Herb Basics

A Place to Start


| July/August 2004



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Peppermint (Mentha ¥piperita)

Karen Shelton, www.altnature.com

GOOD GREEN GATHERING: COLLECT PLANTS RESPONSIBLY

In her book Walking the World in Wonder, herbalist Ellen Evert Hopman reminds us to use “green etiquette’’ when gathering plants. When harvesting, be sure there are at least seven others of the plant left behind so the species can continue to reproduce — this ensures that enough plants will remain to form seeds. Never take more plants than you can use, even if there are plenty. Some plants are in danger of becoming extinct and should never be harvested from the wild. They are good choices for growing in your garden. These herbs include the following:

• American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
• Arnica (Arnica spp.)
• Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)
• Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
• Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
• Echinacea (Echinacea spp.)
• Gentian (Gentiana spp.)
• Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
• Eyebright (Euphrasia spp.)
• Helonias root (Chamaelirium luteum)
• Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum)
• Oregon grape (Mahonia spp.)
• Osha (Ligusticum porteri)
• Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens)
• Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra)
• Sundew (Drosera spp.)
• Trillium (Trillium pendulum)
• Yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica)

Sources: Hopman, Ellen Evert. Walking the World in Wonder: A Children’s Herbal. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press, 2000.
United Plant Savers, www.unitedplantsavers.com.

SAFE, NATURAL ANT CONTROL

Frequent Herbs for Health contributor Laurel Vukovic, in her book 1001 Natural Remedies, has several helpful, nontoxic suggestions for combating pesky ants. First, try a mix of 1/4 cup dried peppermint leaves (Mentha ¥piperita), 1/4 cup powdered cayenne (Capsicum annuum) and 1/4 cup borax. Sprinkle the mixture liberally around the area where ants are entering your home to help deter ants.

Another option is to use essential oils. Try placing a few drops of peppermint, spearmint or citronella oil on a cotton ball. Put the cotton ball in areas where you have seen ants. Renew the oil every two days to keep the scent strong.

Finally, you can try a homemade ant trap. In a screw-top jar, mix 3 cups water, 1 cup sugar and 4 teaspoons boric acid. Poke holes in the jar lid and place the jar near ant trails (keep out of reach of children and pets).





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