Hi friends! My latest Mythic Medicinals herbal body oil is now available. It is my favorite of all the oils I've ever used or made- Pine Needle Oil!
SPIRAL INWARD + RE-WILD ▲ FOREST DEPTHS ▲ WILDCRAFTED + ORGANIC
I first came across the idea of using pine in a body oil in Judith Berger's wonderful book Herbal Rituals (which I have posted about before). Pine is the wild medicine I have the longest connection with, going back to my childhood in South Lake Tahoe- lying under pine trees, foraging on the ground for pine nuts (still my favorite wild food), and chewing on the needles. I always chew on the needles when I pass by a pine; an herbalist taught me long ago that putting a plant in your mouth is one of the quickest ways to develop a relationship with it, and I have done so constantly when I am out in nature ever since.
Which brings me to wild foods & medicine and why I don't have a garden. Well, okay I don't have a garden because I move constantly and feel overwhelmed by the idea of trying to put in a garden knowing I won't be there long, and also just laziness. But more than that, I've always been able to find the medicine I need and most deeply resonate with in the woods. Living in Northern California, I don't have to look far.
"We need the tonic of wildness." -Henry David Thoreau
A plant that comes from the wild carries with it the medicine of that ecosystem, and the particular molecular properties it needed in order to survive and thrive there. Wild mint is likely to have a stronger scent, and therefore more essential oil and better antiseptic and overall medicinal quality, than a cultivated mint plant.
Humans were hunter-gatherers for 95% of our evolution; our bodies understand wild foods. They thrive on the aromatics, bitters, and tonics that grow all over the world (see Guido Mase's book The Wild Medicine Solution for more on these three classes of plants).
Consuming cultivated plants is a fantastic idea and I highly recommend it! But I also encourage you to seek out the wild foods in your area, and to rub wild plants all over your body in the form of oils, salves, poultices, etc.
Oiling the body is the quickest way (excepting hardcore medical or recreational drugs) to drop the body into a state of relaxed, expanded softness. No herbal tea or tincture relaxes me as much as oiling my body does. Ayurvedic medicine has long recommend this practice, and even has a special name for it- oilenation. My scientific-minded self wants to understand the mechanism of how this works in the body, but I haven't been able to find any good information on why. I just know that body oiling has a long history in both medicine and ritual, and that giving myself a full body rubdown a few nights a week keeps me sane. (You can also add the oil to your bath, or use it locally on just one part of the body).
As a busy mama in this over-stimulating modern world, keeping the interface between my brain, nervous system, heart, and muscles juicy and flowing is my number one health priority. I need to be on with my daughter, I like being present with my friends, and I want to be clear-minded and calm in order to create what I want in the world. Just oiling myself with plain olive oil or ghee or any lipid-based substance would do the trick, but adding an herbal element takes the remedy to a more profound place of healing and relaxation.
I always focus on herbs that soothe the muscles and nerves when I'm making oils, and luckily many, many plants do this. St. John's Wort has been my go-to herbal oil for years, with its immediate warming properties and its proven history of providing pain relief specifically to the nerves (making it great for ailments like sciatica).
St. John's Wort is in full bloom at the Summer Solstice, and I love harvesting on that day. So I was thrilled to head up the mountain with my dude and harvest the pine needles for this new oil at the opposite point of the year, on the winter Solstice, in the same forest as I had found the St. John's Wort back in June. The Winter Solstice last December also happened to be a New Moon, and I loved harvesting this beloved medicine in the depth of winter darkness and stillness.
When infused in oil, pine needles soothe the nervous system, increase circulation, relieve arthritic pain, relax tense muscles, and strengthen blood vessels. And it smells incredible. There is nothing like the smell of pine.
Tree medicine has become an ongoing theme for me these last few years, and I am excited to delve deeper into it in community with other women when I teach Medicine of the Forest at the year's Spirit Weavers Gathering.
Thanks for being on this journey with me friends, both in real life and online! You may use coupon code stardust10 to get 10% off if you choose to purchase an oil.