Podcast 171: Herbs A-Z: Agastache & Alchemilla

This week we’re continuing our review of herbs in our current apothecary, from A to Z by their botanical Latin names. We want to give all our herbs an opportunity to get in the spotlight and share their particular talents.

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is neither an anise nor a hyssop! Its flavor and digestion-warming actions may remind you of fennel, or of black licorice candy (which is anise-flavored). Its capacity to relax respiratory tension and quell coughs may remind you of hyssop (without the bitterness). But it is an herb all its own, and one of our favorites for improving the taste of our formulae.

Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) is a protective and comforting plant for anyone – not only ladies – who needs to cultivate feelings of safety. On the physical level it has a measured and helpful tonifying effect on the pelvic floor; it also improves fluid circulation in this part of the body. A flexible herb that pairs well with others to adjust its effects in the direction needed.

Mentioned in this episode:

Enjoyed these herb profiles? These were done off-the cuff & on-the-spot, but our organized & comprehensive presentation of our herbal allies is in the Holistic Herbalism Materia Medica course. We have detailed profiles of 90 medicinal herbs! Plus you get everything that comes with enrollment in our courses: twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, discussion threads integrated in each lesson, guides & quizzes, and more.

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Episode Transcript

Katja (00:13):
Hi, I’m Katja.

Ryn (00:15 ):
And I’m Ryn.

Katja (00:16):
And we’re here at Commonwealth Holistic Herbalism in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ryn (00:20):
And on the internet everywhere thanks to the power of the podcast. Yes. Okay. So, this week we’re going to continue our series. I’m calling it herbs A to Z, but we’re going to be looking at all of the herbs that are currently on our shelves in our apothecary here. And last time we talked about Achillea – yarrow and about Acorus – calamus.

Katja (00:43):
Yeah. Pretty great to start the whole thing off with yarrow, because the Latin. We put all of our herbs on our shelves by Latin name. And honestly, listen, this is a trick that I recommend to everybody. We started doing it because our students were having trouble with the Latin names. And so we decided that it would be easier for them to learn the Latin names if we changed all the labels. And instead of having the common names on the labels, we only had the Latin names. And so what we did was we just turned all the jars 180 degrees around. So the common name labels were on the back of the jar. And then we put a second label on what was now the front of the jar with the Latin names. And that way each jar kind of became like flashcards. So, you could look at the herb to kind of give you a little help, look the Latin name, and then double-check yourself by looking at the common name. But after a while nobody had to do that anymore, because everybody was really comfortable with the Latin names. So, if you have been having trouble learning the Latin names of your herbs, I totally recommend this. Because you will learn them really, really fast. Because every time you make tea you have to see those Latin names.

Ryn (02:01):
Yeah. Well, today our Latin names are Agastache foeniculum and Alchemilla vulgaris. These herbs are known as anise hyssop and lady’s mantle. And we’re going to give you a profile. But first we’re going to remind you that we are not doctors. We are herbalists and holistic health educators.

Katja (02:19):
The ideas discussed in this podcast do not constitute medical advice. No state or federal authority licenses herbalists in the United States. So, these discussions are for educational purposes only.

Ryn (02:31):
We want to remind you that good health doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone. Good health doesn’t exist as an objective standard. It’s influenced by your individual needs, experiences, and goals. So, we’re not trying to present a dogmatic right way that you should adhere to

Katja (02:45):
Everyone’s body is different. So, the things that we’re talking about may or may not apply directly to you. But we hope that they’ll give you some good information to think about and some ideas to research further.

Ryn (02:56):
Finding your way to better health is both your right and your own personal responsibility. This doesn’t mean you’re alone on the journey. But it does mean that the final decision when considering any course of action, whether it’s discussed on the internet or prescribed by a physician, is always yours to make. All right. So with that said let’s start with anise hyssop.

Katja (03:14):
Listen, I have been trying. Do you remember, like, I don’t know, five years ago maybe when there was like 30 seconds when that mustache cartoon sticker was everywhere. Like there were journals with the mustache on it, and there were like bumper stickers, and they were just everywhere.

Ryn (03:37):
Kind of bushy and then a little curl at the end.

Katja (03:38):
Yeah, with handlebars a little bit. Yeah. I’ve been trying to come up with some kind of a joke about a mustache and Agastache. And I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.

Ryn (03:52):
Yeah. Actually, I don’t know. When you have Latin words and you have the ch in there, is it supposed to be hard? Is it supposed to be soft?

Katja (03:59):
Listen, nobody knows.

Ryn (04:00):
I know, but you used to teach Latin, so…

Katja (04:02):
I did. I did.

Ryn (04:05):
So I ask you. But like we’ve got Stachys or maybe Stachys.

Katja (04:07):
No, I say Stachys. I feel pretty strongly about Stachys.

Ryn (04:12):
So, maybe it’s Agastache.

Katja (04:14):
Yeah, I think we would actually have to go with that.

Ryn (04:17):
Yeah, okay. So, enough about the names. Actually one more thing about the name. There’s a reference in the botanical name to fennel, because fennel’s botanical name is Foeniculum vulgare, or vulgare. And so, anyway here in the botanical name there’s a reference to fennel. In the common name there’s a reference to both anise and to hyssop, and yet this plant is neither of those. There’s anise seed plant. There’s hyssop plants out there. There’s fennel plants out there. This plant is none of them. It is its own plant. But you can see that people are like oh, you remind me of fennel, because you have a sort of a warming, aromatic scent to you. You remind me of anise for similar reasons. There’s a particular type of scent compound coming in here that people nowadays often connect to like black licorice candy, which is often flavored with aniseed. And this one you know, anise hyssop, it has some of that. But that’s definitely not the only thing going on in its aroma. I’m just sniffing from my jar right here.

Katja (05:27):
Like I don’t even need the jar, because I can smell it from here. Listen, okay. But there is an aspect of fennel that has a little bit of anise flavor to it. So to me, the foeniculum makes a lot of sense.

Ryn (05:45):
Yeah. There’s definitely something about that. There’s something in here that for me feels a little minty, like the minty mints. You know, like your peppermint and spearmint. It’s not menthol, and I don’t believe there is actual menthol content in this plant. But it just has like a light, I don’t know, very airy style scent to this one.

Katja (06:08):
I think that I would say that if you are out there thinking well, I don’t even want to listen to this part, because I don’t like hyssop. It’s so gross. Or it’s so bitter. If you’re thinking I don’t even want to listen to this, because I can’t stand anise. Or if you’re thinking fennel is really gross. I don’t know why people like it so much. I don’t even want to listen to this. Anise hyssop is delicious actually. And so even if you don’t like anise, hyssop, fennel, you don’t like any of those, still consider giving anise hyssop a try, because it is really quite delicious. And we’ve gotten kind of obsessed with it.

Agastache foeniculum: Anise Hyssop & Its Properties

Ryn (06:55):
Yeah. I really kind of dove in with anise hyssop a few months ago. I decided to have this herb every day for about a month. And so for a couple of weeks I was just drinking straight anise hyssop. And then for another couple of weeks I was mixing it with various herbs and friends and formulations and things. This is a really great way to learn your herbs by the way. And we actually had a previous podcast episode where we talked about herb of the month as a great way to study your plants, get to know your herbs, and kind of expand your materia medica. So, while I was doing that I was looking around and I honestly didn’t see a ton written about this herb from sort of my usual sources. There’s not a whole lot that I could find from the eclectic or physiomedicalist physicians in the 1800s. There wasn’t a very extensive profile in this from Maud Grieve, from a Modern Herbal from 1930. But you know, I found some things. First off I would assess this herb as being a little bit on the cooling side. It’s got somewhat of a dryness to it, but it’s not too extreme. And it has a relaxant quality to it as well. In terms of herbal actions, you’ve got some antispasmodic effects from this one, for sure. You have some mild carminative quality, you know, like a little bit of movement in digestion. Not outright warmth or heat in the way of ginger, but a little bit of movement there. This does seem to be helpful for relieving feelings of nausea. I would consider this alongside plants like ginger, peppermint, peach, and chamomile to help to reduce nausea. And it’s got a good all around kind of anti-inflammatory effect. In fact one place I was looking was Henrietta Kress, on her website. And she had a little profile of it in which she contended that this is just another mint family anti-inflammatory. And she regards it as fairly interchangeable with plants like betony and self heal, ground ivy, carpet bugle, and others of that nature.

Katja (08:53):
You know, on one hand, I completely agree with that assessment. And on the other hand, to me those plants like betony, self heal, ground ivy are so wildly distinguishable. And I think that that is its own handy lesson. I think this comes to light a lot when we think about seaweeds, for example. People often just think of seaweeds as very interchangeable, and they don’t really differentiate between the seaweeds much. But you could. If you really get good at them, you can distinguish between them and become very specific about which one you want in which situation. And like you could build an entire herbal practice just on the mint family. And the same thing, like get really finicky about differentiating between every mint. Or you could just be like eh, just another mint.

Ryn (09:54):
Yeah, for sure.

Katja (09:56):
And I mean I don’t want to imply that Henrietta Kress is not… I mean, she’s amazing.

Ryn (10:02):
No, I mean this was one line out of the profile, you know.

Katja (10:05):
She is 100% super duper amazing, super knowledgeable. And I’m not implying that she doesn’t know enough about the mints that she would just write it off as interchangeable. But the thing is, I think it’s actually really good…

Ryn (10:20):
Both things are true simultaneously.

Katja (10:21):
They are. And I think it’s important to remember that even though we distinguish a lot between a bunch of herbs, sometimes they’re more interchangeable than we give them credit for. And a lot of times people will ask me about dead nettle. And I’ll be like oh yeah, it’s just another mint, cooling, relaxing, diaphoretic you know, whatever. And anyway, yes. These things are true at the same time. And that is just one of those amazing paradoxes.

Ryn (10:53):
Yeah, for sure. Okay. What else to say about anise hyssop? It does have, like I said, that relaxant quality primarily. And it brings a lot of that into the respiratory system. So, if you’re having kind of a spasmodic cough, then anise hysop could be a really good choice. It’s going to bring in some relaxant effect. It’s going to release some tension. And it can help to reduce the irritation that’s triggering that kind of cough. If your cough was really, really dry, it would probably be a good idea to combine this with something like mullein or marshmallow that’s going to direct some moisture to the lungs. But if you had kind of a wet cough, and there was an irritant aspect to it at the same time, you could work with anise hyssop. It’s not going to be your strongest expectorant out there. But it will help with the cough, and it will help to kind of vitalize the lungs a little bit and get some movement happening inside of them.

Katja (11:47):
I really think about this a lot. Okay. And I’m also outing myself a little here. I really think about this a lot when your nose is a runny faucet and you’re coughing, like both of those things together. And that’s basically my pattern all the time. Like y’all, I have handkerchiefs. I have one on my desk. I have one at the bed. I have one where I like to sit in the living room. I usually have one in a basket in the kitchen. Like I have handkerchiefs everywhere, and I don’t know how he lives with me, y’all. I just don’t. But when you are that pattern, and you’ve got a cough going on, and you need some expectorant action, but also your nose just will not stop running. That’s just really the perfect time. Or the other perfect time is if you’re making a tea blend, and it’s got mullein and pulmonaria and maybe a little marshmallow leaf in it. And you’re thinking this is really going to be soothing to my lungs and also help me cough some stuff up a little bit. Then you really just want some anise hyssop in there because it’s going to make it better. It’s just going to make it better. It’s exactly the missing link.

Taste, Spurring to Action, & A Topical Middle Ground

Ryn (13:01):
And look, honestly, all these things that we’re saying about anise hyssop, I feel like this sort of reminds me of in the material medic program when we were talking about orange peel and doing our profile there. And we were talking about how in a lot of the writing about this, people just keep coming back to the fact that it tastes pretty good. And that it’s appealing, and that it can make your remedy more appealing or more likely to actually get taken. And that’s super important and super valuable. So, if we’re looking at this and saying okay. Yeah, I’ve got this respiratory issue. I’ve got to drink some mullein, some lungwort. Maybe some marshmallow leaf would be good for me. Boy, that’s going to be kind of a bland tea. There’s not really a lot flavor-wise coming out in there. So, if I can throw in some anise hyssop and really make it delicious, then I’m more likely to drink my whole quart or two of tea I’m supposed to be getting into my body today.

Katja (13:56):
Yeah. Okay, a couple of things. Yes that with all capital letters and a few exclamation points at the end. But also I feel like it’s not just the flavor. You know how you’re like man, this tea’s a little bland. And what I really need is a little anise hyssop to pick it up and make it so that I’ll drink it. Except imagine your lungs saying that. Like imagine something on the inside also being like I mean this is good. It’s helping. Like, ah, I just wish there was a little more something to it. I really need just a little more something. I feel like it’s not just my taste buds that appreciate the anise hyssop. There’s something internal that needs that little…

Ryn (14:39):
It’s that volatile content. It’s that motivating, moving aspect of the herb there.

Katja (14:44):
You know, and when you say it that way – and then I promise I’m going to stop because you have so many great things to say – but I’ve been thinking about formulation a lot lately. I’ve been adding some new videos to the formulation course. And a lot of times, you know, we talk about adding a catalyst to a formula to like get things going. And a lot of times people get kind of stuck with cayenne and ginger as their catalysts, because they think I need something moving. And so that’s where I’m going to go with this. Or sometimes lobelia to go the other direction. I need something relaxing. And a catalyst doesn’t have to be that intense. Anise hyssop absolutely is performing that job in this hypothetical formula we’re talking about here. All of those other herbs – the mullein, the pulmonaria, the marshmallow leaf -they’re doing good, important work. But they just need a little a little bit of spurring to action. And with the anise hyssop you’re getting simultaneously a little stimulation, a little movement, a little action from the volatiles, but also a little relaxing, a little releasing. And sometimes you need both of those in a formula.

Ryn (16:04):
Yeah. That can be the case for certain kinds of fever as well. This would be one primarily where the issue with the fever is that the person has got too much tension for the heat and the blood to circulate easily in the body. With a fever your body has a couple of goals. You know, one is just to generate that heat that will activate the immune system a little more. It will make life difficult for the pathogen, make it easier for your immune system to fight it off. So, generating the heat is important. But after you’ve done that, and you’ve been good and hot for awhile, then you kind of need to release that heat. Let it circulate. Let it move out through the body again, to come back down that curve. And so if somebody kind of gets stuck, and they’re either not able to generate a good, hot fever. Or they’re kind of like just stuck, the heat is ongoing. And they’re getting super exhausted as a result. We need to release. We need to open. And anise hyssop is one of our relaxant diaphoretic herbs that can help to open in that way. And yeah, it’s just a really good fit. You could compare it… Other herbs we would call on in a similar instance there would be like skullcap, peppermint, elderflower, lemon balm, things like that. Yeah. You know, anise hyssop is also a decent herb topically. And I think the thing that would call this out to me the most would be itch. Anise hyssop has a nice soothing effect on itchy spots. I’m even thinking about a dog right now, because Elsie is sitting right in Katja’s lap as we record this episode. But think about like a dog with hot spots. They have like a rash. The first coming out, you know, and they’re worrying at it a lot. It’s obviously irritated. I could see anise hyssop being something nice to make a poultice or to make a compress, and to set that on there.

Ways to Work with Anise Hyssop

Katja (18:01):
It would be nice as an ear wash too. You know, a lot of dogs need to have their ears washed, because their ears are maybe a little too big for them to keep clean on their own. And you know, dogs aren’t like cats. So, they’re also not like quite as invested in washing every part of their body, just the important parts. And so sometimes it’s really important to have an ear wash for your dog. And you can buy ear wash pads, you know, that are kind of like baby wipes. And they’re disposable and whatever. They’ve got alcohol in them and stuff. But listen, you can make them too. And so if you just have a pile of like thin cloth. And what I really love for this is those thin flannel baby blankets for like when the baby is the smallest baby. They call them receiving blankets sometimes. They’re the super thin flannel. And you can often get them at like a garage sale or something. You can get those and cut them up into squares. And stitch the edges so that they don’t fray. I know that I just described a bunch of work, but I’m telling you, they’re perfect. They’re like the right perfect thickness to absorb the liquid. But the still right, perfect thinness to be able to really wipe down the whole inside of a dog’s ear. And so if you have a little stack of those, and then you just make a really strong, in this case, anise hyssop tea. You could do it with thyme. You could do it with yarrow. There are lots of different plants you could do this with. But anise hyssop may be like the perfect middle ground. Because you get those volatiles that are going to help fight if there’s any kind of fungal crud going on in there. But there’s not so many of them that you risk drying the ear out, completely killing all the probiotics. Like it’s really that Goldilocks place. So I highly recommend that.

Ryn (20:15):
Yeah. So, you can work with anise hyssop in a bunch of different ways. Basically anything that captures the volatiles is going to do the job. So tea, tincture, steams you can do,

Katja (20:26):
If you have it fresh, you can put it in honey.

Ryn (20:29):
Yeah. You could do a honey infusion. That would be fantastic. You could do oil infusions you know. Control for moisture as always, but that should be pretty handy as well. So lots of options in terms of ways to make your medicine with anise hyssop. And like we said, it’s tasty. It’s good in formulas just for that reason if nothing else. You can add some variety to your kind of daily nutritive formulas or your constitutional adjustment blends or whatever. You know, we were talking about the qualities for this plant. And the thing is that aside from the relaxant effect, the warm and cold and the damp and dry energetics on this one are not too strong, really in either direction. I think it sort of leans cool. It leans dry. But it’s not too intense. And so that means that it’s going to fit in pretty easily to a lot of formulas or be appropriate for a pretty wide array of humans. That’s pretty nice. One last thought on anise hyssop is that this is a great herb to grow in your garden, because it’s easy. As a mint family plant, it’s easy. This one also grows fairly large. And so, you don’t need a lot of like ground space or pot space to grow something that’s pretty substantial and will give you a decent amount of herbal material to preserve and make remedies with. It’s also a really excellent pollinator plant. It has a quite long blooming season, and so it can feed the bees and the pollinator flies and the pollinator butterflies and everybody for a really long time. So, that’s a good thing to have around too. Yeah.

Katja (22:03):
There, wasn’t a good place to fit this in while you were talking. But I can’t leave without saying it. Because you had brought up orange. And you had brought up… we were talking about how it fits in formulas. And that both orange peel and anise hyssop have like so many beneficial actions, but also make things taste better. And I was just thinking that they’re appealing. And I needed to say that.

Ryn (22:35):
That’s good. I’m really glad that we got that in there. I wouldn’t want to leave that out. Yeah, they needed that. Yeah. Yeah. Okay.

Katja (22:44):
But also, since we also want to talk about lady’s mantle today, and I think that’s where you were going next. I kind of want to pivot off a part you just said there. Because you were mentioning about how anise hyssop is drying, but not overly drying, and relaxing, but not like overly anything. It’s helpfully the things that it is. And I was thinking about how lovely actually it would be in a formula with lady’s mantle. Because now I find lady’s mantle to be very, very tasty. It’s in that standard cup of tea flavor direction to me. And I might just be weird. It doesn’t taste like black tea, but it’s definitively in that category of flavor.

Ryn (23:45):
Yeah. Mild to moderate astringency, not too intense.

Katja (23:48):
You’re kind of looking skeptical.

Ryn (23:50):
No, no, no. Lady’s mantle tea is tolerable on the astringency scale.

Katja (23:57):
I was going to say, maybe the skepticism is because I started by saying it’s delicious.

Ryn (23:59):
It’s not as powerfully astringent as something like uva-ursi, for sure.

Katja (24:03):
Also delicious.

Ryn (24:04):
Or for that matter straight up yarrow tea is not always the easiest thing for me to drink after a little while. But I think for you that’s very comfortable and even comforting. And for sure lady’s mantle is that. Sometimes when you’re having a rough day, I’m like I’m going to make a pot of tea. Lady’s mantle is going to be a big part of this formula. And then I come and bring it to you.

Alchemilla vulgaris: Lady’s Mantle & Its Properties

Katja (24:26):
Yes. Lady’s mantle is amazing. But so that’s where I was thinking is that actually anise hyssop can be quite lovely in a lady’s mantle formula, because it’s helping with a lot of the types of work that lady’s mantle is going to be doing. And so I think I want to focus here on fluid movement, and pelvic floor health, and emotional health. I think those are the sort of areas that I really want to make sure that we touch on.

Ryn (25:03):
Yeah. We’ve been working on the reproductive health course in the online program, getting that finished up. And so we’ve been recording videos and stuff for a little while for that now. And lady’s mantle comes up quite often.

Katja (25:16):
It really does.

Ryn (25:17):
And it’s largely because it has such a pronounced affinity for this part of the body. And so if you’ve got a swollen inflamed prostate, if you’ve got a bunch of fluid retention around your menstrual cycle, if you have bogginess or even like cysts developing on the uterus or on the ovaries or something like that. Any of these conditions that we would group under the tissue state of stagnation, then lady’s mantle is super helpful.

Katja (25:45):
Yeah. I’m glad that you started off with prostates, because it’s everybody’s mantle actually. It’s not like it’s pink with flowers on it and only ladies can drink lady’s mantle tea. It’s a beautiful green cloak of a plant, and it is everybody’s mantle. The Latin here, Alchemilla, we’re right there with the word alchemy. And this is a plant of transformation. It is a plant of shift and change. And so we can think about that on the most like obvious physiological level, and talk about that astringent action. And so where there is too much laxity, we get tightening. So, if we’re thinking about pelvic floor insufficiency or like sluggish stagnancy, like chronic sluggish stagnancy in the menstrual cycle. Like you said, BPH, you know. Any kind of just the organs are not quite holding themselves together enough to do their jobs efficiently then. Oh, and incontinence goes right along with pelvic floor insufficiency here. Any of those kind of areas, that’s that sort of most obvious level of transformation, just in that tightening. And the tightening is not like dried up mummy skin. Like it’s not like uncomfortable tightening. It is like, you know, you’ve been slouched on the couch for too long, and your back is starting to hurt. And you kind of want to sit up straight and like stretch your spine a little bit. It’s that.

Ryn (27:31):
Yeah. I don’t feel like I would really worry too much about somebody working with lady’s mantle and developing like pathological tension or dryness in this region. It’s really more of a corrective for when things have gone too far the other direction.

Katja (27:49):
Yeah. Which is good, because we’ve got a couple of other aspects of lady’s mantle that can be really helpful. We were talking about, or I was wanting to point out, fluid movement. And so in that regard, that tightening isn’t going to be a problem. Because if you are having difficulty moving fluids, if you are having stagnation issues, then that’s fine. You’re going to want that tightening action regardless, so that’s okay. But as a person who like all of my stagnancy is below the navel. Like my legs hold extra water, my hips hold extra water. A little less now, as I am moving into menopause. I don’t have the same types of stagnant sluggishness that I sort of had throughout most of my life in menstrual issues. Like, obviously that’s going through a change now. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t still have the stagnancy in the general area. Like that is still there. Just a little extra bogginess. Just a little… not too much dampness. And so in terms of getting that fluid moving, getting it… like there are two parts of this fluid movement that have to happen. One is actual movement. And that is things like moving your skeletal muscles, right? Like in order to move fluids, this is lymph we’re really talking about here, there is no pump in that system. You have to move some muscles in order to squeeze the lymphatic vessels, so that fluid will squeeze itself up one more valve and continue to move up the chain of valves in those vessels. So, there is that actual movement. But then there is the chemical movement maybe we’re going to talk about. Like, maybe we can talk about it that way. That that astringency is giving the message of tightening up. And if we’re going to add something to it from the mint family, some kind of catalyst – or ginger is one that I work with frequently – then we’ve got that circulatory action. Just sort of a general agitation – not the irritating kind of agitation, but agitation like in a washing machine – like just movement in general stimulated by moving the blood more effectively. And so I sort of, you know, there’s the movement on the moving level. The I can actually see my toes wiggling. And the movement on the internal fluid level of sending messages to the cells to like do their contracting action.

Ryn (30:46):
Yeah. You know, when we think about this, it’s not only about like obvious bloating. Or if you’re like, oh. Every time I eat pizza my belly gets all swollen. You know, things like that, yeah. Lady’s mantle can help. But it’s also things that are kind of more deeper seated, you know? So like for instance if somebody has endometriosis, there’s going to become a lot of stuck fluid around the little pieces of endometrial tissue that are not inside the uterus where they belong. They’re outside of it, stuck to the edges of it. Or they’re stuck to some other internal organ in the abdomen there. They’re going to try to go through a normal menstrual cycle. So, they’re going to swell. They’re going to get inflamed. They’re going to collect fluid. And then they’re going to try and release that. But they’re like, you know, tucked in between layers of tissue in your body. It doesn’t have anywhere to go. So, if we can improve the movement of the lymph, which is really helping to drain extra cellular fluid, like drain it from the spaces in between cells…

Katja (31:45):
Which is exactly where those endometrial… yeah.

Ryn (31:49):
Right. Then we can get some relief. And so, and especially for something long-term like that where it’s not like, okay. There was an acute infection, and now there’s a bunch of swelling and stuck fluid and stuff. We need a strong draining agent to act fast, and then we’re done. With a chronic situation like this it’s more like okay. This is going to keep happening. You know, like every month it’s going to swell and swell and swell and need to get drained. So, we’re going to want to have something that you can take more habitually, right? You don’t want to be taking poke root every day. You don’t want to be taking red root every day long term in most circumstances, you know? But lady’s mantle, this is something that you could drink daily. You know, you could have it as part of your daily tea. And flavor-wise, it does play nice with mints or with tulsi or with rosemary for that matter. I mean lots of different things are going to mix in with this.

An Emotional Cloak

Katja (32:38):
Ginger goes in too. I mean, okay, ginger goes into anything, but yeah. So, that’s another level of that transformation, right, is moving the fluids from here to there. That is a transformative thing. Right? So then that emotional health aspect to kind of round out our transformative trifecta that we have going on here, is I was about to say is like one of the most important ways we can work with lady’s mantle. And I shouldn’t say that. But sometimes I feel that way. I think that any time that the idea of a covering feels good to you, that is a time for Alchemilla. Like any time that you wish you could crawl under your bed, or just crawl under a pile of blankets and pretend like the rest of the world isn’t there, that’s Alchemilla time. And it doesn’t have to be because of sexual trauma, although sometimes it is. But literally…

Ryn (33:51):
And you know, lady’s mantle has, I’d say, a fairly long, consistent history of people working with it explicitly for sexual trauma and for recovery. And also kind of like finding a safe space to reconnect with your sexuality or this part of your experience in your life.

Katja (34:11):
Yeah, if that’s something that you want to do.

Ryn (34:13):
That same idea about like creating a feeling of safety, and then you can like be on the inside doing some inner work, or just resting.

Katja (34:21):
Yeah. That’s also okay. And so yeah, that like protected space of just being all covered up, right? Like protected. No one can see you.

Ryn (34:37):
It’s different from what we were talking about last week with yarrow. And last week when we were talking about yarrow we were talking about emotional armor and a thicker skin. And lady’s mantle feels pretty substantially different from that.

Katja (34:48):
Right. Because even when we were describing the two, if we think about the metaphors we use to describe them. Yarrow is you’re going to put on your big leather jacket with the metal spikes on it. And you’re going to go out into the world, you know, as a challenge basically to the world. Like you are the challenge to the world, not a challenge to yourself or something. But just daring the world to anything. And this is different. This is, I want to hide under blankets and no one can see me, right? And it’s not that lady’s mantle will hide you. And then now you’re somehow buried somewhere, and you’re going to have to dig yourself out in like some sort of negative way. I don’t mean that. But sometimes it is not the time to go out and dare the whole world to take you on. Like sometimes that’s not what time it is. And when it’s not that time it’s lady’s mantle time.

Ryn (35:49):
Yeah. Nice.

Katja (35:54):
I guess I just want to be clear though, or I want to reemphasize. The desire to hide under blankets does not have to be in any way related to sexual trauma. It is particularly awesome in that kind of work. But it could just be related to you can’t stand what’s going on in the news right now. Or your job sucks and you just want to hide from it. Or like it could be any kind of reason. It is that desire to be cloaked that we’re really getting at here.

Ryn (36:35):
Yeah. Cool. All right. Well, those are some thoughts for you today. Again, this is not super structured, kind of off the cuff mostly here for these ones with you. Just kind of the things that rise up for us in the moment. There’s definitely more to be said about these plants. You can’t really sum up any, any herb that I’m aware of in 30 minutes apiece.

Katja (36:58):
No, this is sort of, you know, it’s just what’s most important to us now in this moment. I think that if you asked me to talk about lady’s mantle every Monday for a year, I would not say the same thing every Monday. Today is not Monday. I don’t know why I picked Monday, but whatever. But I wouldn’t say the same thing every day. And so I think that it’s important to… you know, this is materia medica work. This is that deep learning about the plants. And I think it’s important to really get that in as many facets as you possibly can. Because just like we are, these plants contain multitudes, right? Like multitudes. So yeah, in the material medica course we cover all these plants, and we cover them in a lot of detail. But I bet we said things today that…

Ryn (37:55):
Probably didn’t occur in those moments. Yeah. That’s the way that’s going to be, you know, and there’s no problem with any of it. But we do want to reiterate that whenever possible. It’s all part of our ongoing work to not become guru. So, all right folks. Thanks for listening today. Oh, and by the way, I also wanted to say that we would love to hear your experiences and your thoughts and your opinions about these plants too. So, feel free to reach out to us. If you found this through social media, you know, you can do it right there. Or you can always contact us at info@commonwealthherbs.com.

Katja (38:29):
Yes. And we will reply to you.

Ryn (38:32):
Yeah, yeah. And if you didn’t know already, you find us on Facebook. You can find us on Instagram. We’ve got a YouTube channel going on.

Katja (38:39):
And you can find all of our online courses at commonwealthherbs.com.

Ryn (38:44):
Yeah. Cool. So, we’ll be back next week with some more holistic herbalism podcasts for you. It looks like Alder is coming up soon.

Katja (38:53):
Yeah. We both turned to the shelf behind us.

Ryn (38:56):
I’m not sure which is the jar after that, but it’ll, it’ll be a surprise for everyone.

Katja (38:59):
Oh no, I am. It’s Althea. Yeah.

Ryn (39:02):
Yeah. Well, we’ll see you next time. Until then take care of yourselves. Take care of each other. Drink some tea.

Katja (39:09):
Drink some tea.

Ryn (39:10):
Put a cloak if you need it. And a drag-you-stash? No, that doesn’t work. All right, everybody. Bye.

Katja (39:20):


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