As the days draw in and the nights spread themselves liberally to take the space, it is more important than ever to build in some time outside every day. It is so easy in summer, we do it without thinking. I think the same is true in spring as we are all so excited to see the return of the sun and to go check out who is appearing from the winter slumber first.
This year we have had a mild autumn so far, with plenty of sunny days, it has been a pleasure to spend time under that sun gathering the last of the harvest and preparing our outside spaces for the winter ahead. Now we are beginning to experience more seasonal weather. There was a deep frost this morning and Saturday was positively chilly and miserable all day. If you are on strict working hours it will soon be that from Monday to Friday you go to, and return from, work in the dark, I remember when that was my pattern, I found it really difficult.
It is so important to spend time outside. Breathing the air. Acknowledging all of our relations, the plants and trees as they drop their leaves and take their energy into their roots. The animals and birds too as they make their winter survival preparations. It is easy to stay in an artificially heated and lit room, but then we lose connection with the real cycles, with what is actually going on outside of our windows and what our bodies really wish for us to do at this time of year.
One way to motivate yourself to spend time outside is to have a reason, and what better reason than making some wild medicine? Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) leaves are now turning yellow, this is the perfect time to gather them for making a tincture. Just gather a handful of yellow leaves, chop them roughly and submerge in vodka or brandy with a minimum strength of 40%vol. Leave for two weeks, shaking every day while you talk to them, offering your gratitude and love, and asking for their medicine.
After two weeks of infusing in the alcohol you can strain off the leaves and compost them. Bottle up your tincture ready to use. You can use up to three dropperfuls three times daily, although I always recommend starting small and listening to your body. How much does it want or need? There is no point in taking more than your body actually wants. So I recommend just staring with a few drops and building up from there. You will need to use it for a minimum of 6 weeks to really see any noticeable improvement, however it is safe for long-term use.
Ginkgo is an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. It is best known for its ability to dilate the blood vessels and thus help improve circulation, especially micro-circulation in the brain and macular at the back of the eyes. So it can be used to help mental function, memory, alertness and will also help defend against macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in over 40s). There are plenty of other properties that Ginkgo has, why not ask Ginkgo if it has any medicine for you as you gather its leaves? Be sure to take time to listen for the response if you do so. I have a couple of pages dedicated to Ginkgo in my book The Medicine Garden, if you wish to learn more.
Whatever you do as the seasons turn, take time outside every single day. Time for your body to remember the cycles of life, of light and dark, of summer and winter. And time for you to love and acknowledge the sacred nature of the world we share ❤
Please note: Do not use Ginkgo if on anti-coagulant, anti-platelet or other medication for circulatory conditions.