Saturated Hedgewitchery (2)

So I couldn’t prevent myself from creating a second “Saturation” post. The autumn colors are bewitchingly beautiful and we aren’t even at peak yet.
This hedgerow called my name this morning and made me go back home to get my camera even though I was on my way to someplace else.


The Hedgewitch used to be the true alternative healer: herbalist, midwife, and shaman. She knew that Nature had an ancient intelligence and was able to mediate for those who did not have her intuitive powers. She talked with the plants which always held answers to what a person needed to heal. The connection with plants is made through the heart, the center of our intuitive and multi-dimensional knowing.

Let’s take a closer look at this hedgerow, the way the hedgewitch might have so long ago (click on an image to see it enlarged):

The colors of the Virginia creeper vine range from flame orange to blood red. Its dark blue berries and autumn leaves are toxic. However, roots and leaves have been used for various ailments including jaundice, gonorrhea, diarrhea, and poison-sumac rashes.

glorious goldenrod

The goldenrod plumes capture the intensity of summer sun a bit longer before they too fade into winter oblivion. The hedgewitch knew that goldenrod leaves could be used as a diuretic and anti-inflammatory for the urinary tract.
I have personally collected the green leaves of goldenrod and used the dried leaves to make a subtly flavored tea.

daisy fleabane

Here is a fence bouquet of daisy fleabane which was used as a folk remedy for diarrhea and kidney stones, diabetes, and hemorrhages of various internal organs (did people have a lot of diarrhea back then? It seems like every other plant I look up has been used for that purpose).

I always enjoy seeing the sky-blue flower of the chicory plant. I found a single one in this hedgerow:

chicory flower

Chicory root has been used as a diuretic and laxative, as well as for fevers and skin eruptions. It reportedly lowers blood sugar. I am waiting to have a large supply of chicory plants on my own property, away from the polluted roadsides where they are usually found. Why: because I want to roast the root and try it as a coffee substitute (remember those war time stories when there was no real coffee to be had? Well, roasted chicory root took the place of coffee). I have no idea how tasty it is, but one day I’ll find out.

And then there is a sweet mallow plant with only one or two small flowers hiding between the leaves:


Mallows produce a small wheel-like fruit pod that is edible, raw or stir-fried. The leaves are also edible and can be turned into a pot herb or cooked in soup. Mallow tea can soothe respiratory problems. Leaves can be poulticed on wounds and tumors.

And tugged between all of these riches were a few other plants: dandelion, burdock or dock, and a few other leaves I felt I should know but wasn’t sure about. If I could just call up that hedgewitch and ask her…

If you are curious about medicinal plants, please study them thoroughly and find a good teacher. There are many look-alikes. I use several plant ID books. One of my favorites is the “Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs” by Steven Foster and James A. Duke (one of the Peterson Field Guides).

About Beauty Along the Road

A blog about discovering beauty in all its ordinary and extraordinary manifestations.
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19 Responses to Saturated Hedgewitchery (2)

  1. mpejovic says:

    Interesting Virginia creeper vine. Before I even read what your wrote, I could picture those leaves as being toxic. They’re beautiful though.


  2. A great blend of beautiful imagery and Interesting details (especially about the chicory plant being used as a coffee substitute). I can see why the autumn scenes made you indulge your inner shutterbug, Annette. šŸ™‚


  3. indacampo says:

    Lovely photos. Your knowledge about the plants is great. But then I’ve always found that we North Americans are eons behind in naturopathy and herbs. šŸ™‚


  4. Kristin says:

    The golden-rod is gorgeous! It’s funny how flowers may be used medicinally as color therapy too.

    I’ve never heard the term Hedgewitch. I’m more familiar with the term “wild crafters.”

    Did you ever see the movie, “Where the Lilies Bloom?” In the film, the children gather herbs in the Appalachian Mts. to sell, like their mother did, in order to survive and stay healthy.


    • I think of goldenrod as “color therapy” as well! Never seen the movie you mention but will look for it. Unfortunately, here in the Appalachians, the knowledge of plants has been dying. The grandmothers still know about it, the parents have already fallen into a dark hole (plant wise) and the kids are into technical gadgets and staying indoors (almost as much as city kids). There is a heritage festival going on this weekend and I just heard a lecture accompanied by a slideshow by Doug Tallamy. He wrote the book “Bringing Nature Home: How you can sustain wildlife with native plants.” We’ve lost 50% of our songbirds in the last 15 yrs or so and a lot has to do with homeowners planting foreign shrubs (if they plant anything other than lawngrass, that is). The foreign and invasive shrubs don’t support the caterpillars that our birds need to feed their young. This doesn’t even touch on all the pesticides and herbicides that homeowners use (more than all farming combined!), often without training and real knowledge of their consequences on our native flora and fauna…. So, a native hedgerow is a smorgasboard for more animals than we can imagine! A delight to the senses and (if it’s not by the side of a road) source of all kinds of goodies for us humans, too!


  5. utesmile says:

    the chicory is the best picture, which shows such a simple fower but such beauty!


  6. joymanifest says:

    WOW! I love this post!! Not just for the amazing pictures, but all the knowledge you’ve shared in it. Thank you so much! I’ve been studying traditional medicine and making my own teas and things. We have a tradition called ‘tibb an nabawi’ (medicine of the prophet, peace be upon him), on how he used food and exercise to prevent and heal illness. I am an part-time student of this, and this post is so helpful. I actually came here, to thank you for your comment on my about page and to say I have replied, I do hope you will be able to read the reply.
    As well I hope you read my recent post too, it talks about what you brought up and also about the fall colours šŸ™‚
    It is an important topic, that is why I am attaching links here, not for any thought of showing off or such like.
    Take care


  7. ladysighs says:

    What a lovely blog you have created. Some of us (me) do not garden but still love to look and enjoy the beauty others share.
    I lived in Virginia over forty years ago and still remember the pretty countryside….well vaguely. šŸ™‚ Your photos will help refresh my memory.


  8. Sartenada says:

    Fantastic collection of photos full with fall colors!


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