Morgan Botanicals

  (Loveland, Colorado)
Herbal Information and Recipes
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Boneset: Is It A Silly Name For A Fever Herb?

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

People often ask me "Why such a silly name for a fever herb?" So, I'm clearing up this matter right away: the name boneset implies that this plant is used to treat broken bones, but actually has nothing to do with that, well.......not really. The names of plants often reveal useful information about them, but they can also be very misleading. With a name like boneset, you are likely to lead one astray since the plant was traditionally used in the treatment of fevers, not to mend broken bones. However, with a quick understanding of how the name came to be, it all makes a little more sense.

Boneset's name comes from its traditional use as a treatment for "breakbone fever," an old term for dengue fever. Dengue is a mosquito-borne, viral disease that causes muscle pains so intense that people imagined their bones were breaking, hence its traditional name.

As one of early America's foremost medicinal plants, boneset today has been pushed aside and simply regarded as a weed with a somewhat interesting past. The Indians introduced this native perennial to early Colonists as a sweat-inducer, a beneficial treatment for fevers. The Indians used boneset for all fever-producing illnesses: influenza, cholera, dengue, malaria, and typhoid. Appropriately, but somehow less used, boneset's original common names were feverwort and sweat plant. This forgotten wild flower is known to treat minor viral and bacterial illnesses as well by revving up the immune system's response to infection and initiate profuse sweating. When you run a fever, and employ herbs that cause the body to sweat, the sweat itself helps cool the body down naturally as well as open the pores and restore circulation. The Indians knew this all to well and I'd say we are lucky to have been introduced to this herb that was used for centuries by indigenous North Americans.

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) was listed as a treatment for fever in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 through 1916, and in the National Formulary, the pharmacists' manual, from 1926 through 1950. It had no equal as a cough, cold and fever remedy during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But over time it fell from favor, replaced by another fever fighter, Aspirin.

Traditionally, boneset is taken as a tea using the leaves and flowering tops. To prepare a tea, infuse 1 Tbsp. herb in a cup of boiled water and allow to steep, covered, for ten to fifteen minutes. Drink half cup every 2-3 hours. It's pretty bitter and well, kinda gross, but very effective and well worth the effort. Boneset also has the ability to loosen phlegm and promote productive removal which makes it a beneficial herb for colds.

A favorite tea that I use and like to call 'Fever Break Tea', is a personal blend of Elder Flower, Yarrow, Peppermint and Boneset. Then wrap up warm and allow the herbs to do their magic.

***Please keep in mind that boneset should be taken for acute conditions and for a limited amount of time, as long term use can cause degeneration of the liver and kidneys. However, it is still far safer than Acetaminophen and tastes equally as bad- so I personally will choose the boneset cure.

If you're looking for Boneset or other quality herbs, check here on my site morganbotanicals.com or in my Local Harvest store.

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

 

 

 
 

Do You Facebook Or Twitter...Join Me For Some Plant Laughter!

,Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

Do you use Facebook or Twitter? Are we connected?

If so, lets get together. I love to share tons of quirky garden jokes, photos, herbal history and great quotes.

Come over and say Hello! See you soon!

 

Twitter: MorganBotanical  http://twitter.com/MorganBotanical

Facebook: Morgan Botanicals  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Morgan-Botanicals/60539921827

As always, please email any questions to

herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Asthma: And The Amazing Herbs That Help

,Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Growing up as a child with extreme asthma, I spent my initial herbal learning years trying to understand the whats and whys of this condition.  Was it stress, weak immune system, our animals, what? I grew up in a non smoking home with a health freak mother and an environment that was cleaner than any hospital. So why was I having such a hard time. Ultimately, I believe it was stress induced asthma, and I had to find a way to control it.

So, being dependent on an inhaler for what seemed most of my childhood, and despising that I felt  'addicted' to this silly breathing apparatus, I searched for alternatives. I first turned to eucalyptus essential oil to ease my breathing troubles. I found that by simply inhaling straight from the bottle, my whole body relaxed. This was simply amazing to me. I mean really...it really was amazing. I had control for the first time, not my inhaler. So now that I could relax enough to catch my breath, I thought, maybe I needed to strengthen my lungs and immune system. I was on the hunt for herbs and oils that were going to help me breath. I so wanted to just breath. Sounds silly to those who have never suffered an asthma attack, but for those who have, not being able to breath is hell.

I spent my time learning about asthma and what triggers it. Asthma can caused by all sorts of things such as allergens from foods, food additives, pollen, mold, dust, mites, and pet dander, smoke, air pollution and toxins, colds, flu, or pneumonia, strenuous exercise, weather; such as extreme changes in temperature, drugs, and even emotional stress and anxiety. There is also often a strong link between seasonal allergies and bronchial asthma. Those with other respiratory disorders such as chronic sinusitis, middle ear infections, and nasal polyps were also likely to have nighttime awakening due to asthma.

That was me, I had numerous ear infections and tubes put in my ears three times. I grew up in the city with all kinds of little pets and I'm sure there was pollen in the air and what not, but I really believe it was emotional stress, as stress is the one things I have manage to eradicate from my life. I strive to live simple, silly, happy and stress free... period. But the good news is, that I have over come my daily asthma and when I do have trouble breathing (usually after weed eating/heavy yard work, or sometimes during outdoor activities in the cold or snow) I am now better equipped to control it.

Below are some herbs and essential oils I have found over the years to be very useful between and during an asthma attack. Learn about them, they may be helpful for you.

Herbal Remedies

There are herbs that will reduce attacks by strengthening the lungs and the immune systems as well as calming and relaxing.

Angelica -  possess anti-inflammatory properties and increases immune system function; which is why the root is often used in treating allergies as well.

Anise - often an ingredient in cough syrups and lozenges as an expectorant, which means it helps in the coughing up of mucus in conditions like asthma, bronchitis, the common cold and whooping cough. 

Coltsfoot -   since the principal active ingredient in the plant is a throat-soothing mucilage, it has been used medicinally as a cough suppressant and remedy for asthma and bronchial congestion.

Elecampane - long valued as a tonic herb for the respiratory system. It is often used as a specific remedy for chronic bronchitis and bronchial asthma. Elecampane soothes the bronchial tube linings and acts as an expectorant.

Horehound - anti-inflammatory and is often used to treat respiratory aliments such as asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough. 

Licorice - has been used traditionally to restore breathing and calm the breathing passageways.

Lobelia -  is a bronchodilator and antispasmodic which explains its popularity as a medicinal herb for asthma, spasmodic croup, pneumonia and whooping cough. It is thought to stimulate the respiratory center of the brain resulting in deeper and stronger breathing.  

Marshmallow -  a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant. The soothing and healing properties that are found in the mucilage in marshmallow make it a valuable herb for many lung ailments such as asthma.

Motherwort - decreases the severity of lung spasms but also reduce anxiety, thus lessening the chance of an attack. 

Mullein - contains antiseptic agents and is mostly used today for chest ailments including asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, pleurisy and whooping cough. 

Passionflower - decreases the severity of lung spasms but also reduce anxiety, thus lessening the chance of an attack.

Skullcap - due to its anti-spasmodic and sedative effects, it is also great for treating throat infections and incessant coughing.

Slipper Elm - has anti-inflammation and anti-irritant properties and is often recommended for lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, sore throats, coughs, pleurisy, or lung bleeding.

Turmeric - powerful anti-inflammatory and it is believed to reduce inflammation. Shows a similar efficacy to cortisone.

Wild Cherry -  is an expectorant, antispasmodic, and antitussive. These properties indicate its usefulness as a preparation for bronchitis or whooping cough and can be helpful in coughs that accompany pneumonia. It is also helpful in coughs with influenza, where there is associated shortness of breath and or wheezing.

Aromatherapy Remedies

Aromatherapy can also be very beneficial in controlling asthma as a number of essential oils have healing properties that reduce inflammation, encourage emotional balance, ease pain, discomfort and the struggle to breathe, and cause bronchodilation.

**Always check with a trained aromatherapist when choosing the appropriate essential oils for treatment of asthma. 

Bergamot - anti-inflammatory and is reputed to strengthen the immune system and combat tension and anxiety.

Chamomile- anti-inflammatory and some studies have shown chamomile to slow allergic reactions, such as those that trigger asthma attacks.

Clary Sage - sedative and anti-inflammatory properties  contains several estrogen-like oils that, when blended together, work for this condition. Blend these oils together for a massage oil or add them to bath water.

Eucalyptus - reduces swelling in the mucus membranes. A valuable oil for fighting respiratory inflammation.

Lavender -   is relaxing, calming, anti-inflammatory and a gentle antispasmodic that soothes and comfort distress. Facial steams help open airways and the lavender can quickly relax lung spasms.

Pine Needle - in the bath or in steam inhalation or in a diffuser, will help reduce the incidence of attacks.

Rose Absolute - is an antispasmodic oil and can be used in steam inhalation to calm attacks due to stress.


As always, please email any questions to

herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Are You A Seed Saver?

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

As summer is turning to fall, our gardens are beginning to spill out their seeds in great abundance, insuring us its future generation. Do you save your seeds?

Collecting seeds from your own garden is a great way to preserve your prized beauties and save them for the spring garden or pass them along to family and friends. I find that trading seeds is a fun way to share my own plants and try out someone else's favorites. There are so many seed exchanges available to gardeners, but here are two of my favorite sites for seed swapping and seed giving.

This is the craigslist of seeds. You can post seeds you have to offer or request a particular rare variety.

World Food Garden - Seed Swap

 

"What do you do with seeds from vegetables and fruits after you're done eating? Most eaters, who aren't gardeners, probably don't give those seeds a second thought. Seeds for Food is an organization that collects seeds from the dinner table and distributes them among Saharan refugees and teaches them how to grow some of their own food."

I am a seed saver and trader....if you have any questions about collecting, cleaning and/or drying, storing, saving seeds of particular plants, or want to trade.....just let me know.

 

As always, please email any questions to

herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

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Lady's Mantle Is Her Herb

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Every single herb I grow, touch, smell or taste,  intrigues me in unexplainable ways. I love the plant, the folklore, the medicinal properties and simply the excitement I get from my work.

As a woman, I have come to realize certain plant family's, like the rose family, and their value of medicine giving abilities such as Lady's Mantle and Red Raspberry.

The common name of Alchemilla vulgaris, Lady's Mantle, owes its scientific name and a certain psuedoscientific reputation to the fact that its leaves are efficient collectors of dew. The alchemists, to whom the name Alchemilla refers, believed that the dewdrops that gathered on the leaves had magical powers to help them in their search for the philosopher's stone, with which they expected to turn base metals to gold. The name Lady's Mantle refers to the plant's shapely, pleated leaves, which resembled a medieval lady's cloak- one suitable for the Virgin Mary, hence the plant's original common name, Our-Lady's mantle. The  leaves usually have nine lobes, which accounts for its other common name, Nine Hooks.

This amazing little plant has been used throughout history to treat menstrual irregularities and difficulties. Due to the rich concentrations of tannins, it is especially valuable for heavy and excessive bleeding. The salicylic acid has sedative properties which helps alleviate cramps and painful menstruation. During the menopause years, the gentle power of lady's mantle can be quite helpful.

Like other members of the Rosaceae family, it contains a fair amount of tannins, along with trace amounts of salicylic acid. Because of this, it has been used for all sorts of woman’s health issues; excess menstruation and pre- and post-menstrual spotting, prolapse or feelings of heaviness, hemorrhage, irregular cycles and  conditions like fibroids and endometriosis in women.

The wound healing abilities of the Lady's Mantle herb have always been regarded highly within the herbal tradition. The herb possesses potent astringent effects and may slow blood flow to allow the first stage of healing to begin. It is 'of a very drying and binding character' as the old herbalists expressed it, and was formerly considered one of the best vulneraries or wound herbs. It has been used externally and internally to stop bleeding, to heal wounds, to relive vomiting, and in a host of other cures.

If you're looking for Lady's Mantle or other quality herbs, check here in my Local Harvest store, or on my site morganbotanicals.com

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Herbs Equal Tons of B Vitamins Too!

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

 

Many herbs, vegetables, fruits and other foods are great sources of B vitamins. B Vitamin deficiency symptoms such as nausea, skin problems, insomnia, irritability, weightloss, water retention, nervousness, high blood pressure, depression, and panic attacks can be corrected and/or alleviated by simply boosting your B vitamin intake. Below is a small list of some of the most common herb sources.

 

B1- burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, alfalfa, fenugreek, sage and yarrow.


B2 - catnip, cayenne, alfalfa, bladderwrack, ginseng, nettle, sage, parsley, red clover and chamomile.


B3 - alfalfa, blue cohosh, licorice, catnip, cayenne, burdock root and chamomile.


B5 - catnip, eyebright and black cohosh.


B6 - alfalfa, licorice, catnip and hawthorn berries.


B7 - barley, brewer's yeast, royal jelly, wheat bran, broccoli, cauliflower, legumes, mushrooms and spinach.


B9 -oranges, asparagus, bananas, melons, lemons, legumes, yeast, and mushrooms.


B12- bladderwrack, dandelion, alfalfa, and white oak bark.

As always, please email any questions to

herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

 

 
 

I Companion Plant.....Do You?

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

As a vegetable and herb grower; plus wanting to actually enjoy everything I've grown, I have found companion planting to be one of the most important strategies to incorporate into the planning of all my gardens. I strive to have a beautiful nontraditional garden yard with brilliant displays of focal point corn and mullein reaching to the sky, all the while protecting and being protected form their own plant friends. My tomatoes with their display of juicy plump goodness and the nasturtium that's trailed its way through it....I'm serious. All of this in the front yard too! Really though, plants' themselves can offer protection from pests and diseases, can help build the soil, control weeds and even improve the growth and flavor of their neighbors. One could easily pull this off in any style of garden from a messy cottage (which I like) to an elaborate formal masterpiece.

By mixing your plantings you have a better chance for insect control than with the traditional row vegetable gardens that we're so used to seeing. In a monoculture environment plants become vulnerable as they have no assisting plants to protect them. This is why we see such high pesticide use in our farm fields. Take a look at how plants grow in the wild; they don't grow in perfect little rows all exposed, and neither should yours. By companion planting you can completely disregard the need for pesticides.

I'm a firm believer that wild plants, herbs, and even ornamental's play a vital role in the plant community. Some plants have the ability to bring valuable trace minerals from deep within the soil up to the surface. Look to the common dandelion for this, as these deep diggers send their roots into the ground and actually penetrate the hardpan and condition the soil. Some can work as valuable herbicides and fungicides by putting off smells that deter pests, others attract or lure pests keeping them off the plants we value, and some just contribute to successful growth.

I love to plant calendula and nasturtium everywhere since they are known to help with beetles, tomato worms, squash bugs, whiteflies, aphids, nematodes and other harmful insects. Onions and all Alliums are another favorite of mine that are scattered throughout the garden as they provide protection from moles, cabbage butterflies, tree bores, mildew, black spots, aphids and many other pests....not to mention that they're winter hardy and their flowers are spectacular.

Plant tansy with roses, raspberries, potatoes and squash because it is a deterrent to beetles, squash bugs, flies and ants.

Sage and rosemary are worth growing as companion plants; they discourage slugs, beetles, cabbage moths, bean beetles and carrot flies.

Parsley is a good "lure plant". It invigorates the growth of roses, tomatoes, and asparagus while repelling beetles, flies, and aphids.

Basil contains camphor, which confuses and repels hornworms and other munching insects. Also improves flavor of tomatoes, onions and peppers.

Feverfew contains pyrethrum, so plant several as "lure plants" near flowers and veggies because it will attract and kill feasting aphids.

Hyssop, thyme and wormwood are good companions with the Brassicas as they help repel the white cabbage butterfly.

Lovage is known to improve the overall health and flavor of many plants.

Stinging Nettle helps neighboring plants be more insect-resistant. Helps with lice, slugs, snails, strengthens growth of tomatoes and mint, protects fruit from mold, and important in the compost pile.

I wish I could go on forever but there are  many useful websites and books out there all about companion planting. Mix and match your borders with herbs, vegetables, and ornamentals, and you'll be surprised by how many fewer aphids are sucking the life out of your brussel spouts and mint....I'm serious.


As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Strawberry Is More Than Just A Berry

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

 

Along with new life, new leaves and new blooms, fresh herbs are in abundance in Spring. For me, this is the time to start collecting leafy herbs like strawberry leaf for storage. The garden strawberry is the most common plant of the genus Fragaria which is cultivated worldwide in the garden for its fruit. Although there are several varieties of wild strawberries, all of the species do have similar herbal properties, but mainly the leaves and rhizomes are used for this purposes. If left alone, this easy to grow perennial will successfully propagate itself and leave you with an abundance of perfectly usable parts.

The medicinal value of strawberry leaf is similar to that of its cousin, the red raspberry which are both rich in tannins, vitamin C and are known to posses diuretic and astringent qualities. Herbalists also regard the leaf as a tonic for the female reproductive system, using it in exactly the same way as raspberry. I like to recommend strawberry leaf tea to both pregnant and nursing mothers as well as young children due to the high contents of calcium, trace minerals and iron. The tea is almost as yummy as the berry, being fresh, mild and fruity.

Strawberry leaf tea has been used to treat a multitude of symptoms from eczema to stomach disorders. The tannins in the leaves are a gentle remedy for diarrhea, intestinal and urinary complaints. Use the leaves in the bath water for soaking away aches and pains. The tea is also used for healthy teeth, gums and bones. Strawberry leaf has been known to help heal wounds, scar tissue, and fractures; plus build resistance to infection, and aid in the prevention and treatment of the common cold.

I harvest the young leaves throughout the spring and summer, but particularly during blossoming for the finest flavor, and the roots in autumn which are dried for later use. It's important to collect only the best leaves since it's common for the plant to have leaf blight, mold or fungus. Also, keep in mind that strawberry leaf may cause allergic reactions in people hypersensitive to strawberries, so don't use if you have known allergy's to this plant.

For a simple tea, drop a handful of fresh or 2 tsp dried herb into a teapot and pour boiling water over to fill. Cover and steep for five minutes. Sweeten with honey if needed. 


If you're looking for loose leaf, you can buy Dried Strawberry Leaf here in my Local Harvest store.

As always, email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.


 
 

What's With All The "Worts"

 

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

So what's with all these weird names with the suffix "wort" like St. John's Wort, Mugwort, Birthwort, Lungwort and so on? Well, "wort" derives from the Old English wyrt, which simply meant plant. The word was used in the names of herbs that had medicinal uses, the first part of the word denoting the complaint against which it was specially useful. But, by the middle of the 17th-century -wort faded from everyday use.

Just wanted to share an interesting fact today...Enjoy!

 

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

 

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Munching Miner's Lettuce

 

Jessica Morgan, M.H.The Spring brings so many yummy greens that we shouldn't be afraid to eat. Take the time to identify some of them so you can enjoy this free and nutritious bounty that the land has to offer. One of my favorites, Miner's Lettuce is rich in vitamins A and C plus many trace minerals. I find this gem yummy, juicy and pleasant to eat.

Miner's Lettuce, also known as Claytonia perfoliata, winter purslane, spring beauty or Indian lettuce, gets its name from the California gold rush miners who often ate it to help prevent scurvy. It's native to the western mountains and coastal regions of North America but is most common here in California in the northern San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys.

 

Miners lettuce sprouts in the Spring and usually prefers cool and damp conditions. I usually spot it first in sunlit areas after the first heavy rains. The most prevalent abound in shaded areas and can last into the early summer. Much like most lettuce varieties, they tend to dry out and die back from summer heat.

It can be eaten as a leaf vegetable like any other green or lettuce. I like to eat it raw while Spring gardening or in salads. It can be substituted for spinach which it resembles in taste as well.

If you live where this plant grows, I encourage you to hunt for some Miner's Lettuce for your own salad bowl or soup pot. It's a tasty seasonal treat and you will enjoy both the picking and the eating of it.

 

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

 

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Chaparral: 11,000 Years of Skin Protection?

Jessica Morgan, M.H.Chaparral is one of the most widespread plants found on the desert floor, and some of them are noted to be the oldest living plants in the world. Expansive areas of these shrubs are found growing throughout the desert in western San Bernardino County, and some near Ridgecrest Ca are estimated to be 11,000 years old. Botanists believe that many of surrounding plants are clones of these original plants. Chaparral is regarded as one of the most adaptable desert plants in the world; as it was one of the first to grow back in Yucca Flats after the 1962 nuclear bomb tests done there.

Also known as the "creosote bush," Larrea tridentata is a flowering evergreen shrub that's native to Southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico. One interesting characteristic of this plant is that it produces a sap that prevents competing species from growing near it. So this is why we usually see just this plant species in Chaparral populated ares. Also, its extremely bitter taste keeps it safe from animals that would otherwise graze upon it. The common name Chaparral derives from the Spanish chaparro, meaning "evergreen oak," and the name "creosote bush" comes from the smell that the plant exudes when it rains.

As a medicinal herb, Indians of the Southwestern desert regions used the sap as a sunscreen, as the sticky resin is known to screen against ultraviolet radiation. The dried herb, when brewed in tea has been used for numerous aliments and appears to help the body rid itself of parasites as well as chemical toxins. Internal use is not recommended unless under the care of a qualified health care professional. Chaparral contains saponins and medicinal qualities that are especially beneficial to the skin. Applied to the skin, chaparral can have a remarkable healing effect on dandruff, eczema, herpes, cold sores, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis.

I know most people don't consider the creosote/turpentine aroma of the Chaparral pleasant, but non the less, I like to recommend Chaparral for use in herbal shampoos, salves and skin washes as it really is a miracle worker on the skin. Looking for Chaparral Leaf? Find it here in my Local Harvest Store.

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Juniper Berries: The Forgotten Food and Medicine

 

Jessica Morgan, M.H. Juniper Berries, scientifically called Juniperus communis, come from the Juniper shrub and are widely found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The juniper is an evergreen tree native to Europe, Asia, and the northern parts of North America.

The herbal uses of the juniper berry dates back to early times. The first recorded mention of use is in an Egyptian papyrus from 1500 B.C.E. that tells of its use in treating tapeworms. Throughout history, Juniperus communis has been used by numerous different cultures to treat conditions such as warts, gout, skin growths, upset stomach,  and various urinary tract and kidney diseases.  It's been noted that Greek and Arabian physicians used juniper to treat many ailments as well as the Romans, who used it for all types of stomach disorders. Native Americans of the northeast used the berries as a food and medicinal herb used to relieve infection and ease the pain of arthritis. The Hopi boiled the berries and parts of the tree and consumed it to treat stomach disorders. Historically, juniper berries have been used to treat bladder and kidney infections and were used in tea as a way to disinfect surgeon's tools. The antiseptic properties of juniper berry helps aid in the removal of waste and acidic toxins from the body, and stimulate a fighting action against bacterial and yeast infections. Considered by some to be a useful diuretic, juniper has been used to remove excess water retention, which can help with water weight loss, as well as improving digestion and easing gas and stomach cramping without causing loss of electrolytes. Additionally, the berries are believed by some herbalists to be beneficial for reducing congestion and relieving asthma and colds.

The purple, blue, violet, or blackish-brown fruits are harvested in early autumn for culinary and medicinal use. To prevent loss of essential oil, juniper berries should not be ground, crushed, or rubbed until just before use. When added to food, juniper berries can help prevent gas and heartburn. Find dried Juniper Berries here.

**Continued overdose can cause renal irritation and blood in the urine, so only use in moderation. Since juniper berries can stimulate uterine contractions, avoid use during pregnancy. They should not be used by anyone who has inflammation of the kidneys.

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

 
 

Cornflowers for Crafters

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Blue flowers, what can be prettier? I enjoy these blossoms, in the garden, in arrangements, in yarn dying, on the dessert plate and so on. They are simply stunning. Cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) are appropriately named as they tend to grow wild in corn fields. But it's not uncommon to see them in the garden or by the roadside either.

Fresh or dried flowers are always popular in floral arrangements. I like to add the flower petals to handmade papers and potpourri because of their beautiful color. Cornflowers are also one of my favorite flowers used to create a natural blue dye for yarn and cloth dyeing. You can achieve a wonderful blue from the petals; just mix with with alum-water. The dye gives a lovely color to linen, but will eventually lose its color if over washed.

An edible blue dye can also be obtained from the flowers. Cornflowers are often used for coloring sugar and confections. Try using lavender infused sugar, tinted ever so slightly blue, in place of plain sugar on your favorite sugar cookie recipe. It's just yummy. Just mix sugar, lavender blossoms,  and cornflower petals in a jar and allow to infuse for a week or two. Then stain away herbs, and store tightly sealed.

Enjoy this simple Spring potpourri recipe for refreshing your home.

Use equal parts of the following dried herbs and flowers:

  • Cornflowers 
  • Rosebuds
  • Rose geranium
  • Lemon balm
  • Lemon verbena
  • Sage
  • Hyssop
  • Sweet Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Lemon thyme
  • Bay leaves
  • Citrus rind
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into smaller lengths
  • 1 tbsp ground orris root

Just mix herbs and flowers, then add orris root fixative and essential oil if desired.

Put in to jar and leave to infuse for four to six weeks

Enjoy!

Look for dried cornflowers and other potpourri herbs in my Local Harvest Store.

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

 
 

Happy Groundhogs Day, Sing With Me!

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

Happy Groundhogs Day!  I get a great kick out of this special day not only because I find it to be one of the funnest holidays, but, also because I am ever so lucky to celebrate my Birthday on this awesome day.

So I just wanted to share some fun info and a song with everyone.

 

Phil, the groundhog's, full name is actually "Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary." 

 My Favorite Song:

 Little Groundhog

I'm a little groundhog, it's my day. Wake and stretch, go out and play. Down in my burrow, down so deep, Time to wake, from my long winter's sleep. Grumble, grumble, scratch, scratch, Grunt, grunt, yawn. I'll eat my breakfast in your front lawn. I'm a little groundhog, it's my day. Wake and stretch, go out and play.

 

Have a fun Groundhogs Day!!

 As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 

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Can You Say "Alice Advocates Alluring Alliums"?

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Alice advocates alluring alliums, and so do I!

Well, it's that time year; time to start planting those Alliums, like onions, chives, garlic, shallots and leeks. Did you know Allium, the onion genus, has over 700 species, making it one of the largest plant genera in the world.

I love planting alliums for their flowers as well as their bulb vegetable. They are amazing specimen plants in the garden, and if you don't mind the smell, these umbel shaped blooms might become one of your favorite flowers too. Whether fresh-cut or dried, they are a favorite of flower arrangers as well. Alliums come in so many different colors from, pinks, yellows and whites, to blues and purples.

There are so many Alliums highly recommended for decorative purposes, so why not enjoy their unique blossoms and fragrance in the garden as well as grow them for food. These bulbs are among the easiest of all vegetables to grow and most of them store well, so it is not difficult to maintain a year-around supply.

 

But, some of my favorites Alliums grown for their flowers include:

Blue of the Heavens (Allium azureum) for its small summer blossoms in the purest cornflower blue.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) for their short, fluffy, pinkish-lavender blossoms and edible use.

Ornamental Onion ( Allium giganteum) which can reach 4 feet with very large violet balls highly prized in the bouquet.

Lily Leek (Allium moly) for the half-shady garden, its foot high spring yellowy-gold umble flowers can't be beat.

Blue Globe (Allium caerueum) for its production dense clusters of bright blue flowerheads up to 1 inch wide.

Daffodil Garlic (Allium neapolitanum) this heirloom has been grown since the 1800's for its fragrant smell and purest white globes.

So try growing some of these "Flowering Onions", because they are exotic, unique and great fun. 


As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 
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