• March 2019 Plant of the Month: Violet

    March – Violet Latin name: Viola odorata,Viola affinis, Viola sororia, Viola tricolor, (and related species) –  Violaceae   Common name: Violet, sweet violet, common blue violet, common wood violet, heartsease     Usage: There are anywhere between 525 to 600 species within the Viola genus. Identification  of species can be challenging, but according to many sources this is not of great importance, so long as you are positive on the genus – Viola. This beloved garden plant not only delights us with the beautiful purple flowers of its namesake, but also offers us sweet, cooling, anti-inflammatory  medicine. The leaf and flower are both utilized for cooling hot conditions, particularly of…

  • December 2018 Plant of the Month: Hibiscus

    Latin name: Hibiscus sabdariffa, H. acetosella, Malvaceae Common names: H. sabdariffa: Hibiscus, Jamaica, Roselle, Florida Cranberry, native to India and MalaysiaH. acetosella: Cranberry Hibiscus, Red Maple Leaf Hibiscus, False Roselle, African Rose Mallow Hibiscus, native to South Central AfricaBoth: Sorrel     Parts Used: Leaves are edible, and cooked with chiles and garlic to make a chutney in some Indian and SE Asian cultures. Calyces are collected for a tart beverage. Calyces are a collection of sepals, at the base of the flower. Once the flower has fallen off, the calyx will close and then you can harvest. Inside the calyx is a mucilaginous seed – it’s up to you…

  • Beauty from your Backyard: Facial Care

    Hair, face, and skin care from our backyard is one of the gifts the garden shares in beauty and generosity. On July 11, Herbalist Emily Ruff will be offering a Backyard Beauty workshop online, full of recipes and tips for finding radiant glow from your backyard garden. Emily’s herbal mentor, Rosemary Gladstar, is legendary in the herbal world and serves as a source of inspiration for many of Emily’s personal beauty care recipes. One of Rosemary’s tried and true recipes is her cleansing Miracle Grains, a simple blend of kitchen ingredients that brings softness and healing to the face as a daily cleanser or a mask. Rosemary writes “cleansing grains…

  • Herbal Holiday Gifts

    The holidays are fast approaching, and it’s a great time to get busy in the kitchen apothecary! Herbal holiday gifts are a great way to share personalized presents with loved ones that will support their health through the holidays and beyond. One of my favorite herbal holiday gifts to make are sleep pillows. Sleep pillows smell divine and are fun to blend and package. So many of my friends have trouble sleeping, I know that I’m giving a gift that will be used and bring benefit. SLEEP PILLOWS from Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health 1 part dried chamomile 1 part dried hops 1 part dried lavender 1 part…

  • Dental Herbalism: Four Natural Remedies for a Healthy Mouth

    Oral health is ultimately linked to our overall health and well-being. The new guide to herbal dental care, Dental Herbalism(Healing Arts Press, 2014) by herbalist Leslie Alexander and dental hygienist Linda Straub-Bruce, details 41 safe and effective herbs to improve oral health. This excerpt from chapter 11, “An Herbal Materia Medica for the Mouth,” outlines four herbal remedies for dental health: Homemade Toothbrushes, Tooth Powder, Scrubs, and Mouthwash.  Turn to these safe and effective ancient herbal remedies for modern-day dental care. This excerpt first appeared in Mother Earth News. Join Leslie Alexander in Orlando at the Florida School of Holistic Living April 1 for “Kitchen Herbs for the Mouth,” a…

  • Warming Nourishment for Winter

    While many of us in Florida experience winter a bit differently than our neighbors to the north – it is, ahem, eighty degrees in January as I type this – our bodies still experience the seasonal slow downs that the shifts in light and dark invite. Even in a mild winter, it’s ideal to give our bodies a break from the extra energy it takes to digest raw foods, and to warm our body, mind, and spirit with nourishing foods. Unfortunately, the trend these days is to “detox” after a long holiday, and oftentimes those “plans” and “programs” promote raw, uncooked foods – that is, foods that are cooling to…

  • Herbal Healing Gift Recipes

    We had a wonderful time at our first Herbal Holiday Giftmaking Playshop of the 2014 season. A beautiful group joined us, including a bright eleven-years-young herbalist-in-the-making, came to gather for an evening of herbal craft and fellowship. We made herbal sachets, herbal tea blends, herbal seasoning blends, mulling spices, simmering scents, bath salts, and one of everyone’s favorites, aromatherapy sprays. Aromatherapy sprays are simple to create and versatile to share!  One of our favorite essential oil spray recipes is an all purpose holiday scent to inspire, uplift, and relax all at the same time. It brings in a holiday scent to any room with a cinnamon base, while citrus notes…

  • Making Your Own Herbal Tinctures

    From our Roots of Herbalism Home Study video, we explore Tinctures today – how to make your own concentrated, liquid herbal extracts using alcohol like brandy or vodka, vegetable glycerine, or apple cider vinegar. In today’s video, we explore making tinctures using the Simpler’s method. If you enjoy this video, you can learn more about tinctures in our Roots of Herbalism class. The next live session will be held November 14 & 15 in Orlando, and we also offer the course as a home study curriculum. Register for our November live course using the code ROOTSDISCOUNT before November 5th and receive a $50 discount off tuition PLUS Rosemary Gladstar’s book…

  • Florida’s Radish: Betony

    Each spring, I eagerly anticipate the perfect formula of patience and warmth to produce a succulent, slightly sweet tuber beneath my garden beds. That’s right – the time is coming to harvest the bountiful Florida Betony, aka Florida Radish, Wild Artichoke, or Rattlesnake Weed. I first learned of Betony from my dear teacher Peggy Lantz, and the moment I first tasted them in a wild salad in her garden, I was hooked.  As a child, I had grown up digging these prolific and oft-labeled “pesky weeds” out of the garden with my grandfather, marveling at the grub-like shape of their tubers.  If only Gramps knew how delicious these delicacies were,…

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