As September arrived, so did the rain, and along with it, the first hints of Autumn energy. Our garden is still going strong, but the heat-loving plants are slowing down and the lettuce and spinach is waking up. In our field, asters are flowering and the cascara leaves are turning burnished copper. I don’t know if the light rains we’ve had so far will be enough to bring up the chanterelles, but I know they will be on their way before too long.
Back to school signs are everywhere, and even though my own days of formal education are behind me, this time of year still makes me think about what I want to study and learn in the coming indoor months. I’ve been studying folk magic, especially related to nature and the weather, and also looking to delve deeper into Ogham for divination.
Between the move to cooler and wetter weather, and my own educational goals, I’m thinking about two layer of tonic support for right now- Body and Mind. And since many of you follow the same yearly rhythms, here are a few Spagyrics to support your body and mind, too!
As I said, while some things in our garden are starting their rest, others are arising fresh, and I’m also very busy bringing it all in for preserving. A great energy tonic when I have lots of physical work to do is our Maca Essence. This Andean plant is grown for its nutritious tuber, which is full of vitamins and minerals, and is also very delicious, reminding me of a more-starchy parsnip, but with a slightly malted taste. Our Essence of Maca is a great expression of all its properties, from the sweet nutritive taste, to the minerals extracted by our Spagyric processing, to the hormonal tonic effects that are balanced and energizing.
I also want to be sure to support immunity this time of year, since it can take a hit from the swings back and forth between warm and cold, dry and wet, windy and still. Our Echinacea Spiritualized Essence is a good immune tonic, both for when you’re already feeling under the weather, as we usually think of Echinacea, but also as an intelligent and responsive preventative because of its Spiritualized processing at the tonic level. This plant was grown for us by a friend, and the roots were such high quality to begin with, it was a joy to bring out their vibrant, buzzy taste and strong Mars energy.
Another tonic root, more for prevention than treatment, is Astragalus. This sweet root boosts the Wei Qi, or defensive energy that resides on the periphery of the body, defending it from the “external pernicious influence” of microbes, allergens, extreme temperatures, pollution, and more. Our Astragalus Essence is an excellent daily tonic that can be used for months at a time if needed, and it also has a nice energy boost and long-term building property, too.
Speaking of pollution and allergens, smoke from wildfires is affecting much of the world right now, and although it hasn’t been as bad here as some years, it does still cause some issues for us. If you need to strengthen and support your respiratory system because of airborne onslaughts, two Spagyrics come to mind.
Yerba Santa is an aromatic shrub of Northern California and Southern Oregon, where it has long been revered as a medicine and healer. It has the most beautiful scent, sweet but also complex, a little like bubblegum, but with refreshing hints of eucalyptus and pine. As you might expect from its aromatic qualities, it’s great as a tea or steam for congestion and anti-microbial action.
As an Essence, Yerba Santa’s bioflavonoids protect the integrity of the mIf your ucus membranes from top to bottom, helping everything from the sinuses through the respiratory and digestive tracts be less permeable, reactive, and inflamed. It was one of our most popular tastings to share at fall festivals, with people finding almost instant relief from congestion and irritation with just a few drops.
For those who need to find relaxation as part of their healing, especially if your respiratory system is damaged by past or current smoking, Oatstraw is a good choice. Another mineral-rich herb that is so well extracted as a Spagyric, our Oatstraw Essence is a classic nervine. It’s calming and anti-anxiety in effect, but also rebuilding on a tissue level to the structure of the nervous system, helping it respond more appropriately over time.
This can be supportive to anxiety and worry, general over-work and exhaustion, and, as hundreds of our past customers can attest, to finally quitting cigarettes. Even if you’ve never been a smoker, the lovely peace that Oatstraw builds in the body is a healthy state to spend more time in.
Northwest Valerian is an even stronger calmative herb, sharing a moony energy and funky taste with its European relatives, but in a more balanced and intelligent way. This special root was wildcrafted for us in the Cascades, and its one that we and many others rely on when the mind is so overstimulated that it becomes muddled and chaotic.
A couple drops of our Northwest Valerian Spiritualized Essence brings a gentle hush to the mind, not stupefying, but like an untangling of the dissonance. Anxiety eases and thoughts become slower but also much more clear, ideas flow freely, and the emotional body is grounded and settled.
To bring even more serene clarity to mental work, study, or meditation, consider the two Brahmis: Gotu Kola and Bacopa. Both are named after the Hindu holy men who use them to achieve meditative states of clearheaded contemplation in the pursuit of wisdom, and both support the mind in similar but also unique ways.
Gotu Kola is a water-loving plant related to watercress, and back when we lived in Santa Fe, we would regularly eat it as a green, grown by the local Sikh community. It’s easy to grow if you have flowing water in your garden, or in a terrarium, as we did for a time, and it’s tasty in salads and veggie rolls.
As an Initiatic, Gotu Kola is clarifying and sharpening to the mind, but in a calming way that makes it perfect for meditation, since that requires a mind that is alert and open, in a body that can be still for long periods. It especially helps with complex meditations such as mantra, japa, and work with mandalas, keeping the awareness in a bright liminal state.
Bacopa is a bit more stimulating to the mind, but still helpful for focus without scatter or distraction. Bacopa is more sharpening to the mind, used to treat learning disorders and to heal the mind over time. Its protective to both the brain’s structure and function, and its full of antioxidants and rejuvenatives for the nerves, too. Our Bacopa Spiritualized Essence is brightening and clarifying to the mind, while also easing anxiety and insomnia.
To spark the brain’s energy even more, Ginkgo is a good ally for sharpness, quick thought, and long-term health and balance. We work with two types: Green Ginkgo from the summer leaves, and Autumn Ginkgo, from the golden leaves of fall.
Both have flavonoids and antioxidants that protect nerve and brain tissue, and both increase blood flow to the brain by acting as blood thinners, an effect to keep in mind for possible interactions with pharmaceuticals and before surgery.
Green Ginkgo has a stronger blood flow enhancing effect, along with a more stimulating quality overall. It increases amounts of several neurotransmitters, helping the brain communicate with the rest of the body more efficiently and protecting memory and cognition long-term. Our Green Ginkgo Spiritualized Essence is stimulating and invigorating, both to the mind and thought, and to sexual function in many people who have worked with it.
Autumn Ginkgo is lower in terpenoids, which means a less stimulating effect, while being higher in flavonoids, the anti-oxidant and protective constituents. We find our Autumn Ginkgo Spiritualized Essence less stimulating and more calming and clarifying, closer to Gotu Kola in effect, but with a bit more zip. It’s more grounded in its effects, and perfect for late nights working or studying, where clarity is needed, but not at the expense of sleep later on.
Finally, if your mood needs a little zip along with your body and mind, meet my favourite garden and culinary herb, the plant that has taught us the most about lab work, and one of the Spagyrics I most love taking – our Rosemary Magistery.
Aromatic, fresh and warming, this Soul level expression of the “dew of the sea” is stimulating to the mind and mood, quickening to digestion, and sharpening to thought and memory. For many of our allies over the years, it has been a better anti-depressant than any other herb or chemical, cheering the mood and bringing uplift and joy to the mind.
Rosemary is the only thing blooming once our cold, wet winters really set in, and seeing it in the garden is like tasting it- a bright shining reminder of the Sun’s warmth and energy, even when it seems so far away. Generous in tincture properties, essential oil, and mineral salts, Rosemary is easy to grow and work with, and is one of the plants I think of as always waiting nearby to help.