Sembrando Semillas Herb Walk

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By Juliet Garcia, NMAA Staff


On Sunday, July 24th 2016, many participants of the Sembrando Semillas group met at my home in Chamisal for an herb walk. John Duncan, who taught Wild Food /Wild Medicine at the University of New Mexico Taos branch for many years, led our walk. We started with a garden tour in the field where we were able to identify many remedios that grow along acequias and in gardens. We then headed over to Santa Barbara Canyon, which is higher in elevation and a forested area. We chose to go higher up because we hoped it would give us a nice array of medicinal plants that we weren't as familiar with.
From Chamisal it looked like a small storm was brewing under La Jicarita, but Mr. Duncan had given us a forewarning that we would get a small storm, so we were prepared with some rain gear. The group caravanned from Chamisal to the Santa Barbara Canyon. When we arrived we gathered at the entrance of a trail and immediately found plants to learn about. Together we were able to identify Usnea, Vervain, Elderberry, Oregon Grape, Sweet Cicily, Rose hips, wild onions, Monks Hood, along with many poisonous berries.

The youngest of the youth had a lot of fun hiking, they had a lot of energy so they would run ahead on their own adventures, then run back as they saw us all around a plant. The evening ended with some fresh fruit, nuts and water as we took shelter from a downpour of much needed rain.

Since then, the Chamisal Sembrando Semillas youth has harvested Yerba del Buey, Plumajillo, and stinging nettles, and have made tinctures. We will continue to harvest herbs from around the area. The herb walk in Santa Barbara Canyon gave us an amazing opportunity to learn more plants and their healing properties so that we can add them to our medicine cabinets as we prepare for what always feels like a long cold season.