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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The Healing Properties of Baneful Herbs | Coby Michael Ward — Good Witches Homestead

Baneful herbs, herbs that are toxic or potentially deadly have been and continue to be some of mankind’s most important medicines, while their applications have evolved, drugs like atropine, scopolamine and digoxin have botanical origins.  It is because of these plant’s chemical potency that they are so important.  These herbs also have very powerful spirits […]

The Healing Properties of Baneful Herbs | Coby Michael Ward — Good Witches Homestead

DIY Recipe of the Month: Spiced Pear Liquor • The Organic Alcohol Company

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

October’s recipe is extra exciting to share, not only because we are showcasing our newly available Craft-Grade Pear Spirits, but because fall flavors like Clove and Cinnamon and ripe Pear happen to be an all-time, cozy-inducing favorite. We now have our Certified Organic Craft-Grade Pear in house, and it was hard to choose what recipe to make with this fragrant, juicy, and delicious spirit.

Our Spiced Pear Liquor is a perfect addition to give you all the Autumn feels. As the evenings get darker a little earlier, you can brighten them up with this seasonal warming spiced liquor. It’s a great addition to your baking recipes or to make delicious cocktails. A favorite libation of mine is adding a dash of this flavorful liquor to a dry apple cider and poured over ice.

You can experiment with different spice blends and quantities to make it perfectly yours. As with all…

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Rose Hips – Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Maryann Readal

If you grow roses, plan now for rose hips. Simply leave the spent flowers on your rose bushes after their last bloom of the season. Do NOT cut them off. Allow the fruits of the rose, which are the rose “hips,” to ripen on the bush. The hips will turn red or orange depending on the rose variety. When the sides of the hips are soft to the touch, they are ready to harvest. Waiting to harvest until after the first light frost increases the flavor of the hips.

Now, you may be wondering why you should allow your roses to form hips. Here are some good reasons:

  • Ounce for ounce, rose hips contain eight times more vitamin C than oranges, according to the US Department of Agriculture Food Data Central.
  • They are also rich in vitamins A, B, E, and K, as well as other nutrients.

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Getting Results with Herbs, a free training with Rosalee de la Forêt

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

We are thrilled to share with you that Learning Herbs will open their registration this morning for Taste of Herbs with herbalist and best-selling author Rosalee de la Forêt who has created a transformative online training.

Rosalee writes and teaches with such substance, and depth, but also makes it very easy and practical for people to understand.  In Rosalee’s ‘Taste of Herbs’, she has a way of showing people how to understand and apply the energetics of herbs to every day herbalism and it is quite brilliant.

Click here to register!

Source: Getting Results with Herbs, a free training with Rosalee de la Forêt

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An Ode to Autumn — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Autumn is the season when the world mellows out and takes stock on what has already been achieved. Change occurs, but at a reassuringly slow drift rather than a hurried panic. Planet Earth takes on a warm glow as the sun shrinks back into the soil. Golden moments with friends, family and self shape the […]

An Ode to Autumn — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs