Green greetings and a nourishing New Year to you all.
I have settled back into my cozy Catskill home, just in time. Our flight out of Costa Rica was one of the last to get out, with the frigid storm vortex just starting to blow in as we landed in New York. As you have heard, temperatures hit all-time lows. Plants can deal with that. But what is really hard on them is for it to get super cold and then thaw suddenly and then freeze again. Yesterday it was 7 degrees Farenheit (-12C) and I was playing with my granddaughter on my frozen pond. Today there is thunder and lightning and torrents of rain, with temperatures in the 40’s. And it will be cold again in a day. It’s hard to adjust quickly if you are a plant!
The weather in Costa Rica was breezy at night and sunny and warm all day. Not difficult for the plants to adjust to at all. At dawn the howler monkeys get going and so do most of the people, since work in the heat of the day is almost impossible. Our beat-the-heat trick is to get into the deep jungle where the sun can’t get to us, and we found some wild, and some watery, jungle settings that we are excited to share you virtually and with the first participants in our Health and Well Being Adventures in reality next January.
Of the many questions we have received about the Adventure, one really stands out for me. “How will what we learn about plants in Costa Rica be useful to me when I am at home?” My answer has several parts. 1. We will be learning about plant families as we learn about plants, so what we learn is applicable all over the world. 2. We will not be focusing on learning a lot of herbal medicine in Costa Rica. 3. Many tropical plants that grow in Costa Rica are sold in your local supermarket, including avocado, banana, papaya, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric, to mention but a few.
There’s a wealth of plants unique to the tropics to learn about, but I am not focused on teaching about them. I continue to devote myself to the weeds, wherever I find myself. Medicinal Plants of Costa Rica, Ed Bernhardt, Zona Tropical, 2008 includes 92 plants. Most of you are probably using, or are familiar with the uses of, more than half of them! Such as aloe vera, arnica, artemisia, avocado, basil, borage, castor bean, cayenne, chamomile, cilantro, cinnamon, citrus, coconut, cornsilk, dandelion, echinacea, elder, eucalyptus, feverfew, garlic, ginger, gotu kola, plantain, hibiscus, horsetail, lemongrass, mimosa, mint, noni, oregano, papaya, parsley, passion flower, peppermint, pokeweed, prickly pear cactus, rosemary, rue, sage, lantana, stevia, singing nettle, thyme, turmeric, vervain, quassia, epazote, yarrow, yellow dock, and yucca. (That’s 51 plants.)
And imagine my surprise to find medicinal uses for plants I have only known as house plants, such as wander Jew and sansevieria, that grow wild in Costa Rica!
I promised you a bouquet, and I did stop to pick one for you. Actually, I picked at least two. Here’s the first, with lots of sparking green blessings for you.
~ Weed Walk ~