Latest Blog Posts

Thoughts on Decolonizing, or, How to be a Good Houseguest

By Katja Swift / 1 February, 2019

A while back, a person who listens to our podcast wrote me a letter asking, more or less, how do we get through a day as herbalists in this crappy system(s) that we are living in, and how do we do the most good where we are? They were thinking about colonization and racism and…

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Herbal Sugar Cookies

Holiday Treats 2018

By Katja Swift / 17 December, 2018

Here are some of the delicious gluten-free, dairy-free, soy/corn/other things-free treats I made for the holidays this year: Herbed Sugar Cookies Start with the recipe for the Ginger-Chamomile cookies. Instead of Ginger and Chamomile, powder white pine needles. Add 1 tablespoon at a time and taste – the flavor will come through a little more…

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Milk Thistle: Herb of the Week

By Ryn Midura / 18 August, 2018

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is one of the simplest herbs to work with, and one of the safest. It’s an excellent herb for beginners to work with, and at the same time it’s one we continue to turn to in our clinical practice, even for very complex cases. Safe and Simple Most herbs don’t work…

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Dandelion: Herb of the Week

By Ryn Midura / 6 August, 2018

Oh, the dandelions! One of our earliest flowers and one of the last to hang on at the end of the season, dandelions (Taraxacum spp.) are with us for most of the year here in New England. They’re cosmopolitan, human-following plants, found all over the world. They’re weeds – that is to say, resilient and…

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Prickly Ash: Herb of the Week

By Ryn Midura / 30 July, 2018

The southern prickly ash (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) and the eastern prickly ash (Z. americanum) are relatives of the Sichuan hot pepper (Z. simulans, Z. bungeanum). This is a spice, by the way, that is safe for people with nightshade allergies, who shouldn’t consume cayenne or other hot peppers which are in the nightshade family (the Solanaceae).…

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walking on a log

Thinking Holistically Can Change The World

By Katja Swift / 24 July, 2018

This is an email I just wrote to our Advanced Students. I read several different things this morning that came together in my mind as an illustration of holistic herbalism, and it got me really inspired. When I get inspired, I naturally want to share it with our students, and since this kind of holistic…

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Betony: Herb of the Week

By Ryn Midura / 21 July, 2018

Wood betony is our Herb of the Week this time, and for this one you’ll want to make sure you check the botanical name, because there’s at least one other popular and important herb who goes by the common name “betony”. Which Betony? In this case, we’re referring to Stachys officinalis. (In some older texts…

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Catnip: Herb of the Week

By Ryn Midura / 16 July, 2018

If you watch a cat who’s eaten some catnip (Nepeta cataria), you’ll observe that there’s an initial rolling-rubbing-wriggling response, usually followed by a bout of “the zoomies”, and then a contented curl-purr. The Cats’ Herb There have been many theories over the years about exactly what catnip does to cats and why they like it…

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Motherwort: Herb of the Week

By Ryn Midura / 7 July, 2018

Lion-Hearted Mother Imagine a mother whose child is having a terrible anaphylactic allergy attack, and is being rushed to the hospital. The mother stays close by and tries to keep a brave face: keeping eye contact, holding the child’s hand, speaking soothing reassurances, projecting safety while the medics hover and flit. That’s motherwort mind. Motherwort…

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Sumac: Herb of the Week

By Ryn Midura / 29 June, 2018

Want to make herbal pink lemonade? Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina / R. hirta) is the herb for you! Sour Is Sweet In Summer’s Heat Staghorn sumac is in the Anacardiaceae, the family of plants which includes cashews and poison ivy. It’s a common roadside and greenspace volunteer. Once you learn to see its distinctive horn-shaped…

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