• Materia Medica: Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

    Our local Taxodium, the Bald Cypress, is one really cool tree! Taxodium distichum is our local Bald Cypress, and it’s a deciduous conifer. A conifer is usually (not in this case!) evergreen, and has cones as their reproductive parts instead of a flower- a gymnosperm instead of angiosperm. Marc Williams, of Botany Everyday, does a wonderful job of speaking of these glorious trees in the context of their taxonomy. Deciduous trees drop their leaves in the winter, which is a pretty rare thing for a conifer to do! They grow in the Southeastern US, and are beautifully showcased when growing in swampy areas. Bald Cypress have a feature that we…

  • Reclaiming the Practice of Self Care

      At Florida School of Holistic Living, self care is a foundational component to our core curriculum. The core curriculum is indeed an elaborate herbalist training, but we have to care for ourselves if we’re going to be caring for others. As herbalists, we know it requires an immense amount of energy to hold space for others in need of healing.   It’s uplifting to see the conversation of self care appear in the media. Publications like NPR and Girlboss are posting articles about self care which tells us large audiences are ready to receive the information (at least according to their market research). Slowly but surely, our society is…

  • Materia Medica: Florida Betony

    Florida betony (Stachys floridana also known as Rattlesnake Weed) is a special plant to me. I remember my grandmother pickled the tubers when I was a little girl. I would munch and munch on them not fully knowing even what they were. About 20 years later in Family class with Emily, she discusses Florida Betony and passes it around for us. For lunch that day, one of the students shared her picked betony tubers with me and I was flooded with memory. THIS is what my grandmother gave me all those moons ago.  I hope you become cozy with this plant and feel the abundance Florida carries for us through…

  • Materia Medica: Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

        . I still laugh out loud thinking about the Leaves and Roots customer back in the 90s who legally changed her name to “Verbascum” after a long love affair with the plant ally Mullein. We all lovingly called her Verbie for short, and really, who could blame her? This roadside “weed” is abundant in temperate climates and brings such profound medicine with a gentle strength, no wonder she adopted its moniker as her own in homage. . Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is a prolific plant of European origin that grows abundantly in disturbed soils, roadsides, and meadows throughout most of the temperate United States. This biennial plant is most easily identified…

  • [ Recipe! ] Mint Chocolate Lip Balm

        Salves, ointments, and balms, all these different options can leave one feeling confused when it comes time to pick a topical remedy to treat a skin disorder.  Which one is the right choice for you? Relax, there is no reason to feel confused any longer, the truth is they are all the same thing.  Salves, or ointments as some prefer to call them, are topical remedies used to treat all manner of skin disorders from chapped lips, bug bites and cuts and scrapes to more serious issues like hives, rashes and eczema.  And, because the skin is porous, salves can also be applied topically to treat internal issue…

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