In Basket: May 2012

The Herb Companion readers discuss botanical postcards, an herb seasoning blend, immune defense, German Commission E, and more in this month’s “In Basket.”


Elecampane sprang from Helen of Troy’s tears. Horehound a bitter juice; a singular remedy against the cough. E.S.R.

Postcard courtesy Wendy Strong

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Return to Sender: Botanical Postcards

One of our devoted readers, Wendy Strong of Raleigh, North Carolina, forwarded us a set of botanical postcards she found when going through her mom’s belongings. Wendy believes her mom, Jean, was gifted these cards by Wendy’s grandmother, Peg. Both were once members of their local herb society. These cards feature fun facts and sayings, like “He who would live for aye must eat Sage in May,” and gorgeous illustrations. See the Image Gallery for more botanical postcards.

An Herb Seasoning Blend

Here is a blend I like and use often. It was submitted to The Herb People Club in Oklahoma; it’s from a collection of recipes that they put together. Use it in pasta, breads, oils, vinegar dressings and butters. Also try it on herb crusts for chicken, fish or pork by combining 2 tablespoons of the blend with 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs.

Healthy Herb Seasoning Blend 

• 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
• 2 tablespoons dried winter savory
• 2 tablespoons garlic powder
• 2 tablespoons dried parsley
• 2 tablespoons dried chives
• 4 teaspoons onion powder
• 4 teaspoons dried oregano

Blend dried ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight glass container away from heat and light.

—Dale Duncan, Dannevirke, New Zealand

Thanks for sharing! See Create Your Own Herbal Blends to find more of our favorite herb blends. —Eds.

Herbal Recipe Cards Suggestion

Could you put herbal recipe cards in the magazine? Maybe feature about four or so each issue? Like remedies for headaches, colds or the flu; something that I could put in a recipe card box and easily look up again.

—Paul Payne, Owensboro, Kentucky

We love this idea and we’ll keep it in mind for future issues. —Eds.

Immune Defense

In the March 2012 “From Us, To You,” Allison Martin said she discovered a tincture that contained maitake mushroom, astragalus root, shiitake mushroom, turkey tail mushroom and American ginseng root. Where can you find this?

—Alan South, Louisville, Kentucky

The tincture is called Immunaid and is produced by Teeter Creek, which is a company located in Missouri. That brand might not be available in your area, but an Herb Pharm tincture, called Immune Defense, has very similar ingredients. —Eds.

German Commission E Information

Does the German Commission E have a website? Is there access to current information on the herbs they review?

—Michele Steinert, Santa Rosa, California

Browse the Commission E monographs by visiting the American Botanical Council website. You can also pick up The Complete German Commission E Monographs (American Botanical Council, 1998) or Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs (Integrative Medicine Communications, 2000). —Eds.

Uses for Roses

What are my favorite things about roses? Let me count the ways! Roses are a necessary part of my garden. With roses, I make rose hip tea, salads, muffins, honey, sugar, lotion, soap and rosewater. I enjoy roses in fresh bouquets, potpourri and wreaths. Roses also pose as models in my paintings, photos and my ultimate “rose clay,” which creates sculptured birds, ornaments and keepsake boxes, a recipe that belonged to my great-great-great grandmother Churchill. I have refined and expanded it to include items made from dried and powdered rose petals.

—Novajean Casler, Maple Rapids, Michigan