In the southern south of the almost California portion of Oregon, there is a community named Takilma (it's just outside of Cave Junction if that helps your geographic sense). All you need do is say that you're heading to "Takilma" to any resident of a nearby area and you have instantly gained yourself a hippy recognition title. This we learned before ever stepping foot into the curve of the highway that is designated for this small community.
Driving into Takilma on a dark and dreary evening, Travis and I saw our new favorite sign. Scrawled in poorly handwritten spray paint on the side of a long abandoned trailer along the road were the words "Welcome to Downtown Takilma."
Takilma is an itty bitty teeny tiny community nestled in the evergreen hills of southern Oregon comprised mostly of small, cooperative farms and organizations. There are no restaurants, hardware stores, or Seven-Elevens. Most of the children attend the Dome School, which is run by locals and also hosts community meetings and functions. What was our business in Takilma one might ask?
We were headed to Frog Farms to meet Debbie Lukas, founder, manager, director, marketing chair, and sole employee of Siskiyou Mountain Herbs. Deb and her husband Steve grow and propagate medicinal herbs, plants, food, and one dog; all organically of course! She provides herbal medicinal consultations, sells a menagerie of different herbal concoctions, and teaches classes to those who travel from near and far to learn her skills...or at least attempt to take home even a minute fraction of the plethora of knowledge inside Deb's brain.
While at Frog Farms, we joined Deb's current students in learning to create a pedicularis tincture, to chew up a comfrey poultice, and to identify all sorts of plants native to this region (which is apparently a mecca for botanical variety).
I must say, the comfrey poultice I used on a nice deep cut in my palm felt freaking fantastic. The comfrey leaf has a mucilaginous inside and root due to polysaccharides in the plant (as do many plants that are soothing to boo-boos) and feels quite cooling to the skin. It also contains allantoin, which is a hormone-like substance that increases cell division, ie. it helps with proliferation of the epithelial layer of the skin! But wait, there's more! Comfrey also contains a fair amount of tannins, which have an astringent property, helping wounds to constrict. That's right, comfrey literally makes your wounds shrink...and without that crazy ray gun Rick Moranis used in 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.'
Who knew, that leaf that I've been adding sparingly to my salads could also improve the healing time for my ouchies! Hoorah!
We also concocted (after a safari in search of oak galls...also with tannins) a poultice compress for Travis' newly acquired poison oak dots. I will cut to the chase, it helped ;)
Watch for our late in coming but soon to be out there videos from Siskiyou Mountain Herbs! Thanks Deb and Steve, you guys rock my world!