Magical Mimosa


Many of my favorite medicine plants are (invasive) weeds.  Albizzia julibrissin, or Mimosa, is no different.  In the summer months you’ll notice the puffy pink blossoms of this special tree all around – on the side of the road, in yards, fields.

Chinese materia medica, Mimosa is known as the Tree of Collective Happiness. Important medicine for these times! (Consider, perhaps, that many “invasives” can provide just the medicine we need).

For the past three years I have harvested mimosa flowers for tincturing. The first year I harvested from a majestic tree in a neighbor’s yard.  I visited the same tree the following year and also noticed a tree peeking over into my yard from a different neighbor.  This spring I moved into Charlottesville. I didn’t ask my former neighbor if I could harvest from the tree in his yard and the one peeking into the Sharondale garden was without blooms. After noticing the blooms beginning to fade in town, I felt certain I’d missed the window of opportunity. Accepting my disappointment, I went to visit a friend who lives out of town and up towards the mountains. It’s just enough cooler out there that the mimosas were in their full, fresh blooming glory. We found several trees and each were able to harvest plenty enough.

At the first tree, the energy in our interaction shifted. We both had been feeling heartbroken and sad. While picking those brilliant pink flowers our spirits lightened. The song from Fraggle Rock (those of you of a certain generation will know it!) came to our lips and we sang with joy. The words are: Dance your cares away, Worry’s for another day. Let the music play, down at Fraggle Rock.Being out in a glorious setting, breathing in the delicate perfume of those electric pink blossoms we laughed and sang. Our heartbreaks were not forgotten, but they didn’t rule the moment. This is the medicine of mimosa.

My brother was killed in a motorcycle accident this summer. When I returned to Charlottesville, my housemate harvested and prepared tea for me. She made an infusion of fresh mimosa blossoms, holy basil and dried oat tops. Within this simple gesture are so many layers of care. Her picking the the flowers, harvesting the holy basil, and sharing her sacred stash of oats. Making the tea, so I could just drink it and feel cared for. The tea helped smooth the intense edges of grief to allow me to go deep into my sensitive heart while remaining present to the wonder and beauty in life.

I look forward to exploring the depth and power of this incredible medicine for many years to come.

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