Happy Earth Day! The ushering in of Earth Day is a perfect time to dig your hands deep in the soil and find that peaceful place to recharge your body, mind, and spirit.
Jaime asked me to contribute to The Raven’s Rant this week and suggested I write something along the lines of “Ask the Herbalist.” Honestly, calling myself an herbalist is uncomfortable, a budding herbalist is a better-suited title. There is so much to know, and my knowledge and experience only scratch the surface. However, I have no problem letting people know what herbs could help and where to find good information. It is important to do your own research before consuming medicinal herbs to ensure it is the right choice for you. Including consulting a medical practitioner, especially if combined with prescribed pharmaceuticals or other medicinal herbs, you are pregnant or nursing, or when providing to children.
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, back to “Ask the Herbalist.” The best way I can provide you with trusted and helpful information about growing and using medicinal herbs is to recommend a newly published book, released on April 5, 2022, “The Healing Garden, Cultivating and Handcrafting Herbal Remedie”s by Juliet Blankespoor. Juliet is the founder of the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, which happens to be the online school that I attended. I completed the 1000-hour Herbal Immersions course in 2019, which was the foundation for the knowledge that I do hold regarding propagating, harvesting, drying, and preparing medicinal herbs. Juliet spoke of the future publication of her book during the course, and it is a condensed version of what I learned. The book is a great guide for anyone wanting to learn more. I waited three years for the publication and must admit, the book did not disappoint, the release was at a perfect time, right before growing season, and I am excited to let you know about it.
“The Healing Garden, Cultivating and Handcrafting Herbal Remedies” is over 400 pages composed of instruction and information about cultivating medicine, making medicine, and botanical medicine featuring 32 herbs, 27 of which I currently grow on the farm. Juliet writes to educate and entertain. Extracting the vast amount of knowledge that she has collected over 30 years and pouring that information onto the pages, in nicely organized puddles of expert advice. Sprinkled throughout are her plugs that keep it a fun read. The vibrant colored pages are filled with pictures that Juliet has captured on her herbal journey. The chapters progress from planning your dream herbal landscape and finish with taking what you have grown, understanding the herbal profiles, and making your herbal remedies.
Part Three: Botanical Medicine, is my favorite section of the book. At my fingertips, I now have 2-4 pages of detailed information about 27 of the herbs that I grow locally. The profile pages include information on cultivation, problem insects and disease, harvesting, medicinal properties, and medicinal uses, culinary uses, contraindications, warnings, and finally recipes. The book will accompany me to every farmers’ market or event I attend so I can share quick information with people wanting to know more about the medicinal herbs I grow.
If you are interested in the book, copies will be available for purchase at the Great Basin Apothecary and Herbal Cooperative Seedling Sale, 1525 W Williams Avenue, Saturday, April 23, from 10-4. Herbs featured in the book and available at the seedling sale include Bee Balm, Echinacea, Elecampane, Lemon Balm, Mint, Motherwort, Valerian, and Yarrow. These are not the only herbs we’ll have available at the sale, I know that Jaime has some special surprises that she plans to bring as well. As the season warms you will find more varieties featured in the book at the Green Goddess Market and Seedling Sale on May 14th. The book is also available and is currently listed as a Best Seller on Amazon.com.
Again, Happy Earth Day! Take a moment to honor the Great Mother Earth in the next day or two, it is her bounty that nourishes and heals us all.