Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shamanic and other uses of Yellow Root

Yellowroot flowers in springImage via Wikipedia

I shamanic journeyed to a plant I had met in a dream, who was introduced by the name Yellow Root.

What healing help can Yellow Root give?

Yellow Root is part of the Buttercup Family and has, according to Drugs.com (and clinically speaking) no proven effectiveness in treating any ailments.

Taking Yellow Root internally during pregnancy is even cautioned against because one of its active components, the alkaloid berberine, might stimulate uterine activity.

In folk medicine 2g of the Yellow Root rhizome is made into a tonic or antibiotic and immunostimulant medicine for mouth and throat infections. It is used frequently to remedy childbirth and uterine troubles--when contractions were desired--and given as a sedative, hypotensive and choleretic. Sometimes Yellow Root was used to treat diabetes.

But Yellow Root is used by some as another name for Goldenseal--which contains berberine also, and is used by herbalists to treat most of the same conditions and more.

The Yellow Root I met was the low-growing subshrub with purple flowers, going by the scientific name of Xanthorhiza simplicissima and growing along shady riverbanks. Yellow Root's namesake yellow roots can be chewed for tonic effect but are usually boiled into a strong, bitter tea then sweetened with honey.

An important note/update, August 15, 2010: A commenter points out these two plants are completely different, despite the names being interchanged by some in common or informal usage, a switch which could confuse. While common-use name interchanging or confusing can link two beings in non-ordinary, spiritual and symbolic ways (useful to shamanizers), this connection does not hold up scientifically in ordinary reality and does not apply to uses based on physical components, such as herbal remedies, even though some herbalists use the two similarly.

The spirit of this Yellow Root had grown across my life and this dream to help me heal and transform several strong, bitter childhood memories of betrayal that were growing out of proportion and becoming troubling. Whenever my shamanic assistance is requested around a topic I suppose that whatever is challenging my visitor is living within me too, and I begin by dreaming on that.

Shamanic uses of Yellow Root, or any plant, might or might not match or overlap other uses in alternative and folk medicine. Always, I notice resonances between ordinary and non-ordinary uses.

I brewed, sweetened, and sipped the transformational tea in non-ordinary reality, shamanizing for myself in order to help the person who had come requesting spiritual assistance. I felt soothing strength in my throat for telling new stories of deeper understandings of past events, then abdominal pulsing, as if old shapes were flexing and dancing out of me.

I will do my best to connect with the plant in this world soon, too.
Yellow root is brightening up my life today and I am wearing a yellow shirt to ground and activate the shift.

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