[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 69 – Trees of Spring

trees-of-spring

The spring came suddenly, bursting upon the world as a child bursts into a room, with a laugh and a shout and hands full of flowers.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I just love this time of year! To celebrate Spring’s arrival, all back issues of Herbal Roots zine are 40% off!

I just love this time of year! (I can’t say it enough). The peepers are peeping, the grass is greening and the trees are blooming! Last year I wrote about herbs that grow from the ground and I thought it would be appropriate for us to look up and appreciate the medicinal trees that grow all around us. 

So you can identify common spring plants, what about the trees?

Trees are often overlooked for their medicinal value. Though they are often grand, providing us with shade in the summer, privacy from our neighbors and branches to hang swings from, we often forget that trees can provide us with health as well. Have you ever hugged a tree? I highly recommend it. Though hugging a tree is often waved off as being dippy hippy, science has proven the power of hugging a tree. You may have noticed that after your kids come inside from playing in the backyard, they seem calmer. And while a lot of that expended energy comes from the natural play of childhood, the vibrations of trees can help children to function better mentally and physically.

Today we are going to take a virtual tree walk and talk about some of my favorite trees of Spring.

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel flowers photo by Ananda Wilson

Witch Hazel flowers photo by Ananda Wilson

This beauty starts blooming in late winter and depending on your region may already be done blooming but I still like to include her into the mix. Most people are familiar with Witch Hazel as she is commonly sold in drug stores as an astringent. Have you ever used Witch Hazel to clean your face? As a deodorant, Witch Hazel is also useful to freshen up when you don’t have access to a shower and can clean odors from your hands as well. Witch Hazel can also be applied to your body before working out to help keep you from straining your muscles. Forgot to rub it on pre-workout? Apply Witch Hazel afterwards to soothe tired and aching muscles. This antispasmodic is great for menstrual cramps as well, simply soak a cloth, apply it to your stomach and cover with a hot water bottle. There are so many uses for Witch Hazel, she’s a worthy tree to plant in your yard!

Want to learn more about Witch Hazel? Check out the issue here.

Hawthorn

Hawthorn tree blossoms photo by Rosalee de la Foret

Hawthorn tree blossoms photo by Rosalee de la Foret

This tree can seem intimidating with his thorns but once you learn about Hawthorn, you will realize the message is one of your protection. Hawthorn is for the heart, both physical and emotional. When working with someone who has heart issues, whether it’s a weak physical heart or a grieving emotional heart, Hawthorn knows how to protect and soothe. Hawthorn also strengthens and protects the joint lining, collagen and discs in the back, making the extract useful during chiropractic adjustments. Hawthorn also helps with poor digestion, diarrhea and more.

Want to learn more about Hawthorn? Check out the issue here.

Peach

Peach tree blossom

Peach tree blossom

I just love the bright pink blooms of Peach! This glorious Spring bloom is starting to open in my neck of the woods, swiftly chasing Plum’s blooms down in the orchard. A member of the Rose family, this tree is one of my constant go to’s for everyday ailments. The flowers, leaves and twigs can all be harvested to make a sweet, cooling and moistening extract that can be used as an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, demulcent diuretic that is great for soothing digestive complaints, respiratory complaints and more. I love to use Peach for insect stings, taking the extract internally while applying a compress of it directly to the sting. Peach instantly soothes the sting, reduces swelling and overall reduces the length of time it takes to recover. For spasmodic coughs, Peach is wonderful and has been used for pertussis, bronchitis and dry, tickling coughs that are not productive.

Want to learn more about Peach? Check out the issue here.

Apple

Malus spp. (Apple) is in the Rosaceae family.

Apple tree blossoms

Aah, Apple! Blooming shortly after Peach, Apple is another member of the Rose family. Again I like to harvest the flowers, leaves and twigs for making a delicious extract. Adding a bit of honey makes a delicious elixir that’s easy to take for soothing fevers, digestive complaints, diarrhea and more. Similar to Rose, I like Apple for soothing matters of the heart. Infusions from the leaves may be useful as an eye wash for glaucoma and cataracts.

Want to learn more about Apple? Check out the issue here.

Wild Cherry

Wild Cherry tree blossoms

Wild Cherry tree blossoms

This is one of the first trees I discovered blooming on my farm when we moved there. I was (and still am) enamored by the blooms that spilled from the branches. From the almond scented bark to the delicate white flowers to the tart berries, Wild Cherry is a favorite for treating spasmodic coughs, anxiety and some digestive complaints. Wild Cherry’s bark is most appropriate for hot coughs that may be productive or not. Wild Cherry works great for treating heart palpitations, especially when combined with anxiety, as well as restlessness and tension headaches. Wild Cherry is appropriate for conditions that are hot and red. Typically the inner bark or twigs are used but the flowers, leaves and berries can be used as well. Leaves should be looked over carefully, discarding any wilted, fermented or rotten parts as the entire tree contains a cyanide-like glycoside. While this may seem frightening, Wild Cherry is safe as long as you use only healthy parts of the tree and avoid chewing the seeds, similar to the recommendations for eating apples.

Want to learn more about Wild Cherry? Check out the issue here.

What trees are blooming in your neighborhood? Have you ever used any trees in your herbal apothecary?

Check out our previous spring related articles:

Herbal Rootlets Newsletter No. 37 – Planning Your Herb Garden with Kids

Herbal Rootlets Newsletter No. 38 – 5 Ways to Get Ready for Spring with Herbs

Herbal Rootlets Newsletter No. 43 – Preparing Your Garden for Spring Planting

Herbal Rootlets Newsletter No. 44 – Herbs for Spring

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Handcrafted Herbalism Free Mini-Course 2

Handcrafted Herbalism: Free Mini-Course

Starts March 23rd!

Foraging ~ Botany ~ Medicine Making

Are you interested in learning about herbalism, but don’t really know where to start? We’ve got something just for you! This FREE mini-course, Handcrafted Herbalism, offered by our friends at Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, is a solid introduction to the most important subjects herbalists need to learn: plant identification, foraging and medicine making. You’ll connect with thousands of herb lovers from around the globe and be introduced to leading herbal experts. It’s simple to enroll: click on this link by March 22nd.

The course runs March 23rd through March 31st, and is self-paced, so you can access the videos, audio, and written lessons when it’s convenient for you! The audio and printable lessons are yours to keep so you can revisit the material year after year.

This class would be excellent for teens who are wanting to lear about herbs!


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