Makrut Lime – Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Maryann Readal

thai lime fruitThe Herb Society of America’s Herb of the Month for August is the makrut lime, Citrus hystrix, a member of the Rutaceae family. This lime is also known as kaffir lime or Thai lime, and also wild lime. You may have spotted it in a produce market or Asian supermarket and wondered what makes it different from an ordinary lime. It certainly looks different, in that it has a gnarly, bumpy skin. The very aromatic leaves are different, too, because they look as though they are two leaves attached to each other. The juice is sour and bitter, and so is not usually used in cooking because it can overwhelm other flavors.

This lime has been widely grown in Asia for so long that it has become naturalized in many countries. Therefore, no one is certain of its origin. It is a staple ingredient in Thai…

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Spicebush to the Rescue

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Kaila Blevins

Author Volunteer TripWhile on a volunteer trip in Orlando, Florida, I was desperate for bug spray. In the middle of December, the mosquitoes nibbled on any exposed skin they could find, leaving me and the rest of the unprepared Maryland native participants with patches of red swollen bumps on our ankles and arms. Our guides, a retired couple who volunteers with the state parks, became our heroes on the second day of the trip. During our lunch break, the husband saunters over to us, carrying a branch from a nearby shrub and states, “This is spicebush. Crush its leaves and rub it onto your arms. Keeps the bugs away and helps the itch.” Immediately, we passed the branch around, ripped the leaves off the branch, crumpled them, and rubbed the lemon-peppery scented oil onto our skin.

A couple years later, I would learn that spicebush (Lindera benzoin)…

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Herbalism: A new era (Coronavirus – an Invitation) — John J Slattery Bioregional Herbalist, Forager, Author

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

A bioregional herbalist’s look at the Coronavirus (CoV 2019) and important herbs to consider prior to and during exposure

So I thought I’d take some time to write about some of the herbs that I feel will be important upon exposure to CoV-2, but first, to help put some of this in perspective.

Mexican elder leaf (Sambucus mexicana, syn. S. cerulea subsp. mexicana, syn. S. cerulea, etc.)

Elder s one that is often brought up in any discussion of viruses. Not only does elder help prevent attachment through inhibition of neuraminidase, but it also protects ACE-2 making it exceptionally important at the early stages of prevention and limiting the initial impact of the virus. Another aspect of the elder’s effect on humoral immunity is to increase T cell production. This is important due to the virus’ effects on the dendritic cells of the lungs as the progression advances. This hinders…

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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

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