Monday, May 12, 2014

America's Goji -a secret superfood!

I just had a fascinating conversation with a gentleman from New York about a shared botanical passion: namely, the much-maligned and misunderstood Autumn Olive. I've written about this invasive plant before with great love and respect, and truly do think about it as America's Goji berry - a superfood that is readily available, self-renews, and has huge antioxidant benefits.

While not native to the USA, it was planted here in the 1950s with what I can only describe as optimistic hubris, the idea being that it makes a great windbreak, it's an excellent nitrogen fixer for damaged soils, and (they thought) it had a low likelihood of spreading. Well....two out of three ain't bad, right?

I love seeing the Autumn Olive leafing out this time of year, as its shimmery silver and green leaves add a gorgeous fairy feeling to the highways and byways of my part of the country. I still have the leaves and stems I gathered last year for medicine-making, but in just a few months I will gather the berries by the handful, reveling in their tart sweetness and lovely speckled colors. As always, I will ask permission first and say a blessing to the plants that nourish me, perhaps leaving a bit of dock-seed, sacred sage, or some of my own hair or saliva as a tangible energetic exchange to express my gratitude.

Autumn olive is a plant that has both yin and yang qualities, with its gentle yet resilient qualities. It is also a plant that works with all dosha types, being a drying yet water-filled berry, sweet yet not overly so, with anti-oxidative support for stressed bodies, minds, and spirits. It's also a reminder to us that even when our best intentions go horribly awry (nah, it's not gonna take over, just plant it and it'll stay put), if given some time and respect, Nature will often find a way to redeem us... the trick is learning to let go of what we expected, and open ourselves to the possibilities we couldn't have imagined on our own.
Blackbird's Daughter

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