Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Teasels RISING

Many of us discover a plant and go LOOKING for 'what it's GOOD for'. I came to know Teasel the other way around. I met it first in a dropper bottle, when I was as broken, sick, miserable and about as despondent a creature as ever HELD a dropper bottle and I HOPED what was inside it would WORK.

It did.

Eight cases of Lyme Disease over 15 years of my life were finally, finally OVER.

Fast forward a bunch of years where I arrive in Oregon, having left my entire life behind on the East Coast. It took me 10 hours to get across the country without my car and without my STUFF. After greeting my two grandsons, I announce I need to catch a nap before dinner and don't wake up 'til breakfast.

But when I DID wake up.....and looked out the window.....there it was.

In NYState I'd only seen them on the sides of the Thruway, and there was a clump of Teasel right there in the yard.

I've been here over 3 1/2 years now and my love affair with this plant just goes on and on.

Right now, they're RISING. Reaching those flowers to the bright blue Oregon sky, catching water in the holy water fonts around their stems, chatting with the dried seed heads of last year that the goldfinches are STILL feeding from, and seedlings are STILL germinating here and there in the garden. Just amazing.

Both winter and spring I watch the infant seedlings germinate right in the seed head as the mother plant bends so slowly and tenderly to deposit her babies on the moist ground and give herself to their growing.

But yes, right now....they're RISING. They make a visual sound as they reach.

Any day now the flower heads will burst into color, blooming in rings that go both ways up and down the head and beckon the bees who will joyously ROLL in the tiny florets, feeling none of the prickly spines that protect and decorate this massive plant from ground to top.

Except for one part. There is ONE place that you can stroke a Teasel plant and not be scratched. Much like a cat, it is the tip of their 'ears'.

Last year, I let a huge stand STAND in the very center of the vegetable garden. They may be massive weeds to MOST folks, but to me they're sacred cows. Here and there I've let one RISE to full bloom, and yet there are large, floozy rosettes in other parts of the gardenwho have NO intention of blooming this year which have the perfect roots for tincturing. Once a plant has so much as initiated a flower stalk, the root has no medicine to offer us. When it gets it into its being to BLOOM, that's where ALL the energy goes. It has its sights on seed producing.

This year I've planted some nasturtiums at their feet along the fence so they can all dance together and REALLY amuse the hummingbirds.

But soon, perhaps this week, the thistly-looking heads will bloom in rings.

This year, I'll make flower essences.

This year, I'll photograph them again and again as I do every year, because they just continue to amaze and enchant me.

And I never forget that they saved my life.....I have a WEED to thank.
This post is part of an herbal Blog Party sponsored by Darcey Blue of Gaia's Gifts. Read all the other great posts on Weeds of Summer that We Love (that other folks seem to hate!)


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I have heard about using teasel and lyme, but it's wonderful to hear a very personal story about it. Many thanks for sharing!

  3. thanks for posting pictures of other forms of teasel! i have always seen the dried forms of teasel but never the living forms. i have always wanted to grow it but never had the seeds to do so.

    i had lyme's disease myself last summer and used spilanthes to cure it. i LOVE spilanthes but it is hard to keep growing. great to know something that grows well around here will treat lyme's as well!

  4. lady B
    I always remember your miraculous effects from this plant, and share it with people who sadly ignore that such a plant could aid them. I give them your exact link too so they can read your story.
    And always rejoice in what it has done for you.

    But today, learning about how it grows and how mama plant nurtures her young is simply beautiful.

    thank you for writing about her!

  5. Sarah, my whole tale is on my web site (and youtube)I used Spilanthes to PREVENT another case of Lyme my last year in NYState.
    Tansy, if you want seeds, I have a few gazillion of them!
    Kris, so good of you. True, few folks get to live WITH Teasels (I mean who actually plants 9' tall SPINY creatures in their gardens? me!me!) But I do look at them as my friends (and MOST of my friends are taller than I)
    Happy to share.

  6. Thanks for the sharing. As a child I was always fascinated by Teasels and spent hours drawing them. Here in the UK I have noticed more teasels around this Summer, now I know what to do with them!
    Green Blessings