• August 2018 Plant of the Month: Ashwagandha

    August’s Plant of the Month: Ashwagandha Latin name: Withania somnifera, Solanaceae  Common names: Ashwagandha, Winter Cherry, Indian Ginseng* Growth: About 2 feet in height, native to India. In Central Florida Ashwagandha is a nice herbaceous garden plant, rarely exceeding 3′ in height. It grows similarly to its cousin, the tomato! The root can be harvest after only one year of growth – a true gift from the plant! Preparation: Root powder used in milk as a nightcap, or in “ninja balls” (2 parts nut or seed butter, 1 part honey or agave, mix with herbal powders), capsules, tincture Ashwagandha is an herb we use in western herbalism in cases of nervous…

  • July 2018 Plant of the Month: Yarrow

    Achillea millefolium Latin name: Achillea millefolium, Asteraceae Common names: Yarrow, Milfoil Growth: In Central Florida can be used as a ground cover, the bipinnate leaves grow low to the ground and appear almost fern like, differing from their growth habit in almost every other location. The composite flowers are showy and require partial to full sun, which shortens the life of the shade loving leaves. The white variety is the only one we use for medicine; you’ll find lovely pink, yellow, orange, and all other colors available at garden centers. Preparation: tea, tincture, potherb, spice, infused oil, salveHistorically used as a leaf vegetable, the young leaves are said to have been…

  • In Memoriam: Dr. James Duke (1929-2017)

    written by Emily Ruff Dr. James A. Duke, a devoted ethnobotanist and champion of the green world, passed away December 10 2017 at the age of 88. He is survived by his wife Peggy, a botanical illustrator with whom he collaborated on many of his books. He is also survived by his two children, many grandchildren, and a countless assortment of herbalists who count Jim among their elders. The list of accolades one could recount about Jim’s life is without end, and many articles have paid tribute to his vast contribution to the botanical academy during his life. He was a prolific author, well known for his 1997 bestseller, The Green…

  • Materia Medica: Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)

    Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is best known for its stunning accent to a wooded landscape, but it is neither moss, nor Spanish. Its species name “usneoides” means that it has an appearance like moss – though is not actually a moss, but rather an epiphytic bromeliad, with long threadlike festoons that can grow several feet in length off of tree limbs. It’s genus name is a nod to physician Elias Tillands, who was so afraid of water that he was known to walk several extra miles around a lake rather than take a boat a few hundred feet across. Contrary to popular belief, Spanish moss is not a parasite and does not actually feed off the tree for nutrients or cause it…

  • Herbal Books: Staff Picks!

    A common indulgence amongst all herbalists is none other than herbal books. That insatiable desire to read everything about all the things is real and endless. For some, that’s the initial knowing that herbalism is the path they should should dedicate themselves to. They feel this incredible, almost demanding, urge to sit with herbal information via their most trusted resources. Below our staff shares their most trusted books that have influenced their herbal journey. Chris Flocken, Bookkeeper Extraordinaire – “The Desert Year” by Joseph Wood Krutch   “The flora, the fauna, the topography, the atmospheric conditions of the Sonoran Desert are among my oldest and dearest friends. The valley formed…

  • Plant of the Month November 2017: Feverfew

    Tanacetum parthenium Feverfew has a long history in traditional and folk medicine especially used by the Greeks and Europeans. Nicolas Culpepper is the most famous of herbalist that worked with and documented Feverfew. He says that “Venus commands this herb, and has commended it to succour her sisters (women), to be a general strengthener of their wombs…” Feverfew has a long history of supporting women and their reproductive systems. For an advanced and thorough review, head on over to the US National Library of Medicine to read a systematic review. If you’re like me and are curious of magickal ways to practice with feverfew, check out this feverfew potion from Llewellyn Worldwide. Appearance:  a…

  • 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…

0