Our readers are always writing to us and asking us questions about herbs. Read some of our favorite letters regarding the March 2011 issue, which includes information about kicking up your cuisine with horseradish.
Our readers are always writing to us and asking us questions about herbs. Read some of our favorite letters regarding the January 2011 issue, which includes information about sweetening holiday treats with stevia.
Our readers are always writing to us and asking us questions about herbs. Read some of our favorite letters regarding the November 2010 issue, which includes information about brewing tea with caraway seed.
Our readers are always writing to us and asking us questions about herbs. Read some of our favorite letters regarding the September 2010 issue, which includes information about keeping your sage alive.
Our readers are always writing to us and asking us questions about herbs. Read some of our favorite letters regarding the July 2010 issue, which includes information about the toxicity of apricot kernels.
Note from a Regional Gardener: One summer, following a recipe in an Australian herb book, I tried to candy some angelica from my garden. I failed miserably—it came out wet and soggy instead of firm and dry, as it should be. Read more.
Little Medicine: The Wisdom to Avoid Big Medicine (1995) takes its name from a distinction Native Americans make among medicinal plants. The “little medicines” are herbs that anyone can learn to use as first-aid treatments for everyday medical problems. The “big medicines” are the plants reserved for more highly trained medicine people. Read more.
Spontaneous Healing is Andrew Weil’s fourth book devoted to natural healing. Like his earlier books, this one treats healing as a compendium of therapies, including herbs, lifestyle changes, and beliefs that hinder or help healing. Learn more.
Notes from regional herb gardeners: “I’m having a Martha Stewart weekend” has become a popular expression among my friends. It means that one of us is tackling a wonderful, ambitious project or two (or three or four). Read more.
For those whose experience with mushrooms is limited to the bland white things at the supermarket (Agaricus bisporus), Hobbs, a fourth-generation herbalist and an internationally recognized expert on the history, folklore, botany, and pharmacology of medicinal herbs, has written a magnificent introduction to the wide world of edible and medicinal fungi.
Notes From A Regional Gardener: Each fall, I clean out the cold frame and test my soil-heating mat—a length of plastic webbing with a low-voltage heating cable snaking back and forth in the mesh. Plugged into an electrical power source, the mat keeps the temperature inside the frame above freezing, turning the cold frame into a hotbed. Read more.
Notes From A Regional Gardener: Tonight we’re having pasta with a sauce I made and put in jars last summer. My husband grows many kinds of tomatoes, including paste tomatoes, but lately those with the best flavor have been the cherry tomatoes. Read more.
Notes From Regional Herb Gardeners: It’s a fact of American life: as we become an increasingly complex society, our language must adapt to specialized interests. Sit down with a bunch of computer people and you’re unlikely to understand much of what they’re saying. Read more.
Notes From A Regional Gardener: The Lord says that on the seventh day we should rest. I’d add that in the seventh or eighth month it is good to do the same: slow down, watch the grass grow, listen to the bees hum. Lady spends her dog-day afternoons lying in the shade. I lie in the hammock under two wonderful old oak trees.
Notes From a Regional Gardener: Thinking back on this past growing season, I noted an obvious decrease in the number of tree frogs, butterflies, and hummingbirds visiting my garden. I hope that it was only an aberrant year.
Notes from Regional Herb Gardeners: Was there ever such an exasperating plant as perilla? Ever a plant so determinedly, so single-mindedly, so frantically bent on procreation? It seeds itself into the center of every perennial in the garden, into pots of geraniums, and in the cracks between bricks and flagstones. How shamefully fecund it is, yet how useful!
Notes from a Regional Gardener: People have asked me if I shouldn’t like to have a greenhouse or to move south where I could garden all year, and the answer is no. Possibly I’m part grizzly bear, for I feel that winter is for hibernating and restoring the tissues, for reading, writing, and listening to music.
Researches recently documented a species of cinnamon (Cinnamomum carolinense), known locally as madeu, that is found only on Pohnpei. They found that islanders commonly drink tea made from the tree’s bark to relieve pain.
Looking Forward to Herbs: We were faced with many good choices as we read through the entries for our 20th anniversary essay contest, “Looking Forward to Herbs.” Our first-place winner, Shell Greenier’s “Let the Lessons Live On,” reminds us of the legacy we’ve inherited and the future we want to bequeath.
I’m a low-tech gardener and happy about it. I see tempting tools and gadgets in catalogs that are supposed to make my life easier, but I rarely succumb to their charms. If I wanted my life to be easier, I wouldn’t garden.
Looking for a great holiday gift for your herb-loving sister (or yourself)? I highly recommend The Unlikely Lavender Queen, the true story of Jeannie Ralston and Hill Country Lavender, a business she landed in unexpectedly.
With growing concerns about food safety and the environment, the market for organic products has exploded. But the worldwide demand for organic wild-harvested herbs has raised another concern: Could over-harvest of wild herbs endanger some species and their habitats?
The fresh scent of nasturtiums is for me the defining scent of October, as coolness and moisture revive a fragrance smothered in the summer’s heat. The rest of the summer annuals are doomed, and they know it.
The garden is settling down, and so am I. If the garden is not weeded quite as meticulously as I would like it to be, so be it; there’s always next year to correct my failings. However, not being a zealous weeder and deadheader does have its benefits.
Do I revel in the sweet smells and participate in the quiet living energy outdoors, or do I closet myself with the computer in an attempt to record what I am, at that moment, missing? Do I save or savor?
Now, in the quieter days of August, I can think back on the hectic days of spring. It rained and snowed so continuously through March and April that we were unable to get out in the garden until well along in May.
The annual conference of the International Herb Growers and Marketers Association (IHGMA) was held in Washington State in July, and it gave me the opportunity to compare notes with fellow herb growers from across the nation.
These candle making with herbs projects use your favorite herbs to scent and decorate candles to warm your home or that of a dear friend. Originally published as "Herb-wrapped Illumination" in Herb Companion.
Defeat Diabetes September/October 2006 By Michael Castleman L ast year, my friend Will, age 49, was
diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. His doctor warned that if he didn’t
test his blood sugar daily and take all sorts of drugs and
eventually inject insulin, he would lose his legs and die a
Plan a relaxing and rejuvenating pedicure once a week (or every other week). You can keep feet soft and smooth in between pedicures by running a pumice stone or foot file over your heels and smoothing on a rich moisturizing cream at night after washing your feet. Try our five basic steps to the perfect pedicure.
Coral Calcium: Hype or Highly Effective Supplement? September/October 2005 By Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa C ould a coral calcium supplement really help
keep us healthy and vital as we age? Is it better than other forms
of calcium, worthy of its higher cost? Questions surround coral calcium. But for Fred Runnel
Rhodiola rosea displays all the attributes of a classic adaptogen (a valuable tonic herb that strengthens the body’s nonspecific resistance to the effects of physical stress, such as that caused by overwork or extreme temperatures). Learn more.
Scents and Sensibility October/November 2004 BY KATHLEEN HALLORAN “Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across
thousands of miles and all the years you have
—Helen Keller T he sense of smell is both primitive and
powerful. Our ability to smell is estimated to be 10,000 times more
Chefs’ Picks October/November 2004 A sk a true cook to describe his or her favorite
kitchen companions and you’re sure to hear enthusiastic prose
extolling the virtues, not of people, but of gadgets, gear and
great cookbooks. Not fooled by pretty faces, experienced cooks
require from their trusted servant
Nancy Smith, heirloom gardener and managing editor of Mother Earth News magazine, recommends Restoring American Gardens, 1640-1940, by Denise Wiles Adams, and Gardens and Historic Plants of the Antebellum South, by James R. Cothran for your gardening bookshelf.
A Celebration of Herbs This annual Cleveland event showcases herbal treasures to buy or make yourself. October/November 2001 By MAUREEN B. HEFFERNAN HERBAL PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS Potpourri
Jams, jellies, and vinegars
Soaps, scented lotions, oils, and scrubs
Teas and seasoning blends
Herb-dyed bags and
That old standby definition of a weed—any plant growing where it’s not wanted—doesn’t always apply in the world of herbs. Their usefulness and sometimes neglected beauty make them welcome guests despite their eagerness to run unchecked through the garden. Learn more about milkweed.
Herbs and spices not only define the taste of traditional sausages but also help us lighten up this old favorite without sacrificing flavor for lower fat. Try these herb-loaded favorites and low-fat sausage recipes.
One student created a delightful miniature garden, complete with night-blooming plants that attracted evening pollinators. This garden was meant to be strolled through in the dark to get the entire sensory experience.
Regional herb gardeners offer their tales and trials each season brings. See what it's like growing basil plants in Nova Scotia, or learn about the best dwarf garden plants to accompany a miniature train winding through your herbs.
There are three categories for herbal aphrodisiacs: substances whose sensual appeal has strong erotic associations, those that enhance physical health and ease and thus free the body and mind for erotic connections, and those that in themselves reputedly have a physical or erotic effect. Learn more.
Of the many herbs that have been called upon over the centuries to counteract the painful, often debilitating symptoms of migraines, the most thoroughly researched has been feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium).
Do you have a talent for herb gardening, or does your enthusiasm greatly exceed your cultivation skills? No matter what degree of success you have had in the past, the following quiz may help define your aptitude for raising and using herbs.
A folk treatment for kidney disorders, horsetail offers new health remedies. As a natural fungicide, this herb is used for black spots and mildew on plants, athlete's foot fungus and fingernail fungus. Incorporate horsetail in your herb garden because the new uses prove just as valuable.
These recipes make some of our favorite herbal soaps. Feel free to experiment with scents that please you, essential oils that you have on hand, and plants that grow in your garden. Using the ingredients in the recipes, follow with our soapmaking instructions.
The more you learn about herbs, the more there is to learn. The hallowed halls of herbal education are neither set in stone nor bound by the usual walls of higher learning. Experts agree that the ultimate form of education is experience, but ask them about other ways to learn about herbs and each answer differs.
The earliest known cookbook, by Apicius in first-century Rome, featured bay laurel as an important seasoning. It was used in many elaborate and varied dishes from aromatic beverages, salts, and sausages to sauces for meats, birds, wild game, and seafood.
Not only can potted herbs line the kitchen windowsill or claim a place on the patio, but sometimes they nestle into the garden proper and add a welcome element of beauty and versatility to the landscape.
All their voices are silenced now, but from these women and my mother comes my heritage of herbs. The knowledge, passed on from mother to daughter, is a wisdom gained by countless years tending sick children, husbands, and neighbors, for women were the first healers.
As spring swings in, chances are your herb beds are dug, planted, watered, and weeded, and you’re ready for a break. Or perhaps those chores still lie ahead, and you need some inspiration. Either way, take some time during the week of May 2–8 to celebrate National Herb Week.
If you were suddenly transformed into a tiny bug with big eyes crawling across the surface of a leaf, you might be astonished at the complexity of the landscape that unfolds. What humans see as a smooth, flat leaf leaps into another dimension when seen from a bug’s-eye view: leaf veins look like giant storm drains, pores become craters, and barely visible hairs turn into towering structures. At The Herb Companion, we found a way to accomplish this surreal shift of perception—with the technology of scanning electron microscopy.