Love can transform the neglected to the adored, the homely to the beautiful, the ho-hum to the spectacular, and so much more. While the power of love is not easily measured, it is significant.
It is love that drew me to both the Japanese Knotweed plant and the Chaga mushroom.
Here’s how it began with Japanese Knotweed
About ten years ago, during a time when I spent lots of time hiking and gardening barefoot, my foot became swollen, red and very sore, though I couldn’t find any source of injury. Two months later, both of my knees swelled up and I began to feel horrible. Numerous trips to various doctors provided no clear answers, and I continued to feel worse and worse. Many months later, a trip to a naturopathic practitioner finally provided answers (Lyme and co-infections) and a path towards wellness. (Yay!)
Serendipitously, about ten years ago, the beautiful Mad River Valley in the heart of Vermont, began to be invaded by the Japanese Knotweed plant. Thankfully, our community planned ways to manage the invasion of this plant without toxic pesticides. Meanwhile, while learning about Lyme, I became intrigued by this plant appearing at a time when so many began to suffer from Lyme disease. The Japanese Knotweed root or rhizome is an important part of holistic healing Lyme protocols. Learning everything I could about making a potent tincture, I was graced to gain access to a pristine location with an abundance of beautiful, vibrant, huge, old-growth rhizomes.
I harvest when the rhizomes are most packed with nutrients. Each rhizome is hand dug and individually selected, then rinsed in pure spring water. The most potent parts of the rhizome are hand-shaved and fresh-processed into a tincture, carefully following Stephen Buhner and Steven Martyn protocols. I am acutely aware of the power of the plant, and intentionally carry out each step with respect, humility, gratitude, and love.
The healing power I experience with this tincture has been profound. The pristine source of the rhizomes I have access to allows me to make a good sized batch each year. Enough to spread the healing love via local retail outlets and FaystonForager.com.
Chaga, the “King of Mushrooms”
While walking in the woods one day (also about ten years ago), thinking of the elusive Chaga, I wondered if Chaga would help with Lyme and with my sister’s journey with breast cancer. Just as I asked myself this question, I lifted my head to see a huge Chaga right in front of me. I had no doubt the plant was telling me, “Yes, of course I can help. Here I am!”
Now, here’s the conundrum with Chaga: Chaga is a very slow growing fungus and is not easily accessed. For maximum potency, harvest must take place from a living tree, without harming the tree or taking too much of the mushroom, during an extended below freezing time period, from a place I have permission to harvest. The reality is that I only make a small quantity of this every once in a while. Thus, I don’t “market” this product. I simply trust that those who will most benefit from it will find their way here.
Harvesting, processing, and triple-extracting (to maximize the capture of the plant’s healing potential), is a deep and lengthy procedure performed with the utmost care and integrity. The healing power of this plant that I’ve experienced has also been profound.
Both of these plants that have called me to work with them are significant and powerful healing plants. I will never make enough of either tincture to bring the economies of scale to a place where prices can match that of other options available. However, I am confident that the healing and medicinal value embodied in these tinctures is well-worth the efforts that go into producing them.
It is my sincere wish that these labors of love can bring enhanced health to those who find their way here.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!