Valerian Root Benefits: How to Use Nature’s Wonder Root

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

When Hippocrates had a headache, it’s possible he enjoyed a nice steaming cup of valerian root tea. The ancient Greek physician was one of the first to describe the therapeutic benefits of valerian root.

Since the early days in Greece and Rome, people sought the benefits of valerian for everything from head discomfort to heart health, nervousness, feminine issues, and the blues. Valerian brings some unique mythological history as well. People once used it to keep away troublesome elves — stay away Dobby! — and folklore experts believe it helped the Pied Piper lure rats away from town.

What Is Valerian?

Garden valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is also known as garden heliotrope, Tagar (in Ayurvedic medicine), cut-finger, and all-heal — funny names for a potent plant! The species originally grew in Asia and Europe, but it now grows throughout North America, as well. Its scientific name derives from the Latin…

View original post 1,544 more words

Thornapple, Gender and Ritual Application | Coby Michael Ward

Good Witches Homestead

Cultivating the Devil’s Apple aka Thornapple

I spent part of this afternoon harvesting my Thornapple plants.  One of them grew to be close to five feet high!  The Thornapple I grew this year is a Datura stramonium var. tatula; similar to the common Datura stramonium only it is less shrubby and has lavender-purple flowers.  I harvested leaves, seedpods, and stems.  I have a few workshops coming up over Samhain season on different aspects of the Poison Path and like to have the actual plants on hand for anyone interested in working with them.  Part of my bargain with said plants is to make them available to others and teach people how to use them.  All parts of the plant are going to be put to various uses.  The leaves are dried and used for spirit offerings, intense personal cleansing and as spell ingredients.  The stems, when dried become hard…

View original post 1,105 more words

Praise of the Pumpkin

Good Witches Homestead

The pumpkin is a fall fruit with a rich heritage and flexible flavor that has been used for centuries.

If the tomato is the queen of garden vegetables, the pumpkin may well be the king. In fact, in some parts of China, it is called “Emperor of the garden.” And why not? No plant produces a larger edible fruit, and what other plants can yield tens (or even hundreds) of pounds of healthful, delicious eating from a single seed in only a few months’ time? Pumpkins are known and loved around the world, for their beauty as well as for the gifts they bestow so generously, asking so little in return.

What’s In A Name?

A pumpkin is a winter squash, but not all winter squash are pumpkins. Confused? So is everyone else. The Oxford English Dictionary defines pumpkin as the large fruit of Cucurbita pepo, “egg-shaped or nearly…

View original post 3,989 more words

Garden Glut Tomato and Courgette Bruschetta

Hedgerow Vintage

I try to grow tomatoes every year, usually I have very limited success if I’m honest, which is a real shame, because you can’t beat a fresh home grown tomato (except maybe by a fresh, homegrown cucumber?). This year, however, I had 3-4 tomato plants self seed themselves into my veg patch, I must have tipped the grow bags from last year into the compost containing tomato seeds. So I decided to leave them and they have been the most successful tomatoes I have ever grown. I am completely thrilled with my tomato harvest, and they just keep coming.

This is a wonderfully, easy recipe to use any tomatoes and also courgette which is harvesting quick and bountiful this year. Harvest courgette when they are roughly the length of your hand from longest finger tip to wrist, I always think if they get much bigger they loose flavor.

Ingredients

  • ½…

View original post 181 more words

Fall Gourds

Good Witches Homestead

Storage containers, bowls, utensils, tools, masks, musical instruments, jewelry, dolls, flotation devices, toys, wheels, sieves, food, birdhouses – the list goes on and on for the many functional, spiritual, and decorative uses of the humble gourd. At this time of year, gourds abound at farmer’s markets, the grocery store, and even the backyard for some dedicated growers. This oddly shaped fruit has a colorful history – and deserves a bit of spotlight.

Origin

While not a common backyard plant today, it’s believed that gourds may be the earliest domesticated plant in North America. A previous theory held that the bottle gourd originated in Africa, carried over to the Americas via the Atlantic Ocean. But as the American Gourd Society reports, archeological and DNA evidence shows them coming from Asia more than 10,000 years ago via the Bering Strait – either by boat, by floating across the water, or carried by…

View original post 1,082 more words

August (and Blackberry Jam)

Hedgerow Vintage

Isn’t August the strangest of months? One day you are in the middle of summer and then the next the edges of the Autumn are creeping all around. It is a wonderfully golden month…so full of life with fruit and vegetables ripening on every branch and the fields still blazing in the late summer sunshine.

Nature has shifted from growth to ripening, and everything feels ‘full’.

If you look at the trees, you can just see the little hints of gold creeping in, it is a beautiful month, but it reminds us that we cannot keep the summer, or indeed the fruits ripe on the trees – I love the below Seamus Heaney Poem. It’s perfect for August.

What we can keep though, is as much of Augusts harvests as we are able. So, here is a simple recipe for Blackberry Jam and a hope you find the time to…

View original post 494 more words

When Recycling Fails: Home-Scale Solutions for Paper and Plastic Waste into Resources

The Druid's Garden

For decades here in the USA, recycling was touted as one of the more easy environmental things you could do. I, like many others, assumed that local recycling facilities processed materials, they were sent to factories, and then later, re-integrated into various products.  Boy was I wrong!  Turns out that recycling is an industrialized business like any other, and part of the reason is that it was so promoted is that there was profit in waste.  In fact, from 1992 – late 2018, most recycling produced in the US shipped to China, who paid top dollar for recycled resources that were used to build their own economy. China had very lax environmental laws, and the more “dirty” recycling the US produced was sent to China for cheap sorting and processing.  While some of those materials were recycled, many of the recycled materials ended up unusable and were discarded, moving down…

View original post 2,603 more words

Medicine Chest: Herbal First Aid Kit

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Topical Herbal First Aid Kit

As you delve into the world of herbal medicine, at some point or another you take a look at your medicine cabinet and think, “What kinds of natural remedies should I stock in my first aid kit?” Many herbs offer topical applications for a variety of everyday woes, including aches and bruises, cuts and scrapes, bug bites and rashes. And conveniently, you can cultivate or wildcraft most of these herbs or find them easily at natural food stores and online herb shops. Here are a few basics to consider stocking:

Plantain {Plantago major} leaf, a ubiquitous and easily recognizable weed, is readily available in most lawns, woodland path edges, and pavement cracks. You can apply the freshly chewed or mashed leaves directly to bug bites, bee stings, poison ivy, rashes, and splinters to quickly draw out inflammation, irritation, venom, and foreign objects. How…

View original post 1,755 more words

Tonic Herbs for Stress and Anxiety

Written by Ricky Bratz
Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor (except where noted)

Tonic Herbs for Stress and Anxiety

The types of stress we experience these days are very different from the stress that our ancestors lived with throughout history. Perhaps our stress responses aren’t being triggered by fending off a wild animal to survive, but we have a slew of modern-day stressors to process: trauma around school shootings, worry of impending climate catastrophe, violence in our homes or neighborhoods, life demands, deadlines, our health status, or caring for kids or aging parents, to name a few examples. These events can set in motion that same stress response system in the body that was historically activated by that hungry predator.

Remainder of article via: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ Tonic Herbs for Stress and Anxiety

Caring With Calendula

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

This vibrant orange blossom pops in the garden add a burst of color to cuisine and is a powerhouse in the medicine cabinet. Learn more about this amazing, autumn-loving species.

Brilliantly striking, calendula’s gorgeous yellow and deep-orange blossoms bring a smile to both gardener and herbalist alike. In the fall, you’ll find this plant gracing many doorways, a staple among other autumn harbingers that herald the colder weather to come. But this dazzling ornamental’s long, storied history and powerful medicine make it a must-have for the home.

Sunshine in the Yard

Visually delightful, sun-loving Calendula officinalis is also commonly called marigold, but don’t confuse it with Mexican marigold {Tagetes erecta}, which is another species entirely. A member of the Asteraceae family along with chamomile, dandelion, and Echinacea, calendula is native to southern Europe and parts of the Middle East, but now grows in temperate climates throughout the world…

View original post 1,964 more words