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Herb of the Month: Devil’s Club, Oplopanax Horridum

Herb of the Month: Devil’s Club, Oplopanax Horridum

I just finished tincturing my spring-harvested Devil’s Club roots, much of which I will use in my ‘Guardian’ tincture formula (sold at Heart & Hands), and so I figured I’d feature this very special herb in June’s newsletter!  Without further adieu meet the swoon worthy Devil’s Club!

With long-limbed largeness, Devil’s Club stands it’s ground and stakes it’s place in the forest of things with it’s cathedral of leaves the size of dinner plates and long spiney reach.
Though I use it mainly for mental and emotional purposes, it is probably best known for its abilities to help folks with Type 2 Diabetes, pre-diabetes symptoms and blood sugar issues.  Symptoms here may include dizziness, nausea, and intense cravings, of which Devil’s Club has a wonderful ability of easing through it’s grounding nature.  More than this, Devil’s Club is a powerful adaptogen, and thus wonderful for renewing depleted adrenals, and stimulating energy.  For this same reason it’s important to not overuse Devil’s Club in order to maintain a burn-out lifestyle.

Devil’s Club is also a strongly protective medicine for folks who are involved in intense situations or do difficult work, by helping people to maintain their personal boundaries. Devil’s Club is for folks who not only need to, but are also ready to find their greatest strength, power and magic. Devil’s Club forces us to be our biggest selves, and this can coincide with a warrior-like defense of space and integrity.

Devil’s Club is not necessarily kind medicine for those who get in it’s way, or for the person who chooses to ingest it; the noble path of becoming your biggest self can mean facing yourself in uncomfortable, if not brutal ways.  For this reason I love using Devil’s Club for people who are at a cross roads, and are finally ready to break through past patterns, addictions, and entanglements, and choose a new path.  Devil’s Club can provide the right amount of strength, energy and integrity to enter a new stage, a process that is never easy, but so worth it.  The situations I have seen it work wonders are ones where the person knows what they want to do, whether that means leaving a long term relationship, quitting a job, or standing up to an abuser of power, but they needed the extra push and support.
I’ve literally seen people’s posture straighten and expand after ingesting a few drops of Devil’s Club.

Devil’s Club is a sacred medicine to many indigenous peoples of the North West– a medicine to be approached with great respect, reverence and a keen understanding of it’s cultural significance. For this reason I only use small doses, 1-5 drops, in order to preserve it’s magic.

Jenny McCartney, Medical Herbalist, www.heartwoodbotanicalmedicine.com

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