It feels a bit late to be talking about these two, but my fingers are still deep in their goodness and it feels like I was washing the sticky poplar resin form my hands just yesterday...
The season started slow with poplar buds and nettles. Both have a powerful olfactory effect on me. Poplar bud oil was once worn by an old flame of mine. So upon first whiff I am instantly reminded of him. It's changing though and I am more drawn to the thoughts of the rivers and wet places the cottonwoods grow... and where they grow, nettle never seems far away. You can smell them when the air is balmy and they'll fill your bag with a ripe skunk when you've harvested them up. I've always been rather fond of a good stink, and I sometimes find myself sticking my nose very carefully into the bag I've put them in. Green, fatty, skunky and with a hint of citrus. Yes! To my nose there exists a citrusy note in older nettle leaves.
The nettle has gone into tea for the most part. It creates a vegetal broth of sorts. When you sip it, it immediately touches some place internally that sends off all sorts of signals telling you this is nourishment. Nettle is highly nutritive, full of minerals and a lovely spring tonic. I've also been adding it to my weekly batch of chicken soup. I tried it fresh, but I prefer to add it in once it has been dried. I find it more palatable.
Magically, nettle is a jinx breaker. One that would be powerful I think. Jinx breaking with a bit of a sting to it!
I made oil from the poplar buds and left a good portion of them to dry out for incense and magical needs. Often times I think of plants for their folk magic uses first, rather than for medicine. I find they go hand in hand. Poplar is used to mend broken hearts, or foster reconciliation between two lovers or friends, to soothe strife. You'll find that magical property with a lot of sweet smelling and tasting things. Having had my heart broken by one who wore this as a perfume has been interesting in the development of my relationship with cottonwood to say the least. It truly is a great soothing balm, figuratively and literally!
The buds also make a most fantastic incense. Once dried and crushed I mixed it with red cedar heartwood to make a lovely sweetening, soothing, clearing and blessing smudge. Try it, you won't be disappointed.