Sunday, February 21, 2021

What's in the March April '21 Essential Herbal?

 There have been many times during the last 20 years when working a couple of months ahead had the power to give hope and that has certainly been the case for the last month or so.  Between the weather, the pandemic, and some goofy joint issues that had both of us in physical therapy, it was good to just be in the future.  The sun will shine, the seeds will sprout, and Spring will arrive.  It always does.

This issue is full of warm, enlivening, interesting information, projects, and recipes.  We know you'll enjoy it.  Subscribe HERE.

Check out the cover and table of contents:

Cover, Susan Holliday

Field Notes from the Editor, Tina Sams
20 years ago in April, TEH germinated. It seems like yesterday. 
It seems like a few lifetimes ago.        

A Garden of Afro-Mediterranean Beauty, Carolina Gonzalez
Beautifying herbs from the Canary Islands                                                      

Warming Mustard & Ginger Bath Salts, Mountain Rose Herbs
Invigorating, healing baths.                                                                                 

Winter Aromatherapy, Tina Sams
Various ways to add moisture and fragrance into the winter air.                  

Book Excerpt “The Artisan Herbalist,” Bevin Cohen                                 
Wintergreen, from Bevin Cohen’s new book

One Pan Dinners, Alicia Allen
3 friends tested Alicia’s recipes and sent pictures along the way.               

Six Herbs for a Simple Stillroom Garden, Catherine Love                         
What if you had only enough room for 6?  What would you choose?

Black Drawing Salve, Marci Tsohonis
Step by step instructions for this distinctive and useful salve.                      

Checking Out Chicory, Kristine Brown
If you like dandelion, you’ll love chicory!                                                          

Garden Journey, Rebekah Bailey
We get to watch the ongoing renewal over at the Bailey place.                      

Baked Oatmeal, Tina Sams
An easy, delicious breakfast.                                                                               

Holistic Help for the Immune System, Jackie Johnson ND
Helping the body to heal itself is the best thing we can do.                           

Mulching with Herbs, Marci Lautanen-Raleigh
Grow and harvest your own mulch.                                                                   

Garden Design, Part 1, Kathy Musser
What are the different things to think about when planning a garden?      

Meet Our Contributors


Thursday, January 07, 2021

For the Love of Leaves

 I can't believe I haven't written about this topic.  The blog used to be a pretty constant reflection of the things I love or am enchanted with, but for the last few years it fell by the wayside as the shiny social media platforms took over.  Well!  Let me tell you about what is dragging me out of bed every morning.  No, not the cat who thinks she's starving :-)
Leaves.  I love leaves.  

They are all over my house.  In jars, potpourris, and on the walls in frames.  I spent months visiting a glorious red cabbage bowl at a shop years ago, and when I got a chunk of money, I went and got it. 

A few years ago, I got a few cyanotype items for the website (t-shirts, notecards, and squares) and have had a lot of fun playing with that.  It is amazing to see the detail possible, just using sunlight.  By the way, the above picture is a perfect representation of the difference between my sister's and my style.  My nephew did the one on the left - nice composition, lots of experimentation.  Me in the middle - throw everything on there and enjoy all the variety.  Maryanne on the right - a plan, a pattern, suitable for framing.  This is pretty much the way we are.

Then, a couple years ago, my sister started babbling about eco-prints.  If you've been around a while or read our out of print book, The Herbal Adventures of the Twisted Sisters, you know that's exactly how the whole soap thing started.  She starts researching stuff and I keep thinking I can humor her with some "yeah, yeah."  Anyhow, a friend on fb posted some beautiful scarves that she printed with leaves.  I mentioned them to Maryanne and she YELLED, "YES!  That's what I've been talking about!"
And so it begins.

I couldn't find any pictures of our first attempts.  Just as well, really.  It was autumn and there weren't many leaves - just oak and maple.  The iron solution was too strong, and we used white cotton bandanas.  We were thrilled with the results at the time, but they were pretty bad.  Splotches of rust color, with black leaves that wound up somehow looking like camo.  Not what we were going for.  We took a break until spring and messed around with some resin work - not showing that, although we'll probably get back to that eventually.
It was a long winter waiting and studying how we could do this better.
Then spring arrived.

We started working on silk, gathered all kinds of leaves and flowers, and had a blast!  After applying the leaves to the treated silk, it gets rolled up and tied tightly.  Then it is steamed for several hours.  We had the steamer cooking every day.

Eventually, the end of summer arrived and I swore off printing for the year.  That lasted at least a week.  I have taken up many creative endeavors in the last 50 years, but never felt so completely in love with one.  

Figured out what that heavy metal thing with the pointy front is that was in the laundry room.  It's an iron!  Who knew?  It smooths out the scarves and brings out the sheen.

The weather made it almost impossible to photograph the scarves for the website, so my bonus daughter Angel loaned me the cardboard cutout she happens to have of herself.  It is (unfortunately) about 150% size, so it makes the scarves look puny.  Still, it's kind of fun and funky!  

We gathered several natural mordants and dyes over the last couple of months, and they work pretty well with reconstituted dried leaves. I'm still dyeing, and it's January.

We give all of our scarves names.  That's fun.  It does make it a little more challenging to keep them straight during washing, ironing, and packaging, though.  Still worth it.  I gave Angel and her little one scarves as gifts.  Little Skylar said, "... and what is the name of MY scarf?"  Adorable.

We continue to learn and play.  We are currently waiting for a few more mordants to try out.  I don't see an end to this.  I told Maryanne recently that any travel we do must involve leaf collecting.  Spring is just around the corner!

Our scarves can be viewed and purchased HERE

Sun Print t-shirts HERE

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Herbie News for the New Year - 2021

 Herbie News for the New Year

We have a newsletter option on our website, but I haven't figured out how to share it beyond that mailing list.  This is the gist of it. I'll try and get all the links set, and at the bottom, I'll add the products that were included!

2021 Herb of the Year (chosen by International Herb Association) is Parsley

Petroselinum crispum.
One of the best parts of Herb of the Year is that it gives us an opportunity to really learn something new about the herbs that we may (or may not) use often, but don't know a lot about. Some really memorable HOTY's for me are horseradish, savory, and anise hyssop. I needed to research them in order to write about them.
Here are a couple articles to get you started learning about parsley!

The Herb Society of America chooses Notable Native™ herbs and trees.

Natives are a big part of my life here, and this program has led me into the woods to study the spicebush, and then to find new appreciation for the witch hazel in the back yard. Again, this is such a great program. Focusing on plants really helps us learn.
2021 Notable Native Herb™ Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)
2021 Notable Native Tree™ Gleditsia triacanthos  (honeylocust)
Find PDF's for those and previous choices at their website

The dark part of the year is here, and the lack of sunshine can impact our moods even if we don't have Seasonal Affective Disorder. 2 or 3 days of gloomy weather can wipe me out! Be sure to keep your vitamin D levels up to help with that AND it turns out that maintaining a healthy vit. D level may help prevent COVID-19, as they've found that most of the people with serious cases are vitamin D deficient.
Additionally, if you've got my book, Herbal Medicine for Emotional Healing, there are a ton of great remedies as well as just including the individual herbs in your day! We have all but one or two of the herbs in the book as tinctures. Some of my favorites this time of year are Holy Basil, Mimosa, and Lemon Balm.  Find our tinctures HERE

Interesting new herbs for 2021 include 4 Downy Mildew resistant basils from Johnny's Seeds, a Dotted St John's wort from Bakers Creek, and for those in zones 8-10 who have been trying and trying to keep lavender, Bakers Creek also has Origano Lavender that is happy and perennial in the hot, humid zones; annual in other zones.

Are you considering a good online herb course that will give you everything you need to feel confident to create and continue learning? Rosemary Gladstar's Science and Art of Herbalism is having their annual sale. Here is a link to check it out.
Science and Art of Herbalism
You can read about daughter Molly's experiences in this course HERE
We also recommend classes from Gail Faith Edwards at Blessed Maine Herb Farm,
and the many options at Learning Herbs.

2021 will be the year of the Metal Ox when the Chinese New Year arrives on Feb 12. We consider this year as part of that one for simplicity. The Ox is diligent, honest, strong, and determined. Also stubborn. The Chinese element of Metal's attributes are firmness, rigidity, persistence, strength, and determination.

Pantone colors for 2021 will be "Ultimate Gray" and "Illuminating," which is a bright lemon yellow. One of the critiques of the colors suggested that they were related to the mood of the past year more than a trend, with the gray referring to every day being much like the last, and the yellow is the light at the end of the tunnel. Let's hope that is in the past!

We have a special treat to share! Kristine Brown RH(AHG) has started a new Youtube series of story telling for youngsters. The following link is for PINE, but I saw that she added NUTMEG earlier today. Gather the kids and listen.

We added links to our DIY Fire Cider

Our cinnamon jars

And of course, our magazine...

I think that's everything for now.  Lots to learn in the upcoming year.  Get your seeds and plants early.  Have a happy, healthy, and fortuitous new year!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Essential Herbal January February 2021 Issue


Man Oh Day!  Starting a new year has never been so welcome.  Although I'm writing this on the Solstice, in magazine-land, we are now in January, and have been since the beginning of November!  We all know that 2021 is going to be a rough year, but there is the sense that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  2020 was a long, long, long year.  

Enough of that!  We have a wonderful issue to start this year.  Lots of recipes, remedies and garden ideas wait inside these pages.

You can get a SINGLE COPY or SUBSCRIBE for a year.  Subscriptions come with and addition 6 "Essential Extras" which are smaller things that may be a handful of great pages, a video, puzzles - whatever we have - and you'll hear from us every month; 6 magazines and 6 Essential Extras (exclusive for subscribers only).

We are still shipping for the time being, but the mail service has really been hobbled.  So... if you need to be sure your gift arrives, consider sending a subscription!



Cover, Maryanne Schwartz
      Read about how Maryanne arrived at this artwork.
Field Notes, Tina Sams
      The hodge-podge of existing in the time of COVID
Don’t Leave the Lemongrass Leaves, Alicia Allen
      Don't toss those fragrant leaves!
      Make a lemongrass ring for seasoning, or potpourri!
Garden Journaling, Kathy Musser
      Keeping track of every little thing that makes your garden grow.
Love-inspired DIY Recipes, Jessicka Nebesni
      Bath bombs, body scrub, and massage oil - oh my!
Boneset & Peppermint and Super-Hot Tea, Jenel Schaffer
      How to make a really good cup of tea, and a recipe for
      Boneset and Peppermint tea.
Tools Every Gardener Should Have, J.L. Davidson
      Gather your garden tools while ye may!
Winter Mood Booster Herbs, Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh
      A few helpful herbs for the dark months, and a lovely recipe.
Ginger Root Syrup with Lemon and Althaea Root, Marci Tsohonis
      Complete instructions to make this delicious and useful syrup.
The Perfect Trio for Recovery, Bri Martinez
      Step by step herbs to revive you after the flu.
Lotion Making, Rebekah Bailey
      A little more complicated than salve because liquid is added
      to the mix. Everything you need to get started including recipes!
Simple Self-Care Rituals, Stillroom Style, Catherine Ann Love
      Favorite herbs for drinking (tea) or bathing (tea)
The Benefits of Bay Laurel, Kristine Brown RH(AHG)
      All about Bay Laurel, and how to make a tea, oil,and syrup.
15 Tips for Starting Your Own Seeds, Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh
      It really will be time to get started before you know it!
Dutsi 5 Lums (5 Nectars Bath), Nashalla G. Nyinda TMD Menpa
      From the Lums (bath or compress) chapter in the Tibetan Medical
     tradition, complete instructions.

Be sure to check it out and visit our website to read several samples (links at the bottom of the homepage), not to mention all the books and herbal items that are just waiting for you!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Winter 2020 Mini Sample

Winter 2020 mini (sample)

Find inside:

Zombie Apocalypse

Herbal Winter Remedies

 You Might Be an Herbie

 Warming Masala Chai 

 Handmade Holidays...

Monday, December 07, 2020

Thinking about an herbal program?

My Experience with Rosemary Gladstar's
The Science and Art of Herbalism

Molly Sams 



I began this course closer to novice but felt much more comfortable toward the end. Rosemary Gladstar  broke down the basics of herbalism and created comprehensive recipes, assignments, and crafts that you can use for possibly your entire herbal future or career. For those just dipping a toe into herbalism this class takes you from thyme to tincture. And with the detail comes thoughtful, eloquent writing, which made it easier to digest the concepts and practices in the course.

For the more learned herbalists it is wonderful review. I believe that (though I do struggle to embrace at times) returning to basic ideas and procedures can help you hewn your craft, herbal or otherwise. Having this course as a resource may certainly help jog an experienced herbalist's memory or give them a new perspective of a plant or product. Though I don't consider myself an experienced herbalist by any means, (nor will I ever, there's just too much to learn) I can see how this may be beneficial even for the well-versed herbalist.

I have to say Ms. Gladstar has a solid team helping out students as well. They are quick to answer any and all questions and the turnaround on grading homework was within the week. Helen Ward was the person I regularly chatted with over email and she was incredibly helpful throughout the entire process. If I ever have the pleasure of meeting her, I at least owe her a cup of coffee.

My last accolade has to go to the publishing of their course. It is colorful, organized, and downright beautiful. Having such a complete and cohesive medium made learning easy.

So if you're wondering if you should try it out, try it out! You'll be able to further your education and understanding of herbalism. You may even find out you have a knack for it.  

There is currently a sale going on.  Check it out!

 CLICK HERE for details

(note - affiliate link)

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Stock Up and Avoid Hoarding

   Since we've gone digital, we've been sending out a small EXTRA on the in-between months.  We never know what it's going to be.  For this EXTRA, we decided to ask around on social media, and try to come up with a list for grocery shopping, and also a list of herbs to have on hand.  Having what is needed takes one thing off the list of stressors.

    Although we've been getting groceries once a week or less, and being pretty strict about doing without if we don't have it, we were pretty pleased with some of the ideas that came in and realized there were things we hadn't considered that would make our lives easier.

   Because it seems like something that might help folks who aren't accustomed to not being able to stop at the store every day or so on the way home from work, we are sharing it here and on social media.   Here they are.  We hope you will find them helpful.

Contributors for the grocery list:  *Thanks to the following contributors: Gin Dugan, Tracy Aiello, Christine Tolf, Nana Frazier, Virginia Lee Adi, Samantha Cor-win, Jodi Reinhart, Heather Níc An Fhleisdeir, Camille Cook Lee, Frances Malone, Holly O'Brien, Angela Bowman, Gail Faith Edwards, Sylett Strickland, Iris P. Weaver, Sarah Preston, Susan Hess, Marci Tsohonis, Gale LaScala, Nanette Blank, Barbara Steele

Thanks all!

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