Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ligusticum poteria - Wild Lovage

Just a note on this one for now.  A while back I lived in New Mexico for two awful years, where I worked as a banquet coordinator.  I met an elderly Native American woman who was using a smudge in the banquet room where her relative was having a wedding party.  It smelled wonderful and I could imagine that this smudging substance, whatever it was, could well bring good vibes to benefit the event. 

The woman was using an abalone shell to hold what looked like a piece of wood about one inch in diameter. I had never seen that sort of item being used for smudging before, so naturally I was interested.  I asked the woman what she was using, but she was reluctant to tell me the name of the substance.  She did say, however,  that it was a root provided by her local medicine man and she did not know what it was called in English. 

I never forgot that, and swore to myself that I would find out what it was.  A quick search has lead me to this plant; Ligusticum Poteria, (pictured here).  It is known by many names, such as Osha , Bear Root, and Wild Lovage.  I will provide more info later when I learn more about it.

To make this quest even more exciting, Wild Lovage is easily mistaken for Poison Hemlock, (pictured here), the stuff that killed Socates.  Come to think of it, it would be fun to grow some of this, too.  Except that I'd actually like to use the Wild Lovage and I don't want to make any fatale mistakes...hhhmmm, I think maybe the hemlock can wait.

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