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

How to Grow and Use Hibiscus, Plus a Fire Cider Recipe

Written by Juliet Blankespoor with Meghan Gemma
Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor

How to Grow & Use Hibiscus Plus a Fire Cider Recipe

I try not to foster any regrets in life, but I must confess that I waited too many years to plant hibiscus, thinking the temperate climate unsuitable for its success—and for that, I am sorry. It is, in fact, easy to grow and harvest if you have the right variety and get a head start on the season.

The hibiscus we use medicinally—also called roselle—is made from the calyces (aka sepals) of Hibiscus sabdariffa in the Mallow family (Malvaceae). These deep red calyces are often mistaken for flowers, and may be sold as such. Other notable members of the mallow family include cotton (Gossypium spp.), okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), and marshmallow (Althaea officinalis).

There are other species of hibiscus with edible flowers, but no other species has a similar medicinal and edible calyx. When the petals fall off, the receptacle (flower base) and calyx (sepals) remain as fleshy red crowns. See the picture below of the flower with the petals intact (on the left) and the remaining calyx (on the right).

Ready to keep reading about hibiscus? We discuss its medicinal benefits (heart-healing!), culinary qualities, and cultivation below. We also divulge the recipe for our lusciously red Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider. This is truly one of my must-have healing herbs!

Read complete article at: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ How To Grow and Use Hibiscus, Plus A Fire Cider Recipes

The Bee and the Machine: Moving Beyond Efficiency and towards Nature-Centeredness

The Druid's Garden

Animals have spirit!

Over the course of the last four centuries, the Western World has created a set of “unshakable” principles concerning the natural world: that nature is just another machine, that animals don’t feel and do not have souls, that plants and animals aren’t sentient. Descartes, writing in the 1600s during the early rise of mechanization, was one of the first to make this claim. He posited that animals are mechanical automata, that is, they are beings without souls, feelings, or pain. These same ideas were not limited to non-human life; we see the same kind of thinking being applied to justify slavery, genocide, colonialization, and a list of other atrocities. When we combine this kind of thinking with the economic ideas of “growth at all costs” and “efficiency”, we end up in the dystopian fiction we find ourselves living in right now. I want to take some time…

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Cultivating Woodland Herbs: Planning a Medicinal Forest Garden

Written by Meghan Gemma with Juliet Blankespoor
Photography by Juliet Blankespoor (except where credited) with Contributions from Steven Foster

If asked to imagine a garden, I’d bet that most of us would call to mind a sunny patch interplanted with some array of food, flowers, and herbs—the traditional household and homestead arrangement. Yet Indigenous peoples around the world have long understood that any ecosystem can be gently tended as a garden. For those of us fortunate enough to live near forests, the woodland—with its watery seeps, shady hollows, and part-sun edges—presents us with a fertile opportunity to grow a bounty of food and medicine.

Forests, by their own right and design, tend to be inherently rich in medicine—from groundcover plants and understory herbs to overstory canopy trees. Ginseng (Panax ginseng, P. quinquefolius), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), and elderberry (Sambucus nigraS. canadensis) are just a few of the herbs that can be cultivated within the forest and on its edge.

Woodland cultivation is a way for us to nurture new plant communities as many of our wild forests are being logged, poached, paved, grazed, and otherwise fragmented. By growing woodland herbs, we might add precious medicines to our home apothecaries, but we’re also in service to wild plants—especially those that have been overharvested to supply domestic and foreign markets. Cultivated forest herbs are a sustainable and ethical way for us to both increase woodland diversity and partake of medicines that are otherwise increasingly rare.

Read complete article at: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ Cultivating Woodland Herbs, Planning a Medicinal Forest Garden

Baneful Herbs in Magical Practice | Coby Michael Ward

Good Witches Homestead

Using Baneful Herbs in Magic

With their infamous reputations and prominent place in myth and folklore, the Baneful herbs begin to seem more like mischievous magical creatures appearing throughout history in folktales and first-hand accounts.  They are powerful in their chemistry and in their occult power, but they are still plants.  The deadly nightshade grows in the same soil as the mint and the lavender.  They get light and water from the same sky.  It is important to remember this when incorporating baneful plant spirits into your magical practice.  People often ask how these herbs can benefit one magically, and how to use them.  The answer is, that they all have their own unique powers and applications, and other than ingesting, they can be used magically like any other herb.

In magic, herbs, woods and/or resins are used in pretty much everything.  They can be incorporated into spells in so…

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Roselle Hibiscus– An Herb with Many Names — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Originally posted on The Herb Society of America Blog: By Maryann Readal With its bright red calyces, green leaves, and okra-like flowers, Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as red zinger, red sorrel, sour tea, Florida cranberry, and roselle, makes an unusual and striking accent plant in the garden. On a recent trip to Montreal, I was…

via Roselle Hibiscus– An Herb with Many Names — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

How to Make Herbal Dream Pillows

Good Witches Homestead

In the modern world, it can be challenging to get a good night’s rest. Keeping a healthy daytime lifestyle as well as a calming nighttime ritual are excellent ways to prepare the body for restful sleep filled with exciting and inspiring dreams! There are even traditions in which herbs are used during sleep, not only to bring about peaceful snoozing, but also to create vivid, lucid dreaming landscapes sure to bring happiness, rather than grogginess, to your waking state.

The practice of placing herbs under one’s pillow dates back centuries and was originally thought to protect against evil, bring good dreams, calm bad dreams, foresee the future, or even conjure a lover into one’s life! No matter the reason, herbal pillows are an easy way to help promote peaceful sleep and encourage dreaming. These pillows are simple to prepare and make a wonderful “crafternoon” with your friends or family. The first step is to…

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Ancestral Herbalism and Samhain: Working Deeply with Rosemary

The Druid's Garden

Rosemary from the Plant Spirit Oracle Rosemary Card from the Plant Spirit Oracle

As we quickly approach Samhain, it is a useful practice to spend some time with rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and build here into your Samhain practices. In this post, we look into some of the magic and medicine of Rosemary, and I share a number of ancestor and Samhain-focused practices that you can use with Rosemary.

An Ancestral Ally of Humans: History, Medicine, Magic

Before we get into what you can make or do with rosemary, let’s spend some time exploring and understanding this ancient herb. Rosemary has been with humanity almost as long as we have written records. Native to the mediterranean region, rosemary was first found referenced on cuineform tablets from Ancient Egypt that are from 5000 BCE–thus, humanity has at least an 8000 year old relationship with this herb (but I suspect it is much longer than our written history!)…

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Samhain in the Devil’s Garden | Coby Michael Ward

Good Witches Homestead

All Hallows Eve is quickly approaching.  The darkness is creeping closer every day.  You can feel the cold grip of the coming winter slithering its way back up from its yearly resting place deep in the Underworld.  The excitement and anticipation on both sides of the veil are tangible.  It is during this time of year that most witches are at their witchiest, reveling in the sensory delights of the coming holiday.  For me, Samhain/Halloween (because I celebrate both) is an entire season, not just one day.  It begins at the autumnal equinox when the scales begin to tip in darkness’ favor.  Then there is the October full moon known as the Hunter’s Moon or Blood Moon.  I look at Samhain October 31st as the culmination of this strange energy that has been building which bleeds into November.  The Sun hangs low in the sky, crows can be heard cawing…

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