Author: admin

By Beth Schreibman Gehring “White coral bells upon a slender stalk, Lilies of the valley dress my garden walk. Oh, don’t you wish that you could hear them ring? That will happen only when the fairies sing.” – Traditional Folk Song Surely, many of you cherish this beautiful children’s round, its authorship lost to time; its timeless melody, ethereal in nature, much like the lily of the valley itself. As a child, I sang this with my siblings, and now, I eagerly anticipate singing it with my grandson, Wolfie, for the very first time in my garden. When the lilies…

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By Maryann Readal The Herb Society’s Herb of the Month for May is lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, which is one of almost 50 species of lavender (Blankespoor, 2022). It is also called Lavandula officinalis and English lavender, although it is not native to England. Lavendula angustifolia is native to countries surrounding the Mediterranean. L. angustifolia is the species most used for medicinal and culinary purposes. The word lavender is derived from the Latin word “lavare” which means to wash. It is an herb that prefers a sunny, dry climate and is the most winter hardy lavender, growing as an annual or…

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By Katherine Schlosser With encouragement from the HSA Native Herb Conservation Committee and the GreenBridges™ project, our HSA Board of Directors joined more than 200 other national organizations and submitted a Resolution to the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives to recognize April 2024 as National Native Plant Month. This is the 4th year of this effort to promote America’s many beautiful and useful native plants. It occurred to some of us, under the influence of bright Spring colors, singing birds, and tantalizing warm breezes, that PICNICS would be a perfect way to celebrate our participation. Finding local…

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By Vicki Abrams Motz People have had a relationship with herbs for thousands of years. They are consumed as food or flavoring and act as normalizers supporting natural health.  They are also consumed or used topically as medicines. Plants like echinacea have many chemicals which work synergistically to support the immune system and help fight infections. Plants like foxglove have specific constituents which act intensely and are used specifically (in this case for the effect of digoxin in treating heart conditions). In all parts of the world, indigenous populations take advantage of the local plant life. In the US, notable…

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By Taylor Cammack I first saw Eryngium yuccifolium Michx.—a.k.a rattlesnake master, button eryngo, or button snakeroot—planted at the Gene Leahy Mall, a park in downtown Omaha, Nebraska. A unique pollinator plant that really stands out in the bed, this native medicinal plant is a great addition to any herb garden. Historically, rattlesnake master has been used as a diuretic, diaphoretic (inducing sweating), expectorant, and, in large doses, an emetic (inducing vomiting) (King, 1905). This perennial grows in midwestern prairies, savannas, swamps, and open woods across 23 states, from Florida to Maryland and Texas to Minnesota (Brakie, 2021). A warm-season, tap-rooted…

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By Chrissy Moore A few years ago, the National Herb Garden installed a display called “Beer Garden: Beer Like You’ve Never Seen It Before.” This seasonal planting highlighted many plants used in the entire beer-making industry, not just for the beer itself. One of the plants we included was Quercus suber, the cork oak. This fascinating evergreen tree, though widely used around the world, is rarely mentioned in the herb world. So, I decided it was time to pop open the story of this arboricultural workhorse. Cork oak is a western Mediterranean staple, not just because that’s its native range,…

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Gardening- Cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes! – Author Unknown There are so many benefits to gardening besides just the fresh produce. Gardeners are known to live longer and I know many elderly people who still spend hours gardening each week… in their 90s! It might be the abundance of vitamin D, the beneficial organisms in the soil, the exercise, or even just the time in nature. But gardening certainly has its benefits. I prefer not to wear gloves when I garden so I can feel the plants and soil. I feel comfortable doing this since we use organic pest…

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by Joe Hughes Many are familiar with the myriad of health benefits of using tea tree oil, but have you ever thought about how and why this Australian herb has ended up in small glass bottles on drug store shelves across the country? With benefits ranging from antifungal properties to aromatherapy, tea tree oil has become a staple of skincare, haircare, and naturopathic medicine in the 21st century. Despite its ubiquity in Walgreens and CVS, tea tree oil has a long, and sometimes murky, backstory of production and distribution that begins in its native ranges of Australia.  There are many…

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It’s probably no secret by now that I’m a huge proponent of a good night’s sleep. Easier said than done if you’re a mama with little ones. Over the years I’ve fine-tuned my nightly routine to what works for me. This includes things like avoiding blue light at night and sipping on relaxing drinks. This delicious cherry rose moon milk recipe is a great way to unwind at night! What is Moon Milk? Some of us can remember being given a glass of warm milk as a kid for sleeplessness. Turns out there’s actually some solid science behind the age-old…

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By Maryann Readal Cilantro (Coriandrum sativuum) is an herb that elicits strong feelings of like or dislike. Those who like the herb appreciate its sagey-lemony flavor. Those who do not like it say that it tastes like soap or chemicals. Dr. Vyas of the Cleveland Clinic explains that “those who dislike cilantro tend to have a gene that detects the aldehyde part of cilantro as a soapy smell and taste” (Cleveland Clinic, 2020). These are the people who do not relish the taste of cilantro in their food. There appears to be little middle ground for appreciating the taste of cilantro. The…

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