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 »

Herbal Aphrodisiacs

Damiana

Damiana Herbal Aphrodisiacs Herbal aphrodisiacs are as varied and numerous as the plants themselves. Some herbs, like Yohimbe, give the body an immediate “boost” of libido and work directly on the reproductive system. Other herbs are more nutritive; they work on a long-term basis to rejuvenate the reproductive system and the adrenals to build lasting […] 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 »

Astragalus, The Great Rejuvenator

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With cold and flu season upon us, it’s a good time of year to get to know Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous). Astragalus has an extensive history of use as an immune booster. Not only does Astragalus build resistance to pathogens, it’s also an excellent tonic for recovering from illness. It warms the tissues and builds strength […] Read more »

Herbs for Grief

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Fall is traditionally a season of grief. It’s why we spend this time gathering with one another, enjoying good food and celebrating light as the days grow short. Lately, we’ve had many folks reaching out to us feeling more troubled than usual. And we’ve been discussing among ourselves some of our most comforting herbal remedies. […] Read more »