Chestnut Herbal School

Food as Medicine

Violet’s Edible and Medicinal Uses

Violets are welcome “weeds” in my garden. In fact, the common blue violet—my particular brand of violet garden guest—is native to these parts, which is more than I can say for myself. The common blue violet (Viola sororia, Violaceae) is native to most of central and eastern North America. It is a common sight in lawns, gardens, sidewalk cracks and along trailsides. The common blue violet is typically considered a “weed” because of its relative ease in adapting to human disturbance, but it pushes the definition of weed because it has been on this continent for a very long time. The leaves and flowers of the common blue violet, along with many other species, are edible and medicinal. The “confederate violet” is an escaped cultivar (cultivated variety) of Viola sororia—it has white flowers with blue streaks and is a common inhabitant of lawns in the southeastern United States.

The Ecology of Estrogen in the Female Body

Women today live in a very different world than our foremothers. Our female predecessors began menstruating later in life, had more children, breastfed longer, underwent menopause earlier, ate whole foods, and lived in a cleaner environment. Women today have approximately ten times as many menstrual cycles as their great-great-grandmothers. Our bodies did not evolve with the hormonal inputs of perpetual ovulation and menstruation. As a result, more women than ever are experiencing reproductive disorders, such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts.

Roselle Hibiscus

Roselle Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider and the Medicine and Cultivation of Hibiscus

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.

Turmeric Chives Deviled Eggs

Turmeric Chives Chipotle Deviled Eggs As a child, deviled eggs were one of my favorite picnic items on the fourth of July. As an adult, I appreciate the traditional seasonal and ritual aspect to food, and make deviled eggs every year on the fourth. Honestly, I am not especially patriotic, fancying myself an inhabitant of […]

Cherry Chipotle Nopales Salsa and the Medicine of Prickly Pear

Ingredients: 2 medium tomatoes 2 medium sized nopales (cactus pads) * ½ sweet onion 1 cup black cherries 1/8  teaspoon sea salt 1/10 teaspoon chipotle powder 2 limes ¼ of a small bunch of cilantro (to taste) Handful of edible flowers – calendula, scarlet runner beans, and a touch of red clover are the flowers […]