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  • Becca Tooley

A MOUNTAIN APOTHECARY - HEALING PLANTS

There is something magical about the winter season in Magoebaskloof. The looming mountains seem to glow in a constant golden halo creating an embrace - a cosy, romantic and beautiful feeling within the starkness of the winter landscapes. But, of course, winter is also the time of year when our immune systems are most compromised and we need to take care of ourselves. As a mother of two, I make sure that I support our family with healthy foods; plant-medicines; essential oils; catching as many sunbeams as possible for Vitamin D and with activities that nourish body and soul.


As a young girl, my mother, Denise Tooley, hardly ever took me to the doctor because of her strong faith in our bodies' healing wisdom, something which I have carried with me into my adult life. If we got sick, my mom first turned to healthy foods and plant medicines to support the body's natural healing process. Artemisia afra / Lengana or African Wormwood grows wild up here in the Magoebaskloof mountains. According to Denise, who has studied the plant for years, this prolific bush is one of the most powerful indigenous medicinal plants and has been used for hundreds of years for flu, respiratory infections, fever and digestive issues. Whenever I get the flu, I walk in the footsteps of my grandmother, collecting my artemisia along the farm road and making a strong brew to sip on throughout the day. It is an excellent immune booster and works better than any store-bought medicine, in my opinion. If you are in Magoebaskloof, you can pick up a packet of Artem-Ease loose leaf tea or Artemisia capsules at Zwakala or on www.faithful-to-nature.co.za.


Alongside the potent Artemisia afra, grows another power plant, Helichrysum splendidum which has a number of medicinal properties, one of them being a natural anti-fungal. The McMahons, another family who have been on the mountain for generations, wild-harvest and distill Southern Immortelle to make Essential oils. “The oil is beneficial to use in daily life,” explains Tamla, daughter of Julie McMahon, the founder of Thomac Oils. “It's a natural mood enhancer and supports both your physical and spiritual body”. If you are bunged up with flu, the oil can be used to get rid of coughs by steaming with a few drops of the essential oil in hot water opening up the chest and dilating the lungs. Helichrysum splendidum is both anti-inflammatory and anti-viral and is incredibly beneficial in so many ways when supporting one's body and immunity. This Essential Oil is a ‘Must Have’ for your natural medicine cabinet and can be purchased at Thomac Farm on Cheerio Road in the heart of Magoebaskloof or online.


Our bodies are incredibly wise. When disease or sickness appear, it is usually an indication to slow down and take time out to look after yourself and heal your body. So before that happens, rather take care of yourself this winter - enjoy the time of hibernation when things tend to be slower-paced; nourish yourself with things that fill you up; eat healthy foods, move your body but also take the time to be still. All my Love, Becca xx


Becca Tooley is a Sacred Birthkeeper whose role includes holistic birth education; holding space for women during their pregnancy and supporting women to explore their options for birthing and postpartum. She is also the mamma of two little wildlings who keep her on her toes and are her greatest teachers. She is passionate about women's health and self-development and is constantly searching, learning, healing and growing.


Artemisia capsules or Artem-Ease Loose Tea: Zwakala River Retreat, L10 Cheerio Road / 060 331 2681

Thomac Essential Oils: Booking for tours is essential: L2 Cheerio Road / 076 418 1238 / www.thomac-oils.co.za


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