Aloe Vera

Aloe, Aloe barbandensis, chinensis is an easy-to-grow evergreen succulent. Originating in the Middle East, it is now grown commercially all over the world. It makes an excellent house plant, and has become well-known in the West as a first-aid remedy, especially for burns. Many households have an Aloe in the kitchen, snipping off a leaf […] Read more »

Calendula

The humble marigold Calendula officinalis is a wonderful and powerful herb to get to know. In the words of herbalist David Hoffman, “The value of this exceptional herb cannot be exaggerated when it comes to treating skin problems like wounds, bruises, or burns.” In addition to its remarkable effects on the skin, Calendula is also […] Read more »

A Fungal Approach To Allergies

Mushrooms might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to herbal allergy control, but over the years they have become a staple of my regimen that I’ve come to depend on and enjoy. Some mushrooms, like Reishi, are natural anti-inflammatories that help control allergy symptoms during flare-ups. But mushrooms’ real gift […] Read more »

Gymnema: The Sugar Destroyer

Gymnema is an Ayurvedic herb with a truly extraordinary effect on blood sugar disorders. Its Sanskrit name is Gurmar, which means “Sugar Destroyer”, or “Destroyer of the Sweet Taste”. Gymnema has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for blood sugar for thousands of years. Its effects on the insulin cycle, pancreas, and liver make it a […] Read more »

Top 3 Herbs for the Kitchen Garden

The live plants have arrived at Smile! With dozens of herbs to choose from, the variety can be overwhelming. If you’re looking to grow herbs at home but aren’t sure where to begin, here are our top 3 picks for the easiest herbs to grow with the most crossover health benefits. These 3 favorites taste […] Read more »

Preparing Your Garden Soil

There are so many methods, so many theories of the best way, the easiest way, to prepare your garden beds for cultivation. Double-digging, trench composting, mulch gardening are all viable ways to enrich your soil and keep your plants happy, but I tend toward a “middle way” approach, and actually use a combination of these […] Read more »

Deep Cleaning with Dandelion

There are so many reasons to love dandelion, especially its insistence on showing up absolutely everywhere. From its liver-cleansing properties to the deliciousness of blood-cleansing dandelion wine, this scourge of landscaped lawns is one of our most beloved and valuable cleansing spring tonics. Read more »

The Wonders of Turmeric

Turmeric, Curcuma longa This beautiful golden root is a powerful medicinal herb. Best known, perhaps, as the spice that gives Curry powder its distinctive color, Turmeric is used alone and in blends to season food, support digestive and joint health, and treat many internal and external health complaints. I could go on an on about […] Read more »

Which Ginseng?

The word “Ginseng” tends to be synonymous with vitality and energy, and for good reason! Its botanical name, Panax, has the same root as the word “panacea”, healer of all ills. It has been considered “king of herbs” in Native American and Chinese medicine traditions for thousands of years. Like many adaptogens, ginseng helps with more […] Read more »