The Magic Garden at Home
Apart from the spiritual or emotional level of alchemical healing and transformation, there are also many material or physical aspects of the Journey. Spiritual alchemy is a practical, down-to-earth system that we bring into our lives day to day.
On this page you will find useful information on a variety of healing plants that you can easily propogate and grow at home. Many of these plants are well-known for their ornamental beauty and much of the knowledge of their medicinal potential has been lost to our present, global culture: The modern Western industrial social experiment.
The 'Goethe plant'.
Kalanchoes are grown as ornamental house plants especially in rock gardens.
They are hardy and easy to propagate.
While containing potentially poisonous bufadienolide cardiac glycosides, these compounds also have a positive inotropic effect which serves to weaken the force of muscular contractions. In traditional medicine, Kalanchoes have been used to treat ailments such as infections, rheumatism and inflammation. They are effective sedatives and extracts also have immunosuppressive effects. They have also been used as a traditional treatment for hypertension and body fungus.
The well-known writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ate a handful of tiny seedlings each day as a general health routine.
The photo above shows some of our adult specimens of the Kalanchoe daigremontiana with tiny baby plants on the leaf edges. It was these small plants that Goethe would eat each day. Five different bufadienolides have been isolated from this particular variety and it is the most beneficial Kalanchoe as a seditive, acting directly on the central nervous system. We have several hundred adult plants of the Kalanchoes daigremontiana and laetivierens which, initially, we planted out in like this:
Kalanchoe tomentosa cv. Nigra
Aloe, Aloe, Aloe.
We are all familiar with the Aloe Vera plant. The photo below shows a group of them we have planted in the middle of the shot.
It is well-known as a cream for burns including sun-burn and also as a hand cream and it is widely used in the cosmetic industry. The plant's gel contains many vital nutrients including amino acids and anti-oxidants. It is also anti-bacterial and reduces dental plaque by killing the plaque-producing bacterium Streptococcus mutans in the mouth, as well as the yeast Candida albicans. It will also repair mouth ulcers and reduce constipation. So, a good all-round healing plant for every home medicine cabinet.
There are a few other varieties that we also have growing that are not so well known and which I will detail below.
These two Aloes below are the Aloe Ferox variety. Its gel has a similar use as that from the leaves of Aloe vera. It is used as a hair wash to promote hair growth and against dandruff and as a cosmetic to improve the complexion and to smooth the skin. Aloe gel is also widely used as a hydrating and skin-protecting agent in creams and liquids such as sun lotion, shaving cream, lip balm and healing ointments. The leaf ash is used to repel insects. In South Africa Aloe ferox is planted as a live fence. It is also well-known and used as a laxative and has been successufully applied in cases of ophthalmia and syphilis and arthritis.
The two plants in the photo left are Aloe Reitzii variety.
The species is rare and highly threatened and listed as Critically Endangered (CR) in the Red List of South African plants. It is known from only one locality and the subpopulations are declining because of harvesting for medicinal use and damage by baboons. It is actually used in primal religious ceremonies as a magical ingredient. Little is actually known of its specific medicinal uses and it is currently being propagated 'in vitro' at universities in Germany to ascertain its particular medical properties.
The photo below shows our Aloe Camperi. This is one of the most important medicinal plants in Eritrea, commonly harvested from the wild for local use. It is commonly cultivated for medicinal purposes in Egypt, The gel is a laxative and has anti-fungal properties.
Below left is a (not very good) photo of our Aloe Cameronii Seedlings. Although, as a seedling, the plants are green, the adult plant is red as the photo below. It is also known as the Red Aloe. It is also known as a medicial plant for its wound healing, especially burns. The center photo is of some adult specimens.
Aloe Aristata (photo belowright ) is used for wound healing in Ayurveda medicine.