6 Ways To Use Ginger Every Day

6 Ways To Use Ginger Every Day | Herbal Academy | Ginger root is most commonly used when cooking in the kitchen, but there are many ways you can use ginger every day for health and wellness.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) rhizome is most commonly used in the kitchen given its slightly sweet, spicy, and strong aromatic flavors. However, there are many ways you can use ginger every day in your herbal practice, too! From helping soothe muscle pain, enhancing overall circulation, and nipping colds in the bud, ginger has many uses on its own and as a complementary herb in formulas.

In this article, I’m sharing six easy ways to use ginger every day. Read on to discover how you can start incorporating this popular rhizome into your daily routine!

6 Ways To Use Ginger Every Day

6 Ways To Use Ginger Every Day | Herbal Academy | Ginger root is most commonly used when cooking in the kitchen, but there are many ways you can use ginger every day for health and wellness.

1. To Help Support Your Brain Function

A wonderful way to use ginger every day is to help support your overall brain function. At first thought, you might not think to use an herb like ginger when your mind is feeling a little foggy. However, given its antioxidant function and ability to support the downregulation of inflammation in the body, ginger is reputed for preventing and halting the progression of neurodegenerative conditions in addition to improving overall cognitive function (Saenghong et al., 2012). In one study, ginger extract was found to enhance working memory and increase cognitive function in a group of middle-aged women (Saenghong et al., 2012).

An easy way to use ginger for boosting your brain function is through taking the encapsulated powder or an extract daily. Ginger powder is also a lovely addition in a honey paste formula with other neuroprotective and cognitive-enhancing herbs. For those who enjoy the spice, chewing on a small piece of fresh ginger can instantly help to stimulate your senses and awaken your cognitive vitality.

2. For Sore Muscles & Joint Pain

Ginger is a wonderful herb to use both internally and externally to help soothe sore muscles. Ginger is commonly used as a base in formulas to address fibrositis and muscle sprains (Hoffmann, 2003).

Due to ginger’s ability to modulate inflammation in the body, it is a useful herb for soothing arthritic-related joint pain in the body (Srivastava & Mustafa, 1992; Hoffmann, 2003). In one study, taking ginger extract internally was found to significantly reduce symptoms of moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis-related pain (Altman & Marcussen, 2001).

You can make your own topical preparation of ginger through our Warming Ginger Cayenne Salve recipe for natural pain relief here.

3. As A Cold-Buster

Ginger is a staple herb in many cold and flu formulas for a good reason. Well-known for supporting the clearance of viruses and respiratory congestion, ginger is a great herb to draw from when you feel the onset of sickness encroaching or if you have already come down with something (Gladstar, 2012).

Using the fresh or dried rhizome in a tea formula is a simple and tasty way to use ginger every day as a cold-buster. You could also prepare a ginger syrup or incorporate ginger in your homemade fire cider brew to give your immune response system a quick boost.

6 Ways To Use Ginger Every Day | Herbal Academy | Ginger root is most commonly used when cooking in the kitchen, but there are many ways you can use ginger every day for health and wellness.

4. To Soothe A Sore Throat

Did you know you can use ginger to help soothe pain and discomfort from a sore throat? The inflammation regulatory properties of ginger help relieve irritated tissues in the throat caused by excessive coughing and post-nasal drip (Hoffmann, 2003). Although ginger has a predominantly spicy flavor on its own, when prepared as a tea with raw honey or as a syrup, the spicy and dry properties of ginger become balanced and tolerable to use as a gargle.

Easy Ginger Gargle Recipe

[recipe_ingredients]

1 tablespoon of fresh ginger rhizome (or 1 teaspoon dried and cut ginger rhizome)
1 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon raw honey or manuka honey

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. If using fresh ginger rhizome, first wash the rhizome then mince or thinly slice it.
  2. Add the ginger and water to a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and allow the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and strain the ginger from the tea into a heat-safe container.
  4. Stir in the honey until dissolved.
  5. Allow the mixture to cool until warm. Use as a throat gargle as needed. The gargle will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

[/recipe_directions]

5. To Promote Circulation & Warmth

A great way to use ginger every day, especially during the cooler months ahead, is to help promote warmth and proper circulation in the body. Ginger is considered a premier circulatory stimulant, making it an ideal herb to use for poor circulation (think cold hands and feet), cramps, and chilblains (Hoffmann, 2003).

Since ginger is a diaphoretic, it carries the unique ability to push heat inside the body outwards to the exterior. This makes it an ideal herb to draw from in chilled and feverish states. One way to use ginger for this purpose is through infusing it into a bath, soaking, then wrapping yourself in a thick blanket for the next hour and “sweating it out.”

Ginger Bath

[recipe_ingredients]

3 tablespoons of dried ginger rhizome powder (or 4 tablespoons of dried and chopped ginger rhizome)
½ – 1 cup Epsom salts

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  1. Fill your bathtub with hot water.
  2. Add the ginger powder (or chopped ginger in a muslin bag) and Epsom salts into your bath, stirring to combine.
  3. Soak in the bath for 15-30 minutes.
  4. Dry off with a towel, then bundle up under a thick blanket or lay in bed under the covers for an hour or so to sweat.
  5. Rinse off in the shower.
  6. Rest and restore.

[/recipe_directions]

6 Ways To Use Ginger Every Day | Herbal Academy | Ginger root is most commonly used when cooking in the kitchen, but there are many ways you can use ginger every day for health and wellness.

6. For Mild Tummy Troubles

One of the most common ways to use ginger every day is for an upset stomach. Used for symptoms ranging from motion sickness to general nausea to morning sickness, ginger is a strong herbal ally for an array of tummy troubles (Hoffmann, 2003).

This also makes ginger a popular herb to draw from when symptoms of indigestion, such as intestinal cramping, gas, and bloating occur. Ginger can help the body digest food easier and reduce spasms in the gut (Wood, 2007).

A quick and easy way to help pacify an upset stomach and alleviate indigestion is to chew a small piece of candied ginger after meals or as needed. Sprinkling a few drops of ginger rhizome tincture around the tongue is also a helpful way to use ginger for soothing tummy troubles.

More Than Just A Tasty Rhizome

Although ginger carries many tasty qualities you can incorporate at mealtime, ginger clearly has many applications you can bring into your herbal practice as well! The repertoire of uses for ginger expands beyond what we discussed in this article, too.

Learn more ways you can use ginger in our posts 3 Reasons To Eat Ginger During Wintertime and Licorice And Ginger: Herbal Decongestants.

6 Ways To Use Ginger Every Day | Herbal Academy | Ginger root is most commonly used when cooking in the kitchen, but there are many ways you can use ginger every day for health and wellness.

REFERENCES

Altman, R.D., & Marcussen, K.C. (2001). Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatology, 44(11), 2531-8. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11710709

Gladstar, R. (2012). Rosemary Gladstar’s medicinal herbs: A beginner’s guide. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

Saenghong, N., Wattanathorn, J., Muchimapura, S., Tongun, T., Piyavhatkul, N., Banchonglikitkul, C., & Kajsongkram, T. (2012). Zingiber officinale improves cognitive function of the middle-aged healthy women. Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine, 2012, 383062. http://doi.org/10.1155/2012/383062.

Srivastava, K.C., & Mustafa, T. (1992). Ginger (Zingiber offinicale) in rheumatism and musculoskeletal disorders. Medical Hypotheses, 39(4), 342-348. http://doi.org/10.1016/0306-9877(92)90059-L

Wood, M. (2007). Ginger. Retrieved from http://www.woodherbs.com/Ginger.html.

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

While there are many herbs, plants, and vegetables that are healthy and safe for domestic animals, there is a long list of plants that are downright toxic to our four-legged companions. Sadly, these dangerous plants are prevalent, lurking in our yards and homes. You know your companion animal better than anyone else, so when cultivating your backyard garden or indoor potted plants, work to keep your pets safe by learning the best and worst plants for pets.

A Pet-Safe Yard and Garden: The Best & Worst Plants for Pets

Grasses

“Mother nature did more than sprinkle the earth with healing plants. She gave animals the instincts to nibble those plants… When your cat is demolishing your houseplants, or your dog is grazing on the lawn like a sheep, he is probably not doing it because he is sick… he is probably just having a salad for lunch,” (Shojai, 2016, p. 41).

Most animals naturally crave plants, so be sure the ones you grow are safe if eaten. While it’s a natural instinct for dogs and cats to eat grass to settle an upset stomach, never let pets graze on plants or grasses that have been treated with pesticides.

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

Herbs and Herbal Products

With proper preparation and precaution, herbs can be safely used to support healthy pets. Although adverse reactions are rare, herbs require care and common sense. When using herbs, select the appropriate form and amount of plant matter. Dried or fresh herbs can be added directly to pet food or steeped in a tea that can be poured over food. Caution should always be used with concentrated plant extracts and tinctures, particularly those made with alcohol (Shojai, 2016), and it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian before using any herbal products.

With that being said, many herbs and vegetables that we grow are safe to share with our dogs and cats. The well-known book, Herbs for Pets, by Gregory l. Tilford and Mary L. Wulff contains an exhaustive list of pet-safe herbs.

Please Note: Although the plants listed here are non-toxic to domestic animals, dogs and cats should not be allowed to graze freely in the garden. In large or uncontrolled amounts, any of the plants listed can cause adverse reactions such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your pet seems unwell, contact your veterinarian or a pet poison hotline.

Top Backyard Herbs for Pets

Herbs and flowers in the massive sunflower (Asteraceae) family, including favorites such as chamomile (Matricaria recutita), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), milk thistle (Silybum marianum), calendula (Calendula officinalis), and echinacea (Echinacea spp.), are safe for dogs and cats (Tilford & Wulff, 2009, p.95).

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

Chamomile

Cherished for its beneficial properties and fragrance, chamomile helps to soothe the mind and body. Although rare, some pets can be allergic to this herb (Puotinen, 1998).

Dandelion

The humble dandelion contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals and is considered “one of the most complete plant foods on earth” (Tilford & Wulff, 2009, p.95). Since it grows just about everywhere, it is comforting to know that our pets can safely snack on it. Better yet, try adding some harvested dandelion greens to their food.

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

The Mint Family

Nearly all members of the mint (Lamiaceae) family — peppermint (Mentha piperita), spearmint (M. spicata or M. aquatica), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), and catnip (Nepeta cataria) are non-toxic and generally well-tolerated by animals when used correctly. Fresh or dried mint leaves can be direct-fed or used to make a tea.  

Despite its reputation for exciting cats, catnip can help to calm both the nervous and digestive systems of animals (Puotinen, 1998). Similarly, peppermint and spearmint have been shown to aid in digestion, while lemon balm can ease anxiety, insomnia, and nausea (Puotinen, 1998). Note that mint grows rapidly and can quickly take over planting beds. Consider planting it in containers or separating it from other herbs.  

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

Culinary Herbs

Although similar in appearance to pet-safe dill, fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is actually a member of the parsley family and can serve as a substitute for the (rare) 20 percent of cats who dislike catnip. Fennel works similarly to catnip in the digestive tract and is often preferred by dogs and cats who dislike “minty herbs” (Tilford & Wulff, 2009).

Once a lowly garnish, parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and trace minerals (Blarowski, 2017). It is known as an excellent diuretic, can help with gastric issues, may ease the inflammation of arthritis, and the highly nutritive stems can boost anemic animals (Tilford & Wulff, 2009). Both parsley and fennel are easy to grow.

Other Herbs

Additional pet-safe herbs include ginger (Zingiber officinale), burdock (Arctium lappa), and oregano (Origanum vulgare) (Blarowski, 2017).

Leafy Greens and Healthy Vegetables

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

A variety of leafy greens and healthy vegetables can be added directly to our pets’ food for health benefits, variety, and texture. When it comes to edible plants, carrots, parsnips, zucchini, cucumbers, celery, peas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and green beans are safe for dogs and cats (Puotinen, 1998). Other pet-safe favorites include asparagus, cauliflower, blueberries, strawberries, lettuce, and spinach (Coulter, 2014).

Keep in mind that many of garden staples — including eggplant, garlic**, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and mushrooms — are toxic to pets. Cooked potatoes and ripe tomatoes are acceptable in small amounts, but the roots, vines, foliage, and unripe fruit should never be consumed by dogs or cats (Coulter, 2014).

**While garlic has myriad herbal applications, the plant should never be consumed by animals.

When introducing new foods to your companion animals, be sure to go slow and consult your veterinarian as an upset stomach can occur. Note: Several common foods are toxic to animals. Be sure to conduct proper research before feeding human foods to your pets.

Backyard Flowers: The Good, the Bad, and the Toxic

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

While we often plant flowers for their beauty and fragrance, we unwittingly bringing poisonous plants into our yard. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which maintains an extensive database of plants that are toxic and non-toxic to dogs and cats, pinpoints that countless well-known plants are hazardous to domestic animals.

It is not unusual to find poisonous flora like autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale), azaleas and rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.), English ivy (Hedera helix), and yew (Taxus spp.) in yards across the country. The bulbs of spring staples like tulips (Tulipa spp.); daffodils, jonquils, and narcissus (Narcissus spp.), as well as amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.), are also toxic to dogs and cats. Most lilies, even as cut flowers, are toxic to cats and can be life-threatening, so they are best avoided altogether if you have feline friends (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (n.d.a.).

While containers, raised beds, and gates can help keep curious critters away from problematic plants, if your pets are particularly nosey, it is best to stick with pet-safe picks such as African violets (Saintpaulias), alyssum (Lobularia maritima), snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), hibiscus (Hibiscus), impatiens (Impatiens), pansies (Viola x wittrockiana), petunias (Petunia), and sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas).

Don’t forget the wonderful Asteraceae family that includes aster (Aster), blue-eyed or African daisy (Arctotis stoechadifolia), sunflowers (Helianthus annuus), zinnia (Zinnia elegans), marigolds (Tagetes), cornflower also known as bachelor’s button (Centaurea cyanus), and other backyard champions which are beautiful and safe for companion animals (Southern Living, n.d.).

The Best and Worst Indoor Plants

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

Houseplants add so much to our indoor spaces such as color, texture, and oxygen, but unfortunately, many common houseplants are poisonous to pets. Maintaining pet-safe plants indoors offers peace of mind as lots of animals — especially cats, kittens, and puppies — like to nibble.

The classic spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is easy to grow, air purifying, and safe for dogs and cats. True ferns, including Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus cv sprengeri) are also non-toxic and make great hanging plants (Wong, 2016).

The majority of plants in the Palmae family are non-toxic to dogs and cats and easy to maintain. Look for ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata), cane palm (Dypsis lutescen), paradise palm (Howea forsteriana), and the ubiquitous parlor/bamboo palm (Chamaedorea elegans) (ASPCA, n.d.a.). However, despite the name, sago palm (Cycas revolute) is NOT a true palm and is toxic to domestic animals (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (n.d.b.).

Two of the most popular houseplants, pothos (Epipremnum aureum) and philodendron (Philodendron bipennifolium), are also highly toxic and harmful if ingested by dogs and cats. If you have these at home, be sure to move them to a high shelf, out of reach, or take them to work to be safe.

Numerous people are saddened to learn that holiday favorite, the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), is toxic to their four-legged friends. However, the equally cheerful Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) is safe. And, if you enjoy a bright red bloom, you can also opt for a bromeliad (Bromeliaceae), which is pet-safe as well.

Aloe vera is a favorite herb and houseplant; however, the plant is toxic and should not be eaten by dogs or cats. The gel-like juice of the inner leaves can be used topically on animals for skin irritation or wounds, and, although bitter, it is generally considered safe for internal and external use in dogs and cats, but do not let them chew directly on the leaves or stalks of this plant (Tilford & Wulff, 2009).

Remember animals are smart and inquisitive. Cats are exceptionally curious, and they often investigate plants even if they are not looking for a snack. If you know your dog or cat loves to check out your houseplants, keep some safe options like catnip or wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium) available for them to explore.  

The Best and Worst Plants for Pets | Herbal Academy | While there are many plants that are safe for domestic animals, there is also a list of plants that are toxic. Here's the best and worst plants for pets.

REFERENCES:

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (n.d.a.). Seventeen plants poisonous to pets [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/shelter-health-poison-control/17-plants-poisonous-pets

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (n.d.b.). Toxic and non-toxic plants: Sago palm. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/sago-palm

Blarowski, Z. (2017). 12 herbs to grow for your pets. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.care2.com/greenliving/12-herbs-to-grow-for-your-pets.html

Coulter, C. (2014). How to grow a pet-friendly vegetable garden. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.babble.com/pets/how-to-grow-a-pet-friendly-vegetable-garden/

Darrisaw, M. (n.d.) Southern Living. (n.d.). Best and worst flowers to plant for a pet-friendly garden. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.southernliving.com/garden/flowers/pet-friendly-plants

Mountain Rose Herbs. (2014). Basic botany: Sunflower family. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/basic-botany-sunflower-family.

Puotinen, C.J. (1998). The encyclopedia of natural pet care. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing.

Shojai, A. (2016). New choices in natural healing for dogs and cats. Furry Muse Publishing with Rodale Inc.

Tilford, G. & Wulff, M. (2009). Herbs for pets: The natural way to enhance your pet’s life (2nd ed.). Irvine, CA: Lumina Media.

Wong, K. (2016). The Best Low-Maintenance, Pet-Friendly Houseplants. Retrieved from https://lifehacker.com/the-best-low-maintenance-pet-friendly-houseplants-1773512170

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Devil's club is a useful plant to have in one's materia medica. In this post, we'll explore and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this herbal ally.

When I first saw devil’s club in the wild woods, I had no idea what it was, but I was immediately entranced by it. The thick, yellowish-white stalk, wrapped in huge spines, was taller than me, and at the top, there sprouted several foot-long, alternate, umbrella-shaped leaves that also had numerous spines along the top and underside. To me, this plant covered in spikes symbolizes strength and protection. If you have ever crossed paths with devil’s club, you may have had a similar experience. In this post, we will deepen our knowledge and understanding of this powerful plant.

Getting to Know Devil’s Club

Devil’s club, Oplopanax horridum, is in the Araliaceae family and is related to ginseng. It is common to find it growing along the edges of bogs, creeks, and streams. It thrives in moist woods, with deep, wet, well-drained soil, and grows in northern Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska. It can also be found growing sporadically in the forests of northern Idaho, Montana, western Wyoming, and along Lake Superior (Moore, 1993).

The spiny stems range anywhere from 3-10 feet in height and grow up from spreading rootstocks under the earth (Moore, 1993). Compact heads of numerous small, whitish flowers bloom in pyramidal terminal clusters in the spring and mature into flattened, bright red berries in late summer (Pojar & MacKinnon, 1994).

The root bark, lower stem bark, and greenish inner bark are the parts used in herbal preparations. Sweet, spicy, saponaceous, and pungent, this plant is a slightly warming expectorant supportive to the adrenal and respiratory systems (Kloos, 2017).

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Devil's club is a useful plant to have in one's materia medica. In this post, we'll explore and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this herbal ally.

Traditional Use and Folklore

When diving deeper into the details of an herb, it is important to acknowledge and respect the awareness and information passed on to us from indigenous people. Native cultures across northwestern North America address health and wellbeing in two main ways.

  1. Physically, with the use of herbal preparations, and/or
  2. Spiritually, with the work of shamans that deal with the energy associated with illness rather than the physical manifestation.

Devil’s club has and continues to play a big part in both of these types of approaches, and in some instances, the two are so closely entwined that separating them would be difficult (Turner, 1982).

Turner (1982) says that devil’s club was traditionally used to soothe a variety of ailments, from arthritis, ulcers and digestive tract issues, to diabetes. The Cree, Haida, Halkomelem, Heiltsuk, Metis, Nlaka’pamux, Nuxalk, Sechelt, Secwepemc, Squamish, Stl’atl’imx, Straits Salish, and Tsimshian have all been documented to use it for diabetes, and it has often been used as a purgative or laxative, as well as a soothing aid to the common cold and other respiratory ailments (Turner, 1982).

Most likely, because of its dangerous, devilish spikes that symbolize protection, it is considered a highly powerful plant that can protect against outside evil influences. Devil’s club sticks have often been used as protective charms. Some burn the plant and use its charcoal to make protective face paint (Pojar & MacKinnon, 1994). John Thomas of the Nitinaht considers devil’s club to be a sacred link between the ordinary and the spiritual world (Turner, 1982).

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Devil's club is a useful plant to have in one's materia medica. In this post, we'll explore and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this herbal ally.

Clinical and Contemporary Use of Devil’s Club

Adaptogen & Anti-inflammatory Agent

Devil’s club is known as an adaptogen, as it supports the adrenals by moderating the body’s reaction to stress. The tea or tincture can nourish and relax a hypervigilant nervous system (Kloos, 2017). A cold infusion or tincture is reported to be helpful for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders when taken regularly and with proper diet (Moore, 1993).

Respiratory Expectorant

Devil’s club is traditionally used as a strong expectorant and respiratory stimulant. It can increase or loosen mucus to initiate helpful coughing and speed the healing of respiratory infections (Kloos, 2017).

Moderate Blood Sugar Levels

As already mentioned, devil’s club has a long history of use in native cultures for those with adult-onset type 2 diabetes. Early clinical research inspired by its widespread use by indigenous peoples found that an isolated extract of devil’s club root bark showed a hypoglycemic effect in lab rabbits with no observed toxic effects (Large, & Brocklesby, 1938). However, additional studies provide data that do not support the hypoglycemic activity reported previously (Thommasen, Wilson, & McIlwain, 1990). Either way, devil’s club is still widely used for support with type 2 diabetes and additional research and clinical trials are needed to determine its effectiveness.

Michael Moore reports that his observations, as well as those of other herbalists and physicians, have been that “the herb works better for stocky, mesomorphic, anabolic-stress-type, middle-aged folks with elevated blood lipids, moderately high blood pressure, and early signs of adult-onset, insulin-resistant diabetes. Furthermore, it seems to decrease the lust for sugars and binge food of those with this physical type who deal with generally elevated blood fats and glucose” (Moore, 1993, p.128).

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Devil's club is a useful plant to have in one's materia medica. In this post, we'll explore and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this herbal ally.

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Devil's club is a useful plant to have in one's materia medica. In this post, we'll explore and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this herbal ally.

Safety and Precautions

The berries have been reported to be toxic. As always, if you attempt to harvest the plant, make sure you have properly identified it first. Harvest sustainably by only taking the root bark from the roots that connect each plant underground, so that the established plant can continue to grow and thrive. Take care not to prick your skin on the spikes of devil’s club, since it can sometimes lead to infection (Kloos, 2017).

Closing in Gratitude

Native Americans have used devil’s club for over one hundred years for many different physical and spiritual reasons. We are honored and privileged to have learned from indigenous people about the traditional uses of devil’s club for nourishing the adrenals, the respiratory system, and supporting healthy blood sugar levels. Many modern-day herbalists and energy workers also attempt to respect and call upon the protective spirit of devil’s club in their practice, drinking the tea or taking a few drops of the tincture during challenging times. As its appearance suggests, devil’s club seems to be a powerful and protective plant after all.

Adding Devil’s Club to your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Devil's club is a useful plant to have in one's materia medica. In this post, we'll explore and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this herbal ally.

REFERENCES

Kloos, S. (2017). Pacific Northwest medicinal plants: Identify, harvest, and use 120 wild herbs for health and wellness. Portland, OR: Timber Press.

Large, R.G., & Brocklesby, H.N. (1938). A hypoglycemic substance from the roots of devil’s club (Fatsia horrida). Canadian Medical Association Journal, 39, 32-35. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC536608/?page=1

Moore, M. (1993). Medicinal plants of the Pacific West. Sante Fe, NM: Museum of New Mexico Press.

Pojar, J., & MacKinnon, A. (1994). Plants of the Pacific Northwest coast (revised). Vancouver, BC: Lone Pine Publishing.

Thommasen, H.V., Wilson, R.A., & McIlwain, R.G. (1990). Effects of devil’s club tea on blood glucose in diabetes mellitus. Canadian Family Physician, 36, 62-5. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21249104

Turner, N.J. (1982). Traditional use of devil’s club (Oplopanax horridus; Araliaceae) by native peoples in Western North America. Ethnobiology, 2(1): 17-38. Retrieved from https://ethnobiology.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/JoE/2-1/Turner1982.pdf

3 Last-Minute Ways To Use Sage Before The Growing Season Ends

3 Last-Minute Ways To Use Sage Before The Growing Season Ends | Herbal Academy | If you’re looking for ways to use your fresh sage before cold weather comes and the harvest period passes, here are 3 last-minute ways to use sage.

Three years ago, my partner and I went out for a night on the town. He took me to a lovely Italian restaurant where we shared a bottle of wine and started our meal with a decadent charcuterie board. He ordered lasagna, and I branched out from the traditional by ordering pumpkin sage ravioli.

As we sipped our wine, I was heady with anticipation to try what sounded like a delicious herb-lovers dream. The server gently set the meal in front of me, and I took my time to look at the presentation.

Small squares of soft pasta sat on the plate garnished with oil, salt and pepper, and fresh sage. It was a simple dish on the outside, but as I bit into one of the pieces of pasta, I recognized that the complexity was in the filling. The sage and pumpkin melded together in what can only be described as a culinary delight.

Since then, sage has been one of my favorite herbs to use. I’ve cultivated it in my home herbal garden and incorporated it into my lifestyle in many ways. Today, I would like to share 3 last-minute ways to use sage before the growing season comes to an end.

3 Ways To Use Sage Before The Growing Season Ends

3 Last-Minute Ways To Use Sage Before The Growing Season Ends | Herbal Academy | If you’re looking for ways to use your fresh sage before cold weather comes and the harvest period passes, here are 3 last-minute ways to use sage.

1. Smoke Cleansing with Sage

The process of lighting and burning dried sage in the home is used to clear the space of negative energy. Sage is thought to offer health benefits and cleansing to people or spaces, and it has become popular in the mainstream as a means to clarify energy.

The problem with the growing popularity of burning sage is that white sage populations in the wild are dwindling due to over-harvesting. Traditionally, according to Bothwell (2000), white sage was not bundled into sticks, but rather, single leaves were burnt in recognition of its scarcity.

White sage is not required for smoke cleansing—any form of sage is appropriate and other cleansing herbs such as rosemary, lavender, and thyme can also be used. If you do choose to smoke cleanse using sage, it’s best to grow and harvest your own sage so you avoid contributing to the shortage of white sage in the wild. You can learn more about herbal sustainability in our post, How To Be An Environmentally Sustainable Herbalist.

3 Last-Minute Ways To Use Sage Before The Growing Season Ends | Herbal Academy | If you’re looking for ways to use your fresh sage before cold weather comes and the harvest period passes, here are 3 last-minute ways to use sage.

2. Cooking With Sage

A second way to use sage is to incorporate this beautiful herb into your cooking. Following my experience with the sage-stuffed homemade pasta, I have been a huge fan of cutting the fresh herb and adding it to dishes for my family.

One of my favorite ways to use sage is to toss some roughly chopped leaves in with mashed potatoes along with a knob of butter, salt and pepper, and some plant-based milk. It is also a surprising addition to homemade, artisanal bread as it lends an earthy flavor to the loaf. You can use a mortar and pestle to macerate sage to be infused with oil. Pour a small amount of lightly flavored oil over the fresh herbs and bruise them with the pestle until they become fragrant. Pour the herbs into a clean jar and cover with oil. The longer the blend sits, the more fragrant the oil will become. The oil blend can be used to dip bread, pour over salads, as a finisher for Italian dishes.

3 Last-Minute Ways To Use Sage Before The Growing Season Ends | Herbal Academy | If you’re looking for ways to use your fresh sage before cold weather comes and the harvest period passes, here are 3 last-minute ways to use sage.

3. Fresh Sage Tea

Admittedly, I’m a coffee drinker; however, I try to limit myself to one cup in the morning. With this said, I do enjoy a warm beverage as I am working from my home office in the evening.

One of my go-to warming beverages is a fresh sage tea. There is nothing more satisfying than plucking 3-4 leaves from my sage plant and steeping them in a hot cup of water. Making fresh sage tea is so easy—here is no need to even put the leaves in a tea ball. Simply place them in a heat-proof mug and cover with freshly boiled water. The longer you steep the tea, the stronger it will become. I recommend steeping it for about 3-5 minutes for a delicious cup of herbal tea. If you enjoy some sweetness to your tea, add a little lemon and some maple syrup to taste.

For me, this tea has major calming benefits, most likely due to its earthy aroma and flavor.  The effects of the smell and taste of the tea are similar to those which occur when you smoke cleanse with the herb as tends to act as a grounding mechanism.

For the Love of Sage

3 Last-Minute Ways To Use Sage Before The Growing Season Ends | Herbal Academy | If you’re looking for ways to use your fresh sage before cold weather comes and the harvest period passes, here are 3 last-minute ways to use sage.

If you cannot already tell, sage is one of my favorite herbs that has been used throughout the ages.

Because it is a versatile plant, there are many ways to use beyond what we’ve discussed above. Some more ideas for using sage before the growing season ends is to add lovely greenery to your home when it is tied at the ends and dried or to make a tincture with the herb by infusing it in a light alcohol like vodka or gin. This blog post even offers a delectable recipe for making a Sage Infused Honey.

3 Last-Minute Ways To Use Sage Before The Growing Season Ends | Herbal Academy | If you’re looking for ways to use your fresh sage before cold weather comes and the harvest period passes, here are 3 last-minute ways to use sage.

REFERENCES

Bothwell, J. (2000). White sage. In R. Gladstar & P. Hirsch (Eds.). Planting the future: Saving our medicinal herbs (p. 247-249). Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

Herbal Beer: An Ancient Drink for Modern Times

Herbal Beer: An Ancient Drink for Modern Times | Herbal Academy | In this post, we are sharing how to make a refreshing brew of herbal beer, as well as its use in history and its benefits in modern times!

It’s funny — I never thought I would write anything positive about beer. My husband homebrews, so it has always been his thing. It was never something I cared too much about since I’ve never had much of a palate for beer. I’ve always preferred wine as my alcoholic beverage of choice — until recently when I started The Craft of Herbal Fermentation course through the Herbal Academy.

This course has four different units covering different fermentation methods that can be used to produce a variety of drinks and foods. The entire course was incredible, and I learned a lot. And guess what? My favorite unit was the one on herbal beer! In fact, I wish it had never ended!

In this post, I’d like to share a bit about what I learned about making herbal beer, its history and use in ancient times, and its benefits during modern times.

Is It Really Beer?

Herbal Beer: An Ancient Drink for Modern Times | Herbal Academy | In this post, we are sharing how to make a refreshing brew of herbal beer, as well as its use in history and its benefits in modern times!

There’s been some kickback to calling what we are talking about “beer.” To be grammatically correct, beer is defined as,

An alcoholic drink made from yeast-fermented malt flavored with hops (Oxford Dictionary, n.d.).

Since the herbal beer I’m speaking of does not have hops in it, it’s technically not a beer. The correct term for an herbal beer is a “gruit,” which is an herb mixture used for bittering and flavoring beer, popular before the extensive use of hops. Some brewers still choose to call it “beer” because that is what it was considered in ancient times until Reinheitsgebot.

Reinheitsgebot, a law that was passed by the Bavarians on April 23, 1516, stated that beer should only contain three ingredients: hops, barley, and water (Alworth, 2016). It was introduced to prevent price competition with bakers for other grains. The restriction of barley as the beer grain ensured that bread would remain affordable, as wheat and rye were for the bakers to use (Holle & Schaumberger, 2011). The law also is suspected to have some religious bias involved. It is believed that the German Puritans wanted to avoid the use of beverages such as gruit that were used in pagan rituals,” (Oliver, 2011)  and although there is no documented evidence, some believe that they chose hops for its ability to dampen the libido — resulting in an easy way to regulate premarital sexual activity.

Herbal Beer: An Ancient Drink for Modern Times | Herbal Academy | In this post, we are sharing how to make a refreshing brew of herbal beer, as well as its use in history and its benefits in modern times!

When beer was first created, it was known to be sacred. The alcohol content was sometimes extremely high, oftentimes psychotropic, and contained many herbs (Buhner, 1998). Our ancestors used these fermented beverages in sacred ceremonies to communicate with their ancestors and to address physical, mental, and spiritual needs (McGovern, 2018). They would often reach altered states of consciousness in a safe space with guidance to work out their inner demons and to shapeshift into a more consciously elevated part of themselves and remove or prevent the hardening of their minds (McGovern, 2018).

Our ancestors believed that everything was alive and interconnected — from the rocks, plants, and trees to the yeasts that fermented these sacred ales. To them, ingesting these brews was as if they were ingesting the sacred essence from which is the divine (Buhner, 1998).

I personally think this is such a beautiful way of working with ancient drinks such as herbal beer. I resonate with this way of thinking so much more than simply associating beer with the dive bars of modern times or college frat parties. The difference is in the level of respect and reverence for something sacred that, over centuries, has in many ways become just a drink to get drunk on, or many times, has a negative connotation to it. I get why. I have seen people I love become slaves to alcohol, and it’s ugly. I can’t help but wonder if our culture had the same reverence for beer today, would we have as much excess with it in the world? I guess that’s a question we can’t really answer, but it is one I have pondering. So different from today, our ancient ancestors believed that if proper respect and ceremony were not honored, the beer would not ferment, or at worst, it would cause illness (McGovern, 2018).

The Art of Making Herbal Beer

Herbal Beer: An Ancient Drink for Modern Times | Herbal Academy | In this post, we are sharing how to make a refreshing brew of herbal beer, as well as its use in history and its benefits in modern times!

When making herbal beer, ancient people didn’t have yeasts in packets they could buy at a store as we do. Instead, they collected wild yeasts by setting out a sweet offering for yeasts to come feast on. These wild yeasts were less controlled and tended to be more potent, much like all wild things. Our ancestors created a ceremony to prevent these wild yeasts from spoiling the brew. I can’t help but believe that anytime you put that much intention into something, you are so much more likely to have a desirable outcome. These wild yeasts were protected and preserved in families as if they were a member of the family. So beloved, these wild yeasts were shared with a newly married couple so they could create their own strain to be passed down through their family. You can learn more about how to collect wild yeasts here.

Today, craft breweries are everywhere, and making beer is appreciated as a true artisan craft again. Aside from the actual enjoyment of drinking beer, the pure bliss that comes from creating and brewing your own beer is magical. When I’m in the kitchen making it, I feel like I’m tapping into something ancient and sacred. As an herbalist, I find that brewing with beneficial plants brings closer a powerful connection to something big and ancient. Bringing the ancient art of beer making, a perfected science through years of trial and error, along with the creativity of mixing flavors and botanicals, is so much fun!

Herbal Beer: An Ancient Drink for Modern Times | Herbal Academy | In this post, we are sharing how to make a refreshing brew of herbal beer, as well as its use in history and its benefits in modern times!

The joy of making beer doesn’t just stop at bottling. The exhilaration that comes from sharing your creation with family and friends is fun, and it fills the room with a vibe that is created by connecting through this ancient beverage. Drinking an herbal homebrew with your homies is powerful and sharing in this communal event is a sacred ceremony. Everyone is a bit lighter, happier, more open, joyful, and relaxed.

Anytime my husband or I have created this ancient fermented drink and have friends over to share it, it is a beautiful time. Many times, our friends may not all know each other when they first arrive, but between the food, the homebrew, and the overall vibe/ambiance, a community comes together — everyone leaves as friends. It is quite magical! It may start somewhat quiet, but an hour or so later, conversations are buzzing around the room, people are laughing together, a fire gets lit, and instruments come out. Dancing, laughter, singing, and continued conversation fill the air. It’s a beautiful evolution of the evening, and friendships are made or are deepened. A community is created!

Learn The Art of Herbal Fermentation for Yourself

If you’re curious, and I’ve peaked your interest to learn more, check out the Herbal Academy’s The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course here. There are also a couple of books that I have really enjoyed on the topic of ancient and herbal beer such as Ancient Brews by Patrick McGovern and Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen Harrod Buhner. 

Make Your Own DIY Herbal Beer

Herbal Beer: An Ancient Drink for Modern Times | Herbal Academy | In this post, we are sharing how to make a refreshing brew of herbal beer, as well as its use in history and its benefits in modern times!

Herbal Beer: An Ancient Drink for Modern Times | Herbal Academy | In this post, we are sharing how to make a refreshing brew of herbal beer, as well as its use in history and its benefits in modern times!

I’ve included a recipe below for a lightly sour, refreshing brew. It’s the one that opened me up to actually enjoy the different tastes that you can enjoy in beer. I hope you enjoy it!

Summer Red Herbal Saison

[recipe_ingredients]

1 cup dried lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
3/4 cup dried lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora)
1/2 cup dried hibiscus (Hibiscus spp.)
1/4 cup dried linden (Tilia spp.)
1 pound brown sugar
Safe Ale US-05 Dry Ale Yeast

Equipment:

Big pot for boiling water
1-gallon glass carboy
Airlock
Beer bottles/caps
Bottle capper
Funnels
Strainer
Auto-siphon
Hydrometer
Star San sanitizer

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Sanitize all of your equipment with your Star San sanitizer.
  • Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add all of the herbs. Cover and steep for one hour. Strain and cool.
  • Once cooled, add sugar and dissolve.
  • Do a gravity reading and log it with the date and other brewing details for later reference.
  • Pour your wort (otherwise known as a sweet infusion) into your carboy (or brewing vessel). (You should only fill to the base of the bottle’s shoulder.)
  • Add your yeast and put your airlock in place.
  • Put your carboy in a dark, cool place around 68-70 degrees.
  • Check daily to see its activity. Once it stops bubbling for a few days and is clear, give it a taste to see if the sweetness is gone. If so, do a gravity reading again to compare your alcohol reading to your original reading.
  • Sanitize your beer bottles, caps, and auto siphon to prepare for bottling.
  • Prime your beer bottles with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar prior to filling with your beer.
  • Using your auto siphon, fill your bottles (being careful to not suck the residual yeast at the bottom of the carboy) until 2 inches of air space is left in the bottle.
  • Cap, label, and store in the fridge.
  • They will be ready to drink in a couple of weeks.
  • ENJOY!!

[/recipe_directions]

Herbal Beer: An Ancient Drink for Modern Times | Herbal Academy | In this post, we are sharing how to make a refreshing brew of herbal beer, as well as its use in history and its benefits in modern times!

REFERENCES:

Alworth, J. (2016). Attempting to understand the Reinheitsgebot. [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://allaboutbeer.com/article/happy-birthday-reinheitsgebot/

Buhner, S. H. (1998). Sacred and herbal healing beers. Boulder, CO: Siris Books.

Holle, S. R., & Schaumberger, M. (2011). The Reinheitsgebot – One country’s interpretation of quality beer. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.morebeer.com/articles/Reinheitsgebot_Brewing_Germany_Purity_Law_Bavaria_1516_Malt_Barley_Water_Hops_Yeast

McGovern, P. E. (2018). Ancient brews: Rediscovered and re-created. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co.

Oliver, G. (2011). The Oxford companion to beer. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Oxford Dictionary. (n.d.). [Website]. Retrieved from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/

Nettle Plant Walk Video: Identification, Uses, Preparations, & More!

Nettle Plant Walk Video: Identification, Uses, Preparations, & More! | Herbal Academy | Join us for a plant walk video all about the herb, nettle!

Join herbalist and Herbal Academy Assistant Director, Jane Metzger as she explains how to identify and use nettle in this plant walk video. Not only will you learn how to identify this plant in the wild and some common ways to use it, but you’ll learn a bit about nettle’s energetics and actions as well. Just click play on the video below or watch it on our YouTube channel.

Nettle

Name/Family: 

Nettle, Urtica dioica (Urticaceae)

Parts Used:

Aerial Parts, Seeds, Roots

About:

While its prickly sting is considered a nuisance by hikers and farmers, nettle is the popular, cool kid of the herbal world—herbalists love nettles! Nettle leaf is a quintessential nourishing herbal tonic, rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals, and can be drunk in tea or eaten daily. Nettle nourishes, supports and energizes the whole body, is richly nourishing to the blood, assists the body in nutrient and protein assimilation, and supports the body’s energy levels to allay fatigue.

Beyond providing a rich supply of nutrients, nettle leaf and root also aid elimination of waste and toxins from the body, helping in the case of arthritis, gout, and skin problems like eczema. Fresh nettle leaf is anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory and can be useful in cases of hay fever and allergies. If stung by nettle, you can squeeze a little of the leaf juice or tea onto the sting to soothe. Nettle is astringent so can be slightly drying. Add a pinch of marshmallow or licorice if nettle’s drying effects are too much!

Interested in learning more about plant identification and harvesting? Check out our Botany & Wildcrafting Course, available now!

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more Herbal Videos!

Join us over on the Herbal Academy’s Youtube channel and follow along as we add new videos for you each and every month! Videos are a great way to share and connect with our community and students in a very visual platform. On our Youtube channel, you’ll find helpful information about the Academy, as well as regular plant walk and foraging videos, DIY demonstrations, and more.

To subscribe to our channel, and view all the other videos uploaded right now:

  1. Visit our Youtube channel,
  2. Click the big red “subscribe” button,
  3. Find all our videos under the Playlist option covering:
  • Herbal Tutorials and Recipes
  • NEW Mini-Herbal Walks
  • Herbal Courses here at the Academy
  • And general videos about the Herbal Academy

We look forward to seeing you over there!

Nettle Plant Walk Video: Identification, Uses, Preparations, & More! | Herbal Academy | Join us for a plant walk video all about the herb, nettle!

12 At-Risk Plants NOT To Harvest This Year

12 At-Risk Plants NOT To Harvest This Year | Herbal Academy | Late spring and summer are ideal times to harvest many plants, but these 12 at-risk plants should be avoided.

Late spring and summer are ideal times for harvesting plants. This is because, by this time, most plants have developed to the point where their identifying characteristics are obvious — leaves are often fully grown, flowers have blossomed, and some plants are already forming seeds, each of which makes plant identification easier.

While most in the herbal community encourage the wildcrafting of local plants, this practice isn’t as simple as going out and digging an identified plant out of the ground in order to use it. Just as one herbalist teaches another how to make an infused herbal oil or how to incorporate a specific plant into their practice, teaching others how to harvest plants must be combined with a fair amount of instruction on why one should harvest in the first place, which plants to harvest, when to harvest, and how to do it in a sustainable way. Ethics and sustainability are always in the forefront of an herbalists mind as he or she seeks to gather plants to use.

“If we choose to use plants as our medicine, we then become accountable for the wild gardens, their health and their upkeep.” – Rosemary Gladstar

While there are several important pieces of information that an herbalist would want to pass on to someone new to wildcrafting, one of the most important is teaching about at-risk plants and why we should not harvest them.

This article will explain what at-risk plants are, what our responsibility is concerning these plants, and what we can do to preserve and protect them. We’ll also look at 12 at-risk plants that you should not harvest from the wild.

What are “At-Risk” Plants?

At-risk plants are those that are either naturally rare in the environment or those that are becoming rare through human influence.

Just as some plants reproduce and spread quickly and are often termed as “invasive” plants, there are those that are quite the opposite. These plants are naturally rare. This can be due to slow growth habits, habitat incompatibility, population isolation, genetic incompatibility, problems with seed dispersal, loss of pollinators (which can also be caused by human influence), or by competition from or overpopulation of invasive plants, animals, or pests (USDA Forest Service, n.d.a.). Other plants can become rare due to the influence of human practices which impact habitat availability and quality such as commercial development and timber harvesting, and those that impact a plant’s ability to maintain viable plant populations, such as unsustainable wildcrafting practices (USDA Forest Service, n.d.a.).

An Herbalist’s Responsibility

As herbalists, our work revolves around plants, so it makes sense that we would want to use plants in a wise manner — protecting and preserving them with their long-term viability in mind, not just for our sakes, but for the sake of the plant itself and the ecosystem which it inhabits. In order to do that, we must ask ourselves if we truly need the plant we’re considering using.

Many times, we choose to harvest plants that we don’t need simply because we want to be prepared, to have options to choose from, or to have a full apothecary. However, this causes us to fall into the mindset of “more is better.” Instead, let’s strive to be mindful of the plants we use and how much we harvest, as this will help us exemplify sustainability in our personal herbal practices.

How We Can Make A Difference

So what can we do as herbalists to make a difference when it comes to at-risk plants? Several things come to mind.

First, we can teach beginner herbalists about good wildcrafting practices. This includes basic things like how to find and identify plants, how to harvest them, what tools they’ll need, and how to preserve the harvest afterwards, but it also includes having conversations about appropriate places from which to harvest plants, how much of a plant to harvest in a particular area, discussing the stewardship of plants and their habitats, and what plants not to harvest.

Next, we can look for herbal replacements for at-risk plants and use those first. For example, instead of harvesting and using goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), why not use barberry (Berberis spp.) in its place, or instead of harvesting slippery elm bark (Ulmus rubra), why not use marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis) as a substitute?

Lastly, if you must use at-risk plants, try sourcing them from cultivated sources or growing them yourself. Today, many herb farmers and herbalists are growing at-risk plants using sustainable growing and harvesting methods to ensure that wild populations can recover from influences that have contributed to their decline in the wild and replace the need to harvest wild populations.

Now that you know what at-risk plants are, what our responsibility is concerning these plants, and what we can do to preserve and protect them, let’s look at 12 at-risk herbs that should not be harvested this year.

12 At-Risk Herbs You Should Not Harvest This Year

Below you’ll find plant descriptions for 12 at-risk plants so you can get to know what these plants look like and identify them in the wild — although in this case, you’ll want to steer clear of harvesting them! Instead, protect them so they can grow freely in their natural environments, seek cultivated sources and/or grow them yourself, and educate other herbalists and foragers on the need to steward these special plants.
BlackCohosh_Leaves_byJane

1. Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa L.)

Black cohosh can be found growing in the deep shade of deciduous forests. It has dark green leaves that are deeply divided with around 3 toothed leaflets on each stem and a black mark on each stem where it forks into three branches (Howell, 2006). The leaf portion of the plant can grow between 2-3 feet tall, and in the summer, the flower stalks emerge, some solitary and some branched, rising 4-7 feet high from the center of the plant (Howell, 2006). Pea-shaped buds form on the upper portions of the flower stalk (inflorescence), and by late July, the white flowers begin to bloom from the bottom of the inflorescence to the top (Howell, 2006).

2. Echinacea (Echinacea spp.)

Echinacea is a perennial that grows up to 4 feet in height with straight, unbranched stems and hairy, alternate leaves (Herbal Academy, n.d.). Echinacea flowers consist of pink-purple petals arranged around a bristle-y cone-shaped seed head (Grieve, 1971). It grows from a slightly spiraled taproot that has a faint aromatic smell and leaves a sweet taste, as well as a tingling, numbing sensation, in the mouth (Grieve, 1971).

3. Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa)

Wild yam is another perennial vine that grows in deciduous woods and can reach up to 15 feet in length (Howell, 2006). It starts out growing upright with its leaves growing in a whorl; as it continues to grow from the center of the whorl, the leaves become alternate (Illinois Wildflowers, n.d.). Wild yam has heart-shaped leaves with distinctive, parallel veins that run from the base of the leaf to the tip (Howell, 2006). It blooms small green flowers from May to July, and in the fall, it produces small triangular seed capsules (Howell, 2006). Wild yam roots are long, knotted, contorted, and woody with an acrid taste and no odor (Grieve, 1971).

12 At-Risk Plants NOT To Harvest This Year | Herbal Academy | Late spring and summer are ideal times to harvest many plants, but these 12 at-risk plants should be avoided.

4. Eyebright (Euphrasia spp.)

Eyebright is a small annual plant that grows between 2-8 inches tall with stems that can either be solitary or branched (Grieve, 1971). Leaves are tiny with bristle-toothed edges, and they grow opposite one another on the lower portion of the stem and alternate further up the stem (Foster & Duke, 2000). Flowers bloom from June to September. The upper 2 lobes of the flowers have a pale purple hue with purple veins; these lobes arch over 4 stamens in the center of the flower. The bottom 3 lobes are whiter in color, and they too have purple veins as well as a small yellow spot in the center (Grieve, 1971). The roots of eyebright are semi-parasitic, relying on the roots of other plants, particularly grasses, for part of the plant’s nourishment (Foster & Duke, 2000).

5. American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

American ginseng is a perennial found in the deep shade of hardwood forests, often growing among bloodroot, black cohosh, and wild ginger (Howell, 2006). It grows close to 12 inches tall and has 2-4 leaves on a single stem, with each leaf being divided into five sharply toothed leaflets (Grieve, 1971). The center leaves are larger than the outer leaves. In summer, small green flowers bloom at the center of the plant. Eventually, a small cluster of green berries forms and turns a bright red by fall (Howell, 2006). Ginseng roots are pale yellow to brownish-colored, slow-growing taproots that reach 2-3 inches in length after several years (growing larger the older the plant gets) (Grieve, 1971).

12 At-Risk Plants NOT To Harvest This Year | Herbal Academy | Late spring and summer are ideal times to harvest many plants, but these 12 at-risk plants should be avoided.

6. Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Goldenseal is a woodland perennial that grows anywhere from 6-12 inches tall. It has alternate leaves that grow in pairs on a forked branch with one leaf larger than the other. Leaves are large and double-toothed. There are usually 5 lobes but some can have up to 7 lobes (Foster & Duke, 2000; Sinclair & Catling, 2001). In late April to early May, goldenseal produces a single, white flower consisting of a cluster of greenish-white stamens only (no petals). By July or August, the flower turns into a single, bright red berry that resembles a raspberry. Each berry contains 10-30 seeds (Foster & Duke, 2000; Sinclair & Catling, 2001). Goldenseal roots are about the size of a little finger and consist of a bright yellow rhizome that grows horizontally and has a knotty appearance (Grieve, 1971; Pengelly et al., 2012).

7. Trillium (Trillium spp.)

Trillium grows in shady, wooded areas near bloodroot and trout lily (Erythronium americanum) and has a single erect stem about 12 inches tall with three triangular-oval leaves covered in a net-like pattern of veins which vary in shape and color by species (Howell, 2006). Trillium flowers bloom between April and May and have three ovate, wavy-edged, petals (color varies by species) surrounded by three small green sepals (Missouri Botanical Garden, n.d.a.). There are two whorls of three stamens, three stigmas, and three seeds inside each flower (Howell, 2006). As you can see, trilliums are a living tribute to the number three!

12 At-Risk Plants NOT To Harvest This Year | Herbal Academy | Late spring and summer are ideal times to harvest many plants, but these 12 at-risk plants should be avoided.

8. Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium spp.)

Lady’s Slipper orchid grows in rich woodlands and bogs among conifer and deciduous trees. While there are over 50 species worldwide, most have similar characteristics (USDA Forest Service, n.d.b.). First, lady’s slipper is a perennial that can grow anywhere from 8-36 inches tall. Its leaves are broadly lance-shaped, with 3-6 leaves alternating up the stem with parallel veins running from the base to the tip, and depending on the species, varying degrees of hair can be found on the leaves and stem (Foster & Duke, 2000). Lady’s slipper blooms between May – July (Foster & Duke, 2000), producing its characteristic feature — various sized flowers that are shaped like a slipper, each flower featuring two fertile anthers instead of just one (Britannica.com, n.d.). Most species have 1-2 flowers per stem, and flowers vary in color depending on the species — from white to yellow to pink to burgundy (Foster & Duke, 2000). Most species grow from rhizomes and have fibrous roots (Britannica.com, n.d.).

9. Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra)

Slippery elm is a medium size tree that usually reaches anywhere from 40-60 feet tall, sometimes up to 100 feet tall, with a broad crown, soft, downy twigs, and small reddish-green flowers in the spring (Missouri Botanical Garden, n.d.b.). Its leaves are about 4-8 inches long and 2-3 inches wide and are rough and dark green on the upper surface with a hairy, lighter green underside (Missouri Botanical Garden, n.d.b.). At maturity, the outer bark is a brown-gray in color, thick, coarse-feeling, and fissured, and the slippery-feeling inner bark has a red color (Kane, 2009).

12 At-Risk Plants NOT To Harvest This Year | Herbal Academy | Late spring and summer are ideal times to harvest many plants, but these 12 at-risk plants should be avoided.

10. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Bloodroot is one of the earliest plants to bloom in the spring. Its leaves and flower grow on separate stems between 4-6 inches tall, and by late March, the waxy, white flower with yellow stamens at the center can be found blooming just above the leaf mulch of shaded areas with a reddish curled leaf growing alongside it (Howell, 2006). The flower blooms briefly, followed by the unfurling of the plant’s single basal leaf that can be as wide as eight inches (United Plant Savers, 2013). The root is about the size and shape of the little finger. It is thick and fleshy, and it produces a bright red-orange juice (Howell, 2006).

11. Virginia Snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria)

Virginia snakeroot is a perennial vine that grows in cool, moist deciduous forests, often around maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum), blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), and wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) (Howell, 2006). The vine can grow between 1-2 feet long and has heart-shaped leaves and brownish-purple flowers that are S-shaped and bloom between May to July (Howell, 2006). The root is thought to smell like turpentine (Howell, 2006).

12. Ramp Bulbs (Allium tricoccum)

Ramps or wild leeks have a garlic-like aroma and flavor and can be found emerging from rich, moist soil of temperate, hardwood forests between late March and early April (National Agroforestry Center, 2014). Ramps grow from an underground bulb attached to a rhizome (National Agroforestry Center, 2014), producing elliptic, lanceolate-shaped leaves that grow up from the base of the plant (New England Wild Flower Society, n.d.). The plant sends up a scape in mid-May, and quickly after that, the leaves die back as the tree canopy cuts out sunlight from reaching the plant (National Agroforestry Center, 2014). Ramp scapes will bloom into a white to yellow flowers in late June (New England Wild Flower Society, n.d.; National Agroforestry Center, 2014).

Get Involved In Protecting At-Risk Plants

If you’d like to learn more about protecting and preserving at-risk herbs, let me encourage you to check out the United Plant Savers website (UpS). United Plant Savers strives to protect native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada as well as their native habitats in order to make sure there is an abundant and renewable supply of plants for future generations. They offer information on at-risk plants as well as other plants that are in danger of becoming rare over time. You can become a member, contribute toward their mission, and keep up with news and current events surrounding these plants.

12 At-Risk Plants NOT To Harvest This Year | Herbal Academy | Late spring and summer are ideal times to harvest many plants, but these 12 at-risk plants should be avoided.

REFERENCES

Britannica.com. (n.d.). Lady’s slipper. [Online Database]. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/plant/ladys-slipper

Foster, S., & Duke, J.A. (2000). Peterson field guide to medicinal plants and herbs of eastern and central North America. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

New England Wild Flower Society. (n.d.). Allium tricoccum. [Online Database]. Retrieved from  https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/allium/tricoccum/

Grieve, M. (1971). A modern herbal (Vol. 1). New York, NY: Dover Publications.

Herbal Academy. (n.d.). Echinacea monograph. [Online Database]. Retrieved from https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/monographs/#/monograph/1010

Howell, P.K. (2006). Medicinal plants of the southern Appalachians. Mountain City, GA: BotanoLogos Books.

Wild yam. (n.d.). [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/savanna/plants/wild_yam.html

Kane, C. W. (2009). Herbal medicine: Trends and traditions. Tucson, AZ: Lincoln Town Press

Missouri Botanical Garden. (n.d.a.). Trillium grandiflorum. [Online Database]. Retrieved from http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=f317

Missouri Botanical Garden. (n.d.b.). Ulmus rubra. [Online Database]. Retrieved from http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=a926

National Agroforestry Center. (2014). Forest farming ramps. [PDF]. Retrieved from https://www.fs.usda.gov/nac/documents/agroforestrynotes/an47ff08.pdf

Pengelly, A., Bennett, K., Spelman, K., & Tims, M. (2012). Appalachian plant monographs: Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis L. Retrieved from http://www.frostburg.edu/fsu/assets/File/ACES/Hydrastis%20canadensis%20for%20ACES%20website.pdf

Sinclair, A. & Catling, P. M. (2001). Cultivating the increasingly popular medicinal plant, goldenseal: Review and update. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 16 (3): 131-140. doi: 10.1017/S088918930000905X

United Plant Savers. (2013). Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.unitedplantsavers.org/bloodroot-sanguinaria-canadensis

USDA Forest Service. (n.d.a.). Why are some plants rare. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/Rare_Plants/whyare.shtml

USDA Forest Service. (n.d.b.). Meet the ladies: The slipper orchids. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/beauty/cypripedium/index.shtml

Learn To Identify Cleavers In Our Newest Plant Walk Video

Learn To Identify Cleavers In Our Newest Plant Walk Video | Herbal Academy | Join us on the plant walk video all about cleavers!

We’re back with another plant walk video from Herbal Academy Assistant Director, Jane Metzger. In this video, Jane will be showing us how to identify cleavers as well as sharing some common preparations this plant is used in. Just click play on the video below or watch it on our YouTube channel.

Cleavers

Name/Family: 

Cleavers, Galium aparine (Rubiaceae)

Parts Used:

Aerial parts

About:

One of the primary therapeutic uses of cleavers is its use for imbalances in the lymphatic system. It is widely regarded as an ally in the case of lymphatic congestion, wherein one sees conditions of swollen glands, gravel, fibrous tumors, and calcifications. Cleavers has alterative and diuretic actions, which help move lymphatic fluid and ease stagnation. It is often employed as a nutritive spring tonic to “get things moving” after a long winter.

With its diuretic, demulcent, and astringent actions, cleavers helps to soothe urinary imbalances such as cystitis and stagnant urination, as well as prostate issues. It helps to move fluid from the body, easing edema. As an anti-lithic, cleavers exhibits a dissolvent ability used by herbalists to help with kidney stones. Cleavers alterative action is helpful for skin issues such as dry eczema, psoriasis, scrofula, scurvy, burns, and various skin disorders. Cleavers may be contraindicated in cases of diabetes, and in some may cause contact dermatitis.

Interested in learning more about herbalism and foraging? Stop by the Herbal Academy for online programs: https://www.theherbalacademy.com/courses-classes.

Learn To Identify Cleavers In Our Newest Plant Walk Video | Herbal Academy | Join us on the plant walk video all about cleavers!

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more Herbal Videos!

Don’t forget that the Herbal Academy has a Youtube channel! Videos offer us a wonderful way to share and connect with our community and students in a very visual platform. On our Youtube channel, you will find helpful information about the Academy, as well as regular plant walk and foraging videos, DIY demonstrations, and more.

To subscribe to our channel, and view all the other videos uploaded right now:

  1. Visit our Youtube channel,
  2. Click the big red “subscribe” button,
  3. Find all our videos under the Playlist option covering:
  • Herbal Tutorials and Recipes
  • NEW Mini-Herbal Walks
  • Herbal Courses here at the Academy
  • And general videos about the Herbal Academy

We look forward to seeing you over there!

Learn To Identify Cleavers In Our Newest Plant Walk Video | Herbal Academy | Join us on the plant walk video all about cleavers!

FairWild Week: Go Wild for Wild Plants

FairWild Week: Go Wild for Wild Plants | Herbal Academy | Learn how you can stand up for wild plants to ensure they’re around for years to come!

You may not realize just how many plants you come into contact with on a daily basis, but for most people, it’s a lot. Whether it’s food, drinks, cosmetics, medicines, or lifestyle products, wild plants can be found in hundreds of thousands of products worldwide. In fact, around 30,000 different plant species have been documented and shown to have health benefits and aromatic uses.

Whether we’re consuming these products or producing them, these plants are being harvested from the wild, and we need to stand up and take responsibility for the things we use and make so these wild allies can stay around and benefit us for a long time to come.

That’s where FairWild Week (June 25th – July 1st) and their TRAFFIC Report comes into play.

FairWild Week

FairWild week is an annual initiative to raise awareness about wild plants in trade amongst consumers and reconnect them with the issues affecting the plants on which they, often unknowingly, rely. The goal is to bring awareness and education to consumers and manufacturers around plant sustainability.

A recent analysis found that only an estimated 7% of plants with well-documented uses have been assessed against extinction threat criteria (IUCN Red List), and 20% of these plants are currently classified as threatened with extinction in the wild! With an increase in harvesting and consumption, the number of those being traded beyond sustainable levels is sure to rise even further.

FairWild Week: Go Wild for Wild Plants | Herbal Academy | Learn how you can stand up for wild plants to ensure they’re around for years to come!

Our Responsibility

As herbal consumers, educators, and business owners, we have a responsibility to wild plants — to not only spread the word about the amazing things they do but to teach and use them in a sustainable manner as well.

During FairWild Week, you can:

  • learn more about how the world of wild plants can be more sustainable
  • hear success stories straight from the field
  • learn how to take steps to reconnect to the wild through the products you use, and
  • learn how to ensure that the products you make are sustainable.

What You Can Do

  1. Visit the FairWild website to find out what the issues are and how you can be a part of the solution.
  2. Follow FairWild on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
  3. Download, read, and share the 2018 TRAFFIC Report.
  4. Take a stand! Decide how you will get involved in sustainable plant practices in your daily life.

About FairWild

The FairWild Foundation was established in response to these concerns, to work towards market transformation and provide best practice guidelines and certification schemes for harvesters, operators, producers, and suppliers involved in the trade in wild plant ingredients.

FairWild Week: Go Wild for Wild Plants | Herbal Academy | Learn how you can stand up for wild plants to ensure they’re around for years to come!

5 Ways To Use Hollyhock In Your Materia Medica

5 Ways To Use Hollyhock In Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Hollyhock is more than just a beautiful flower. Here are 5 ways you can add hollyhock to your materia medica!

You may have admired hollyhock (Althaea rosea) already in gardens, along bike paths, or in other sunny locations as a beautiful and commonly used ornamental. After all, its gorgeous tall stalks with large and vibrant rose-esque blooms tend to demand attention! But did you know that these stunning blooms are also an herb that can be used in your materia medica? Its gentle, emollient, and inflammation-soothing properties are worth taking note of. Read on to learn 5 ways you can use hollyhock in your materia medica.

5 Ways To Use Hollyhock

5 Ways To Use Hollyhock In Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Hollyhock is more than just a beautiful flower. Here are 5 ways you can add hollyhock to your materia medica!

1. As an Inflammation-Soothing Tea

A well-known property of hollyhock is its demulcent quality. Demulcent herbs, like hollyhock, help soothe irritation and inflammation by creating a film over the mucosa they contact. You can use hollyhock as an herbal tea to help soothe inflammation of tissues in the gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and respiratory tracts (Skenderi, 2003).

Since the majority of herbs are intensely drying in nature, when a moistening and mucilaginous herb comes along, it is important to take note! Adding a dried hollyhock flower or two to your herbal infusion is a great way to balance the energetics of an overly dry formula and soothe irritation to the mucous membranes. When our tissues become hot, dry, or inflamed from irritants like seasonal pollen and environmental toxins or from sore throats or eating something overly spicy, hollyhock can be helpful as a cooling and soothing tea.

Flavor-wise, hollyhock is quite neutral, which makes it easy to combine with other herbs in a formula. To extract more of the cooling demulcent properties from hollyhock in a tea, try preparing it using an overnight cold infusion method.

2. As a Mouthwash, Rinse, & Gargle

In the same way that hollyhock soothes inflammation in our respiratory, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary tracts, it can also calm irritation in the mouth. To use hollyhock as a mouthwash and herbal rinse are both fabulous ways to soothe inflammation in the mouth and gums.

As a gargle, hollyhock can help ease the symptoms from a dry cough, hoarse throat, and tonsillitis (Holmes, 1989). Given its gentle nature, using hollyhock as a mouthwash and rinse can be incorporated into a simple daily practice.

5 Ways To Use Hollyhock In Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Hollyhock is more than just a beautiful flower. Here are 5 ways you can add hollyhock to your materia medica!

Basic Hollyhock Mouthwash

[recipe_ingredients]

2 dried hollyhock flowers
1 cup water
optional: 1 teaspoon vodka

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Place hollyhock flowers in a jar.
  • Pour cool or room temperature water over hollyhock. Cover and allow the tea to infuse overnight (or approximately 8 hours).
  • Strain hollyhock flowers from the liquid using a fine mesh strainer into a bottle or jar.
  • If desired, add vodka to help preserve the mouthwash for up to 5 days if refrigerated.
  • Rinse and gargle with mouthwash daily for 20-30 seconds.
  • Store, covered, in the refrigerator. Mouthwash will keep for 2-3 days without adding vodka.

[/recipe_directions]

3. As an Herbal Wash, Compress, & Poultice

Hollyhock can be a supportive ally for general skin inflammation and irritation when used as an herbal wash, compress, or poultice. The cooling, demulcent quality of hollyhock is considered very similar to that of marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis), only slightly milder in nature (Holmes, 1989).

Traditionally, in Brazil, it is noted that hollyhock leaves are applied directly to an area of inflammation on the body as a poultice, while in the Middle East the mucilage from hollyhock is mixed with dough and olive oil and then applied to tumorous areas or directly on bruises (Duke, 2008). Alternatively, in Peru, hollyhock leaves are cooked in oil or milk, mashed into a poultice, and applied onto swollen areas (Duke, 2008).

Making a poultice using hollyhock leaves can also be a great tool for calming irritation from insect bites and stings. Before applying a poultice, you may want to steam the leaves slightly so they become more pliable and can bend around the skin.

Skin conditions showing dryness, heat, or damp-heat are more indicated for using hollyhock as an herbal wash and compress (Holmes, 1989). Learn more about herbal compresses and fomentations here.

5 Ways To Use Hollyhock In Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Hollyhock is more than just a beautiful flower. Here are 5 ways you can add hollyhock to your materia medica!

4. By Eating the Petals & Young Leaves

Using hollyhock as an edible is a great way to add vibrant color to foods and get a boost of flavonoids in your diet. Although the full nutrient and constituent profile of hollyhock is not well studied, the flowers are reported to contain flavonoids and mucilaginous polysaccharides (Skenderi, 2003). While the young hollyhock leaves and flower buds need to be cooked before being eaten, hollyhock flower petals can be eaten cooked or raw (Duke, 2008).

Be aware that since hollyhock is commonly planted as an ornamental, it could be sprayed with pesticides or treated with other chemicals you do not want to ingest. Also, be sure to check inside your hollyhock flower before eating in case any critters have made a home inside.

5. As a Natural Coloring Agent

One unique property of black and dark red hollyhock petals is their ability to color different mediums! While many herbs carry rich or vibrant colors, not all can transform the appearance of our teas and potions. One way to use hollyhock is by incorporating it in your herbal wines, teas, and juices to instill a deep, rich color (Skenderi, 2003; Duke, 2008). Note that this is specific to the black and dark red hollyhock flowers only and not the lighter colored varieties.

Another way you can use hollyhock as a coloring agent is for natural fiber or hair dye. For fibers, the final color ends up as a deep bluish-lavender. Using hollyhock as a natural hair dye can be great for neutralizing the yellowish tones in grey hair or as a complementary herb in formulas for natural blonde hair dye (so it doesn’t turn out too “yellowish” in appearance).

Simple Hollyhock Hair Dye Rinse

[recipe_ingredients]

1 cup fresh purple or dark red hollyhock flowers
4 cups water

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Place your hollyhock flowers in a jar.
  • Bring water to boil, then pour over hollyhock in a heat-safe container. Cover and allow the tea to infuse for about 20 minutes.
  • Strain hollyhock flowers from the liquid using a fine mesh strainer into a bottle or jar.
  • Allow to cool to lukewarm, room temperature, or chill in the fridge until you are ready to use.
  • After cleaning your hair in the shower, rinse your hair with the hollyhock tea, working the liquid through your hair from roots to tips.
  • Rinse well with clean water then condition your hair, if desired.
  • Repeat weekly for best results.

[/recipe_directions]

More Than Just Another Pretty Flower

Although we have only covered five ways to use hollyhock in your materia medica here, hollyhock has been used traditionally around the world for a plethora of other purposes. Some of these applications have dropped away in modern use (such as mixing hollyhock juice with spiderwebs to help staunch bleeding!) but others are still readily applied in different herbal practices today (Duke, 2008).

After taking a deeper look at some of the ways you can use hollyhock in your materia medica, it’s clear that hollyhock really is more than just another pretty flower! Which ways will you use hollyhock today?

Learn about more edible flowers and how to use them in our post here.

5 Ways To Use Hollyhock In Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Hollyhock is more than just a beautiful flower. Here are 5 ways you can add hollyhock to your materia medica!

REFERENCES

Duke, J.A. (2008). Duke’s handbook of medicinal plants of the bible. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Holmes, P. (1989). The energetics of western herbs. Cotati, CA: Snow Lotus Press.

Skenderi, G. (2003). Herbal vade mecum. Rutherford, NJ: Herbacy Press.