Hallowseeds

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Hallowseeds

Appearance

The source of the third of the most important tools in the herbalist’s arsenal, hallowseeds, is a woody shrub with simple toothed leaves, growing in opposing pairs from stiff, hairy stems. These stems branch profusely as the plant grows vertically, lending the plant a shape rather like an inverted narrow cone, with thick tangled growth near the top. For most of the year, the leaves are an unremarkable pale green, but during the spring germinating season, they take on a blush of the purple hue exhibited by the plant's many small flowers, and exude a sweet, chalky aroma. The seeds’ potency is sufficiently well-known among medicine-makers that the plant itself is named for them, being referred to simply as hallowseed plants, or occasionally hallowleaf. The seeds themselves are blue-white, oval-shaped, and quite small, about the size of a cherry stone. The seed germ within is remarkably dense, giving the seeds significantly more weight than their appearance would suggest.

Habitat

Though it may be mere coincidence that Hallowseeds seem to thrive in regions held to be of spiritual significance, the correlation is at least strong enough that it has long since passed into folklore, and indeed, is the source of the plant’s name. Locally, hallowseed plants have been noted to flourish in areas sacred to the Seldarine, the gods of the Holy City of Kohlingen, various druidical powers, and Salandra the Healer. This tendency, combined with the plant’s unassuming appearance, has lent it a reputation of being elusive, even secretive. In truth, however, it’s merely easy to overlook them as they quietly blend into the surrounding foliage.

Harvesting

Hallowseeds are harvested from small nut-like seed pods that grow in clusters near the base of the flowers. Care should be taken not to crack these pods when gathering them; if left sealed within the pods, hallowseeds will retain nearly their full effectiveness for perhaps a month. Once exposed to the elements, however, the seeds will quickly dry out and crumble into useless dust.

Uses

The primary medicinal use of hallowseeds is as an anti-toxin; the starch of the germ within the seeds serves to absorb impurities, and the insoluble fiber of the seed hulls functions as roughage which sweeps obstructive contaminant matter from the digestive tract. These properties are commonly utilized in the preparation of anti-toxic healing kits, applied to bandages intended for use on wounds in danger of contamination or infection (though it should be noted that in this application, hallowseed still functions only as an antitoxin, not a healing agent, and that the healing properties of hallowseed-treated bandages come entirely from the skilled application of the bandages and accompanying implements). When a maceration of hallowseed is combined with the purifying power of extracted glow berry essence, a basic alchemical restorative is achieved, useful against a wide variety of diseases and afflictions. In their unprepared state, hallowseeds can be chewed whole to glean a portion of these benefits, and the strongly alkaline nature of the seed germ functions as an antacid (stomach powder prepared from crushed hallowseed combined with calcium-rich quicklime bolsters this antacid property greatly).

Notes

Hallowseed plants are notoriously fickle in their environmental preferences; reports of the plants being successfully transplanted or domesticated are quite rare, and almost all of the hallowseeds used by herbalists are gathered from the wild.

Sources

Herbalism of Amia: A Primer by Kaithan Cylverand - Liz