jewelweed art

The season of the “Wyrt Moon”

Most of us have heard of a Harvest Moon and a Blue Moon, but what is the Wort or Wyrt Moon? The full moon of high summer or August has been referenced as the Wyrt Moon for centuries. Healing plants were once called Worts, or Wyrts, an Old English term rooted in Anglo-Saxon ancestry.

In the summer we find ourselves surrounded by an apothecary, as many of our native healing plants are visible and ready for harvest. With an abundance of biodiversity in the Southern Appalachia and some proper training, one may gain a deeper appreciation for the abounding health-supporting flora here.

Traditionally herbs are harvested with respect to the movements of the sun and the moon which ensured the potency of the medicine. How much thought goes into this process with modern prescription drugs? As recent as the late 19th century medical practices were truly holistic, and sought to heal both body and spirit. The practice of this is timeless, and these plants are still prolific and essential. Locally we can find Jewelweed and Elder.

What if our cultural and everyday approach to wellness was indeed preventitive and cost-effective? What if the answer to a long-term chronic disease were as simple as plant-identification, ethical wild-crafting, and proper application of a common weed in our own backyard?

A Wyrtyard is an Old English word for an herbal garden. You may have noticed that many herbs share similar properties. It may be a salve to soothe the skin, an anti-anxiety tea, or immune-boosting tincture, but each blend includes different mixes of plants. And, what is really in those blends? What if one of the herbs in that blend disagrees or is harmful for your individual body chemistry? Wouldn’t it be a more holistic approach, to deepen the connection with one particular plant, rather than choose a random blend of herbs? The relationship that you make with your wyrt is as important as the properties it holds. This summer could be a good time to begin studying, harvesting, and storing any herbs that will be used over the next year. Working with local plant medicine will activate environmental support in a quest for better health.