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Greetings from Susun

Flash! The bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is blooming. By the time you read this, the flowers will be gone. That’s why it is classified as a spring ephemeral (something that passes quickly). Like the coltsfoot (Tussilago farafara) featured last week, bloodroot blooms before the leaves unfurl. It is too late now to dig its roots/rhizomes; but if you intend to, mark where it grows now, when it is easy to spot.

This is the last week of our month devoted to the rose family. So much more could be said about them, so we will return again and again, to make rose petal honey, hawthorn flower wine, apple butter, so much more.

Five-petaled, numerous-stamened flowers are the primary characteristic of the rose family, but herbalists sometimes need to recognize plants when they aren’t in flower. Look closely at the base of the petiole (the leaf stalk) of plants in the rose family and you will see tiny leaf-like shapes called “stipules.”

These stipules, along with compound leaves having an odd number of leaflets, are strong secondary characteristics of the Rosaceae family.

Rosaceae improve health in many ways. For now, let us make a classic astringent tonic that capitalizes on one of the rose family’s most potent powers: the ability to tighten and contract tissues, that is, astringency.

Rosaceae Tonic Tincture

Dig roots* as early in the spring as possible. Soak in cold water to loosen soil and gently remove dirt with your fingers or a gentle brush. Rinse well, chop coarsely, fill your jar with the chopped roots, add 100 proof vodka right up to the top, seal, label, wait six weeks, then use. Dose is a dropperful at a time, repeated as needed to counter diarrhea, tighten gums, and eliminate water retention before menses and during menopause.

* The roots of any rose family member may be used for this remedy, but blackberry, cinquefoil, avens, and agrimony roots are considered the strongest acting and are therefore the best choices.

To distinguish blackberries from raspberries, look for the white bloom on the canes and leaves of the raspberry.

And remember that not all cinquefoils have five-part leaves; some have seven-part leaves, like this marijuana look alike, Potentilla recta, or silverweed (Potentilla anserina) which has nine or more leaflets.

I smile when I think that these weekly messages are helping you accumulate a store of remedies, a head full of ideas, and a heart attuned to the earth’s green blessings. The small events of our days are vital in reweaving the healing cloak of the Ancients.

Green blessings,


Wise Woman Herbal Ezine:

Author's Bio: 

Susun Weed, Copyright 2012

LEARN HOW TO PREVENT ILLNESS AND HEAL YOURSELF safely and easily the Wise Woman Way. Women's health forum, FREE women’s forum, weblog, and email group. Topics include menopause, breast health, childbearing, fertility, disease prevention, nutritional advice, and cancer prevention. Visit the Wise Woman Web

Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way, where common weeds, simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health/wholeness/holiness. She has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations for three decades. Ms. Weed's four herbal medicine books focus on women's health topics including: menopause, childbearing, and breast health.

Visit Susun’s site for information on her workshops, apprenticeships, correspondence courses and more!

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