Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) ©Juniperous 2016

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) ©Juniperous 2016

Blood Root  

Sanguinaria canadensis

Historically bloodroot has been used as an emetic and as a respiratory aid by many indigenous peoples, as well as a topical application  formulated for use on melanomas, or, skin cancer.  It has been used in toothpastes and mouthwashes, as well as in plant extracts and tinctures. 

It is native to eastern North America and is the only species of the genus Sanguinaria in the Papaveraceae family. While this dainty little flower stands only about six inches from the forest floor, its tuberous deep red roots are juicy and thick, filled with the powerful constituents it needs to thrive.

Bloodroot has been used as a dye plant in textiles and basketry, as it's roots produce a beautiful color ranging from red to vibrant orange.

Bloodroot is ENDANGERED and should not be harvested from its natural habitat. It can be cultivated in the right conditions and can purchased in commerce.

Bloodroot calls us to look beneath the surface. It shows us that true beauty relies on a foundation of substance, and the strength of our intrinsic characteristics.





Achillea millefolium

Yarrow is an ally whose virtues are extensive and varied. Species and subspecies of the Achillea genus grow naturally all over the world. Its range of  offerings to human health span the many layers of our wellbeing: physical, emotional, psychological and energetic. Millefolium can stop bleeding, relieve pain, disinfect wounds, break a fever, tonify tissue, calm nerves, strengthen personal power, and embolden a courageous heart. 

Yarrow's roots are deep and its' leaves are mineral rich. It offers stability to the soil in erosive and disturbed environments and can help improve soil health with it's mineral rich leaves. Yarrow's flower repels some insects and attracts others. They can attract wasps and other predatory insects which feed upon insects that are parasitic to plants. In this way, Achillea is a great healer and protector of it's ecological community, and maintains this role when applied to the human healing process. 

Achillea is not commonly used as a dye plant presently nor historically.  It produces a beautiful light golden color on botanical fibers.  Incorporating this plant in clothing and objects we use everyday is powerful because of its' protective and healing nature. 

Yarrow speaks to the hero, the healer, the wounded and the imperiled in each of us. Quiet and powerful, it shows us that healing is possible, and that help and resources are more available and abundant than we realize. Yarrow reminds us to pay attention to the resources in our communities, and not to mistake gentleness for weakness, for our heroes may be seated at our feet.



Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) ©Juniperous 2016

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) ©Juniperous 2016


St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum) ©Juniperous 2016

St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum) ©Juniperous 2016

St. Johns Wort  

Hypericum perforatum

St. Johns Wort is best known for its aid in times of sadness, grief, and trauma. By some, it is called "Sunshine for the Soul" because of its ability to infuse our being with light and clear darkness from the mind and the spirit. St. Johns Wort can alleviate pain on a multitude of levels: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and energetic. It has been called upon in cases of depression, psychosis, and spiritual possession for centuries. It has also been a great companion  in the relief of muscular pain, and bruises, abrasions and burns on the skin. 

St. John's Wort grows naturally all over the world, but is originally native to the Himalayan region. It is considered invasive in most places because it out-competes plants originating in the top 5 feet of the earths hummus and topsoil layers. Hypericum self-pollinates and cross-pollinates, and reproduces both from seed and through its extensive vertical and a lateral root systems. It experiences population swings dependent on temperature at the time of seed germination in spring, appearing more or less abundant from year to year. One plant produces between 15,000 - 30,000 seeds, which are viable in the soil for up to ten years.  It is also important to note that St. Johns Wort can create photosensitivity in livestock when ingested,  which can lead to an array of problems for them, including death. Wild animals know not to eat it.    

St. Johns wort shares lessons and aid in the process of strengthening our individual tenacity, and will-power (our inner sun). It teaches about the resulting abundance and longevity offered by the practice of intentional energetic expense and conservation, and about the value of being willing to grow in multiple directions at once. 

Indigo (Indigofera tinctoria)

Indigo (Indigofera tinctoria)


Indigofera tinctoria

Indigofera tinctoria has been known as a medicinal plant in some cultures - primarily worked with for metabolic and digestive issues, parasites, and promoting hair growth.

Indigo has been giving humans blue pigments for more than 6,000 years. It is thought to be native to tropical regions of Asia and Africa. Its presence as a cultivar has been historically recorded in India, South and Central America, Japan, Egypt, Africa, Iran, South-Eastern North America, and Italy. This plant (and a few others on the planet) contains a compound called indican which, after fermentation and processing, changes from green to blue when exposed to oxygen. At one time, the pigment was so valuable that only the wealthy possessed blue textiles and garments dyed with indigo. Centuries later, it was often referred to as blue gold because it was still so valuable.

Ecologically the role of this plant in its native environment is largely unknown. However, as a legume, it has been planted by farmers as a soil-building cover crop. We can deduct that it helps maintain soil health in its native environment as well.

Indigo helps us remember that we each hold a deep, brilliant well of valuable beauty, and reminds us that it takes effort and intention to reveal it to the rest of the world.



Madder Root

Rubia tinctorum

Madder root is the cousin of a plant you may recognize from your backyard. Cleavers! That small, viney plant that sticks to your clothes with its curved velcro-like hairs is the miniature version of Madder.

While cleavers is known for lymph support and movement, Madder has been known for supporting the elimination systems of the body: bile production, kidney function, bladder efficacy, and menstruation. It has been recorded that it aids in dissolving kidney and bladder stones - though there is no current research that strongly supports some of these records.

Madder can grow to be eight to ten feet tall, though it is usually not strong enough to stand up at that height, and tends lay down and and stick to its counterparts. It produces small racemes of star-shaped yellow flowers. Madder root is prolific and will take over moist areas that have suitable loamy soils. It forms dense root systems and reproduces by root and seed. Ecologically it serves as a larvae food for certain moths.

Madder is another historical dye plant, thought to have originated in India with the first uses dating back roughly 6,000 years. It has been helping humans make red dye all over the world, and has been used for spiritual garments as well as garments made for war. Monks and British soldiers have worn madder on their official garments, chosen to represent and embody deep beliefs of both peace and violence. The plant is thought to be ruled by Mars.

Madder teaches us about about being steadfast, strong, and enduring. It reminds us to protect our vulnerabilities and stand our ground as we boldly extend our energies into the world. Madder can also call our attention to finding positive, productive ways to eliminate and dissolve unnecessary, excessive, or misplaced anger and aggression - helping us to find balance and peace.