St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) loves the sun and reaches across wide sections of the meadow during the peak days of summer... the herb’s yellow flowers, small and clustered into intense bursts of color, signal that transition from the growth of spring to the fullness of the hot months. Here we are! The time of thunderstorms and cicadas, hot nights and fireflies.
It's summertime, and as herbalists, it's our favorite time of year. Everyone moves at a slower, more relaxed pace, and we spend more time outside being active, enjoying the lush paradise of the outdoors. We're eating fresh food straight from our gardens, and local farms, and our favorites herbs, and flowers are blooming.
Italy was not the first place where humans domesticated grains. By all accounts, this happened in China or India about ten thousand years ago with millet and spelt. This was followed closely by barley cultivated in the fertile floodplains of the land we now call Iraq....
When we stop to consider how much our physical frame and physiological systems endure for even a moderate walk around town (coordination, tendon stretching, impact buffering, blood sugar changes, and more), it’s remarkable that human beings perform so well when engaged in physical activity! Good pre- and post-workout nutrition is crucial, as quality fuels provide a lot more than just energy to our bodies, but beyond eating well, herbal support can address three key areas that are important for athletic types and for anyone who is even moderately active...
If you are looking to spend more time outside connecting to nature--growing herbs is a great place to start, and the benefits of gardening are plenty! The health of our bodies not only come from what we put into them, but also from what we experience around us.
We’re in the business of being better. As herbalists, our first love is the plants--but within that comes a fierce and protective love for the health of our planet. Without it, we’d lose these precious herbal plants we love and work with. Our efforts to do better is at the top of our list, but this doesn't apply for just plant lovers; this is something we all should be encouraging others to think about and make positive changes...
My grandfather (the American one) had many diverse interests, ranging from sports, to finance, and many in between. I fondly recall his passion for history: walking around Kansas City, he'd point out historical markers and talk to me about the Santa Fe Trail, and the lives of pioneers who set out westward to seek their fortune. While I have misgivings about that chapter in US history, I am still grateful for how my grandfather taught me to imagine the footsteps of those who walked a city street or farm field years and years ago.
Having herbal vinegar on hand allows us to infuse our favorite herbs into our everyday meals in a quick + tasty way. They add a medicinal kick to salad dressings, or on grain dishes and greens, or are delicious mixed with sparkling water for a drink called a “shrub.”
Watch water flowing in the world: streams join into fast-flowing rivers, which empty out into seaside wetlands. Here, water rich in nutrients trickles between reed-covered islands. In our bodies, arterial rivers push water rich in nutrients into a branched system of drainage channels: the lymphatic system.
We believe our kitchens are our sanctuaries--a place where we find nourishment, creativity, and healing. For many of us, the kitchen is also home to our herbal apothecaries, which in itself allows the lines between our food and our herbal medicine to blur, and where they truly are one.
We must come to terms with the matter of plant consciousness. When we say "vegetative", we think of absence: no feeling, no willful acts, only passive reaction. But that does not describe the vegetal kingdom: sensing and moving to satisfy its wishes, a plant can hold abstract thought, plan for the future, and coordinate with kin. Plants have memory, sophisticated senses, and exquisite control over how their genetic blueprint unfolds into physical form. We dismiss them simply because of a difference in perspective, and do so at our peril.
Growing up on the sunny side of the Alps, on the gentle slopes that would run down into the fertile valleys of northern Italy, I listened to the fairytales and lore of a people who had lived in those craggy mountains for thousands of years.