I have been thinking a lot about the art of medicine making and how simple it is and how beautiful it is. To connect with the plants, to find out what they have for us, to gather the plants, to prepare the plants and to utilize the plants for healing. To be grateful.
It is just at the end of the season where I will gather Douglas fir boughs for making vinegar and infused oil. It has been quite cold this year as we near March and so it is still a fine time to find the boughs on the ground around our land and make herbal preparations with them.
It is the most potent time to gather the evergreen tree needles…before the sap begins to rise and the new growth happens.
I have been a wildcrafter and medicine maker for over twenty years now. I have researched and tried all kinds of methods of preparing the plants. And what I have discovered is that the simple method….the messy, kitchen table method is the most satisfying to me. And provides the best medicine.
We have some beautiful Douglas fir trees on our land. I see them as guardians, standing tall and protecting our spaces for the deep work that we do at our farm. We even have one Douglas fir tree that connects us with our power animals. What gracious teachers and companions they are.
After a very windy day, I walk the land and collect the Douglas fir boughs, large and small and bring them into our house. I cut up the Douglas fir boughs into small pieces so that more of the surface area is revealed and also the inside of the needles and small stems.
I fill a quart jar with the cut up needles. You can make a smaller amount if you are just starting this adventure. Then I pour organic apple cider vinegar over the Douglas fir to the top of the jar and put a lid on it. If I remember, I will shake it a bit.
I label the jar with name and date. And wait six weeks. I strain the Douglas fir vinegar through a strainer and a clean cloth. (Old dish towels work.)
The vinegar is fragrant, enriching and potent. We put the vinegar on
our cooked greens and on our salads. I also use the vinegar in marinades.
I have been utilizing the herbal vinegars more for healing in the last couple of years. The Douglas fir vinegar is good for remedying a persistent cough.
It is also deeply engaging to connect with the energy of the trees when you utilize your Douglas fir vinegar.
Before you gather the Douglas fir, take some time to connect with one of the trees near you. This first step, finding out what the Douglas fir tree has for you…this will bring you into a more expanded version of life. When you are doing the exercise below, you may receive a message in words, you may feel something, you may think that nothing is happening. Trust that what is needed will be given, even if it is very subtle and appears to be nothing.
Communicating with Douglas Fir:
- Find a tree near where you see Douglas fir boughs on the ground.
- Notice your breath and breathe in and out 7 times, each time imagining that the breath you are breathing is the breath of the Douglas fir and the breath you breathe out, you are giving away to the tree.
- Ask the tree, “What have you for me?’
- Offer gratitude when complete.
The wisdom offered to you by the Douglas fir tree will be present in the vinegar.
May it be in Beauty.