Chestnut Herbal School

Author: Amanda Davis

Of the Forest Festive Non-Alcoholic Bitters by Xálish Medicines.

Herbal Gift-Giving Guide

Give the perfect present to your herbal loved one! Giving a great gift is an art. Giving an herbal gift is to know and love the plant person in your life. To help you find the perfect present, we’ve compiled an herbal gift-giving guide featuring special items from small makers to please your herbally-inclined loved ones. For fun and ease, we’ve grouped these gifts into categories suited to unique plant personas.

A bowl of pomegranate molasses compound butter.

Herbal Compound Butters for Festive Feasting

Rich and sultry, compound butters generously lend a delectable flavor and silky texture to almost any dish. They can be slathered onto baked roots, fresh bread, and crackers or used to roast veggies or meat. Fruity, sour, and sweet butters are delicious with pancakes, muffins, or waffles. When you set the table with buttery herbal spreads, every occasion instantly feels special—from Sunday brunch to your best friend’s birthday dinner.

The roots of a freshly harvested ashwagandha plant.

The Medicinal Benefits of Ashwagandha

If you experience overwhelm in your life—whether from insomnia, anxiety, or burning the candle at both ends—the medicinal benefits of ashwagandha bring many blessings. Ashwagandha calms and heals your nervous system, refreshes sleep cycles, invigorates immune resilience, and infuses your entire being with strength. This charismatic herb heralds from India, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. Ashwagandha’s medicinal use in the Western world is thanks to the traditional healers of these regions, who cherish its healing root for countless ailments.

Jodi McKee, owner of Jewelweed herbal apothecary.

Jewelweed: Student Business Spotlight

We recently had a conversation with Jodi McKee for our Student Business Spotlight series. Jodi is the proprietor and herbalist behind Jewelweed, a small-batch herbal apothecary and healing venue located just outside of Minneapolis, MN. The shop was named in honor of the local wildflower that grows prolifically nearby. Jewelweed offers an exclusive in-house seasonal line of handcrafted products made with organic or locally-grown and wildcrafted plants. They also stock a beautiful array of goods sourced from small makers and artisans, including herbal remedies, flower essences, essential oils, green beauty products, incense, tea and drinking cacao, and so much more.

Calendula Tulsi Chai Recipe

Calendula Tulsi Chai Recipe

Astragalus, calendula, and tulsi are herbal tonics for the lymphatic, nervous, and immune systems. This Calendula Tulsi Chai Recipe will help ward off colds and flu during winter months. The aromatic botanicals in this chai—cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and ginger—keep the blood and lymph moving and are especially helpful for those who feel cold or sluggish. During warmer weather, dilute the concentrate with ice and your choice of milk for a refreshing summertime beverage.

Glass jars containing Ashwagandha, Lavender, and Vanilla: The Dreamiest Herbal-Infused Ghee Recipe.

Ashwagandha, Lavender, and Vanilla: The Dreamiest Herbal-Infused Ghee Recipe

Preparing herbal-infused ghee recipes is a wonderful way to enjoy herbs and easily incorporate them into your daily rhythm. There are several methods to craft medicinal ghee, but in this recipe, we’ll follow a simple formula: infusing dried herbal powders into hot ghee, followed by cooling and whipping the herbs and ghee together. Beware of herbal-infused ghee recipes that cook the herbs with the butter during the ghee-making process; this method burns the delicate herbs and spices.

The risks of using AI in herbalism. An AI-generated image of a robot in an herbal apothecary.

Risks of Using AI in Herbalism

Like it or not, artificial intelligence (AI) is now interwoven into the basic technology we use daily. Like all technology, it’s only as helpful or harmful as the intentions of the people using it. Mostly, we hear about the dangers of using AI and how it can be used in nefarious ways, yet it also offers promising solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems. In this article, we’ll primarily explore the risks of using AI in herbalism, especially herbal education.

A person wearing an apron holds two jars filled with dried herbs, standing in front of a home herbal apothecary cabinet.

10 Best Herbs to Start Your Home Herbal Apothecary

Our apothecary at the Chestnut School is no mere medicine cabinet; it holds the stories and healing signatures of herbs gathered from local wildlands, cross-country travels, and our school gardens. The medicine in its bottles is much more than roots, leaves, and bark. It’s the essence of fields and forests, birdsong and butterfly kisses, babbling streams and fertile dirt, sunshine, and cool afternoon breezes. Are you curious about how to start a home apothecary of your own? We’ve simplified the process by choosing the ten best herbs to start your home herbal apothecary.

Juliet Blankespoor teaching medicinal herb gardening at her farm in NC. Photograph by Emily Nichols.

Becoming An Herbalist: Juliet Blankespoor’s Dance With The Plants

Stamens, stigmas, and anthers were my first dates in what would become a lifelong love affair with plants. Today, I plan my vacations around botanical gardens and keep random pieces of colorful bark in my pocket in case I need an icebreaker in an awkward social situation. Three decades into this journey as a plant–human matchmaker, I’ve owned almost every herbal business you can imagine: an herbal nursery, a medicinal products business, a clinical practice, and now an online herbal school specializing in bioregional, hands-on herbalism.