A beautiful blessing found me five years ago, a plant spirit herbalism program fell into my inbox when I was least expecting it. I remember I was asking for guidance and a huge shift in my life after the death of my German Shepherd, it became clear to me through my dreams why he had picked me to be his mamma when he was a young pup, he was a strong animal guide helping me reconnect with the plants and earth, as I spent most my time experimenting and testing plant remedies on him!
I have not shared with many how the name Osha Maize came about and I feel its perfect time to introduce the birth of a vision at a pivotal time as I leave tomorrow for a potent journey to Crete, Greece, tuning into the land, goddess archetypes and medicinal plants. My first herb teacher would always talk about this mysterious power plant that lived above 7,000 feet. I had never heard of the plant but I was hooked, I started to feel the energy of the plant and it was calling me deeply into the woods. As she continued to paint the picture all throughout winter. I knew I would have to wait until fall to harvest and meet osha (Ligusticum Porteri). Months before our osha camping trip, I sat in a plant ceremony in Crestone, CO on a potent full moon. The light of the moon and the stars will forever be in my visual field of such a beautiful night. Toward the end of the night a voice continued to repeat "osha maize" "osha maize" "osha maize" over and over again until I started to chant it back to myself. I instinctually new this name would eventually be birthed through my being, yet I was not certain if a child wanted to come through with that name or a healing path I had stepped on was speaking to me.
Osha, great bear medicine, protector of the aspen tree, wound healer, altitude medicine and so much more. Bears eat osha root before and after hibernation to renew their strength and use the root as a poultice to pack their wounds. The Zuni word of osha is Anshe, which means "bear", chuchupate is a another name for osha in the Nahuatl language meaning bitter root. Osha was used for ceremonial smudge and protection from rattlesnakes when placed in moccasins or a medicine pouch. I have had many powerful experiences with osha and continue to be humbled and grateful to embody the energy of osha root in my herbalist practice. The natives of North and South America are often known as the "corn people" because their civilization depended on corn. Their are so many creation stories of corn, but one I really resonate with is the Corn Maidens who were created in the palm of the right hand of Great Spirit as guides for the people of the Earth. People were not always able to determine from among the many plants and animals on the Earth what was good for them to eat—what would nourish them vs. what would harm them. So the Corn Maidens were sent to give each clan a single seed of corn that, if properly cared for, would feed and sustain them. The people took their seeds of corn and planted them in the ground, making a small mound around them. Slowly the corn grew breaking through the earth. Their is so much folklore and stories around these two plants, which continues to shed light on the birth of Osha Maize, and the strength behind a name. I am committed to continue passing the seeds of wisdom and healing for those who seek nourishment and trust from Mother Earth.
Almonds are a lovely food that are building to the ojas (vigor) in Ayurveda, they are heavy, oily, cold and sweet. They are great for pitta and vata but can be too heavy for kapha in large amounts. Our ancestors once feasted on nuts which provided strength for the body and building muscle mass. This ancestral food is one of the best ways to strengthen the body on all levels. Almonds contain the most protein out of any nut and nourish a deep, slow burning metabolic fire. Every nerve in our body is coated in fats, called the myelin sheath, that insulates, guides and protects the electric impulses of your neurons. Nourishing this fatty layer of the nervous system is key to calming the mind.
Almonds are rich in oils and fats that can build the nervous system. In order to bring balance to the body almonds should always be blanched to remove the skins, they contain high tannic acid, which can provoke pitta dosha and bring imbalances.
Blanching almonds is super easy and a meditative process. First buy organic whole almonds. Boil a pot of water and then add almonds to the boiling water. Boil for 1-2 minutes and remove from flame. Strain the almonds and begin to peel by pinching the butt of the almond and the nut will pop out of the skin. Spread the almonds out on a cloth and allow to dry. Once dry store in a glass jar in the fridge. Now you have almonds ready for blending into a nut milk or cooking with veggies.