Thursday, June 28, 2012
Goodbye Rain, Hello Cinquefoil
The rains have been in and out of the valley for a week, but seem to have finally let up. Not before causing some serious flooding in some areas and a slide in a valley north of us.
I am hoping that the rains find Colorado this week - the wildfire reports from that state are terrible. We've had our share of experience with wildfires here, being at the edge of a desert scrub area to the south and surrounded by forest in every other direction. It gets very hot and dry here in July and August so we are always on wildfire watch.
While wandering the hills a few days ago, I spotted an area dotted with Cinquefoil. This isn't a plant I've spent much time with so I'm planning on going back there to sit with it for a while. In the meantime, I've scoured my books and found some information on the pretty plant.
Cinquefoil, also known as “Five Finger Grass” or “Crampweed,” is a wild perennial found across the US and Canada. The serrated leaflets can number from 3-15 depending on the species. When they appear with five leaflets, they look like the fingers on a hand . Cinquefoil grows either upright or low and sending out runners like a wild strawberry plant. The flowers also look a bit like wild strawberry flowers, but are usually yellow.
Being that it is of the rosaceae (rose) family it is not surprising that Cinquefoil is astringent, anti-inflammatory and diuretic. Used as an infusion, it is wonderful as a surface wash for many skin conditions and can be used as mouthwash or a gargle for toothache, bleeding gums or a sore throat. Because it contains tannic acid, it is considered helpful to stop bleeding.
Cunningham states: "The five points of the leaves represent love, money, health, power and wisdom, and so if carried cinquefoil grants these."
Illes's "Encyclopdedia of 5000 Spells" has two uses for cinquefoil. Burning powdered cinquefoil in the bedroom will allow someone to dream of their true love, and carried by a fisherman, it is said to impart luck.
"Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic" lists money, love and warding off evil as five fingered grass's attributes and has a host of tricks associated with it.
Christopher Penczak, in his marvellous book "The Plant Spirit Familiar," has this to say: "Cinquefoil is a common ingredient in classic flying ointments, though it is not known for any particularly narcotic or psychotropic properties. As a flower essence, it helps clear any unwanted imprints and protects us during psychic experience, which may explain it's use in flying ointments. Generally, the spirit of cinquefoil tends to energetically support us in whatever we do."
If you use cinquefoil for any medicinal or magical purposes, I'd love to hear about it!