August: Wild Berries & Yerba Santa

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This blog is an annual journey of getting closer to the place I live through using native plants on a daily basis. By recording the experience every day, I hope to keep discovering what really works.

1 Pearly Everlasting: This beautiful native flower grows on hillsides and disturbed areas. I’m collecting a lot right now since it is my best remedy for my family’s winter colds. We make a tea from the flowers.

2 Manzanita berries: Today I received the first large gathering of berries from my Native American friend, an expert in methods of efficient harvesting and processing. The key is to gather them when they are round, but not too shriveled and then remove sticks and leaves for storage. They keep really well for up to a year. I’m making cider today from the ones I have left.

3 Yerba Santa: The leaves of this often neglected native plant are covered with an oily resin this time of year. This is the ideal time to gather the leaves and store for use as a decongestant, made from drinking a leaf tea or leaf extract.

4  Purslane: More weeding of this common garden weed means more eating of it on our salad.

5 Grindelia: This is the last call for gathering the flowers/stems of Grindelia (gumweed). It is useful, along with yerba santa, for lung congestion.

6 Currants: My native bush, planting outside our house, is really producing its gorgeous dark purple berries. I’m collecting them today for eating raw and drying for future use.

7 Pearly Everlasting: I’m gathering more of this flower, useful not only for colds, but as a dried arrangement for the house until you need it as a tea.