across the computer crack lies a long thin leaf of soap root (Chlorogalum). I picked it up while hunched over the plant yesterday as my kid stalked the coyote brush, trying to find me. I swear I wasn't abandoning him to the hills in the fading light, we were playing a good game of hide and seek along the edges of the Nicasio Reservoir after a long day of dragging him around with me doing errands. Anyhow, huddled up with soap root (and a few empty beer bottles), I had some time to wonder: the leaf looks just like a tongue, wavy along the edges, that indicates too much dampness...a system that's too boggy and needs draining. and, this plant is growing in the sandy muck along the bank - I wonder if it's good at not getting bogged down, for it's own benefit." I asked, then picked a leaf to taste.
Before I got a chance to taste it I was found ("AH HAH!!"), and immersed back into the game. Later, upon doing 3 minutes of research, my book confirmed that indeed, soap root was used for more than the usual "soap, brushes, and to stupefy fish" by First Nation locals: it's a diuretic (takes excess water out of the body) and was used for stomach aches (i.e. cramping/bloating/indigestion/etc.).
Finding this tiny connection point gave me hope that the earth still contains everything we need to be well, despite our best unconscious efforts to exploit her. And for that matter, if I had to rely on this scratchy-looking hillside for my food and medicine, how would I treat the land differently?
If pills were a thing of an ancient civilization, would we still be able to cure gut dysbiosis, "crone's disease", "hashimotos thyroiditis", the inability to digest food? Not that soap root can treat all these imbalances, but by looking at the soap root leaf for long enough to really see it and know something about it I know that yes, somehow our Traditional Medicines will prevail, and our embodied wisdom along with it.
C l i n i c a l P r a c t i c e
I have a few spaces open for new clients, and would love to help you in your chronic or acute needs through the plants.
I am a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, and offer private consultations using western energetic herbalism and medical chi gong. We meet in the medicinal garden, where you can come get an extra dose of healing by sitting among the plants as you articulate what you need. You can find out more about what I offer through my website. www.friedakiparbay.net
or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. I always work on a sliding scale, working to keep herbal medicine available to all. I find that the plants love to hold our hands in healing.