Latest Blog Posts

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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).…

Read More
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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Red Seaweeds: Herb of the Week

By Ryn Midura / 23 June, 2018

Continuing with our seaweed explorations from last week, this time we turn to the red seaweeds. Introducing the Reds First, who are we talking about? The red seaweeds we work with most often are dulse (Palmaria palmata), nori (Porphyra umbilicalis), and irish moss (Chondrus crispus). There are lots of others – about 7000 defined species…

Read More

Kelp: Herb of the Week

By Ryn Midura / 18 June, 2018

Not all herbs live on the land! This week we’re featuring kelp, bladderwrack, and all the brown seaweeds. Minerals in Kelp Seaweeds are superfoods, if anything is. All seaweeds used as food or medicine are extremely mineral-rich, often carrying a complement of minerals and trace elements not found easily in land plants. Seaweeds are renowned…

Read More
herbalbusiness6

Join our newsletter for more herby goodness

Get CommonWealth newsletter delivered right to your inbox. You'll be first to hear about free mini-courses, podcast episodes, and other goodies about holistic herbalism.