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  • Paul Tappenden

A Visit from Sweet Annie

I often talk about plants coming to where they are needed. I used to call it a theory, taking into account possible coincidence and wild imaginings, but I’ve observed too many of these “coincidences” to make it purely random.

I have discussed this phenomenon with experienced herbalists, and they are generally in agreement that not only do plants go where they are needed, but that an astute herbalist can get a sense of what types of diseases exist in an area, by the plants that volunteer there - plant whisperers.

Over and again I see this pattern of plants either appearing for the first time or appearing in greater abundance than usual whenever their special powers are needed. This was an unusual year. Am I stating the obvious here? Even if Covid had not happened, nature went apeshit crazy. It has been the most bizarre year I can remember! However, although many plants didn’t fruit (or even appear) this year, the antiviral plants were there in great abundance, as if to say “Come and get us. We’re here for you!”

I spent a lot of time harvesting from that smorgasbord of herbs, drying them for teas and turning them tinctures and oils. One plant that I rarely come across, decided that this was the year to appear in large clusters, in places where I had never seen them before. The sudden presence of this plant in so many places intrigued me, and I started to research t, to see whether I could find out why it was here.

It turns out that it is being research all over the world, for its use in treating coronavirus, and that many societies have already been putting it to use. I was aware that it had been used very successfully in treating Malaria, but it seems that many cultures swear by it for treating many different ailments. Further research took me back 2,000 years, at a time when when the Chinese had already discovered it powers. So what was this amazing plant that had magically appeared all around our area? It was a Sweet little plant called Annie (Artemisia annua), Sweet Mugwort or Sweet Wormwood. She is known by many names.

After I began writing this, it occurred to me that the Sweet Annie at our local farm must be heavy with seed about now, so I took a break and drove the pups to the farm, where I was able to gather a lot of seed filled tops, which are now sitting on a table in the Hobbit Hole smelling up the whole house.

A friend just dropped by and I lifted up the plants to show him the seed that they had already deposited on the table top. He looked at it and asked, “Are they among that plant dust?” I explained that there was no plant dust, that the dust he saw, WAS the seeds. They are so minute, that I had to use my macro lens and blow up the picture to even see that they were in fact seeds and not dust.

I now have several small envelopes filled with seeds, that I intend to distribute to areas where I feel their presence would be needed.

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