Herbal Hacks, Part 2: Crafts, Health, and Beauty

The Herb Society of America Blog

From the calming characteristics of lavender to the practice of pressing plants, our readers find all sorts of ways to add a bit of herbiness to their crafty arts and relaxing rituals. Please enjoy our next installment of reader-submitted herbal hacks–herbs for crafts, health, and beauty.

four-assorted-color-petal-flowers_Columbine flowers via Pikrepo

I place a little crystal bowl of lavender buds on my bedside table. It helps me relax and get a good night’s sleep. – Janice Cox

Spray your pillow at night with lavender water for a relaxing sleep. – Kim Labash

If you are unfortunate enough to have an allergic reaction to poison ivy while working in your yard, did you know that jewelweed can help with the itchiness? It usually grows nearby. Just break off a stalk and rub the liquid onto the rash. – Janice Waite

DSC03233I love pressing herbs and flowers in a phone book or microwave press. I use the…

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Not Just for Teatime: The Herbal Significance of Camellias

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Matt Millage

It never ceases to amaze me how much tea is consumed daily. An estimated 2.16 billion cups of tea are drunk every day around the world, which puts it Panda_Tea_Green_Teasecond only to water in most consumed beverages (DeWitt, 2000). I, myself, have become a tea drinker over the years, and as a plant nerd, I wanted to know more about how the tea leaves were farmed. What I ended up learning is that while tea (Camellia sinensis) is by far the most well known and widely used product of the genus Camellia, it is by no means its only contribution to the herbal marketplace.

Some of you may know the genus Camellia for the wonderful ornamental show that it puts on from fall through spring. Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua have been putting on shows in USDA hardiness zones 7-9 for decades, if not…

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HSA Webinar: Enhancing Brain Health using Natural Botanicals

The Herb Society of America Blog

Sponsored by The Herb Society of America’s Long Island Unit

by Jen Munson, Education Chair

Nootropics is a trending topic. Nootropics (pronounced noh-a-trop-iks) includes drugs, supplements, and plants that may improve brain function. According to Allied Market Research, a market research and advisory company, brain enhancing supplements made up $3.50 billion in sales in 2017 and is projected to grow to $5.81 billion by 2023. Unfortunately, it’s an industry that is rife with misleading ingredients and marketing.

True nootropics should aid natural cognitive function, support and protect brain function, and be non-toxic to the user. The properties and constituents of nootropic herbs have demonstrated numerous benefits. Using medicinal herbs to enhance brain health is nothing new; in fact, many have been used safely and effectively for thousands of years. 

Some brain boosting herbs can be readily found in the garden. Although rosemary has been symbolically used to represent remembrance, it…

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Tamarind – Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Maryann Readal

The tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica) is one of many tropical herbal trees. Its leaves, bark, wood, roots, and fruits have many uses. The tamarind tree Tamarindus indicais also an evergreen, long-lived landscape tree, reaching a height of 40 to 60 feet tall and a width of up to 25 feet wide. Its pinnate leaves close up at night. The branches droop to the ground, making it a graceful shade tree. A mature tree can produce up to 350-500 pounds of fruit each year. It is native to tropical Africa and is in the Fabaceae family. 

One of the earliest documented uses of tamarind was found in the Ganges Valley of India, where wood charcoal dating back to 1300 BCE was discovered. Tamarind was mentioned in ancient Indian scriptures as early as 1200 BCE. Arab physicians were reported to be the first to use the fruit pulp…

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Getting Spooky | Full Blue Crone Moon Hag’s Candle DIY Ritual

Full Blue Crone Moon Hag’s Candle DIY Ritual

This Full Moon is our second Full Moon this month making it a Blue Moon. Full moons offer us illumination and insight. Our intuition is increased and our third eye is open at this time. A Blue Moon offers us a second chance towards illumination.

This is also the Crone Moon and Samhain. The Crone Moon represents ancestral wisdom, intuitive knowing and crone energy. On this Samhain Full Moon, the veil is at its thinnest, and our intuition is at its strongest.

Full Blue Crone Moon Hag’s Candle DIY Ritual

The word Samhain means “Summer’s End.” It marks the end of the harvest season, and acts as a way to celebrate the darker months ahead.

A great way to celebrate this time of year is by tapping into fire magick.

Making a “Hag’s candle” on Samhain to be used in the coming winter helps us tap into the Crone Moon energy while we prepare for colder and darker months ahead.

A Hag’s Candle is a candle made from the stalk of a mullein plant.

Mullein is a wild plant that grows almost everywhere. Mullein is great for the lungs, stomach and infection. In folklore, Mullein is said to keep away evil spirits. It offers protection, illumination, courage and crone magick.

Read original article at: Spirit de la Lune ~ Getting Spooky|Full Blue Crone Moon Hag’s Candle DIY Ritual

HSA Webinar: Molé, Pan and Chapulin–Oaxacan Style

The Herb Society of America Blog

by Jen Munson, HSA Education Chair

Face it, 2020, for the most part, has been a bust! The pandemic has cancelled events, reduced travel, and all but eliminated herbal adventures. As we dream of a future where we can begin to move about the globe more easily and safely, now is the perfect time to research new destinations. mapInterestingly, just south of the US border in Mexico there is a unique community that is home to sixteen distinct indigenous peoples living in a mild climate, enjoying unique botanic diversity. 

Oaxaca, Mexico, is a community known for its culture, crafts, textiles, ceramics, cuisine, and complex use of plants. While Mexico is known for its Day of the Dead celebrations, Oaxaca offers the most spiritual and unique Dia de los Muertos Celebrationcelebrations of them all. The Day of the Dead festival (or Dia de los Muertos) is celebrated from October 31st thru November 2nd. During this…

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HSA Webinar: Hamlet’s Poison: The Mystery of Hebanon & Shakespeare’s Other Deadly Plants

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Jen Munson, HSA Education Chair

‘There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies. that’s for thoughts.’ (Hamlet 4.5.248)

William Shakespeare’s poetic plays are filled with dramatic imagery and references to plants, herbs, trees, vegetables, and other botanicals. Shakespeare’s awareness of the botanical world was near the level of herbalists of that period, and the use of plants throughout his plays is done with unparalleled sophistication. They are used to enhance ideas and describe characters, as well as for metaphors. For example, Hamlet describes the state of Denmark as “…an unweeded garden / That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature” (Hamlet 1.22.134-136). 

Plants are used for evil doings and central plot development. They are transformed into potions that are  lust invoking, (Viola tricolor in Midsummer Nights Dream), sleep inducing (Atropa belladonna in Romeo and Juliet), and as poisons…

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Sacred Tree Profile: Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)’s Magic, Medicine, and Mythology

The Druid's Garden

Witch Hazel in Flower, late October

As we move into the dark half of the year and move closer to Samhain, the temperatures drop, the killing frosts come and the plants die back. The leaves grow brilliant and then fall.  Brown and tan dominate the land as the earth falls asleep. But there in the waning light is the brilliant, beautiful golden yellow of the  Witch hazel!  Around here, Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginia) begins a magnificent display of tiny yellow flowers, appearing to explode outward with many delicate yellow petals.  As the last of the leaves fall, if you walk through a forest with Witch Hazel, you are struck by the beauty of these wild and warm yellow flowers. everything else may look dead, but Witch Hazel is alive and thriving. The time of Witch Hazel is the time of late fall and early winter, and it is a powerful…

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Herbal Hacks, Part 1: Food and Drink

The Herb Society of America Blog

We asked and you delivered! Over the summer we asked folks to share how they used herbs to make their lives easier or more fun. We received many great responses, and want to thank everyone who contributed a little snippet of herbal how-to. We received so many responses, in fact, that we’ve decided to offer them in installments, categorized by topic for easy reference. Please enjoy this week’s selection – herbs in food and drink.

Violet banner_Creative Commons via Pxfuel

I love to use fresh herbs as drink garnishes and in ice cubes. Edible flowers and leaves enhance my beverages, from my morning smoothie to my afternoon glass of wine! – Janice Cox

Dried blue cornflower petals sprinkled over salads – or as a garnish on other foods – for a beautiful blue punch of color! Flowers are harvested each year from my garden at the end of a hot day, dried on white cotton…

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Natural Perfumery Course

Good Witches Homestead

Blending your own botanical perfume is a delightful, time-tested way to infuse both your home and your body with the plants you connect with most. A true breath of fresh air, the Natural Perfumery Course will empower you to form a new type of relationship with plants—a relationship that lets the plants speak for themselves with woodsy whispers, herbaceous harmonies, and smoky secrets. As the conductor of this olfactory orchestra, you will blend, infuse, tinker, and spritz your way to custom scent combinations for you, your herbal product line, and everyone on your gift list.

The Natural Perfumery Course includes all the information you need to start blending your own botanical perfumes at home today, including over 20 recipes, a special collection of perfumery plant monographs, simple rituals for incorporating them into your lifestyle, expert guidance, and beautifully illustrated downloads for safety, sustainability, techniques, and more. 


Follow your nose and enroll in the Natural Perfumery Course by Herbal Academy

Choose to enroll in…

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