Roselle Hibiscus

Southwest Plant Walkabout

Apache Plume

This September I flew to Albuquerque and took a journey to look at the Fall Plants of New Mexico.  First stop was Jemez Springs a quaint village located in a red rock canyon. In the late 90’s I lived in this town while I attended acupuncture school and also studied the plants of the South West.

There I found a favorite showy plant; Apache Plume Fallugia paradoxa part of the Rose family.  It’s feathery pink seed plumes are very distinctive in early Fall. The Ancient Pueblo People used this plant for arrow shafts, and the branches today are used for making brooms. Making a tea with the leaves, it can be used as a hair rinse to promote hair growth. The pink plumes caught the afternoon sunlight and against the backdrop of the red rocks it was quite enchanting!

Bandelier National Park a little over an hour from Santa Fe is worth a visit. There are ancient cave dwelling sites, kivas and an abundance of plants at this park.  A huge Plantain Plantago Major was spotted near a small stream coursing through the valley. An adaptable plant it was a very impressive size for this high desert region. There is a small botanical garden once you pass through the gate of Bandelier showing the plants that the Ancient Pueblo people used for food, medicine and tools. Below is a picture of me with the Fourwing Saltbrush plant  Atiplex Canesceues and in the Gooseberry family. The seeds of this plant were ground up and cooked as a cereal.  The roots were used medicinally and used to treat sores and rashes.

Bear at Bandelier Park

On a walk in the park a friend and I spotted a black bear heading up the trail and we made a quick retreat. We were able to get a photo as it turned towards the cliffs away from us on the trail.

Cave Dwellings with Chamisa Plants

One of my favorite plants is the Cholla Cactus. So many varieties of cacti in NM! The Cane Cholla Opuntia imbricata was in bloom with yellow fruit and magenta flowers adding a prickly presence to the landscape. At Bandelier I learned that these fruits were eaten raw, stewed or dried and ground into flour. The Cholla buds are also rich in calcium.

I also travelled to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks near the Cochiti Pueblo and on my walk, saw many varieties of Yucca, Chamisa also known as Yellow Twig Rabbit Brush and Apache Plume. I ended my trip going to the Botanical Garden in Albuquerque, spending a lot of time in the Jardin de la Curandera or the Healer’s Garden. There was a wonderful tribute to healers at the entrance to the garden that touched my heart. “The Curandera used hands, heart, intellect, herbs and faith to help relieve suffering and restore health to the people.” As an herbalist I strive to live by these values and am grateful to the plants for leading the way.

Happy Solstice!

lightattheend-copyHappy Solstice! This picture was taken by my dear friend Kathi in Germany. It reminded me there is light at the end of the tunnel. Remember that 2017 is a new beginning, a new cycle of renewal. Thank you to my clients, friends, and family for the community and support this past year!

With love and gratitude!

Judith

Aromatherapy Tour Brazil 2016

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 Late February I travelled with two friends to the state of Sao Paulo in Brazil. With bug repellant clothing and DEET in my suitcase I felt prepared for touring the Atlantic rainforest.
Arriving in the city of Sao Paulo, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in a city of over 20 million, where most people spoke only Portuguese but  like many places I have travelled we found ways to communicate!
With Google translator on our phone and much gesturing we were able to travel by subway to the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (MASP), where there was a beautiful exhibit that included Asian, African, Brazilian and European paintings and sculptures.
IMG_0161The next day our tour leaders Yan and Carla came to our small motel called a “Pousado” and drove us to the nearby city of Campinas where Carla’s aromatherapy school called “Aroma Luz” is located. Carla has taught over 1,000 students in the art of aromatherapy and Yan is cofounder of an aromatherapy company in Brazil called Tunupa.
We spent four days in Campinas learning about many of the oils of Brazil. One of my favorite oils is COPAIBA, also known as Copaifera officinalis. Copaiba is a native tree to the Amazon of Brazil and is also found in Western Africa. This tree can grow to 40 meters high and live for 400 years!
 It has numerous therapeutic properties including being anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. I was happy to learn that the tree did not have to be cut down to process the oil, but was tapped, similar to the process of collecting maple sap from Maple trees. This oil has an amazing aroma and is very relaxing when combined with many carrier oils and applied to the neck muscles.
Please enjoy these pictures of Brazil including the Botanical Gardens near Campinas, the rainforest,  and the beautiful city of Ubatuba which is on the Atlantic Ocean.
Obrigada!   (Thank you in Portuguese!)