“The Old Man” – Part 1

by | Jul 10, 2015 | Ordinary, Reflections

My mother brought me a tiny cutting from her garden.
It’s called “The Old Man.”
Along with it came a story.
Two stories, really.
I’ll tell you first today.

"the old man" 1

From my mother’s garden

“The Old Man,” or Artemisia Abrotanum by its formal name,
grew prolifically around every  home in Lake Ainslie in the “olden days.”
It’s not so common now,
perhaps because we’ve forgotten its benefits.

“The Old Man” is an ancient herb.
It’s ferny leaves, when touched or rubbed, give of a pungent scent like camphor.
Bees and insects are not fond of it. Sprigs of it laid among clothes will repel moths.
Perhaps it was put to this use in former days.
It is also said to ward of infection.

I like to imagine my great-grandmothers and their neighbours
snipping pieces of this ancient herb for common uses;
An everyday spirituality of the earthy ordinary.

We have forgotten much of our connection with healing plants and herbs.

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  1. Thank you, Janice. This prompted me to google it and humorously, it was also used by churchgoers to keep them awake during long sermons! Certainly a multi-use herb, and you are right, we have set aside many herbs for healing and other uses in favour of manufactured solutions.

  2. Good article Janice, I look forward to part two. Kerry perhaps we should all grow some and take a sprig to church…

  3. Love this thought. I often wondered why the shrub was in almost every garden long ago. It had no flowers that I ever saw, and also does not spread, just grows into a bigger bush. It starts a new plant just by sticking it in the soil. I also cut mine down each fall.

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