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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Herbs for Natural Detox – Traditional Medicinals – Herbal Wellness

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

As we shift from the holiday season, it is an excellent time to take a few days to simplify, clear and pave the way to receive the bounty of the new year. This can mean making space for creativity, resetting intentions, or cultivating healthy habits that support the body and mind. Symbolically, it is no surprise people gravitate towards “cleansing” and “detoxifying” during this time of year.

While “detoxing” may appear to be a modern-day answer to what seems like an increasingly toxic world, our ancestors have long incorporated bitter, nutritive herbs and roots into their diets. Modern science has revealed that many of these herbs – such as dandelion, burdock, nettle, Schisandra, and red clover, have a special affinity to support the natural function of our inherent detoxification systems.* Honoring this age-old wisdom, herbalists continue to utilize these herbs to support and nurture these processes rather than encouraging harsh…

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Create Your Own Personal Haven—Anywhere

Good Witches Homestead

Stress! It’s the scourge of our contemporary society. And the thought of retiring to a safe haven where you can banish stress, repair your nerves, and renew your life is a concept whose time has come. Creating a personal sanctuary, whether it be in a bedroom, bathroom, patio, garden, or the Great Outdoors, seems to be a cherished goal for many of us stressed-out people.

But how to go about fashioning such a retreat? What elements are required, and can you do it in a limited space and on a tight budget? These questions and many others form the contents of my book, A Sanctuary of Your Own. Perhaps you’ve read books, visited websites, and watched TV programs dedicated to this subject. With wild enthusiasm, you’ve started designing your space, and you’re halfway there. But, somehow things aren’t quite gelling. So in this short article, I’ll distill some of…

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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 Medicine of Pine

Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor

 

 

My kindergarten school picture is the first evidence of a lifelong love affair with trees, and pine in particular. My dad had planted a little grove of white pines (Pinus strobus, Pinaceae) in our backyard. I spent my afternoons playing in their whorled branches, unwittingly collecting resin in my locks while leaning my head against their sturdy trunks. My mom cut out the sticky parts, resulting in a hairstyle that could only be rivaled by the likes of Pippi Longstocking.

There are over one hundred species of pine worldwide, and most have recorded medicinal uses. Cultures around the globe have used the needles, inner bark, and resin for similar ailments.1,2,3 Internally, pine is a traditional remedy for coughs, colds, allergies, and urinary tract and sinus infections. Topically, pine is used to address skin infections and to lessen joint inflammation in arthritic conditions.4 Native people across the continent—including the Cherokee, Chippewa, Iroquois, Apache, Hopi and countless other groups—have used over twenty species of pine in a similar medicinal fashion.1

Along with its myriad medicinal applications, pine is a source of lumber, food, essential oil production, and incense. There are a few species of pine in North America and a handful of species in Eurasia that yield the familiar edible pine nuts. Pine is essential commercially for its lumber and pulp, which is used to make paper and related products.

Many species of pine are considered cornerstone species, playing a central role in their ecological community. See my article on longleaf pine here. Finally, many species are planted ornamentally for their evergreen foliage and winter beauty.

Read complete article at: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ The Medicine of Pine

 

LEGAL ALERT: FDA sends warns 15 companies for allegedly selling CBD products that violate the FD&C Act (FDA)

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

FDA sent warning letters to 15 companies for allegedly selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD) in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). In a press release, the FDA stated that based on the lack of scientific information supporting the safety of CBD in food, it cannot conclude that CBD is generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Previously, the FDA had primarily maintained that CBD was prohibited in conventional food products because substantial clinical investigations were initiated and made public on a drug containing CBD. FDA continues to explore potential pathways for various types of CBD products to be lawfully marketed and plans to provide an update on its progress in the coming weeks.
FDA highlighted specific concerns in the warning letters, including:
  • Products intended to treat a disease or otherwise have a therapeutic or medical use, and any product (other than food) that is intended to…

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How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Immune Health

Good Witches Homestead

Each year as winter approaches, I reliably find my patients asking me about the best herbal remedies to use during the cold weather months. One of the most common questions I encounter is, “What nutritional preparations can I use to help keep my family strong and healthy throughout the sniffle season?”. There’s a wide array of herbs well-suited to addressing specific and general winter wellness goals, but one of my favorite, tried-and-true choices for general immune support is the elderberry.

And while there are lots of ways to enjoy the healthful benefits of elderberries, one of the best-loved is that longtime herbal apothecary staple, elderberry syrup.

Elderberry Syrup Benefits

The berries, flowers, and bark of the elder (Sambucus) plant have long been prized by herbalists across the globe, and modern studies have also substantiated the berries’ ability to help maintain normal, healthy functioning of our immune system*. This makes elderberry an…

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For the home herbalist, the easiest and safest way to use the plant is by making a poultice of the seeds.

RICHO CECH

On the walk home from school, there on the corner of Hutchinson and River, stood a stately tree with heavy arms holding aloft a rounded crown of green, an English Horse Chestnut tree that made in mid-spring a fantastic display of upright, conical flower clusters and in fall, dropped spiny balls that split apart to reveal the shiny, mahogany-colored seeds we called buckeyes.  Ginny was wearing shorts, and as the more athletic of us two, was elected to climb up and see if she could shake down some seed balls, which didn’t tend to fall on their own until after frost.  Her tennies gripped the light bark of the tree as she scrabbled, ignoring the scratches to her knobby knees.

“Ginny knows how to shimmy!” I called out. “Quit trying to make a rhyme and give me a leg up,” she winced, reaching for the lowest branch.  I stood below and held both of my palms up for her to step on, and thus assisted she swung herself onto the limb. She called down, “I’m getting the willies!” “Just shake,” I exhorted, and she did.  Several of the treasured orbs came bouncing down onto the grass. I started to pry one apart, soon to be interrupted by a gasping call, “Help!” I looked up to find Ginny hanging from the branch, her arms stretched as straight as clothespins.  Some kids called her “Skinny Ginny” but I never did, because I was her friend.  She didn’t want to drop — it was too far.  So I stood and extended my palms as before, to give her a boost down.  Just then she slipped off the limb and came crashing down on me, and we both ended up flat in the grass, unhurt and laughing.  The nuts jumped out of the husk when we whacked them on the sidewalk.  I put one in my pocket, but kept my hand there, massaging the soothing surface with my thumb.  Buckeyes were good luck, everybody knew that.  These treasures sometimes accompanied me to school, but eventually ended up rolling loudly in the bottom of my socks drawer, or bouncing in the laundry.  My mom didn’t mind. Little did I then know how conspicuously this tree would serve me later in life.

Read complete article at:  Richo’s Blog ~ The Lucky Buckeye

DIY Decongestant Rub

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Use this DIY decongestant rub to drive away persistent coughs.

I’m not going to lie, I actually love the smell of Vicks vapor rub, but in the aim of having a DIY home, I had to give this a go myself and it really does work. The other beauty here is that when you put Vicks under your nose, it kind of burns; this does not! It’s also great for headaches – just put a little on your temples and where the pain is on your forehead.

Yield: makes 150g

Ingredients

  • 150g coconut oil
  • 4 sprigs each of oregano, sage, thyme, and basil, ripped into pieces
  • 15 drops of thyme essential oil
  • 15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • 15 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops of lemon essential oil

Instructions

Gently heat the coconut oil and all of the herbs in a double boiler until the oil begins to…

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How to Boost Your Immune System with Herbs

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

The coming cold and flu season is only one of the hundreds of reasons that immune function should always be at the top of your list of health priorities. The immune system doesn’t just keep sniffles away—it also is the body’s best defense against potentially deadly diseases, such as H1N1 flu, and well-known killers, such as cancer. Your daily habits, including the foods you eat and your exercise and sleep routines, have a significant effect on your immune function. And even if your lifestyle choices are exemplary, environmental toxins, emotional stress, and the wear and tear of aging all conspire to weaken immunity.

How to Protect Your Immune System

The most complex system of the body, the immune system includes the thymus gland, the spleen, bone marrow and a vast network of lymph nodes that are scattered throughout the body. The immune system also maintains a variety of white blood…

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