Violet Springtime Fairy Vinegar: A Mineral-Rich Spring Tonic

Written by Juliet Blankespoor with Meghan Gemma
Photography by Juliet Blankespoor

When violets begin to pop up in the spring landscape, it’s our cue that a vernal promenade of mineral-rich, cleansing herbs is in full swing. Violet keeps excellent company—look for herbs like chickweed, cleavers, dandelion, plantain, and stinging nettles when violet’s heart-shaped leaves and purple blooms appear on the scene.

These nourishing spring beauties all fall into the category of tonic alterative herbs. Many herbalists call them “blood cleansers” and indeed they can help to optimize the quality of the blood by affecting cellular metabolism. They also work their magic by supporting the elimination of wastes by improving liver, kidney, digestive, and lymphatic function.

Alterative herbs can be helpful for:

  • Spring fasting and cleansing
  • Low immunity
  • Skin conditions like acne and eczema
  • Cancer prevention
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Rheumatic conditions*

Violet is one of my choice herbal alteratives as its tender young leaves are optimally delicious for infused vinegars, spring salads, and pestos. In addition to being a classic cleansing herb, violet is rich in soluble fiber and is a traditional lymphatic and respiratory remedy; helping to bolster us through the last weeks of cold-season coughs and colds. You can read more about violet’s medicinal uses here.

*Please consult with an experienced herbalist before using herbs for any of these conditions or for cleansing.

Read original article at: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ Violet Springtime Fairy Vinegar:  A Mineral Rich Spring Tonic

THE COURAGE TO TRUST YOUR INNER WISDOM — Good Witches Homestead

NEW CRESCENT MOON IN ARIES We have passed through the Dark Moon in Aries into the New Crescent Moon today. We passed through the Spring Equinox last week, which is the official start of the lunar year, and have moved into the New Moon in Aries which is the official start to the lunar year. […]

via THE COURAGE TO TRUST YOUR INNER WISDOM — Good Witches Homestead

Lemongrass: A Resourceful Herb and Essential Oil

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Lemongrass {Cymbopogon citratus}

Also, Known As:

  • Citroengrass
  • Fever Grass
  • Lemongrass
  • Sereh
  • Te Limon
  • Zacate Limon

Cymbopogon citratus, generally known as lemongrass, is a resourceful herb, a natural source of aroma, mosquito repellent as well as a plant that is widely used to decorate gardens. Lemongrass belongs to the grass or Poaceae family (formerly known as Gramineae) and has several functions – an effective herb, aromatic or container garden, or as a medication for various conditions. One may find a number of the variety of lemongrass and each of them possessing dissimilar chemical compositions. However, citral is the major chemical ingredient found in all varieties of essential oils of lemongrass.

Lemongrass is native to tropical regions and grows in clusters. The plant has globular stems that eventually become leaf blades. This herb belongs to the herb family which also includes citronella and palmarosa and possesses a lemon essence. When the leaves of the herb are compressed…

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The Top Ten Medicinal Herbs for the Garden: How to Grow & Use Healing Plants

Written by Juliet Blankespoor with Meghan Gemma
Photography by Juliet Blankespoor

In an ideal world, we would each have inherited the ability to conjure a personal list of essential garden herbs, tailored to our particular climate and health concerns. As it is, many of us are re-learning the traditional art of the apothecary garden—a place where beauty, medicine, and bees reign supreme.

My hope is that the information below inspires you, as a jumping board of sorts, to create your own unique dream herb garden. I chose each plant based on its ease of cultivation and medicinal usefulness and versatility. But bear in mind, there are many more herbs out there to choose from!

If this article merely gets your green thumb tingling, I highly encourage you to visit our Medicinal Herb Gardening Hub, which is a lush garden in its own right—a virtual library filled with herbal gardening wisdom and resources. You’ll find cultivation tips and medicinal write-ups for dozens of herbs, featurettes on small-space and urban gardening, a roll call of medicinal seed and nursery suppliers, and a step-by-step guide to bringing your own dream garden to fruition.

1. Calendula, Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis, Asteraceae)

Calendula is one of the most familiar and beloved herbs, earning our affection with its cheerful golden flowers. The “petals” (technically known as ray florets) are edible and the whole flower is an important medicinal herb for addressing skin conditions. There’s so much to say about calendula that I’ve written an entire article devoted to its cultivation and medicinal use: Calendula’s Herbal & Edible Uses: How to Grow, Gather, and Prepare Calendula as Food and Medicine.

Calendula flowers (whole; including the resinous green bracts) are incorporated into topical oils and salves for healing wounds, rashes, burns, and dry skin. This plant holds an interesting claim to fame—it is the herb most likely to be found in diaper rash ointments and creams. For more on using calendula topically, see my recipes for Calendula Oil & Salve and Calendula Poultice.

 

Calendula officinalis flower

Read original article at: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ 10 Medicinal Herbs for the Garden: How To Grow & Use Medicinal Plants

Where And How To Grow An Herbal Groundcover

The urge to muck about and create plant habitat goes hand-in-hand with the urge to grow more and more species of plants that need individualized growing conditions.   As your species list increases, you will probably feel motivated to prepare specific plant habitats.  After all, making your plants happy is a way to spread a groundcover of happiness into yourself.

RICHO CECH

Bugle (Ajuga reptans)

Living groundcovers can be of great benefit to the garden and the gardener.  The best ones are evergreen or at least remain trim and green for most of the year: pleasing to the eye, softening the edges of the landscape around pathways, beds and walls; discouraging weeds; preventing erosion; conserving water and nutrients, these are the many attributes of the groundcover.   Classic examples are: the Roman Chamomile lawn that dresses rich soils in full sun; Corsican Mint or Creeping Thyme grown on rocks,  over steps or between stepping stones;  Rupturewort grown over rock, gravel and scree; European Speedwell or Brahmi growing in muck at the margins of the pond;  Bugle or Self-Heal grown in loose mulch under trees in acidic woodlands or in moist, open meadows.  An added benefit is that each of these and other groundcovers also has medicinal use, uses as diverse as their preferred environmental niche, uses as diverse as the gardeners that choose to live with these groundcover allies.  This article will give an overview of herbal groundcovers and how to get them established, including a few notes on their medicinal uses and preferred habitats.

Site preparation and planting.  A good groundcover can be achieved only if the slate is wiped clean.  A monotypic stand cannot be achieved by sprinkling seeds into an existing lawn, grasses or weeds.  These must be removed prior to the planting of the groundcover.  Various options exist, but the general plan is to grub out the weeds and prepare a new seedbed, either by working the existing ground or by bringing in soil, sand, compost, pumice, coir and/or peat.  Although gardeners sometimes have success with direct-seeding groundcovers into a prepared seedbed, the reality is that more control gives more results.  Most groundcover species have very small, sometimes dust-like seeds, and in most cases it works better to start the plants indoors and transplant young bare-rooted or potted groundcover plants into the receptive soil.  A six-inch spacing is usually very effective–the groundcover will root in, spread and interlock.

View original post at:  Richo’s Blog ~ Where and How to Grow an Herbal Groundcover

Love It Up With Herbal Aphrodisiacs Recipes

Good Witches Homestead

Sex doesn’t have to be all business and no fun! If you find yourself slipping under the bedsheets for the primary purpose of procreation or if you’re struggling to express your sexuality, if you feel something in your sexual life is off or maybe you just want to rev up an already pleasurable experience—let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about sex, baby, and how herbs can help! 

Get ready to discover and celebrate the wonders of sex! You can use herbal allies to enhance sexual function while enjoying heightened expression and pleasurable intimacy. Through this 3-part intensive on herbal aphrodisiacs and sexual health, you’ll learn about the physiological processes that play into your sexual function and gain the understanding of an entirely new approach to using classic botanicals to support and jazz up your sex life. We’re pulling our favorite hot herbs into an irresistible collection of aphrodisiac recipes…

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Primrose is Considered the Flower of February.

Good Witches Homestead

COMMON NAME:  primrose
GENUS:  Primula
SPECIES, HYBRIDS, CULTIVARS:
P. denticulata-lavender, purple, or white flowers; grows to 12 inches. P. japonica ‘Millar Crimson’-flowers whorled around the 24-inch stem; blooms May-June. P. polyanthus-best known; colors are red, pink, blue, gold, and white, all with small yellow eyes.
FAMILY:  Primulaceae
BLOOMS:  spring
TYPE:  perennial
DESCRIPTION:  Primroses form an attractive rosette of crinkly, light green leaves. The flowers are generally brightly colored and occur in tight bundles on individual stems above the leaves.
CULTIVATION:  Needing partial shade, primroses thrive in well-drained, rich soil. They are indigenous to cool, moist meadows and woodland environments  Duplicating these conditions as closely as possible will create the best growing conditions for primroses. The soil should not be allowed to dry completely. To retain vigorously blooming plants, divide clumps every four to five years. Seeds should be sown in midsummer for bloom the following spring.

Primrose is…

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Guidelines to Growing Medicinal Herbs from Seed

Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor

Growing Medicinal Herbs from Seed

No matter how many years I plant seeds and watch them grow into mature plants, I am still awed. I feel an utter child-like excitement when I see the first green signs of a sprouting seed poking up through the soil. Germinating seeds are a universal symbol of hope and renewal, ushering in the joy and promise of spring. In a world growing more complicated and technological by the day, it is a comforting pleasure to witness the simple, yet miraculous, processes of plant life.

As an herbalist, I strive to cultivate direct relationships with the living medicinal plants I use in my practice—either by growing them in my garden or wildcrafting them in a sustainable fashion. I came into this craft through my fascination with plants, along with their myriad offerings; growing medicinal herbs is one of the greatest joys in my life.

I have been growing plants for the last two decades and, like every gardener, I have learned as much from my mistakes as my successes. Growing up in the suburbs, I spent little time gardening; I didn’t catch the plant bug until I left home. My first vegetable garden was pretty much a flop, as I really had no clue what I was doing. But in my mind, I was now a gardener, and ready to try again the next spring. And luckily, many of my friends had green thumbs, or grew up on farms; they took me under their wings and taught me skills that are now instinctive.

View complete article at: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ Growing Medicinal Herbs from Seed

Raspberry, Herb of the Year and Herb of the Month: History and Lore

The Herb Society of America Blog

HOM Brambles

By Pat Greathead

Raspberry, Rubus spp., is the International Herb Association’s Herb of the YearTM for 2020 and The Herb Society of America’s Herb of the Month for January (Brambles). The genus Rubus includes both the red and black raspberry and the blackberry as well as almost 700 other species. Rubus is in the Rosacea family.

My Wisconsin Unit of The Herb Society each year examines the IHA Herb of the Year.TM In this blog post, I have mainly focused on red raspberry leaf and have used information from many websites in writing this article. I hope you enjoy reading it as this is the year of the raspberry!

Raspberry leaves are among the most pleasant tasting of all the herbal remedies, with a taste much like black tea, without the caffeine. Raspberries are native to Asia and arrived in North America via prehistoric people, with the first…

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Do Plants Scream When Stressed? A Brand New Study Has Some Answers

Noises associated with plants aren’t unfamiliar to those of us who spend time with plants.  We hear plants in the wind, in the rain, and even when fruit capsules explode to release seeds.

Generally, plant noises are considered to be the by-products of mechanical processes, rather than the ways in which plants intentionally communicate with other organisms.

In fact, it almost seems too esoteric to suggest that plants communicate using sounds, yet new research offers insights into the unique ways in which plants may do just that.

Interestingly, many news outlets have picked up on this story and are now reporting on the ability of plants to “scream” in stressful situations.  These situations include drought-like conditions and the physical cutting of stems.

But is that what plants are really doing?  “Screaming” when cut or deprived of water?

That’s the topic of this week’s video, so if you’re unfamiliar with the ability of plants to emit informative airborne sounds in stressful situations, check it out!

Mushrooms utilize all kinds of organic material for sustenance… including the stems and leaves of moss.  If you’re unfamiliar with this particular moss-loving fungus, check out the recent Instagram post!

Thanks for reading and watching, and as always, thank you for your continued support.

-Adam Haritan