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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

It Doesn’t Get Much Cheaper Than Free!

Dec 30, 2020 08:45AM ● By Kathleen Gould and Madalyn Johnson

Madalyn Johnson (left) and Kathleen Gould (right)

Like all loving, nurturing mothers, our beautiful Mother Earth shares her healing bounty with open arms with all of her children (two-legged, four-legged, winged ones, creepy crawlers). She provides food, water, medicinal plants, air―everything we need to have a healthy, joyful human experience, and all of this she gives freely and lovingly.

As more and more people begin to wake up and remember that they are spiritual beings having a physical experience, they find that they are drawn back to nature and the earth. They are being drawn back to prayer, meditation, unity and understanding, nonjudgement and kindness. Many find themselves seeking knowledge of the medicinal plants and a healthier, happier way of living.

Walk anywhere on earth and you will find a plethora of wild medicinal plants just waiting for you to come out and play with them. There are healing plants for every imbalance found in man and beast. Take a few moments and sit with the plants, leave a small offering or say a prayer for them, and then just sit and listen with your whole heart. These living plant beings are waiting for us to come back to them so they can once again share their ancient wisdom.

Find a good herb shop in your area and go and learn. Remember that these plants are your birthright. Our creator placed these healing plants here for us to use. Remembering how to use the medicinal plants is already deep within each of us. There is a sacred fire that burns within our hearts, and all it takes is a bit of kindling to gently coax the flames of knowledge back to life.

These beautiful gifts are free if you learn how to gather them from the earth. If you are not sure how to find them, you can purchase them from your local herb shop, but make sure you are getting good high-quality, life-giving herbs. Buying herbs in bulk and learning how to make medicines right in your own kitchen is very inexpensive and very empowering, and again, our birthright!

Our desert here in the Southwest hosts many healing and spiritual plants. One example is chaparral. Chaparral is called “the governess,” and it is the most abundant plant and healer in the desert; everyone it seems uses it. Most use the leaves of this plant, as the stems and twigs do not infuse very well. It is a powerful healing agent that is used externally as an oil or a wash to clean cuts and wounds. It can be simmered into a wash (tea) and poured over the body after your shower or bath (do not towel off; let air dry) to “help hold qi in place.” One of chaparral’s many gifts is that it “helps harmonize our relationship with the sun.” Some people eat a tiny pinch every day beginning in the spring to help prepare their skin for the hot summers. Chaparral has a long history for use in cancer, both internally and externally, as it has proven to be a strong antioxidant and fights free radicals. The leaves are often ground into a powder and used as part of a tooth powder formula to help keep the teeth, gums and mouth free of bacteria.

Here are a few ways to incorporate this healing plant into your life (or feel free to substitute herbs like calendula, Echinacea or chamomile). Easy and affordable, these ideas can be used daily to repair all parts of your body. One easy way is to brew a strong pot of tea. We traditionally use a teaspoon to a cup of water, but for this we would use a heaping tablespoon (or more!). After steeping for 20 to 30 minutes, pour it in your bath water and submerge yourself as much as you can. And oh the smell! It will evoke a strong memory. If you aren’t a bather, you could do a foot soak with great results or make a poultice. To make a poultice, steep leaves in hot water until the liquid has a strong smell, then soak a cloth in this tea and apply it to the affected area. Leave it on for 30 to 45 minutes and reuse as often as it calls to you. Another way to use this plant is to make a simple infused oil. Fill any size jar two-thirds of the way to the leaves and cover with your favorite oil. We love extra-virgin olive oil, which you probably have in your kitchen right now. Infuse in the sun for two to three weeks (or less if it is hot in your area) and strain. This healing oil can be used for many skin eruptions, such as cold sores, shingles and blisters. Just dab it on with a cotton ball several times a day and watch the healing happen.

Look around your world with open eyes and an open heart, and you will find these plants just waiting to love you. Simple, affordable and oh so magical.

Kathleen Gould, registered herbalist, and Madalyn Johnson are proprietors of SW Herb Shop and Gathering Place. Gould has been an herbalist for 30-plus years and has extensive experience in herbal medicine. For more information, call 480-694-9931, or visit or


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