Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.
The warrior ignored the pain in his body as he entered the sweat lodge and took his place on the skins laid out in preparation for his arrival. In the center of room was a stack of smooth stones that were hot from the fire burning outside. The sweat lodge was ceremoniously decorated talismans and amulets created to ward off spirits. In the dim light he saw the figure rise from the skins on the opposite side of room. He wore the False Face mask and the warrior knew that this figure was more than the mere moral that his tribe knew and loved. This was False Face inhabiting his uncle. He recalled the story of False Face he learned as child. False Face was an immortal trickster who had challenged the creator to contest of magic for control over the universe. To show his power False False moved a mountain but when he turned to brag to the creator the creator had already moved the mountain between them and False Face broke his nose by bumping into the mountain. As punishment for his arrogance False Face was cursed to be servant to the people. So when the medicine man wore a mask with a broken nose False Face had to obey. It was False Face that had taught the medicine men about the Mountain Mint. It was a powerful herb that was said to even have the power to raise men from their death beds. As the medicine man chanted inside his False Face mask he threw handfuls of crushed Mountain Mint onto the hot rocks. The warrior breathed in the aromatic vapors as he felt the pain leave him and his strength return.
Virginia Mountain Mint would have been used in a very similar way to the story above. Native Americans were not alone in their reverence for the mint family. The ancient cultures all over the world held a lot of same ideas about mints. Aside from minor differences in form a Scandinavian sauna and an Eastern woodlands sweat lodge function almost identical. And both use members of the mint family to help healing.
I believe that the ediblilty of mint is fairly common knowledge. Virginia Mountain Mint is used in the same way as a tea, seasoning or in a salad. And the reason why it’s so universally used in medicinal applications is that it has the same properties as the other mints.
Tom Brown Jr talks about beating the winter blaghs with what he calls “Rapture Medicine”. A container full of aromatic herbs that simply opened and inhaled when one is feeling run down from being sequestered in the house during winter. I had a long haul trucker confirm that as well. He kept a sachet of mint and cinnamon in his truck to help him stay alert.
Virginia Mountain Mint is also an analgesic and is supposed to strong enough to settle a toothache.
If one has a festering wound a decoction is called for. The Virginia Mountain Mint is simmered down into a highly concentrated tea and is used to wash the wound.
Mint is famous as a digestive aid and Virginia Mountain Mint is no exception. In addition to that it’s also used for fever, mouth disorders and menstrual problems.
Virginia Mountain Mint is a fairly good insect repellent. Like peppermint, spearmint and water mint you can crush the leaves and rub it on your skin and clothes to make yourself less appealing to the flies and mosquitoes. It’s not as effective as DEET but avoiding those guys is like escaping zombies. You only have to be less of a target than the other person. Plus it doesn’t have the long term hazards that DEET has.
And the last thing I have to offer you about Virginia Mountain Mint is that like the other strong mints it seems to repel mice and rats. And because it’s an attractive plant it’s suitable for planting around the outside of your home or in a box if you keep it trimmed. At the end of the season you can harvest the leaves and cure them by hanging in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight and scatter a few crushed leaves in places where you might find mice hiding. Again it’s like outrunning zombies you only need to be in a better position than the other person.
I believe that’s it for tonight. We will probably cover other members of the mint family at a later time.
Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.
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