When violets begin to pop up in the spring landscape, it’s our cue that a vernal promenade of mineral-rich, cleansing herbs is in full swing. Violet keeps excellent company—look for herbs like chickweed, cleavers, dandelion, plantain, and stinging nettles when violet’s heart-shaped leaves and purple blooms appear on the scene.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana, Hamamelidaceae) is our kinky, golden-star flower shrub or small tree that blooms in cold weather, when all other flowers are absent from the landscape.
The internet can be a fantastic place to learn about herbs—with a significant caveat: anyone can share any sort of information that they want, free of qualifications or checks and balances. That’s why we’ve coralled our most-trusted online herbal resources for you to peruse. Materia medica, plant identification, recipes, research articles—it’s all here.
The homegrown benefits of witch hazel are easy to overlook as an herbalist, as witch hazel is not traditionally something you think of planting in the garden or making medicine with for your apothecary—drugstore brands are what most people associate with witch hazel.
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.
This Hibiscus Chutney is a favorite at my house any time of year, but it makes an especially nice stand-in for cranberry sauce on the holiday table. You can find this recipe and more in the upcoming Chestnut School Herbal Holiday Guide. Enjoy!
Why grow native woodland herbs? Growing our own medicine—in any setting—creates an intimate connection with healing plants. There are some important environmental reasons for cultivating rare woodland medicinals as well. Further, many of the woodland herbs are easy to cultivate, as compared to our garden herbs.
What a delight to interview Brandon Ruiz of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based Herbal Accessibility Project—a community-inspired network of food and medicine gardens that reflect and reconnect local relationships with ancestral plants.
My Beloved Rose: Given the way you show up with your gifts of flowers and medicine year after year—perennial and glorious, with little help from humans—I’ve been feeling that the least I can do is to write.
Among herbal wildflowers, goldenrod (Solidago spp.) has grown itself a special place in our hearts. Lighting up the late summer landscape with a warm glow, this native North American herb has an endearing repertoire of gifts: it’s a natural dye plant, an edible and medicinal herb, and a nectary flower for pollinators.