Ready to start or expand your herb garden? Here we’re introducing medicinal, edible, and cultivation profiles for three cherished healing plants: elderberry, lemon balm, and rose.
Your garden wants to feed you—not just with the cultivated plants you tuck into the soil, but with a profusion of wild greens and herbs that spring up of their own generous accord. These feral guests surpass domestic veggies in nutrition and are often brimming with medicine, which makes them worthy of our attention and care in cultivated spaces.
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 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.
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.
Because so many of us experience chronic stress, we also require chronic (aka tonic) support. Tonic herbs are remedies that can be taken safely over a long period of time.
Gotu kola (Centella asiatica, Apiaceae) has been a legendary herb in India and China for over two thousand years, where it’s considered to be one of the best herbs for promoting clarity, focus, and a peaceful, calm nature.
When I first began foraging my own food and medicine, I focused on a particular array of plentiful, generous, and nourishing plants—the wild weeds, the common flora, and the invasives. These plants are some of our most superb medicinal allies and nutrient-dense wild foods. And these feral botanicals continue to be my main squeezes: non-native, “weedy” medicinals and wild foods are the most sustainable options out there.
Winter is rife with viral booby-traps—there’s a head cold and cough waiting at every gas station pump and pin pad across the land. A strong immune system is adept at navigating pathogenic obstacles, but some scenarios call for a boost, herbal-style. When I know I’ve been exposed to a cold or the flu, I don’t waste a moment in reaching for my tried-and-true immune stimulating herbs.