Peppermint – Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Maryann Readal

Most of us, gardeners or not, are familiar with mint. But how many of us know that there is a distinctive difference between spearmint and peppermint? The difference between these two mints may be important depending on how you want to use them.

Peppermint, Mentha × piperita, is The Herb Society’s Herb of the Month for July.  Peppermint is really a hybrid of two mints, water mint (Mentha aquatica) and spearmint (Mentha spicata). . Being a hybrid, peppermint does not produce seeds. If you want to propagate it, you must either take cuttings or divide the plant. Like other mints, peppermint is a vigorous grower, so must be contained if you don’t want it growing everywhere in your garden.  It favors growing in rich, moist soil. Peppermint has a narrow, coarse leaf and flowers that are pink-lavender.  Spearmint, on the other hand, is…

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Our Zoom Meeting Schedule & Info. — Oro Cas Reflects

Tonight, July 3rd, we are hosting a Zoom Meeting that will be the first of many. The subject matter we will be covering is of vital importance to everyone regardless of your age or health condition. The supplements we will be talking about are non-toxic and will not adversely affect other supplements or medications. Simply […]

via Our Zoom Meeting Schedule & Info. — Oro Cas Reflects

Food as Medicine: Moringa (Moringa oleifera, Moringaceae)

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Moringa oleifera is one of the 12 known Moringa species in the horseradish tree family (Moringaceae) that flourish in drier parts of the world.1 Nine species occur in eastern Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and Somalia, of which eight moringa flowersare endemic to Africa, and three species occur in India.1,2 Belonging to the Brassicales order, this plant family is distantly related to cruciferous vegetables like arugula (Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa, Brassicaceae) and broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica, Brassicaceae) and contains many of the same nutrients and sulfurous phytochemicals.1,3 Moringa species grow as stout-stemmed trees or shrubs. Some species are known as bottle trees and have a large root system that enhances water storage and aids the trees’ survival during periods of drought.1 Members of the Moringa genus have corky gray bark and distinct bi- or tri-pinnately compound leaves that have conspicuous swellings, or pulvini, at…

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Black Pepper – Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Maryann Readal

Black pepper, Piper nigrum, is a ubiquitous spice that can be found on tables anywhere in the world where food is served. But what is the story behind this popular spice that is used in kitchens the world over? 

P. nigrum is native to the Malabar Coast of southern India. It is also grown in other parts of the tropical world, including Vietnam, which has taken the lead in production by exporting 287,000 tons of black pepper worth $722 million in 2019. This is about 35% of the world’s black pepper trade. 

pepppercorn drupe from Missouri Botantical Garden Pepppercorn drupes. Photo credit: Missouri Botantical Garden

Black pepper is a perennial vine with heart shaped leaves and pendulous flowers. It is grown for its fruit, which is dried and then used as a seasoning. The black pepper vine grows in my Zone 8b garden; however, it has yet to produce any peppercorns, although…

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Are You A Forager? New Forager Course — Good Witches Homestead

As herbalists, we have a lot of passions, and foraging is top of the list! With spring in full swing and summer inching closer, we are enjoying our foraging forays and plan for even more time in the fields and forests as the green world bursts into a riot of growth! To make the most […]

via Are You A Forager? New Forager Course — Good Witches Homestead

Herbal Beauty Ideas for All Year — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

DIY Moisturizing Skin Serum Growing up, I was fed the beauty myth that oily skin is bad. The cosmetics industry pushes the use of harsh, drying soaps and products that strip natural oils to help you get rid of shine. However, those natural oils actually help moisturize your skin. Washing them away can result in overly […]

via Herbal Beauty Ideas for All Year — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

The Sun; Overexposure to Sun, Sea, and Wind — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Despite repeated warnings that skin cancer is caused at least in part by exposure to the sun, people still flock to the beach, where they lie prostrate, soaking in as much sunshine as they can. Hopefully, they are wearing a high factor sunscreen. But lying on the beach more than half-naked with nothing much to […]

via The Sun; Overexposure to Sun, Sea, and Wind — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Essential Oils for Treating Cold Sores — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Cold sores, which are also called fever blisters, can be itchy, painful, and embarrassing. They are typically caused by the herpes simplex virus. Cold sores can be treated with antiviral medications, which may shorten how long the symptoms last. There are various home remedies, as well, which are used to ease their discomfort. Furthermore, a lot […]

via Essential Oils for Treating Cold Sores — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

A Safe Bug Spray That Really Works: Natural Mosquito Repellent

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Summer is prime time for enjoying the outdoors. But more often than not, there’s a dark cloud hanging over that backyard barbecue: bugs – and especially mosquitoes. These blood-seeking fun busters expertly follow their senses right to your skin. But if you can repel them with one quick application of bug spray, then what’s the problem? It turns out that many old-fashioned bug sprays contain neurotoxic ingredients that may increase cancer risk. But, worry not – there are plenty of nontoxic essential oil blends that repel the bugs, without the bite to your health.

Why Should We Use Natural Mosquito Repellent?

Mosquito bites are not just annoying. They can also transmit diseases such as malaria, Zika, and dengue fever, among others. So, it’s important to guard against them. Mosquitoes are guided by their sense of smell, which is equipped with hundreds of odor-receptor proteins, and they’re attracted to the carbon dioxide we…

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Wild Foragers, Violets, Spring Enchantments

Good Witches Homestead

Violet has been on our minds this spring as we see her pretty little flowers blooming here in southeastern Utah. Violets are one of the earliest wild plants to appear in the season, and we are reminded of her beauty as well as her long history of culinary and herbal use that may have us deciding to seize spring for all that it is!

Violet, being rich in vitamin C, indeed has our attention for a supportive immune boost! 

We love to harvest the fresh leaves and flowers to incorporate into springtime salads, juices, and refreshing smoothies. Violet, of course, also makes a really lovely tea, vinegar, or syrup, not only for the vitamin C content but also for soothing respiratory symptoms. 
Violet has a cooling and moistening energy, and its demulcent and expectorant properties are soothing to a sore throat, dry cough, and other respiratory irritation.
The recipe for…

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