Plantain: First Aid Hero

Plantago major Plantain is an herb that has made itself so widely available to us, it practically calls out to be of use. City sidewalks, roadsides, fields, practically any place with lots of sunshine, Plantain will be there, and its uses are precious and practical. One of Plantain’s finest uses is as a first aid […] Read more »

Yellow Dock for Healthy Skin

Yellow dock roots

Yellow dock is a go-to herb for chronic and acute skin conditions like psoriasis and acne. Yellow dock encourages “flow”. Skin problems can often trace their source to a congested liver and sluggish system generally overwhelmed with toxins. Yellow dock encourages the production of bile and promotes bowel cleansing. It strengthens and astringes the stomach […] Read more »

Relaxing With Passion Flower

Passiflora incarnata (with bee)

Passiflora incarnata (with bee) Passion Flower’s fantastic beauty is a medicine in itself, but this lovely vine has much more to offer than its stunning, dramatic blooms. This time of year in the garden, Passion Flower vines are 4-5 inches tall with a few tiny leaves. But given time, sunlight, and water, they will climb […] Read more »

Frankincense Chewing Gum

frankincense Olibanum_resin

If you’re looking to try something new and different for your health, try chewing on some Frankincense resin instead of commercial gum. Pop a tear of Frankincense in your mouth and it soon becomes the consistency of chewing gum, with the aromatic, gently invigorating flavor of the ancient Frankincense herb, Boswellia spp. Unlike commercial chewing […] Read more »

Making Medicinal Vinegars

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Naturally fermented vinegars are medicines in and of themselves, and they are also an excellent medium for extracting the medicinal properties of herbs. In fact, vinegar facilitates and strengthens the effects of the herbs extracted within it, especially stimulant and expectorant herbs, and we’ve been using vinegar in this way since the days of ancient […] Read more »

Nettles: Using The Whole Plant

Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica

Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioicaI’ll paraphrase one of my favorite herbalists, jim mcdonald, when he speaks to the difficulty some folks have in gaining confidence with herbs. He suggests picking one or two herbs to focus on completely– Grow them, eat them, read about them, make medicine with them, etc.; if you really got to know, […] Read more »

Getting To Know Catnip

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Catnip in Smile's gardenCatnip, Nepeta cataria, is a perennial herb, a member of the mint family, and one of the friendliest plants around. Its soft, aromatic leaves give you an idea of its gentle, calming effect on the mind and body. The square stems are a dusky purple color and grow quickly and abundantly with lots […] Read more »

Vitex: The Hormone Balancer

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Chaste Tree berries come from the beautiful, purple-flowering tree known as Vitex agnus-castus. Vitex’s use as an herbal medicine dates back to the ancient Greeks and beyond; it was one of Hippocrates’ favorite herbs. Its common name is Chaste Tree, so named because it was believed to have the ability to preserve chastity and decrease […] Read more »