A Curse With a Silver Lining

Muscadine Alabama as it looks today.
Muscadine Alabama as it looks today.

My God is so good! I have been counting my blessings or actually pondering them by category as they are too numerous to count! I have been thinking about herbs and natural remedies. I am what some would call a grannie herbalist. I received some of my herbal knowledge by oral tradition, mostly by listening when the women of my mother’s generation talked about how their grandmothers (women born in the 1860s and 70s) handled herbs and healing. My mother grew up in the mountains of Northeast Alabama in a community called Muscadine. When I was a preteen and at the age where I was (thankfully) required to help with pea shelling, cutting corn off the ear and other minor chores done by my mom and a neighbor or two, I did a lot of listening. In the process I got quite the education about many things. This is when my love for old ways began and when my herbal education started.

As I grew up, married and had a family, my need and desire for herbal remedies grew. I was blessed to have access to books about herbs and later, information and herbal classes on the internet. I wildcrafted and used the herbs that grew near me as we moved around from the South, to Alaska and later to Montana. Over the years the Lord used many people to teach me how to use herbs for medicine, for nutrition and to make herbal salves and other topicals. Wildcrafting herbs and gathering wild foods has been a big part of my life for decades.

As I pondered these things, I was reminded that most of the herbs I use on a daily basis are considered weeds. I have always been more of a forager than a gardener, considering flowering weeds to be “free flowers” I even let weeds like purselane grow in my gardens if they can be added to the salad or the stir fry. Many of the most beneficial herbs are found in waste places, urban interfaces and wilderness. Many are transplants from other continents and may be considered invasive or noxious by other people. To me, they are free medicine, free supplements and fascinating fodder for my mad scientist mind. All this from weeds.

I don’t know if there were weeds in the garden of Eden but part of the consequence to Adam for his sin, was the cursing of the ground. Thorns and thistles were mentioned specifically as part of this curse. I think it is safe to guess that other weeds and opportunistic plants might also be part of that curse. I think it is possible that many of the plants I use are associated with the curse. Even if we only speculated on thorns and thistles, most of them have medicinal value. It is amazing to me that the very plants that God cursed mankind with have a silver lining! Our God is so merciful that even this curse came with hidden blessing.

God bless you!