Wednesday, April 18, 2012

color of the week






Yesterday, I planted a replacement tree for one we lost this past winter. It just so happened that a volunteer Oregon grape, Mahonia spp., was growing exactly where the new tree needed to go and it had to come out. It was more work but also a blessing and a boon because I was able to make up a medicinal tincture with the Mahonia roots (rhizomes). That golden yellow of its bloom in the top photo is a clue to the color of the inner bark of the stems and rhizome/roots which contain the alkaloid berberine. When you notice this yellow in bark or root, that's what it is, berberine. It's even more beautiful when wet, as you can see. Oregon grape is sometimes used as a substitute for goldenseal, an endangered plant, but it also has its own unique uses. It is a strong overall antimicrobial against viruses, fungi and bacteria; and a cholagogue to stimulate the gallbladder and digestion -- not to be used during pregnancy.

If you have this plant species growing wild in your garden, it would be worth your time to research it -- and if you feel you could use it medicinally, then make up a tincture. Interesting that I didn't even think of dyeing with it, but I'm going to make up a bundle today. I'll need a saw to cut the big chunks that are left, these rhizomes are rock hard.


Still on a pompom kick -- this pompom cloth is old, pretty sure I remember seeing it at my grandmother's house. It definitely hasn't been used much. 

I'm thinking yellow-gold is my color for the week. In case you're wondering like I was -- there are 544 pompoms in the cloth -- now isn't that some serious pompom action?



15 comments:

liniecat said...

Lucky you!
I used mahonia a year back and achieved some wonderful results, many of which went on the blog. I have bark pieces still in the garden and each time they get wet in the rain, the colour just enlivens again. So its a long lasting dye stuff.
I stripped off slivers of bark and them, laid on fabric, give smashing rivulet like designs.
Am sure youll get smashign resulst too

woman with wings said...

Hi Lyn, oh good -- thanks for reminding me, I think I remember when you were mahonia-ing. I'm going to visit your blog before I do anything. Thanks!!

Aja said...

Mmm, tincture making. One of my favorite things :)

Jeannie said...

I knew the berries could be used, but I hadn't thought of the bark! It grows like dandelions here. Your pom pom remind me of a thing my Gram taught me. You build a square, pound nails evenly along all four sides, wrap with yarn, tie off, and snip. I think my parents still have my loom! lol! What kind of tree did you plant? Enjoy the day.

deanna7trees said...

your pom poms look like a pineapple. mellow yellow...nice.

helen salo said...

Being a long time (former) worker at a health food store I can attest to the wonderful medicinal work against virus's. Love the pom poms lots of work into them and also then attaching together, definately a long forgotten craft, hold on to that one!

helen salo said...

Jeez I should learn to proof read before publishing I forget the reference of the oregon Grape for the plant I was refering to. Time to wind down for the night, i guess. haha

Nancy said...

Those pom-poms are such an intricate presentation! At first glance, looked like some well-organized Kix cereal!

Marie said...

Hi Peggy,

I have never seen a pom pom rug. I bet it is sooo soft!

Interesting about the herb. I have heard that healing herbs
for what ever ailment are usually only a few feet away (in the woods/land),
not the city.

I love that golden color. The beads I am using for the rattle right now are a golden color.
It is a "warm" color. Love that!
<3

woman with wings said...

Aja -- mine, too!

woman with wings said...

Jeannie, they're sort of like dandelions in my yard, too -- I guess the birds spread 'em around. ;-) I think I've seen that loom you're talking about -- but it was woven threads, right? Without pompoms? You should get it from your parents, that would be so fun to do again. Full circle!
I planted a tartarian maple, "hot wings" that was developed here in CO. A ginnala maple had been there but was mostly dead, they don't do that well here, our soil is so alkaline. But I loved it and miss it.

woman with wings said...

Ha, you're right, Deanna! Thanks....

woman with wings said...

Helen, thanks, the pompoms are put together in a way I don't even want to figure out. But I'm thinking that maybe a loom like Jeannie up there mentioned was probably used. So maybe it wasn't that hard to make?
Since making the tincture and planning to dye with it, Oregon grape has grabbed my attention in a big way!

woman with wings said...

Nancy, hey I can see it! ;-) Oh, I miss Kix.

woman with wings said...

Marie, it is really soft, most definitely all-cotton, too. Yes, I truly believe that there's a plant for everything. There's a saying that it may be better to know 40 uses for one plant than one use for 40 plants -- along that line, I'm sure this plant offers much more than I can even imagine.

Sometimes that golden yellow is just so GOOD, your beads will really stand out and look like lights on the rattle! :)