• June Plant of the Month- Pine

    Common name:  Pine Latin name: Pinus spp. (Pinus elliottii – slash pine, Pinus palustris – longleaf pine, Pinus clausa – sand pine, Pinus echinata – shortleaf pine, Pinus taeda – loblolly pine, Pinus serotina – pond pine, Pinus glabra – spruce pine) – Pinaceae

  • May Plant of the Month – Fennel

    Latin name: Foeniculum vulgare –  Apiaceae Common name: Fennel Usage:  The entire above-ground portion of the fennel plant can be utilized for food and medicine and have been for centuries. Valued by the Greeks & Romans, fennel tea was said to have been consumed before battle to give warriors courage. According to Greek myth, Prometheus carried fire from Olympus to Earth with a giant fennel stalk.  The bulbs and leaves have a mild, anise like flavor that lend to delicious culinary dishes. The seeds of fennel are considered to be the more potent medicinal portion of plant due to their high aromatic oil content. The information contained here will generally…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • [ 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…

  • Are Flower Essences Safe for Our Furry Friends?

    Flower essences are a beautiful and safe method of healing that have an important place in every herbalist’s apothecary. They’re easy to understand, simple to make, safe to use, and incredibly affordable. One of my favorite aspects of teaching about flower essences is how safe they are to use! Because flower essences are made using 3 steps of dilution, there are no contraindications – the worst that can happen is nothing! They’re so safe that you can use them with your animal friends. Indeed that’s one of my favorite ways of using them, as a cat mama! When I brought my first cat home, he was covered in fleas. I…

  • Autumnal Equinox – Friday, September 22, 2017

    On Friday September 22, 2017, the Sun will enter Libra, crossing the equator and marking the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the Vernal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. The name ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night). On the equinox, day and night are equal in length, caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis and ceaseless orbit around the sun. We have an equinox twice a year – spring and fall – when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is inclined neither away from nor toward the sun. Here in Florida, when Autumn Equinox arrives, we observe in nature that the…

  • Ten Year Anniversary of the Bodhi Garden

    Happy 10th Birthday, Bodhi Tree! In the summer of 2007, the board of the Florida School of Holistic Living gathered to consider how we could contribute in a more meaningful way to the Thornton Avenue neighborhood to which we had just moved our school. Staring at an eroded patch of sand on the property, and desiring for more green space with which to teach our students about plants, we began to create plans for a garden installation. We had recently come into stewardship of a Bodhi Tree that was a direct descendant of the original Bodhgaya grove in Northern India, where the historical Buddha was said to have sat under…

  • Herbal Support for Insomia

    Written by Lisa Ray. — It is an interesting coincidence that I am writing this on Sunday night since typically this was the night of the week where sleep used to elude me.  Typically on Sunday night, I would get 2-4 hours of sleep, sometimes none at all.  It was frustrating, staring at the ceiling desperately needing sleep, endlessly tossing/turning…exhausted.  What a horrible way to start out a busy work week!  The cycle of sleep deprivation would continue through the rest of the week where only massive intakes of caffeine and sugar would allow me to “make it through the day”.  This self-medicating process would begin a Catch 22 cycle…

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