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.

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

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.

6 Basil Varieties & What You Should Know About Them

6 Basil Varieties & What You Should Know About Them | Herbal Academy | Did you know there are many basil varieties that can be planted and used in various ways? Come learn about six of them and how to incorporate them into your life.

Few things compare to the fresh smell and flavor of basil pesto. Throw some basil leaves and pine nuts (or even less expensive almonds) in a blender with some olive oil, lemon, and salt, and you create a fragrant, herbaceous spread you can put on most anything. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water! Basil is a versatile herb, and one of the easiest to grow. In fact, there are over 40 basil varieties!

Basil comes from the herb family Lamiaceae, which is comprised of other edible herbs such as mint, lavender, and rosemary. The genus name of basil is Ocimum, and it includes many varieties and cultivars. These include basils that grow as annuals, perennials, and shrubs. They include varieties with a range of flavors — spicy, fruity, sweet, and licorice flavored. Basil leaves come in all shapes, sizes, and colors! Some are tiny and others get as big as lettuce leaves, and colors range from green to purple to black.

Needless to say, you have many options available if you want to incorporate basil into your herb garden or your cooking, and choosing from the large host of basil varieties is quite possibly the most challenging part of cultivating the herb! If you visit your local garden center they will likely have a few basil seedlings, however, if you’re looking for more interesting basil varieties, you will have to start your plants from seed.

6 Basil Varieties & What You Should Know About Them | Herbal Academy | Did you know there are many basil varieties that can be planted and used in various ways? Come learn about six of them and how to incorporate them into your life.

Basil is easy to grow but is frost-tender so in temperate regions can only be grown outdoors during the warmer months. In the cold months, you can grow basil indoors in pots. One great tip that I stumbled upon is to buy organic herbs from the grocery store and place their stems in some water so they will root. When they’re ready, pot them, and voila, your own basil plant! If you need more tips about growing herbs indoors, check out our blog post: How to Plant Culinary Herbs Indoors During Winter.)

When harvesting basil, you can pinch off the top leaves periodically. This also serves to help the plant grow in a bushier habit.

The beauty of having such a diverse array of basil varieties is that you can use each plant for different needs. When you’re trying to narrow your decision, consider what you want to use the basil for. Will it be used for cooking or for drinks? As a garnish? Maybe you’re making a basil dish to freeze, or it may be that you’re concocting a tincture.

In order to help make your decision a little easier, below is a sampling of 6 basil varieties and their uses.

6 Basil Varieties To Know & Use

6 Basil Varieties & What You Should Know About Them | Herbal Academy | Did you know there are many basil varieties that can be planted and used in various ways? Come learn about six of them and how to incorporate them into your life.

Genovese Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Genovese’)

This type of basil is one that is most likely familiar as it is commonly found in the produce section at the grocery store. Some stores even sell it in pots so you can cultivate your own indoor basil plant. As the name suggests, this plant is often used to flavor popular Italian dishes. It can also be used as a beautiful garnish.

Eating real foods and herbs is one of the best ways to reap their health benefits. If you’re looking to incorporate basil into your diet, try this delicious Spinach Pesto recipe on our blog — just substitute O. basilicum for the spinach and greens. You really can’t go wrong, as pesto is a recipe that lends itself well to creativity.

6 Basil Varieties & What You Should Know About Them | Herbal Academy | Did you know there are many basil varieties that can be planted and used in various ways? Come learn about six of them and how to incorporate them into your life.

Sweet Basil (O. basilicum)

A sweeter and more petite cousin to the Genovese variety, this basil is also a great choice for pasta dishes. Sweet basil is the most familiar basil used to make pesto. To keep the sweet flavor and to facilitate growth, prune the top four leaves of the plant regularly.

Sweet Thai Basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflorum)

Having a partner who manages a Thai restaurant has contributed to my strong love for this sweet basil with its light licorice flavor. Thai basil is a must-have in any Asian dish such as curry or noodle dishes like pho. My favorite way to incorporate it is to place whole leaves on top of a pad thai as an edible garnish. What can I say? It’s a trick of the trade. Check out this Easy Vegan Pad Thai recipe from The Spruce and top it with delicious thai basil for a punch of flavour.

Lemon and Lime Basil (O. basilicum x O. americanum)

These are two different basil varieties, although they fall into the same category. Both plants mimic the flavor and smell of their namesakes. Just this past spring, I made a delicious series of teas using lemon basil and some other herbs I had on hand. These light-tasting basil types can also be used in a variety of dishes to add a subtle hint of flavor. You can also use lemon and and lime basil in a basil cocktail in the afternoon (virgin of course!) instead of your usual coffee. Simply combine 3 or 4 mashed lemon or lime basil leaves at the bottom of a glass, add some ice and carbonated water, spritz with a squeeze of lime, and top with a couple more basil leaves. This tonic is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and uplifted!

6 Basil Varieties & What You Should Know About Them | Herbal Academy | Did you know there are many basil varieties that can be planted and used in various ways? Come learn about six of them and how to incorporate them into your life.

Holy Basil (O. sanctum or O. tenuiflorum)

Holy basil (also called tulsi) is a well-known herb used as a tea, tincture, and herbal supplement (Cohen, 2014).  You can read more about its uses here: Creating a Local Materia Medica: Holy Basil.

Tulsi has spiritual connotations as it is revered in India. According to the Hindu religion, tulsi is an earthly representation of the goddess Tulsi (Cohen, 2014).

Due to its pungent floral taste and smell, holy basil is also popular in homemade herbal teas or as potpourri. If you’re interesting in learning more about the everyday uses of holy basil, check out our blog post: 7 Ways to Use Tulsi Everyday.

Spicy Globe Basil (O. basilicum minimum  ‘Spicy Globe’)

If you’re looking for a plant that will grow well inside or on your patio, this basil tends to be smaller than some of the other basil varieties. As the name implies, the leaves on this herb are small and spicy, which might add a punch to some of your dishes.

Health Benefits of Basil

Basil has a wide variety of health benefits. To begin, it’s a cooling herb that is often used during fevers to open the pores and allow the body to cool itself (Wood, 2008). It’s also a well-known digestive herb and is often used for digestive troubles such as indigestion, cramps, and constipation (Tierra, 1998). It has been shown to have antibacterial properties (Suppakul, Miltz, Sonneveld & Bigger, 2003), and is also an excellent herb for the nervous system, where it works to first stimulate and then relax the system (Wood, 2008). Tulsi is also used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogenic herbs help the body respond more effectively to stress by stabilizing the effects of the neuroendocrine system and supporting the immune system (Winston & Maimes, 2007).

Now that you know a bit about some of the diverse types of basil and basil’s role in wellness support, how will you incorporate basil into your life? We want to know!

6 Basil Varieties & What You Should Know About Them | Herbal Academy | Did you know there are many basil varieties that can be planted and used in various ways? Come learn about six of them and how to incorporate them into your life.

REFERENCES

Cohen, M. M. (2014). Tulsi-Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine, 5(4), 251.

Suppakul, P., Miltz, J., Sonneveld, K., & Bigger, S. W. (2003). Antimicrobial properties of basil and its possible application in food packaging. [Abstract]. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51(11), 3197-3207.

Tierra, M. (1998). The way of herbs. New York, NY: Pocket Books.

Winston, D. & Maimes, S. (2007). Adaptogens: Herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

Wood, M. (2008). The earthwise herbal: A complete guide to old world medicinal plants. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

How To Incorporate Hemp In Your Materia Medica

How To Incorporate Hemp in Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Here's a basic introduction to hemp so that you can walk away with a better understanding of how to incorporate it in your materia medica.

With hemp (Cannabis sativa) only just beginning to emerge on the forefront of herbal practice and scientific research, there is much curiosity and confusion in the herbal community surrounding the general use of hemp and what distinguishes it from marijuana or weed.

In this article, I will guide you through a basic introduction to hemp, some qualifying factors, common clinical applications, and general forms of use so that you can walk away with a better understanding of how to incorporate hemp in your materia medica.

Getting to Know Hemp

How To Incorporate Hemp in Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Here's a basic introduction to hemp so that you can walk away with a better understanding of how to incorporate it in your materia medica.

Hemp may arguably be one of the most misunderstood herbs in the common era. With so much misinformation out there, confusion whether it is a “drug” or an “herb,” and lack of understanding on extractions and dosage strategies, it’s no wonder that many herbalists simply avoid using it altogether. However, with its abundant beneficial properties and increased accessibility worldwide, it’s worth taking the time to get to know this plant and learning how to incorporate it into your materia medica.

For starters: hemp and marijuana (Cannabis spp.; also known as weed, pot, and cannabis, among other common names) are categorized as different herbs legally and in herbal practice due to the fact that hemp is bred without the primary psychoactive constituent, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which marijuana contains. In other words, hemp will not make you “high” like other forms of cannabis will, regardless of which form you use it in.

Yes, it can be confusing that they share the same genus (Cannabis) which also happens to be a common name for both hemp and marijuana, but they are indeed classified as different herbs, which should be accounted for in your materia medica (Russo, 2002). To make things even more complicated, depending on what region and country you are in, the terminology used to refer to hemp can change completely. For instance, in some areas “hemp” is only used to refer to its use as a plant fiber and not as an herb (Russo, 2002).

When in doubt, read the label on your hemp product carefully and inquire with the company or garden you are sourcing from for the confirmed levels of THC inside. In most areas, hemp companies are required to test each batch of product made and certify that their product is below a tiny percentage of THC in order to be qualified as hemp and sold as such.

Beyond Cannabidiol & Tetrahydrocannabinol

How To Incorporate Hemp in Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Here's a basic introduction to hemp so that you can walk away with a better understanding of how to incorporate it in your materia medica.

Chances are you may have heard about cannabidiol (CBD) and its health-supporting uses in the medical field. While CBD is indeed a powerful constituent in hemp, and the most researched, it is not the only one! CBD is simply “the most common phytocannabinoid” in hemp and the “second most prevalent in some drug chemotypes” (Russo, 2011).

Although there are many successful studies confirming the benefits and versatility of CBD as an isolated constituent, hemp naturally grows with an abundance of other health-supportive constituents as well. There are hundreds of constituents in hemp which all play a synergistic role in the effectiveness of the herb as a whole. When you are choosing which extract to incorporate into your practice, consider using a whole hemp extract that includes all of the constituents in hemp together as one. Dr. Ethan Russo, one of the leading researchers of hemp and cannabis worldwide, suggests that current research of CBD is only the tip of the iceberg compared to the vast amount of beneficial research yet to be uncovered on the other constituents in hemp.

Dr. Russo states: “Cannabis has been a medicinal plant of unparalleled versatility for millennia, but whose mechanisms of action were an unsolved mystery until the discovery of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) . . . While a host of phytocannabinoids were discovered in the 1960s: cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabidivarin (CBDV), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), the overwhelming preponderance of research focused on psychoactive THC.” (Russo, 2011).

3 Ways to Incorporate Hemp In Your Materia Medica

How To Incorporate Hemp in Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Here's a basic introduction to hemp so that you can walk away with a better understanding of how to incorporate it in your materia medica.

1. Hemp As a Nervine

Many herbalists who incorporate hemp in their materia medica note how profoundly relaxing it can be. This is largely due to the numerous constituents in hemp that help regulate the nervous system. CBC, CBD, and CBG are all important constituents that are known to provide positive effects on conditions of the nervous system such as anxiety and depression (Russo, 2011).

When choosing to utilize hemp for supporting conditions such as anxiety and depression, consider the connection to clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CED). The theory of CED is formed around the idea that deficient endocannabinoid levels exhibit comparable brain disorder symptoms (like depression and anxiety) as neurotransmitter deficiencies do (Russo, 2016a).

Why is this relevant? Because hemp directly modulates our endocannabinoid system (ECS), helping restore its levels to a natural balanced state (also known as our “endocannabinoid tone”). The ECS is essentially a biological system where endocannabinoids (which are endogenous lipid-based neurotransmitters) bind to various cannabinoid receptor sites found throughout our entire nervous system (Pacher et al., 2008). One notable part of the ECS is a cannabinoid receptor called CB1, which has been shown to have a crucial homeostatic influence in the central nervous system (Glassab et al., 1997).

Since our ECS is responsible for regulating major “homeostatic functions in the brain, skin, digestive tract, liver, cardiovascular system, genitourinary function, and even bone,” when things become out of balance, it is essential to draw from ECS modulators like hemp in your materia medica (Russo, 2016b). In a nutshell, the ECS functions have been characterized as “relax, eat, sleep, forget and protect,” but this list continues to grow as research unveils new discoveries each year (Di Marzo, 1998; Russo, 2016b).

To use hemp as a nervine, try incorporating a hemp oil compound tincture in your materia medica. This form is most effective when taken orally, although it can be used topically as well.

How To Incorporate Hemp in Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Here's a basic introduction to hemp so that you can walk away with a better understanding of how to incorporate it in your materia medica.

2. Hemp To Support Pain-Relief

One of the premier and most common ways to incorporate hemp in your materia medica is to support pain relief. CBD, CBG, and CBC are three noteworthy constituents that research indicates have analgesic, or pain-relieving, qualities (Russo, 2011). This includes supporting alleviation of neuropathic, inflammatory, physiologic, and other forms of chronic pain.

The type of pain you are addressing will determine which form of hemp you should use. A good rule of thumb for supporting pain relief or reduction of inflammation is to get the herb as close to the affected tissues as possible (P. Bergner, personal communication, 2016). For instance, if your pain is due to a recovering knee injury, apply a salve infused with hemp extract directly on the knee (avoiding any areas where the skin is broken since putting a salve on an open wound could potentially trap any infectious bacteria present and create a deeper infection or prevent the healing process). If your pain manifests as abdominal cramping, use an oral hemp oil compound tincture. Or, if your pain occurs as menstrual cramping, consider using a hemp extract-infused suppository.

For musculoskeletal and injury-related woes, topical salves are more indicated than the oil compounds since the beeswax base allows for the herbal extract to sit on the skin for longer. This promotes deeper penetration into the layers of muscle and tissue, instead of using simply the oil itself which is absorbed faster and will not affect the deeper areas you want to reach. Learn more about making your own herbal salves here (you can amend this recipe to add in the hemp extract you are using).

3. Hemp As a Sleep-Aid

Cannabinol (CBN) is a constituent in hemp that has been found to support a healthy sleep cycle and relieve insomnia due to its sedative effects (Steep Hill Labs, 2017). Both CBG and CBD are GABA-uptake inhibitors which can promote slow wave sleep and increased sleep quality through creating a surplus of GABA in the brain (Mathias et al., 2001; Russo, 2011). This can also help ease the sensation of racing thoughts or an overactive mind at bedtime.

Using a hemp oil compound internally is your best bet for incorporating hemp as a sleep aid in your materia medica. Depending on the dosage of hemp, the concentration of certain constituents, and the interaction between them, hemp can have mixed stimulating and relaxing effects (Russo, 2017). When initially figuring out your dosage strategy, start with smaller doses taken away from bedtime or sporadically throughout the day.

Remember that, like other herbs, hemp works best when all the naturally occurring constituents are able to work together as one (aka “synergize”). Rather than stressing over which exact constituents are available in your formula or not, consider opting for a whole hemp extract which ensures you are getting a bit of everything (except the THC, of course).

Common Forms Of Hemp Preparations

How To Incorporate Hemp in Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Here's a basic introduction to hemp so that you can walk away with a better understanding of how to incorporate it in your materia medica.

Since hemp is an extremely resinous plant, water and low-proof alcohol-based extractions are not the most effective methods to use. High-proof alcohol and oil-based extractions tend to work better for hemp and most other highly resinous herbs for that matter. Other common forms of extraction include infused honey and other edibles, salves, lip balms, and suppositories. The flower can also be smoked or vaporized.

A more concentrated and efficient way to use hemp is to source a professionally made hemp extract (also called hemp oil) and incorporate that into your herbal preparation. Since hemp extract is oil soluble, using a fat or oil-based substrate is key. A common way to do this is to make a hemp-oil compound where the hemp extract is infused into a carrier oil (such as hemp seed or grapeseed oil) that is intended to be taken orally. Extracting hemp oil itself is quite the technical process and requires a degree of chemistry and engineering to make, in addition to needing more expensive equipment.

Know Your Laws

This is a key point for learning how to incorporate hemp in your materia medica. Since laws are differentiated state-by-state (and country-by-country), it is crucial that you read up on the laws regarding use of hemp in your area. With laws constantly changing, it is a good practice to stay on top of what is current if you plan on using hemp in your materia medica.

Looking to incorporate hemp in your diet as well? Try our delicious Cherry Adaptogen Bites or Strawberry, Avocado & Hemp Seed Kale Salad recipes.

How To Incorporate Hemp in Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Here's a basic introduction to hemp so that you can walk away with a better understanding of how to incorporate it in your materia medica.

REFERENCES

Di Marzo, V. (1998). ‘Endocannabinoids’ and other fatty acid derivatives with cannabimimetic properties: Biochemistry and possible physiopathological relevance. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1392(2-3), 153-75. doi: 10.1016/S0005-2760(98)00042-3.

Glassab, M., Faulla, R.L.M., & Dragunowb, M. (1997). Cannabinoid receptors in the human brain: A detailed anatomical and quantitative autoradiographic study in the fetal, neonatal and adult human brain. Neuroscience, 77(2), 299-318. doi: 10.1016/S0306-4522(96)00428-9.

Mathias, M., Wetter, TC., Steiger, A., & Lancel, M. (2001). The GABA uptake inhibitor tiagabine promotes slow wave sleep in normal elderly subjects. Neurobiology Aging, 22(2), 247-53.

Pacher, P., Bátkai, S., & Kunos, G. (2008). The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. Pharmacological Reviews, 58(3), 389-462. doi: 10.1124/pr.58.3.2.

Russo, E. (2017). Cannabidiol claims and misconceptions. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 38(3), 198-201. doi: 10.1016/j.tips.2016.12.004.

Russo, E. (2016a). Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency reconsidered: Current research supports the theory in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, and other treatment-resistant syndromes. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 1(1), 154-165. doi: 10.1089/can.2016.0009.

Russo, E. (2016b). Beyond cannabis: Plants and the endocannabinoid system. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 37(7), 594-605. doi: 10.1016/j.tips.2016.04.005.

Russo, E.  (2011). Taming THC: Potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364.

Russo, E. (2002). Cannabis and cannabinoids: Pharmacology, toxicology, and therapeutic potential. Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press.
Steep Hill Labs. (2017). Cannabinol (CBN): A sleeping synergy. Retrieved from https://www.steephill.com/blogs/34/Cannabinol-(CBD):-A-Sleeping-Synergy.

The Lure and Lore of HOPS: The 2018 Herb of the Year

The Lure and Lore of HOPS: The 2018 Herb of the Year | Herbal Academy | In this post you'll find information about cultivating and harvesting hops as well as some interesting lure and lore about this year’s Herb of the Year.

Each year since 1995, the International Herb Association picks an Herb of the Year. This year that herb is hops (Humulus spp.).

Below you’ll find information about cultivating and harvesting hops as well as some interesting lure and lore about this year’s Herb of the Year.

All About Hops

The Lure and Lore of HOPS: The 2018 Herb of the Year | Herbal Academy | In this post you'll find information about cultivating and harvesting hops as well as some interesting lure and lore about this year’s Herb of the Year.

Hops is a member of the Cannabaceae family. Other family members include hemp and cannabis.

The most commonly used species of hops is Humulus lupulus. The name lupulus comes from “lupus” or “wolf” due to the Romans’ incorrect belief that it strangles the plants around it as a wolf does with its prey. Hops come from the Anglo-Saxon word hoppan which means “to climb,” as the bine will assuredly climb on anything that gets in its way!

Some sources claim hops is native to Britain, but others indicate that native species are found in Britain, Europe, Asia, and North America.

Cultivation

Hops is a perennial plant that dies back each fall and returns in the spring. It prefers full sun and a south or southwestern exposure but can survive in partial shade. Hops plants like nitrogen so it’s a good idea to add manure or compost to the soil around them now and then. A friend who grows hops told me they felt it was best grown around the 48th parallel.

The hops plant is a bine (not vine) that can easily grow 30 feet high and can be quite invasive. When deciding to grow hops, find the right place and give it something to climb up, or it may grow right over other plants and even creep across your driveway!

Hops are dioecious, meaning they have both male and female plants which produce flowers; however, the flowering hop, or strobile, is cultivated using the female plants only to avoid production of the fruit, which is not of commercial value (Koetter & Bendl, 2010). The strobile can be up to an inch and a half long, is green in color, and is covered with bracts which look a bit like scales. The female flower produces lupulin, a yellow powdery substance you see between the bracts, as it ripens. This is very sticky and is what gives hops its very distinct aroma. The leaves are heart-shaped or deeply lobed with three to five lobes and are arranged opposite to one another until towards the end of the bine where they can become alternate.

Propagation is best from root division in early spring or cuttings that have been taken in late spring. Seed germination is erratic and may produce wild hops. I have found the best way to plant hops is in a hill with three plants about 18 inches apart.

Hops are host to several diseases, including downy mildew. I was told by a hops grower that the mildew can survive the winter if it gets in the crown of the plant. If this happens, the entire plant should be removed and burned to keep it from spreading. In cool weather, aphids and spider mites can become a problem.

Harvesting Hops

The Lure and Lore of HOPS: The 2018 Herb of the Year | Herbal Academy | In this post you'll find information about cultivating and harvesting hops as well as some interesting lure and lore about this year’s Herb of the Year.

Harvesting occurs in fall when the strobiles turn an amber or golden color. The easiest way I’ve found to harvest hops is to throw sheets down under the bines and clip the bines and strobiles letting them fall on the sheets. Be sure to dry the strobiles quickly, and store them as soon as they are dry to prevent them from becoming too bitter. Also know that when harvesting or working with hops, the yellow powdery lupulin is very sticky. It will get on your hands and can be very difficult to remove, so gloves are a must.

An interesting note about harvesting hops is that in production when women hand-harvest hops, they will often start their menses shortly after picking the strobiles (Kane, 2009). Harvesting over a long time span has resulted in synchronization of the women pickers’ menstrual cycles.

Energetics of Hops

  • Flavor: Bitter
  • Temperature: Cold
  • Moisture: Dry
  • Polarity: Yang
  • Element: Air

(Mars, 2016)

Safety

Hops is generally considered safe, however, it should not be used by pregnant women or women who have had or have estrogen-related breast cancer. It should not be used for kids under two. Older kids and elders over 65 should use with caution and under their healthcare professional’s supervision. It should not be used by those suffering from depression as it could accentuate this condition. I have seen it cause rashes in some people (Castleman 2917).

Uses for Hops

The Lure and Lore of HOPS: The 2018 Herb of the Year | Herbal Academy | In this post you'll find information about cultivating and harvesting hops as well as some interesting lure and lore about this year’s Herb of the Year.

In the spring, the shoots of the hops plant have been used as an asparagus-like vegetable since Pliny’s (AD 23-79). In medieval times, hops were used as a bitter potherb. Young leaves were blanched and added to soups (Bremness, 1994).

Of course, beer is the use most of us associate with hops as they have been used in brews for more than 1,000 years. In fact, it’s thought that the Netherlands may have been the first to brew with hops.

Some other uses of hops include:

  • King George III was a noted insomniac, and legend has it that he had his mattresses filled with hops to ensure a good night’s sleep. Abraham Lincoln was said to have used a pillow filled with hops to help him sleep. (Fast forward to the 21st century, and we add hops to our “dream or sleep pillows” to help with sleeping.)    
  • The leaves yield a brown dye and the stems have been used in the weaving of baskets.
  • Cosmetically, hops has been used in creams to soften the skin and as a hair conditioner.
  • Medicinally, hops were used externally for boils, toothaches, and skin problems. It is still used by some herbalists in poultice form as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis and sore joints (Rodale, 1998).
  • It is touted as a digestive aid, and also used for stress and tension.
  • It can be tinctured and blends well with a valerian for a sleep aid. You can also use it to make your own sleep pillow.
  • Due to its fibrous stems, it has been used to make a coarse cloth, rope, and paper.
  • A muslin bag filled with hops held against the ear may help with ear pain.

With so many uses, both from old times and from now, hops should be on your list of new plants to grow for 2018. I hope you have been encouraged to try this fabulous herb!

Free Hops PDF Download

If you’ve enjoyed learning more about hops, we’ve created a free PDF download filled with all the things you will want and need to know about this lovely plant. Just click “download” below, save this file to your computer or print it off to store it in your herbal materia medica!

DOWNLOAD

The Lure and Lore of HOPS: The 2018 Herb of the Year | Herbal Academy | In this post you'll find information about cultivating and harvesting hops as well as some interesting lure and lore about this year’s Herb of the Year.

REFERENCES

Bremness, L. (1994). The complete book of herbs. New York, NY: Penguin Books Ltd.

Castleman, M. (2017). The new healing herbs: The essential guide to more than 125 of nature’s most potent herbal remedies. New York, NY: Rodale.

Gladstar, R. (2008). Rosemary Gladstar’s herbal recipes for vibrant health: 175 teas, tonics, oils, salves, tinctures, and other natural remedies for the entire family. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.

Kane, C. W. (2009). Herbal medicine: Trends and traditions: A comprehensive sourcebook on the preparation and use of medicinal plants. Oracle: Lincoln Town Press.

Koetter, U. & Biendl M. (2010). Hops (Humulus lupulus): A review of its historic and medicinal uses. [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue87/article3559.html

Kowalchik, Claire and Hylton, William (1998). Rodales’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. Emmaus, Pennsylvania, Rodale Press.

Mars, B. (2016). The desktop guide to herbal medicine: The ultimate multidisciplinary reference to the amazing realm of healing plants, in a quick-study, one-stop guide. Columbus, OH: Basic Health Publications, Inc.

Maitake 101: A Valuable Mushroom

Maitake 101: A Valuable Mushroom | Herbal Academy | Maitake mushrooms are high in nutrients and are great for the immune system! Here's a delicious recipe as well as other ways to use this healthy food.

Early October in New England means many things: cool and sunny days, peak fall color, crisp apples, and icy cold cider come to mind, for starters. More obscure but no less exciting (for some of us)—it’s maitake time.

Maitake what? Maitake mushrooms, also called hen-of-the-woods, or Grifola frondosa. If we’ve gotten enough precipitation in late summer, these marvelous mushrooms start popping up around the big old oak tree in our yard in mid-September.

Finding Maitake

Maitake 101: A Valuable Mushroom | Herbal Academy | Maitake mushrooms are high in nutrients and are great for the immune system! Here's a delicious recipe as well as other ways to use this healthy food.

Maitake mushrooms grow in temperate hardwood forests where they feed upon the dead roots of older trees, in particular oaks but also elms and occasionally maples (Stamets, 2013). They are polypore mushrooms, meaning they have pores or tubes on the underside, as opposed to gills. Maitake grow as masses of small brownish-gray, fan-shaped caps fused onto a single, branching stalk. Hobbs (1998) describes poetically that the “fan-shaped fruiting bodies overlap like butterflies in a wild dance,” also noting that they earned their hen-of-the-woods moniker because they look a chicken with her feathers all fluffed up. Really fluffed up—maitake can easily reach a foot in diameter, and some are 20 pounds or more!

I first learned about maitake not in a wild food foraging class like one might expect, but in a rather alarming fashion one day while I was out playing in the yard with my kids. A pickup truck came screeching up next to our oak tree and a man brandishing a large knife hopped out and walked into our yard. It took a few verbal exchanges to establish that he was not actually there to do us harm but was actually a lovely Italian-American gentleman on his annual maitake mushroom hunt. He was from a neighborhood near Boston and ventured out to rural Massachusetts each autumn to harvest maitakes to sell to Boston restaurants (for a pretty penny, I might add).

He graciously conceded harvesting privileges but not before leaving us with some cooking tips—when I suggested sauteeing the mushroom in butter, he said “Yes, but I’d use olive oil, of course.” Now each year we look forward eagerly to the first week in October.

(Note: We did do our research before consuming these mushrooms! It is advised to consult a knowledgeable mycologist and multiple identification guides before harvesting and consuming any mushrooms to be absolutely certain they are edible.)

Maitake Mushrooms for Dinner

For starters, maitake mushrooms are completely delicious, and I don’t even really like mushrooms. They are hearty, buttery, and earthy without being overwhelmingly mushroomy. I saute them with garlic and onions, and eat them directly or enjoy with pasta. Because the harvest is often so abundant, I dry them in the food dehydrator and enjoy them in broths and soups all year round. Perhaps my favorite way to enjoy these beauties is in barley “risotto.”

Maitake Barley Risotto

[recipe_ingredients]

5-6 cups water or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon butter
4 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 cups maitake (or shiitake) mushroom caps, sliced thin
1 large carrot, diced fine
1-1/2 cups pearled or hulled barley
1 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley
black pepper to taste
a squeeze of lemon

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Bring water (or stock) to boil, then turn heat low to keep warm.
  • Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, mushroom, and carrot, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the barley and saute for 2 more minutes while stirring.
  • Add 1 cup of the hot water (or stock) and the salt and stir.
  • Turn heat to low and add remaining water 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally, and waiting until liquid is almost completely absorbed before adding more.
  • The barley should cook for 45 minutes or so, or until tender but slightly chewy.
  • When barley is done, stir in parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons parsley. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon. Garnish with more parsley.

[/recipe_directions]

Maitake Mushroom Health Benefits

Maitake 101: A Valuable Mushroom | Herbal Academy | Maitake mushrooms are high in nutrients and are great for the immune system! Here's a delicious recipe as well as other ways to use this healthy food.

Maitake mushroom is something we eat as a family because it’s good, delicious food that we can harvest locally. It’s high in protein, B vitamins, potassium, and fiber (Stamets, 2013).

Maitake and other mushrooms such as shiitake and reishi are often studied and touted for their immune regulating (immunomodulatory), immune activating (immunostimulatory), and anti-cancer actions, which are attributed to beta-glucans, a carbohydrate present in their cell walls (Hobbs, 2014). Due to mushrooms’ pathogenic nature, human immune systems have developed to recognize these beta-glucans and mobilize an immune response; fortunately, not all mushrooms are pathogenic to humans, so we can eat those safely while also benefiting from their effect on our immune system (Hobbs, 2014; Batbayer et al., 2012)!

Two of the most recent studies on maitake as an anti-cancer agent demonstrated the anti-tumor effect of the D-fraction of beta-glucans on breast tumor cells (Alonso et al., 2017) and breast cancer cell apoptosis (cell death) due to maitake polysaccharides (Zhang et al., 2017). A short clinical study with 32 breast cancer patients indicated the immunomodulatory effect of a maitake extract (Deng et al., 2009). A small study with 10 cancer patients administered maitake D-fraction without anticancer drugs and found that it slowed tumor growth and increased natural killer cell activity (Kodama et al., 2003).

Maitake is also shown in several studies to modulate blood glucose levels and can be useful in the case of hyperglycemia and Type 2 diabetes (Stamets, 2013). It has also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels (Winston & Kuhn, 2008).

How to Take Maitake

Maitake 101: A Valuable Mushroom | Herbal Academy | Maitake mushrooms are high in nutrients and are great for the immune system! Here's a delicious recipe as well as other ways to use this healthy food.

One way to ingest maitake is by enjoying it in foods, as mushrooms are an excellent addition to a well-balanced and nourishing diet. For more therapeutic use, Hobbs (2014) recommends taking mushrooms via a water-based extract or micropowder, as the beta-glucans are not soluble in alcohol. A simple decoction can be drunk or used in broth, or a double extraction can be prepared to extract both the water and alcohol-soluble constituents. Of course, if you have been diagnosed with cancer or diabetes you should speak with your doctor before integrating maitake into your regimen.

I consider myself lucky to have this incredible mushroom take up residence under my oak tree each autumn, and while I use it primarily for food, I count it as a valued member of my local materia medica. After all, the food we eat provides the foundation for our wellness!

Maitake 101: A Valuable Mushroom | Herbal Academy | Maitake mushrooms are high in nutrients and are great for the immune system! Here's a delicious recipe as well as other ways to use this healthy food.

REFERENCES

Alonso, E.N., Ferronato, M.J., Gandini, N.A., Fermento, M.E., Obiol, D.J., Lopez Romero, A., Arévalo, J., Villegas, M.E., Facchinetti, M.M., Curino, A.C. (2017). Antitumoral effects of D-fraction from Grifola frondosa (maitake) mushroom in breast cancer. Nutrition and Cancer, 69, 29–43. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01635581.2017.1247891

Batbayar, S., Lee, D. H., & Kim, H. W. (2012). Immunomodulation of Fungal β-Glucan in Host Defense Signaling by Dectin-1. Biomolecules & Therapeutics, 20(5), 433–445. http://doi.org/10.4062/biomolther.2012.20.5.433

Deng, G., Lin, H., Seidman, A., Fornier, M., D’Andrea, G., Wesa, K., … Cassileth, B. (2009). A phase I/II trial of a polysaccharide extract from Grifola frondosa (Maitake mushroom) in breast cancer patients: immunological effects. Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology, 135(9), 1215–1221. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00432-009-0562-z

Hobbs, C. (2014). Mushroom medicine: Challenges and potential. Retrieved from http://www.christopherhobbs.com/library/featured-articles/mushroom-medicine-challenges-and-potential/

Hobbs, C. (1998). Medicinal mushrooms II. Retrieved from http://www.christopherhobbs.com/library/articles-on-herbs-and-health/medicinal-mushrooms-2/

Kodama, N., Komuta, K., and Nanba, H. (2003). Effect of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) D-Fraction on the activation of NK cells in cancer patients. Journal of Medicinal Food, 6, 371–377. doi: 10.1089/109662003772519949

Stamets, P. (2013). Maitake: The magnificent “dancing” mushroom. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-stamets/maitake-mushroom_b_2908332.html

Winston, D. & Kuhn, M. (2008). Winston & Kuhn’s herbal therapy & supplements. New York: Wolters Kluwer Health.

Zhang, Y., Sun, D., Meng, Q., Guo, W., Chen, Q., & Zhang, Y. (2017). Grifola frondosa polysaccharides induce breast cancer cell apoptosis via the mitochondrial-dependent apoptotic pathway. International Journal of Molecular Medicine, 40, 1089-1095. https://doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.2017.3081

7 Things You May Not Know About Passionflower

7 Things You May Not Know About Passionflower | Herbal Academy | Do you know passionflower has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system? Here are 7 other things you may not know about this herb!

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata L.) has a rich history of use here in the West. Not only has it been used by Native American tribes, early European settlers, and African American slaves, but its uses have varied over time, especially as the Eclectic physicians of the 19th and 20th centuries began to use it more and then again as modern scientific research has given additional insight into this plant.

Passionflower is a well-known nervine effective for calming and soothing the nervous system, and it has antispasmodic, hypnotic, anodyne, anxiolytic, and sedative actions as well. This gives passionflower a wide variety of uses—some of which you may not have considered before.

By pulling from traditional and modern sources, we can take a look at some of the lesser known ways to use passionflower. You may be surprised at how many different ways this one herb can be and has been used!

7 Things You May Not Know About Passionflower

7 Things You May Not Know About Passionflower | Herbal Academy | Do you know passionflower has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system? Here are 7 other things you may not know about this herb!

1. Did You Know…

Did you know that passionflower was traditionally used by some Native American tribes as a poultice to reduce the inflammation of boils and wounds (Hamel & Chiltoskey, 1975)? In modern times, most people use passionflower mainly for its nervine and sedative properties, but we mustn’t forget that there is much more to this plant than these properties only.

2. Did You Know…

Did you know that passionflower was once used by African American slave midwives to terminate pregnancies (Gaspar & Hine, 1996)? While passionflower itself does not contain abortifacient properties, it seems that its use was primarily for its antispasmodic and sedative effects “for easing the fear, tension, anxiety, and pain of terminating a pregnancy” (Herbal Academy, n.d., Uses para. 3). Its antispasmodic properties were valued by Eclectic physicians of the 19th century regularly who recommended it for female reproductive issues (Felter & Lloyd, 1898).

3. Did You Know…

Speaking of the Eclectics, did you know that passionflower was often called upon during times of strong muscle spasms, particularly those associated with respiratory ailments such as croup, whooping cough, and asthma, but also in cases of childhood epilepsy or severe digestive cramping (Felter & Lloyd, 1898)? Perhaps the herbs strong sedative properties along with its calming action on the nervous system helped to ease many symptoms associated with these illnesses.

7 Things You May Not Know About Passionflower | Herbal Academy | Do you know passionflower has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system? Here are 7 other things you may not know about this herb!

4. Did You Know…

Passionflower was traditionally thought to be best suited for weakened or debilitated individuals (Felter & Lloyd, 1898; Ellingwood, 1819). Modern herbalists share the observation that persons with long-term chronic illness, or those who are weak, fragile, and/or exhausted are thought to be most apt to benefit from passionflower’s restorative properties (Bergner, 2001).

5. Did You Know…

Did you know that a 2005 clinical trial showed the use of passionflower for children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was a promising natural alternative to common stimulants given for this disorder (Akhondzadeh et al., 2005)? It’s thought that passionflower’s ability to calm internal chatter can help one to better focus and hold attention for longer (Wood, 2009).

6. Did You Know…

Did you know that passionflower was a common herb used in the 19th century to ease feelings of extreme anxiety? Passionflower has the ability to slow breathing, allowing for deeper respirations while at the same time lowering the pulse and decreasing the blood pressure—three things that are common symptoms during panic attacks (Ellingwood, 1919).

7. Did You Know…

Did you know that passionflower is an excellent herb to assist in drug addiction and withdrawal symptoms, specifically with opioid and benzodiazepine addictions? This is thought to be due to passionflower’s ability to bind with the same receptor sites these drugs bind with (Wolfman et al., 1994; Dhawan et al., 2001; Nassiri-Asl et al., 2007), easing withdrawal symptoms, facilitating a good night’s rest, and and calming anxious feelings.

So whether you’re looking to get a good night’s rest, aiming to soothe respiratory, digestive, or reproductive system spasms, focus on the job at hand, or help you to reduce your dependency on a substance that has a hold on you—passionflower may be just the herbal ally you’re looking for!

Learn even more interesting facts and ways to use passionflower over in The Herbarium. There you’ll find a complete herbal monograph with the plant’s description, cultivation and harvesting guidelines, common uses, research studies, common preparations, dosage recommendations, safety guidelines, and so much more!
7 Things You May Not Know About Passionflower | Herbal Academy | Do you know passionflower has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system? Here are 7 other things you may not know about this herb!

REFERENCES

Akhondzadeh, S., Mohammadi, M.R., & Momeni, F. (2005). Passiflora incarnata in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. Therapy, 2(4), 609-614.

Bergner, P. (2001). Passiflora: Passionflower. Medical Herbalism, Materia Medica and Pharmacy, 7(1&2), 13-14, 26. Retrieved from: http://medherb.com/Materia_Medica/Passiflora_-_Passionflower_.htm

Dhawan, K., Kumar, S., & Sharma, A. (2001). Anti-anxiety studies on extracts of Passiflora incarnata Linneaus. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 78(2-3), 165-170.

Ellingwood, F. (1919). The American materia medica, therapeutics, and pharmacognosy. Retrieved from: http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/ellingwood/passiflora.html

Felter, H.W. & Lloyd, J.U. (1898). King’s American dispensatory. Retrieved from: http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/passiflora.html

Gaspar, D.B. & Hine, D.C. (1996). More than chattel: Black women and slavery in the Americas. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Hamel, P. B. & Chiltoskey, M.U. (1975). Cherokee plants and their uses: A 400 year history. Sylva, N.C.: Herald Publishing Co.

Herbal Academy (n.d.). Passionflower monograph. The Herbarium. Retrieved from https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/monographs/#/monograph/4075

Nassiri-Asl, Shariati-Rad, S., & Zamansoltani, F. (2007). Anticonvulsant effects of aerial parts of Passiflora incarnata extract in mice: involvement of benzodiazepine and opioid receptors. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 7(26).

Wolfman, C., Viola, H., Paladini, A., Dajas, F., & Medina, J.H. (1994). Possible anxiolytic effects of chrysin, a central benzodiazepine receptor ligand isolated from Passiflora coerulea. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, 47(1), 1-4.

Adding Yarrow To Your Materia Medica

Adding Yarrow To Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Would you like to add yarrow to your materia medica? Here's how to correctly identify and safely use this beneficial herb!

Yarrow grows freely in my gardens and I encourage it to do so, as much for its beauty as its beneficial uses. While the blooms have just gone by in my garden, the harvest is drying on the herb rack and macerating into a potent tincture in the herb cupboard. And while yarrow has long been a favored herb for me, I feel that there is more I have yet to understand about it—so I return to my materia medica and add a few more notes and observations from the harvest and spend some time browsing my herb books for more insights.

Adding Yarrow To Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Would you like to add yarrow to your materia medica? Here's how to correctly identify and safely use this beneficial herb!

Getting Started with Yarrow

One of the first things I do when researching an herb is to dig into historical texts and learn how the plant has been used traditionally. Two of the books I use as starting points are also available online, which is quite handy. A Modern Herbal by Margaret Grieve was first published in 1931 and details the plant description, parts used, actions, uses, and preparations (keep in mind this was written almost a century ago and cross-referencing with updated safety info is important). The information in this book has been uploaded here as an alphabetized plant list.

Another book I find interesting is Native American Ethnobotany by Daniel E. Moerman, a monumental compendium of the documented uses of thousands of plants by Native American peoples. It is offered as a searchable online database here—that’s a lot of information at your fingertips!

And while there are many good herbal books I consider go-to references, I often start with Matthew Wood’s books because he gives such a good picture of the herbs from an energetic perspective. This allows me to get my head around an herb in a way that feels more intuitive and relatable.

Two Important Uses for Yarrow

When preparing for a recent plant walk, I tried to narrow down the information on each herb’s uses in a way that would inform my students without overwhelming them. I wanted them to walk away with one or two nuggets of information on yarrow that would really help inform their use of the plant. And while yarrow is certainly helpful as a digestive bitter, as an antimicrobial and diuretic for the urinary tract, and as an antispasmodic for painful menstrual cramping, it is yarrow’s multi-varied use during colds and fever and its long history of use for wounds that rose to the top of my list.

Adding Yarrow To Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Would you like to add yarrow to your materia medica? Here's how to correctly identify and safely use this beneficial herb!

1. Yarrow for Wounds

Many of us have heard that yarrow takes its name Achillea from the Greek hero Achilles, who used yarrow for the wounds of his friends on the battlefield (Berger, 1998). Judging by its common names—soldiers’ woundwort, staunch weed, nosebleed, woundwort, and carpenter’s weed—Achilles isn’t the only one who has used yarrow for wounds throughout history. Additionally, in the Native American pharmacopeia, the Bella Coola have used it for boils, the Cherokee for piles, the Cheyenne as a hemostatic, the Crow as a burn dressing, the Kutenai and Lakota for wounds and sores, the Menominee for swellings, sores, and rashes, and the Paiute for swellings, sores, and cuts (Moerman, 1998).

As a hemostatic or styptic, yarrow aids clotting to arrest the flow of blood from wounds, while its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions help decrease the chance of infection and support wound healing (Hoffmann, 2003; Wood, 2009; Mohammadhosseini et al., 2017). As Matthew Wood (2009) describes, yarrow’s effectiveness for wounds, bruising, blood clotting, and hemorrhage is related to its ability to regulate the flow of blood to and from the skin’s surface through a variety of mechanisms. Yarrow can be used as a poultice of fresh leaves, a soak of yarrow infusion or a compress, a pinch of dried powder, or a squirt of yarrow extract, ideally after thoroughly cleansing any open wounds.

2. Yarrow for Colds and Fever

Its ability to regulate blood flow coupled with its diaphoretic action leads herbalist Matthew Wood to call yarrow a “master of fever” due to its ability to move blood toward the skin or the core of the body as needed, thus regulating heat (Wood, 2009). In this way yarrow can be either warming or cooling and is a prime example of an herb with dual energetics that, at first glance, might seem contradictory. As a diaphoretic, yarrow stimulates circulation toward the periphery of the body, opens pores, and stimulates sweating to allow cooling—a hot tea is ideal for this. Additionally, yarrow’s volatile oils help promote the healthy flow and elimination of mucus (anti-catarrhal), especially from the sinuses, and its anti-inflammatory and astringent nature soothes sinus tissue by reducing swelling.

Many Native American tribes also recognize yarrow’s utility in this regard. The Abnaki, Cheyenne, Iroquois, Ojibwa, Menominee, Quileute, and Navajo have all used yarrow for fevers (Moerman, 1998).

Adding Yarrow To Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Would you like to add yarrow to your materia medica? Here's how to correctly identify and safely use this beneficial herb!

Yarrow Safety

As an Asteraceae family plant, sensitive individuals may experience an allergic reaction to yarrow. Herbalists generally caution against the use of yarrow during pregnancy although some suggest small doses may sometimes be appropriate—but only under the guidance of an experienced herbalist or practitioner (Hoffmann, 2003; Wood, 2009; Mills & Bone, 2005).

Identifying Yarrow Correctly

One of the most important aspects of working with yarrow is correct identification, particularly if you are wild-harvesting as there are several white-flowered plants that bloom at the same time.

Yarrow is often confused with wild carrot (Daucus carota), an edible and medicinal plant also known as Queen Anne’s lace. More concerning is confusing yarrow or Queen Anne’s lace with poison hemlock, which causes central nervous system depression and respiratory failure that can lead to death (Konca et al., 2014). Once you get to know yarrow, though, it is pretty recognizable in comparison to these two plants, which actually resemble one another more than they resemble yarrow.

Adding Yarrow To Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Would you like to add yarrow to your materia medica? Here's how to correctly identify and safely use this beneficial herb!

Botanical Characteristics of Yarrow and Two Other White-Flowered Plants
Yarrow Queen Anne’s Lace Poison Hemlock
Family Asteraceae Apiaceae Apiaceae
Botanical Name Achillea millefolium Daucus carota Conium maculatum
Plant 1-3 feet tall 2-4 feet tall 6-10 feet tall
Leaves Finely divided, attached directly to stem Finely divided (less so than yarrow), feathery, covered with short hairs. Look like carrot tops. Divided and fern-like, shiny, no hairs. Arranged alternately on stem. Musty, disagreeable smell.
Stalk Slightly hairy, solid, stout, branching. Hairy, solid, stout, branching. Smooth (hairless), hollow, purple splotches, branching. White “bloom” on stalk (like a white powder) leaves a residue.
Flower Flat-topped clusters of flowers on branching stems. White lacy umbrella of flowers on top of each stem, often a single purple/red flower in center, umbel densely arranged. Several white lacy umbrella-like clusters of flowers off each stem, umbel loosely arranged so it looks sparser and individual “umbrellas” are more distinct.
Root Spreading rhizomes. Cream colored taproot, woody, hairy, smells like carrots. White fleshy taproot, smooth, purple mottling. Smells like carrots/parsnips.
Compiled from Hanson (2011) and Thayer (2010).
Looking for great resources for your own materia medica research? Check out The Herbarium, our online database of plant monographs!

Adding Yarrow To Your Materia Medica | Herbal Academy | Would you like to add yarrow to your materia medica? Here's how to correctly identify and safely use this beneficial herb!

REFERENCES

Berger, J. (1998). Herbal rituals. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

Hanson, W. (2011). Hanson’s Northwest native plant database. http://www.nwplants.com/information/white_flowers/white_comparison.html

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

Konca, C., Kahramaner, Z., Bosnak, M., & Kocamaz, H. (2014). Hemlock (Conium Maculatum) poisoning in a child. Turkish Journal of Emergency Medicine, 14(1), 34–36. http://doi.org/10.5505/1304.7361.2013.23500

Mills, S. & Bone, K. (2005). The essential guide to herbal safety. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Moerman, D. (1998). Native American ethnobotany. Portland, OR: Timber Arts Press.

Mohammadhosseini, M., Sarker, S., & Akbarzadeh, A. (2017). Chemical composition of the essential oils and extracts of Achillea species and their biological activities: A review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 199, 257-315. 10.1016/j.jep.2017.02.010.

Thayer, S. (2010). Nature’s garden: A guide to identifying, harvesting, and preparing edible wild plants. Birchwood, WI: Forager’s Harvest Press.

Wood, M. (2009). The earthwise herbal: A complete guide to new world medicinal plants. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

34 Ways To Use Roses

34 Ways To Use Roses | Herbal Academy | If you're planning to harvest rose this season, you may be wondering how to put your bounty to good use. If so, we've gathered 34 DIY rose recipes to help you make the most of your rose harvest!

Summer heat means decadently fragrant roses are in riotous bloom! What could be more lovely than the full blossom of a rose? However, roses are more than just beautiful—would you believe that roses hold many beneficial herbal properties? There is plenty to love about this plant, and below we will discover many ways to use rose, some that may even surprise and delight you!

The lovely soft petals of rose (Rosa spp.) are cooling, calming, and uplifting, making them a perfect companion during the heat of summer. Rose petals are also astringent and anti-inflammatory, while the tangy rose hips offer nourishing vitamin C. With so many ways to use rose and the wonderful benefits of this plant, it is surely an herb to enjoy!

A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. – Chinese Proverb

Rose for Uplifting the Heart, Calming the Nerves, and Keeping it Cool!

Herbalists have long turned to rose for its heart-opening and uplifting benefits. Below, discover many ways to bring the beauty of rose into your life and enjoy its gentle nervine properties.

1. Uplift & Open the Heart with Rose

This article in From Scratch magazine takes a look at the heart-opening property of rose. Find ideas for herbs to use in combination with rose, simple ways to incorporate rose into your life, and some delicious recipes!

https://issuu.com/melissajones0/docs/from_scratch_magazine_june_july_201_c9f6d0cc9e39ee/111

2. Keep It Cool with Summer Rose

For those of us who get easily overheated during the summer, help is here! Rose is a wonderful herb for helping to cool the body and overheated emotions. Other foods and herbs can also be helpful as well. You will find a list of some of these food as well as a recipe for rose honey with vanilla beans in this post.

https://theherbalacademy.com/cooling-down-with-summer-rose/

34 Ways To Use Roses | Herbal Academy | If you're planning to harvest rose this season, you may be wondering how to put your bounty to good use. If so, we've gathered 34 DIY rose recipes to help you make the most of your rose harvest!

3. Love it Up with Rose!

Perhaps most well known as a symbol of love, rose’s ability to open the heart may be attributed to this age old symbology. Using roses to create decant aphrodisiac recipes such as Chocolate Rose Love Elixir and Love Your Libido Tea is a lovely way to invite this herb into those intimate parts of life!

https://theherbalacademy.com/love-it-up-with-herbal-aphrodisiacs/

4. Ease Grief & Provide Comfort

When someone has experienced a profound loss, there is not much that can be done except support the person by giving them love and comfort. Herbs can lend a helping hand during these times, and rose is certainly one of those botanicals to turn to.

https://theherbalacademy.com/herbal-grief-tea/

5. Strengthen & Nourish

Rose really does lend itself beautifully to the tea cup, and this recipe is no exception! Filled with stabilizing and nourishing properties of rooibos, holy basil, and roses, this blend is a tasty treat any time of day!

http://www.indieherbalist.com/journal/holy-wow-green-rooibos-tea-recipe

Roses for Supporting Wellness

Among one of the best loved ways to use rose is for its many properties during those times when we all can use a little help!

6. Use Rose to Help Ease Allergies

It is that itchy, scratchy time of year, and many of us are searching for ways to help ease those irritating seasonal allergies. Rose helps to cool the heat of allergies, tighten up lax mucus membranes, and soothe coughs! Give this simple-to-prepare rose hip jam recipe a try the next time your seasonal allergies start to bother you.

https://theherbalacademy.com/allergy-home-remedies-for-families/

34 Ways To Use Roses | Herbal Academy | If you're planning to harvest rose this season, you may be wondering how to put your bounty to good use. If so, we've gathered 34 DIY rose recipes to help you make the most of your rose harvest!

7. Support Seasonal Wellness with Rose Tea Blends

Herbal teas are wonderful preparations to turn to during the winter when the chance of getting sick can be high as well as during times of stress, travel, and other times that leave us more open to illness. Along with many other herbs, rose petals and rosehips offer wonderful seasonal support.

https://theherbalacademy.com/18-herbal-teas-to-stay-healthy-this-winter/

8. Rose Petal Glycerite

Preserve all the benefits of rose to enjoy year round with a delicious rose petal glycerite. Sweet and tasty, this preparation is great for kids and adults alike! Rose glycerite can be used for its nervine, anti-inflammatory, and decongestant properties.

http://studiobotanica.com/diy-rose-glycerite-rose-book-give-way/

9. Tea Kettle First Aid with Rose

When faced with times of duresswhen you need help nowyour tea kettle can be a great ally! Learn how to use your tea kettle, roses, and other herbs to calm stomach upset, soothe the nerves, balance skin issues, and more!

http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/10-herbs-for-tea-kettle-first-aid-zbcz1611

10. Three Flower Vinegar

Herbal infused vinegars are a tool many herbalists turn to for helping to soothe afflictions of the skin. The discomfort of sunburns, achy muscles, and itchy bug bites can be calmed and eased with topical herbal infused vinegar applications. This recipe is replete with herbs commonly used for the skin, including roses, lavender, and elder flowers!

http://www.indieherbalist.com/journal/three-flower-vinegar-first-aid-for-skin

“The world is a rose; smell it and pass it to your friends.” – Persian Proverb

Roses are for Kids!

Rose is a gentle yet powerful herb to share with everyone in the family. If you are interested in introducing herbalism to children, rose is a great herb to start with. The soft, fragrant buds and petals are enchanting for children as well as relatable. From seasonal care and wellness to arts and crafts, delight in sharing this lovely flower together. Find plenty of ways to use roses with children below!

11. Keep it Simple with Roses

Our Introduction to Herbs for Kids Series provides plenty of ways to share roses and a variety of other herbs with children. This post helps to narrow down the focus to working with one herb at a time, including rose!

https://theherbalacademy.com/introduction-to-herbs-for-kids-keep-it-simple/

12. Learn About the Rose Family!

All plants belong to their own families. The rose family (Rosaceae) is filled with familiar favorites such as apple, pear, peaches, cherries, and more! This makes it a great plant family to study with children. Learn about what distinguishes this family from other plant families, and find a tasty rose family recipe to enjoy together!

https://theherbalacademy.com/learning-about-the-rose-family-with-kids/

34 Ways To Use Roses | Herbal Academy | If you're planning to harvest rose this season, you may be wondering how to put your bounty to good use. If so, we've gathered 34 DIY rose recipes to help you make the most of your rose harvest!

13. Marshmallow Root Infusion with Rose Syrup

Help encourage healthy digestion and cool off with a delicious drink at the same time! This delicious blend of marshmallow root and rose is a great drink for kiddos and the rosy syrup can be used in many other ways as welltop your favorite homemade herbal ice cream or pancake with it, or blend it with sparkling water for a healthy, homemade soda pop!

https://www.growingupherbal.com/make-marshmallow-root-infusion-rose-syrup/

14. Baby Rosebud Barrettes

Crafting with baby rose buds is so fun! Invite your child to make their own beautiful barrettes decorated with the beauty of these tiny buds! Rose buds also make a fine addition to wreaths and homemade fairy furniture. So fun!

http://mamarosemary.com/blog/2013/9/21/baby-rosebud-barrettes

15. Scented Rose Dust Cards

With plenty of hands-on time, kids can get plenty of time to enjoy roses by using them to make their very own greeting cards to share! This is a great craft for Valentine’s Day but can also be used for crafting cards for special thank you’s and even party invitations!

https://www.growingupherbal.com/scented-rose-dust-valentines-day-cards/

Bring Roses to the Table

Roses are one of many edible flowers available offering a special touch to dishes and indeed make a lovely base for many delights crafted in the kitchen. Here are some well-loved favorites along with some new ideas to try as well!

16. Enjoy Rose Infused Honey

Rose infused honey really is a culinary treat that is not to be beat! It is so very simple to make, too! Discover how to make your own rosy honey as well as ideas for using this delicious honey in this post.

https://theherbalacademy.com/make-use-rose-infused-honey/

17. Infuse Rose Petals in Vinegar

Yet another simple preparation to make, rose infused vinegar can be used as a substitute for any vinegar in your recipes. It adds a delightful floral lift to food and brings those great properties of rose right to your dinner plate. Rose vinegar also makes a great spray for sunburns!

http://studiobotanica.com/rose-medicine-rose-vinegar/

34 Ways To Use Roses | Herbal Academy | If you're planning to harvest rose this season, you may be wondering how to put your bounty to good use. If so, we've gathered 34 DIY rose recipes to help you make the most of your rose harvest!

18. Make Wild Rose Petal Jelly

Oh my, what could be better than waking up to a jar of this lovely jelly or enjoying it with afternoon tea? It is not as hard as it may seem to craft your own rosy jelly right at home!

http://nittygrittylife.com/wild-rose-petal-jelly-scottish-scones/

19. Blend Rose Petals with Butter

Roses make a wonderful addition to any herbal butter. For a culinary treat, this recipe combines the goodness of fresh rose petals with pansies, vanilla, and touch of honey!

http://mamarosemary.com/blog/2013/8/31/flower-vanilla-butter

20. Lemon-Rose Raspberry Parfait

Chock full of goodness, this delicious dessert is a raw vegan delight that makes a wonderfully refreshing summertime treat!

https://theherbalacademy.com/rose-herbs-we-love-for-summer/

21. Rose-Infused Cheesecakes

Another raw, vegan treatthese cheesecakes are filled with the goodness of nuts, fruits, and coconut oil, and are a great addition to any herb-centered table!

https://www.growingupherbal.com/rose-infused-cheesecakes/

34 Ways To Use Roses | Herbal Academy | If you're planning to harvest rose this season, you may be wondering how to put your bounty to good use. If so, we've gathered 34 DIY rose recipes to help you make the most of your rose harvest!

22. White Chocolate Rose Coconut Bark

Filled with healthy fats and tasty rose, kiddos and adults alike will enjoy these tasty treats! Eat them for dessert or gift them to friends and family. No matter, everyone is sure to love them!

https://www.growingupherbal.com/white-chocolate-rose-coconut-bark/

23. Herbal Lollipops!

Roses make their home in candies of all types and these lollies are no exception! Filled with rose petals and hips, Rhodiola, hawthorn, and hibiscuswhat better way to enjoy a little sweet lovin’.

https://theherbalacademy.com/rose-petal-rhodiola-valentines-day-herbal-lollipops/

24. Lavender & Damiana Drinking Chocolate with Rose Whipped Cream

Bring rose water to the table with this amazing recipe! Floating atop a thick and creamy chocolate-herb concoction, rose water lightly flavors a cloud of delightful whipped cream. Yum!

https://theherbalacademy.com/3-herbal-chocolate-recipes-inspire-love-passion/

25. Harvest Rose Hips!

Before we know it, autumn will be here and if we are lucky, we will find bushes filled with plump, tasty rosehips! Discover how to harvest and prepare rose hips from your garden or foraging adventures. Also learn about using rose hips in the kitchen and for herbal preparations in this post.

http://homespunseasonalliving.com/rose-hips-for-food-and-medicine/

26. Tasty Rose Hip Preparations for Your Table

These four useful and simple rose hip preparations are a wonderful addition to any table! Find instructions for making rosehip infusion, vinegar, syrup, and even wine – yum!

http://studiobotanica.com/rose-hip-medicine/

There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Delight in Rosy Bodycare

Wrap yourself up in the goodness of roses! Bodycare is one of those wonderful ways to use rosesthe gorgeous, silky petals offer soothing anti-inflammatory and astringent properties that help to nourish skin and enhance skin care routine.  

34 Ways To Use Roses | Herbal Academy | If you're planning to harvest rose this season, you may be wondering how to put your bounty to good use. If so, we've gathered 34 DIY rose recipes to help you make the most of your rose harvest!

27. Learn How to Make & Use Rose Water

A staple in rose body care, making your own rose water is easy and the benefits of using it are not to be missed! Find out more and enjoy this time honored way to harness the goodness of roses.

https://theherbalacademy.com/how-to-make-and-use-rose-water/

28. Rose Vanilla Massage Oil

This recipe is a favorite at the Herbal Academy. It is great for moisturizing and nourishing the skin, and what’s more, makes a sensual addition to date night!

https://theherbalacademy.com/make-your-night-memorable-with-a-rose-vanilla-massage-oil/

29. Make a Facial Steam with Roses & Flowers

Steams are wonderful for opening the pores and bringing vitality to the skin. This recipe uses roses, chamomile, lavender, Calendula, and yarrow to nourish the skin.

https://theherbalacademy.com/herbal-skin-steam-aloe-calendula-cleanser/

30. Cleanse, Tone, & Moisturize with Rose!

If you are looking for a complete skin care routine look no further! Replete with floral goodness, find 3 recipes chock full of the goodness of rose to help keep your facial skin lovely and nourished.

https://theherbalacademy.com/4-herbal-recipes-everyday-skin-care/

34 Ways To Use Roses | Herbal Academy | If you're planning to harvest rose this season, you may be wondering how to put your bounty to good use. If so, we've gathered 34 DIY rose recipes to help you make the most of your rose harvest!

31. Create Bath Salts, Salve, & Lip Balm

Roses and honeysuckle come together in the creation of a delightful salve and lip balm perfect for moisturizing dry skin and keeping lips supple. Rose also makes its way into a beautiful bath salt! Find all three recipes in this post.

https://theherbalacademy.com/3-herbal-gifts-to-celebrate-mothers-day/

32. Layer Roses & Oatmeal for a Beautiful Bath Blend

This recipe makes a great giftit is pretty to look at and a pleasure to use. The oatmeal and roses combine to help soothe and tone dry, itchy skin while uplifting and soothing nerves. Whip this up with just a few simple ingredients and enjoy!

http://mamarosemary.com/blog/2014/11/25/pretty-layered-oatmeal-baths

33. Roses & Chocolate Scrub

If you are like me and love roses and chocolate, then this sumptuous body polish is for you! Body polishes are wonderful for exfoliating and moisturizing the skin. Enjoy whipping up a batch and scrub those cares away.

https://theherbalacademy.com/tips-creating-diy-floral-body-polish/

34. Rosy Lavender Body Powder

Stay fresh and dry with your own homemade, fragrant body powder! This recipe is so simple to make and will add a wonderful depth to any self-care regime.

https://theherbalacademy.com/homemade-floral-body-powder/

Do you want to learn even more about roses? Our online Herbarium offers a wonderful monograph for rose and many, many other herbs as well as in-depth herbal articles, media, and more!

34 Ways To Use Roses | Herbal Academy | If you're planning to harvest rose this season, you may be wondering how to put your bounty to good use. If so, we've gathered 34 DIY rose recipes to help you make the most of your rose harvest!