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)…

View original post 547 more words

Sacred Tree Profile: Staghorn Sumac (Rhus Typhina)

The Druid's Garden

A lovely stand of staghorn sumac in bloom! A lovely stand of staghorn sumac in bloom!

As we begin the march from summer into fall, the Staghorn Sumac are now in bloom.  With their flaming flower heads reaching into the sky, the Staghorn sumac are striking upon our landscape.  As fall comes, the Staghorn Sumac leaves turn fiery red before dropping and leaving their beautiful, antler-like, and hairy stems behind.  All through the winter months, the Staghorn Sumac stems stand like antlers reaching into the heavens, until they bud and spring returns again.  This post explores the medicine, magic, ecology, herbalism, craft, and bushcraft uses, and lore surrounding these amazing trees.

This post is a part of my Sacred Trees in the Americas series, which is my long-running series where I focus on trees that are dominant along the Eastern USA and Midwest USA, centering on Western PA, where I live.  Previous trees in this series have included:

View original post 2,327 more words

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…

View original post 1,386 more words

Crafting Herbal Extracts…. – My Herbal Adventures…

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

I shared Anne’s email with you and a bit of her website for she is my herbalist, my go-to for tinctures, extracts, balms, etc. I have complete trust in her expertise, the products she endeavors to create, her passion, and drive. I am honored and pleased to introduce you to Anne, my herbalist, and friend.

By the way, here is the link to Anne’s shop…

https://www.etsy.com/shop/AnnesBackyardHerbal

by aspiringherbalist

I have now been crafting herbal extracts, mainly; Tinctures, Glycerites, Vinegars & Skincare Oil infusions, for 4 years now. Even though I am no expert and consider myself a novice, I have learned a new lesson every year. As I learn and read and discover new ways of determining how to best create a plant extract that is both effective & well-rounded, I also have to consider its flavor, consistency and taste. I have experimented with different combinations of solvents over the…

View original post 937 more words

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…

View original post 637 more words

Cooking with Monarda

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Susan Belsinger

(Blogmaster’s note: With Monarda currently in its full glory here in zone 7, we’re posting this recipe so you can take advantage of its unique flavors while it’s still in bloom. Serve these tasty treats at your next summer celebration!)

—————————–Monarda didyma—————————-

Monarda (commonly called bee balm or bergamot) is a native American herb named after a Spanish physician and botanist, N. Monardez, of Seville. Its unusual and ornamental flowers possess a distinctly architectural character with their rather bristly, shaggy-headed colorful appearance. All species attract bees and are good honey plants. Right now, my stands of the various bee balms are abuzz with activity from dawn until dusk. The twelve species of Monarda, all native to North America, offer a wide assortment of flavors and fragrances—from lemon to thyme to pungent oregano to tealike and rose—produced on annual or perennial plants. So sniff and…

View original post 998 more words

Botanical Brews – An introductory guide to using tropical specialty ingredients in beer

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Amanda Dix

(Blogmasters’ note: Experiencing craft beer is a high point for many connoisseurs these days. While beer in its various forms has been around for millennia, today’s brew-masters have taken beer to a whole new level by adding unique flavor combinations to their recipes. Capitalizing on that trend, many gardens and arboreta are incorporating special tasting events into their program repertoire that highlight the herbs that make each brew unique. Below are some of horticulturist and brewer Amanda Dix’s suggestions for upping your botanical beer game. Even if you don’t brew yourself, these might inspire you to try new things and understand how herbs are woven into this timeless beverage.)

Many culinary dishes and beverages are abundant with tropical herbs, spices, and fruit. Beer is no exception, and using unique ingredients alongside barley, hops, and yeast is very common these days.

When formulating a beer recipe, be sure…

View original post 510 more words

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…

View original post 4,254 more words

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