Upon arriving at the Ups Botancial Sancturay outside Rutland , Ohio I met one of the 4 interns who would soon be finishing her time here. She was kind enough to take me up one of the trails to the “Tornado Cabin”. “Primitive” , neat and clean, this cabin was to be my home for the next three nights tucked into the forest off one of the trails. Once settled in I headed for the teaching yurt. I enjoyed meeting the interns, (they were finishing up their 4 week stay) sharing good food, and company. They each had their own focus but the common thread we all shared was our love for wild edible and medicinal plants.
In the morning I took to the trails to experience the “Talking Forest” first hand. Walking slowly and quietly I stopped often to view the plant species clearly marked. Some had laminated fact sheets that were informative. The Sanctuary has particularly replanted and preserved goldenseal, Hydrastis canandensis.
Goldenseal is on the UpS “at risk” list as it has been over harvested from the east coast regions. It is a forest, low growing plant that in some areas created a beautiful carpet. Not like moss but maybe 4-6inches above the forest floor. Replanting has gone on for many years here.
Native Americans taught the early settlers how to use goldenseal. According to Jim Long in Herbal Medicines of the Civil War,
“goldenseal tea was used to treat mouth, throat, digestive system, uterus, folk remedy for eye infections; believed to restore and strengthen appetite.”
At the turn of the century goldenseal harvest was in full swing.
“In 1997, ( Richard A. ( Richo) Cech in the Ups Newsletter 1997 reports) the US government placed Goldenseal on the endangered list i.e. in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range in Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina and Vermont. It is imperiled.”
I knew of the efforts by a few dedicated earth stewards known as the “Goldenseal Boys” who began to replant the forest floor in this region. Many hands have been replanting over several years to bring this plant and others strongly back to the forest community. The walks today were simply lovely. Though not all goldenseal is labeled I felt I could begin to identify this green beauty as I continued down the paths. The Sanctuary is mostly a deciduous forest. Temperatures soared to at least 96 degrees over the 2 days I walked the trails. The tree canopy offered welcome shade.
There’s more….enjoy your day. Judith