Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Treasure from the Storm

We had a gully-washer last night, and a lot of branches broke.  We didn't notice any problem on any of our trees around the house, and I was very relieved to not lose any elderberry branches.  They usually are the first to go in high winds, being so heavily weighted by fruit.
This evening my daughter and I wandered around the tree farm a little bit.  We were about to go visit the puppies at my sister's when we came upon some mimosa branches that had come down in the storm.

We quickly set to work and soon found that a basket was needed, so Molly ran down to the workshop while I continued working in the quickly dwindling light.
The inner bark of mimosa feels so slick and emollient.  The wood beneath is as white as bones.  The bark came off easily in long straps, and we stuffed a large market basket with our treasure.

The bark and flowers of the mimosa tree are both considered to be extremely helpful for grief and sadness, and I have personally found this to be true during several intense situations over the past few years.  The easiest way to describe its action is to say that it pushes the gray clouds away and allows the mind to stop focusing entirely on the sadness.  It is also a wonderful herb to have on hand for winter blahs or times when I just want to cheer up a little bit because life is too serious.  In the past, I've dried the flowers, but they are very labor intensive and an overflowing basket dries down to a few cups of material.  It takes weeks of harvesting (and a few bee stings) to obtain a 1/2 gallon jar.  This year I didn't dry any, instead making tincture with the fresh flowers only.

On the other hand, the bark dries beautifully and retains the components better and for a longer time.  Every year I find a few small branches, but can't bring myself to cut a larger branch.  Usually I wind up with a cup or so of dried bark.  The bark is unusual in that the outer bark is almost paper thin (on branches - it's thick on the main trunks) and the inner bark is fairly thick.  This will make a great addition to winter teas, and some of it will go into the jars of flower tincture that I started a couple of weeks ago.


Amy said...

What a great find! I'm getting a small mimosa start next month! I can't wait but I'm going to have to wait while it grows up lol.

Tina Sams said...

There's one that volunteered in my backyard 2 years ago - maybe 3, and it has a few flowers this year!

Anonymous said...

Oh, my!!! I've had a Mimosa tree in my yard for 27 years and in all that time I never knew about this use! I've always enjoyed the hummingbirds that visit it, but now I have to try making these! Thanks!

Tina Sams said...

Several years ago Betty Pillsbury from GreenSpiralHerbs.com told me about it, and I was stunned too. Then I was amazed at what a wonderful medicine it is! Looking at the flowers, it really does look like this plant wants us to be happy, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

You/re right - they do! :)
They are so unique and their fragrance on a warm summer evening is pure loveliness.

Sarah Head said...

You are so lucky to have this tree. I would love to make up David Winston's grief formula, but I don't have access to mimosa, not sure it would grow here in the UK

Deborah Hudson said...

Hi, Tina!
Thank you for this beautiful blog! I have a mimosa tree in my backyard, north of Boston, Massachusetts, but it never produces flowers. Actually I grew it from a cutting that I took from the tree at my prior residence. Any idea how I can get it to bloom?
Thanks, Deb Hudson

txherbgrower said...

Ok now I will look at mimosas a little differently! I had one that was outside our door that was an amazing climbing tree. I loved making necklaces out of the beans. I never noticed the fragrance before! What a wonderful find after a storm.


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