I recently watched an instagram video loop of a lovely young herbalist chopping roots from a wildcrafted plant. Her feed is full of poetic and intimate photographs of herbs. I feel her sense of wonder and awe of the natural world by the way she chooses to portray them.
I pause when these artistic tokens enter my screen. Not only do they imbibe the viewer with a sense of beauty and connection to nature- the use of herbal materials and techniques for art also spurs a curious contrast with the use of herbs as medicine. Read more
Oregon grape has a place in every herbalist’s apothecary. It possesses unique antimicrobial activity and will be increasingly important in our post-antibiotic world. It also offers liver support, cardiovascular support, and blood glucose regulation. Read on for more information on this treasure of a plant. Read more
You may have recently learned out the potential health benefits of fire cider: a sweet, spicy, sour, eye-widening infusion of pungent herbs in vinegar and hon. The taste is true to its name. It’s a popular addition to cold and flu regimens. Fire cider is considered to be a “medicinal food” that can be taken as-is or used in a variety of foods and beverages, such as juices, teas, salad dressings, soups, etc. Read more
Ghost pipe (Monotropa uniflora) has received a lot of attention on the blogosphere in recent years. As a mycoheterotroph (takes nutrients from both trees and fungi) it does not photosynthesize, giving it a ghostly, ethereal white appearance. It’s simply breathtaking.
It’s lovely to photograph and share on social media. Yes, the tincture is a breathtakingly beautiful violet color. Yes, it is effective as an analgesic and anxiolytic herb. But it’s become too popular, and stands are disappearing. It’s being misused. Read more
Herbalists love livers. Liver lovers, you might call us. And there’s a good reason for this: The liver regulates many of the body’s chemical and nutrient levels. It’s a metabolic powerhouse of detoxification, chemical organization, and regeneration. So herbalists, who like to support the body systemically, find a wonderful leverage point in this one single but not simple organ. Read more
Like no other substance in history, cannabis sits at the eye of a storm that is currently upsetting the status quo across the spectrum of political, economic, legal, cultural, scientific and healthcare worlds. Read more
Today, while scrolling through Facebook and sipping coffee, I saw a post titled “100 times more effective then chemotherapy: A herb that kills cancer in 48 hours“. This was in reference to the Dandelion Root Project at the University of Windsor in Canada. The hyperbole is obvious- this group started biomedical research on dandelion extract for cancer therapy. It is far from 100 times more effective than chemotherapy. We’ve all seen these posts. Chances are, if you’re a reader of this blog, you are a critical thinker and this kind of thing bugs you. I get bugged too. But I’m beginning to notice that we bring our hope for cures and love of miracles along with us when we interpret science. And instead of seeing this as a problem, I think it’s OK. These can coexist, but I want to emphasize an awareness of how they can affect us. Read more