Thursday, April 26, 2012

Herba Epimedium (Yin Yang Huo)

The rain finally came after a very dry spell and all of the flowers and new leaves have rejoiced. One of my favorite flowers comes from the Epimedium plant. They are so delicate and unusual. I also love that the leaves grow in the shapes of hearts. 
Sometimes just looking at certain plants can be healing,  I find that this is the case with this delicate plant. 

The leaf of the Epimedium plant is known as Yin Yang Huo in Chinese herbal medicine. This herb reinforces Kidney Yang, expels wind and drains Dampness. It is pungent, sweet and warm and acts on the Liver and Kidneys. Epimedium brevicornum Maxin (Fam. Bereridacae) is traditionally used in herbal formulas. 

Below are four different Epimedium leaves that I arranged for a picture. They are also known as Rowdy Lamb Herb, Barrenwart, and Fairy Wings. They require well drained soil that is partly shaded. There are approximately 60 species of this beautiful plant. 

On a very different note, today for the very first time ever...I saw an Indigo Bunting bird ( Passeina cyanea) It was the most magical bird, it was sapphire blue. It took my breath away. Unfortunately, I was unable to get my camera in time, but just having seen it felt like such a blessing. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Birthday Rose

Yesterday was my birthday and one of my beautiful gifts was this small pink rose bush. 
The gift arrived this week just as I am exploring the relationship of the Heart, the Acupuncture point GV 11 and Rose oil. 
I have been working with this point in my practice by adding a drop of Rose oil to nourish the Heart. 
GV 11 is known as 'Shendao' or 'Spirit Pathway'. It is located in the upper back and in the depression below the spinous process of the fifth thoracic vertebra. This point tonifies the Heart and Lungs, clears heat and and pacifies wind.

Dennis Wilmont's book The Twelve Spirit Points of Acupuncture   offers an in depth history of this Acupuncture point and how the history of the emperor, his kingdom, and the natural world influence the naming of this point. He also explores the cosmological relationships between man, heaven, and earth in Chinese medicine.  I am diving deeply into this beautiful and rich book of medicine, history and wisdom. 
I highly recommend it to all practitioners of Acupucnture. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Magic of the Day.....Ferns

I have recently fallen in love with the photographs of Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932). In the 1920's he became very famous for his exquisite botanical images. He was a sculptor by trade, not a photographer nor a botanist. I am so inspired by the clarity of his vision and the depth of his passion. 
I have acquired the book Working Collages,  edited by Ann and Jurgen Wilde.  Each page is a delight. It is a collection of never before seen collages of his botanical photographs. What I love most about his work is that he able to express the sacred and most basic essence of each plant. 
My grandmother who was a botanist, specialized in ferns. She collected specimens in the woods of West Virginia. I have inherited her love for these ancient and magnificent plants.

Today I took these photographs in the afternoon light. 

This is a sun print that I made from a beautiful fern outside my office. Every year, I take samples of plants that are growing around me and I make these really beautiful sun prints from paper  that you place in the sun. They are then rinsed off in water and dried flat. Normally the paper for sun prints is blue but I altered the image in photoshop to make it green. The images are crisp and beautiful. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ranunculus and Other Beauties....

A gift of a Ranunculus plant arrived this week. Soon after I took pictures of these gorgeous flowers, I was gifted another beautiful basket of flowers!
Then...the Porcelain Hyacinth flowers under the Oak tree bloomed. There is so much activity and beauty to photograph this is hard to keep up. 
Ranunculus flowers are also known as Persian Buttercups. Ranunculus literally means, 'little frog' in Latin. In the Victorian language of flowers it means 'you are rich in attractions'.
There are approximately 400 species of this beautiful flower that originated in Asia minor.

 I am also working on my liquid perfumes at an accelerated rate, I am wanting to share the most delicious scents that I am making now. As soon as my perfumes have melded and been poured, I will make a post dedicated to their stories and ingredients.  I just finished my first perfume with Ambrette seed (Musk Mallow or Abelmoschus mochatus) in the base. The name of the perfume is 'Bosque' which means 'forest' in Spanish.
The perfume is sweet and expansive, with woody and citrus notes, it reminds me of the scent that rises from the earth just after a soft rain.

Ranunculus buds.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Pretty Medicine!

This has been a very full year with a lot of expansion and growth. This week marks the first anniversary of  my blog! The plant world has taught me so much on so many levels. Each time that I take a picture of a flower or a plant I am shown another aspect to it's healing potential and magic. 
My grandmother Isabelle May introduced me to this world at a very young age, her farm was a source of wonder and amazement. She taught me how to 'see' the natural world in her garden on top of a great big hill, surrounded by mountains, in West Virginia. She introduced me to the taste of ripe tomatoes with sprinkled salt, to crunchy home made sweet pickles, the delicious dark pink and earthy flavor of beets, and the sweet sound of snapping beans. 
She also taught me how to appreciate beauty.
I am dedicating this post to her as I still hold her so dear to my heart. Her botany books are in my library and I feel that her legacy has included the gifts of inspiration, curiosity and wonder.
In the picture below we are sharing a sweet treat.

My grandmother Isabelle May on a botany class trip. 

The pink glass cake stand belonged to my grandmother.

Thank you to everyone who has supported my blog this past year. All of your kind words
live in my heart.