over the last two millennia. They empower us to live as an example and to act in a right and natural way.

Y'all know how I feel about Christianity, and all of creation. We aren't in our right and natural place, and I think it's undeniable that the godly patriotism for industrial civilization is largely to blame. I wonder what would happen if we all tended a handful of wild space. If we left a trace, an undeniably human trace, as we were created to do. What on Earth would be healed if we followed the right and natural Word and accepted creation as our birthright?

Well, the rooster is crowing and it's almost time for church. I hope y'all enjoyed my quick post of my natural medicine cabinet and the rambling on nature that I so often get into. Have a blessed day.

All action for the good of all.


P.S. oh no, there's two roosters crowing now...

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Comments 16

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Have a nice day and sincerely yours,

01.12.2019 22:55

There's purpose in every breeze, every cloud, every sunny day that warms the ground again so the bugs come up to eat. It's enchanting, and easy to see why people have based innumerable deities on these cycles.

These are beautiful lines. You can be a real poet Nate. I love your unbounded reverence for the natural world and how your faith somehow gets interwined with all of that. It's a beautiful thing.

I love the way that your place is becoming populated with fellow Steemians plants too - there is a beautiful symbol in there too about networking and communities and connections between us and all living things. I have some @sagescrub yarrow and dandelions populating my place. Totally believe in the good we can do with our small lives by creating places like this and nurturing and revering the wild. If we all did it, what a different world it would be.

Your medicine cabinet is getting pretty stocked up - and you've only been 'into' this for a short amount of time. I reckon you're gonna need a bigger cupboard eventually! It's fun, isn't it? Love that picture of you and the mullein!

01.12.2019 23:30

Aww shucks, thanks! Some of that old juvenile creativity sneaks back out sometimes.

It is fun! I'm still loving this adventure and the depth it's gaining. That last bit kinda surprised me a little when I started writing it. Reconjuring the church garden idea :)

02.12.2019 06:28

Brother Nate must be sippin' on some good ol' inspiration tincture lately, very poetic musings, I thoroughly enjoyed that post! Hopefully he'll let us in on the recipe? :)

02.12.2019 12:09

That sounds like a thing! I need some inspiration tincture. Absinthe? Absinthe.

Really I'm just kinda enamoured by the constant changing of the seasons. Some days you can really acutely sense that each day is a new season all on its own. I like the depth of understanding I'm finding in the natural world. Like all you have to do is not understand, and the understanding will come.

02.12.2019 16:18

I always cut heavy veins out, because of the chance of them not drying properly and molding in the jars. They also take up a lot of room, and cutting them out doesn't mean much loss of the plant.

02.12.2019 01:57

Im considering doing that actually. These mullein leaves are REALLY well insulated lol

02.12.2019 04:58

I lost a bunch of herbs that way this summer. Echinacea flowers mostly. I underestimated their moisture content big time with those big seed heads.

02.12.2019 06:30

I never tried to dry the whole head, just the petals.... Or the leaves, with veins cut out...

02.12.2019 09:45

I feel like those jars could almost contain preserved newts eyes and such like. Your medicine cupboard has that witchy/alchemist vibe to it.

02.12.2019 13:06

Thanks! Definitely not a witch, but most anything I know about this stuff was learned from people that are. 💚

02.12.2019 16:14

Just saw a relevant meme in my Instagram feed


03.12.2019 01:20

The only thing killing strawberries persistently, in my experience, is drought. Given at least a small amount of moisture regularly (keep in mind they evolved as a shady, moist spot groundcover) they will survive being driven upon with a medium sized car.

02.12.2019 13:33

And the true level of my dedication to laziness is revealed. I watered three times this year lol

I know just the place for them though, now that you mention that. I'll plant them in the shady corner where the air conditioner condensation keeps the soil moist!

02.12.2019 16:11

Wow! You've come a long way! Love to see your enthusiasm and it must feel great to be making your own medicines so you're not having to pay exuberant prices!
Looks like you got some good growth on those young trees and you have some more plants waiting to go in!
I can't believe the length of root on that comfrey plant you harvested! How did you get it out intact?
Great to see so much growth happening in your garden and in you!
Thanks for sharing! And we'll keep reclaiming and restoring one plot at a time!

03.12.2019 01:48

The soil where I found all the mullein was really dry and rocky. Near the Mexico border, where it doesn't rain much. I guess that root ran down a crack between the rocks, so it was easy to pull up intact.

03.12.2019 02:22