“Do you know about Stinking Willie?” I ask Ivory by pointing out its bright yellow flowers and using its nickname in lieu of the more common Ragwort.
Confinement has got us lazy and the absence of a dog for walking has not helped, so we’re on a stroll in the immediate vicinity of Les Pierres. It’s the time of year where all sorts of wild flowers have established their place to shine alongside the road. Soon the municipal mower will come and will wreak carnage among them, much to our great dismay. Best to enjoy them while we still can.
“In the old days a poultice of the green leaves was used against sciatica, gout and even rheumatism. You want me to make you a decoction?”
Now I have his full attention. He has been complaining about pain in his lower back for a while now, possibly hip related and since his back is his Achilles heel we need to take it seriously. I obviously already suggested to go see a doctor, which triggered a whole range of objections, born in inside information. We’ve been there and we’ve done it before. It’s an endless road of ifs and maybes and I feel his reluctance: he is not ready for that yet.
“Culpeper says it cleanses, digests, and discusses”, I start to recite. Ivory, having rock solid confidence in my through Google gathered knowledge, immediately starts to rid the plant. “Careful, it might stain”, I throw at him while quickly sifting through the information on my phone: raw material for dyes, yellow from the flowers, green from the leaves, not however permanent. Ivory seems not to be too bothered by this and eagerly continues to pick, driven by the prospect of pain relief.
“Oh, and it’s poisonous!” I convoke triumphantly, causing a split second reaction in Ivory who jumps back on the road. “Only for cattle and horses,” I add indignant, but my witchcraft suddenly lost its attraction. “I’ll call a doctor,” Ivory murmurs as we walk on, leaving the little magic motivator of all this behind. It has lifted my spirit too. So much more to explore, learn and experiment with. I’ll come back later for Willie.