"Collecting Happiness" with Mimosa
If you live in Knoxville, you have most certainly seen the beautiful flowers of the Mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin), perhaps only from a far, as you were driving along the interstate. Chances are, it's probably even growing in your neighborhood. Mimosas are native to China, Persia, Korea, and Japan but like Honeysuckle, Kudzu, and other Asian natives, it has found a home in temperate zones throughout the U.S., particularly the southeast, and is now considered an invasive plant in our region. Funny enough, like it's other fellow invasive sisters Honeysuckle and Kudzu, Mimosa is a powerful medicinal plant. It has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where it's Chinese names can be translated as "happiness herb" or "collective happiness bark."
Both its flowers and bark were traditionally used as a sedative, specifically for calming and lifting one's spirit. Mimosa can be used to help treat anxiety, depression, PTSD, insomnia, unresolved grief, and other emotional trauma. To read more about it's chemical properties and use as an anti-depressant, please reference herbalist Michael Tierra's article here.
Mimosas are in full bloom right now in East TN, so now is the perfect time to harvest the tree's gorgeous and aromatic flowers. The flowers can be tinctured fresh or dry or dried out for use as tea. The flowers blend well with other nervine and heart healing herbs such as Milky Oats, Holy Basil, Chamomile, and Hawthorn Leaf & Berry. Mimosa is contraindicated during pregnancy and should be used cautiously if you are already taking antidepressants.
Mimosa Flower Tincture
- Mason Jar
- 80 proof vodka
- Fresh or dried mimosa blossoms
1) Weigh your mimosa flowers. For fresh blossoms, you will want to use a 1:2 ratio of ounces of herbs to ounces of vodka. For example, if you have 4 ounces of flowers, you will want to add 8 ounces (1 cup) of vodka to your jar. For dried flowers, use a 1:5 ratio of ounces of herbs to ounces of vodka. For example, if you have 4 ounces of dried flowers, you will want to add 20 ounces (2 1/2 cups) of vodka to your jar.
2) Once you have determined quantities, place flowers in jar and cover with alcohol. Secure lid.
3) Allow tincture to steep for 4-6 weeks out of direct sunlight. A cupboard works well. Try to shake your jar at least every couple of days.
4) When enough time has passed, strain your tincture using cheesecloth or a metal strainer and then rebottle liquid. Enjoy!
Dosage: Tincture: 40-80 drops, up to 3x/day.