Damiana. Tutorial 2 Year 1.
Tutor : Ivor Hughes

The spread sheets which we have agreed will form base data for your area i.e. What, When, Where. Plus any further information that you may care to add which you will find useful reference.

Identification of your raw materials is most important. To that end you will need a good flora. Please remember that plant taxonomy is constantly undergoing revision this is important to you at the level of the Latin binomial. For example the Monographs taken from the various Dispensatories e.g. Kings or the United States Dispensatory 1926 would perhaps have undergone taxonomic revision. (minor matters)



To orientate yourself please refresh your memory as follows;

1. Evaluation of Crude Drugs, Module 8.4.

2. Morphology and Histology, Sections 8.61 � 8.62 � 8.63.

3. Authentication of Crude Drugs Module 10.3

4. Sampling of Crude Drugs Sections 10.4 to 10.9 in sequence.

The equipment you will need;

1. A small camera, roll film or digital, even a disposable camera will fill.

2. A hand glass giving a magnification of minimum 4x. even better 10x.

3. A small flower press. Make your own or buy one (Art and Crafts Shop)

4. Some wooden spatulas.

5. A sharp pocket knife or a retractable scalpel or small craft knife.

6. Some small amber glass spice jars to hold reference samples of the dried rubbed plant.

Select one plant from any of the families to be found in your area. E.g.

a. Compositae

b. Labiatae.

c. Solanaceae

Those 3 plants should be followed through the seasonal life cycle.

Your base reference data should be, a photograph or drawing of the plant at each stage of its growth.

1. Before flowering.

2. At flowering.

3. Seed or fruit.

The Dried Plant.
It is normal to take the plant at flowering, however you must also take the plant at that stage of growth which represents the part used, e.g. leaf, flower or fruit. Seed or fruit will not be required to be mounted. Take them during a period of dry weather so that they are not engorged with water. These will be your herbarium specimens. Avoid plants that have obvious insect damage or eggs or any kind of fungus spores such as rust. For each specimen prepare a label so that it may be accurately identified in its dried state. Date, Common name. Latin name, Family, Habitat and Soil type.

Use the flower press to dry them. Use the scalpel and spatula to arrange the plant in a suitable manner and then weight or clamp down the press. The drying will normally take circa 3 days. Before mounting the specimen it would be advisable to fumigate the plant, use some essential oil of Eucalyptus in an oil burner. Take a shoe box or something similar that has a lid. Cut out the bottom and insert a piece of chicken wire or mesh in its place. Suspend the box above the burner at a sufficient height so that no heat damage will ensue. Lay the dried specimen in the box and replace the lid. A minimum of 10 minutes exposure should do the trick. To mount the plant use a good quality, unsized board which will help to counteract ambient humidity when the specimen is being used. It may be either stitched to the board by a small stitch at strategic points of the plant to hold it in place or small spots of a suitable glue.

In addition to the plant selected for mounting you will need to take a further plant for drying and rubbing. This is your reference sample. The sample is stored in the amber spice jars. Quite obviously during the season you will collect a number of these. You will need one for each plant that you collect for your Materia Medica from which you will prepare your remedies.

A good quality glass of sufficient magnification should serve your purpose. However if you are really keen then you could even examine your reference sample by microscope but this is not necessary for our purpose because you will have the secure identification necessary, this from your own field work.

From experience you will find that a Materia Medica of around a dozen plants will be sufficient to meet your needs. Skin and its appendages such as hair or nails. The internal organs. However you may wish to collect more, this is your choice, but please let me have the final list at the end of the season.

I would like you to consider. Choose your technology or tools very carefully. There is no guarantee that anyone will have access to power, or to the necessary support for the latest pieces of electronic wizardry, sophisticated laboratories fancy chemicals or tests etc. If you do rely on them then you are prone to outages of divers kinds. Your effectiveness as a healer may be compromised to an unacceptable degree.

Ivor Hughes.
Year 1 of 3. 
Auckland New Zealand 2005

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