This fall was the second iteration of Revolutionary Plant Power, a four part workshop series about the transformational power of plants to heal ourselves and the world – and this time was specifically for people who’ve been directly impacted by incarceration. We learned the basics of herbalism from a decolonial perspective, cultivated personal resiliency with the roots of ancestral earth based wisdom, and returned every week to build a heart centered community. In light of so much violent destruction happening in our global community, I thought I’d share a recipe from the class to help nourish our nerves to release tension and receive the support needed to keep going.
The fall series was made possible by the generous support of Dignity & Power Now (DPN) and the Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND) on the occasion of In The Belly of the Serpent, a work of public art I was commissioned to create for the Los Angeles State Historic Park in 2023. Thank you!
To Nourish our Nervous System is to Protect Ourselves in an Unpredictable World
Life is unpredictable, and modern life in particular is plagued by toxic systems of oppressive control and hierarchy. To keep growing strong, we can ground to the earth and lean to our community for support. Don’t get me wrong, anxiety is a normal part of being alive too. It’s our body's way of alerting us to danger. But in excess anxiety and stress wreak havoc on our systems.
In herbalism, we can work with the Cosmic Wheel (from the Green Gold Oracle Deck) to gain a deeper understanding of plants and the energetics of transformational healing based on where in its cycle the herb is harvested for medicinal use. Leaves in herbalism can help our overstimulated systems step out of the past/future and back into our present body. It’s by being present that our bodies can adequately digest and retain the nourishment that’s all around us.
Like the stem and leaves of a plant, our nerves are cords that transmit information all along the body. Chronic stress and anxiety “frays” or “burns out” these connections. Chronic anxiety most commonly lives in the head / shoulder / neck, the heart, and the stomach. It can be addressed symptomatically (calms our system in the moment), adaptogenically (builds our system’s capacity to better respond to stress overtime), nutritively (rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed to build new nerve connections), or all three for a more effective impact.
Recipe for a Nerve Nourishing Anti-Anxiety Oxymel
3 Parts Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
2 Parts Nettle (Urtica incisa)
1 Parts Hibiscus (sabdariffa L)
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
But first – what in the heck is an oxymel?! Oxymel is from the latin word for acid (oxy) and honey (mel). An oxymel is an herbal preparation made from combining apple cider vinegar and honey. Is it very simple to make at home, combines the multitude of benefits of both ACV and honey, it's safe for anyone that can’t consume alcohol, and it's very tasty.
In a clean jar measure out your herbs so that the herbs cover ¼ of the jar (this will take a bit of elementary math). Adding equal parts raw ACV and honey, fill the jar to the top. Keep it in a cool, dark, dry place. Be sure to turn the jar upside about 3 times every time you can remember to. Brew your medicine for a full moon cycle (a.k.a four weeks) then strain using a cheesecloth and funnel into a dropper bottle. The shelf life for an oxymel is about 6 months to a year. The recommended dosage is a dropperful when needed, maximum 3x per day. This formula is safe for daily use.
Cimarrón Files are Illuminated words of healing wisdom to resource our freedom dreaming paths. A living elemental archive updated at the speed of joy.