Senna

Botanical Name: Cassia angustifolia, C. senna, C. acutifolia | Family: Leguminosae

Common name(s): Senna

GROWING

  • Subtropical shrub native to India and Africa | 6 1/2 feet tall  | Big yellow flowers followed by legume-like pods
  • Full sun | Alkaline soil (ph 7-8.5) with good drainage

HARVESTING

Harvest leaves before or while plant is in flower. Harvest pods in autumn. Leaves are stronger medicine than pods and aren’t used as often.

PREPARATION / DOSAGE

Infusion: Steep the dried pods* in warm water for 6-12 hours. Take in the evening before bedtime.

Tincture: 2-7 ml, 3x/day

* Two types of pods are sold commercially. If using Alexandrian Senna, use 3-6 pods per cup of water. If using Tinnevelly Senna, use 4-13 pods.

MEDICAL

Constituents: Anthraquinones, essential oil, flavones, mucin, salts, tartaric acid, traces of tannin and resin

Actions: Cathartic, laxative, purgative

Uses: Acute constipation

Combinations: combine with a smaller amount of ginger to help prevent griping pains in the intestines

Cautions: constipation is a symptom of a larger problem that needs to be dealt with. Too frequent usage can create a laxative dependency. Do not use during pregnancy.

CHARACTERISTICS

  • Bitter, sweet, cold

SOURCES 


Apparently senna is one of the most well-known herbs because it is used widely for constipation. It was not on my radar, so glad to know more about it, outside of prepared pills.

Dill

Botanical Name: Anethum graveolens | Family: Umbelliferae

Common name(s): Dill

GROWING

  • Annual; herbaceous | 2-3 feet tall  | Feathery leaves, yellow umbel flowers, seeds in late summer
  • Full sun | Well-drained, moderately rich soil | Regular watering, allowing soil to dry between waterings

HARVESTING

Harvest seeds in late summer, leaves throughout the growing season.

PREPARATION / DOSAGE

Infusion: Gently crush seeds just before use. Pour 1 cup of water over 1-2 tsp seeds and/or leaves and let infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink a cup 1/2 hour before meals for flatulence. For children, give a teaspoon of the tea.

Tincture: 1-2ml, 3x/day

MEDICAL

Constituents: Essential oil, fatty acids, some acids

Actions: Aromatic, antispasmodic, calmative, carminative, diureticemmenagogue, galactagogue, stomachic

Uses: Bad breath (chew the seeds); colic (herb of choice for children); flatulence; colds, flus, and coughs (using the root); increasing milk production

 

CHARACTERISTICS

  • Spicy, warm

SOURCES 

  • The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
  • Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman
  • Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Andrew Chevallier
  • Herbgardening.com
  • photo credit: John and Anni Dill via photopin (license)

I learned, sometime in the past, that you shouldn’t grow dill and fennel near each other because they will cross-breed. So I keep my dill up on the porch in a pot and my fennel in the garden.

Aniseed

Botanical Name: Pimpinella anisum | Family: Umbelliferae

Common name(s): Aniseed, Anise

GROWING

  • Annual; herbaceous | 1 1/2 – 3 feet tall  | Feathery leaves, yellow umbel flowers, ridged seeds in autumn
  • Full sun | Light, well-drained soil | Protect from wind

HARVESTING

Harvest seeds, when ripe, in late autumn.

PREPARATION / DOSAGE

Infusion: Gently crush seeds just before use. Pour 1 cup of water over 1-2 tsp seeds and let infuse for 5 minutes, covered. Drink a cup 1/2 hour before meals (or throughout the day, as needed).

External: Use essential oil to help control lice, add the essential oil to an ointment base to treat scabies.

MEDICAL

Constituents: Carbohydrates, coumarins, essential oil, fatty acids, lipid, proteins

Actions: Aromatic, astringent, diaphoretic, (mild) estrogenic, styptic

Uses: Colic, flatulence, indigestion, nausea, coughs and colds, lice and scabies, increasing milk production

Combinations: Equal amounts of fennel and caraway seed for flatulence/colic; Coltsfoot, white horehound and lobelia for bronchitis.

Cautions: do not take the essential oil internally. Do not use while pregnant, except for normal amounts used in cooking.

CHARACTERISTICS

  • Spicy, warm

SOURCES 

  • The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
  • Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman
  • Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Andrew Chevallier
  • photo credit: Hans on Pixabay (license)

This is a kitchen herb! So much medicine can be found in our spice cabinets.

Calamus

Botanical Name: Acorus calamus | Family: Araceae

Common name(s): Sweet Flag, CalamusSweet Sedge

GROWING

  • Perennial | Zones 4-11 | 1-4 feet tall  | Cattail-like leaves, flowers angle out from a leaf-like stalk from May through August. Roots are jointed.
  • Full sun | Grows at edges of ponds and in moist meadows

HARVESTING

Harvest fleshy and aromatic rhizomes September through October. Halve, lengthwise, and dry in the shade.

PREPARATION / DOSAGE

Infusion: Pour 1 cup of water over 2 tsp dried rhizome and let infuse for 10 -15 minutes. Drink a cup 1/2 hour before meals.

Tincture: 2-4 ml, 3x/day.

MEDICAL

Constituents: Amino acids, bitter principles, essential oil, glycoside, mucilage, organic acid, sugars, tannin

Actions: Antispasmodic, carminative, demulcent, emetic,expectorant, stimulant

Uses: Gastro-intestinal tonic, dyspepsia, gastritis, gastric ulcers, colic due to flatulence, lack of mental focus, quitting tobacco and marijuana smoking

Combinations: Ginger and wild yam for flatulence-based colic, meadowsweet and marshmallow for gastric issues

Cautions: The European variety contains B-asarone, which is a carcinogen. The American variety does not. Avoid during pregnancy.

CHARACTERISTICS

  • Acrid, slightly warm, aromatic

SOURCES 


Interested in looking for this plant next year near some of the wetlands in town! There are some warnings against it, so I’m not going to rush into adding it to my herbal remedies.

Our Teas

Our teas are our specialty. Special tea! We make them with herbs that are tonic-type herbs, which means you can drink them every day, generally without adverse effects. However, every body is different and reacts to food and herbs in its own way. So pay attention to how the teas make you feel. Because they are created to have medicinal value, based on the traditional knowledge of the herbs and their uses. (This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.)

Please note that at this point we are only selling teas locally in Massachusetts, out of our residential kitchen.

DIRECTIONS: for all our teas, add 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of hot water and brew, covered (keeps the medicine in the cup instead of floating away in the steam), for 10-15 minutes, depending on how strong you want your tea.

Loose Tea – $8.50/tin, $7/refill

Our tins are 4 ounce by volume. They hold 12-16 cups of tea, depending on how generous you are with the teaspoon you add (flat, heaping?). All are different net weights because of the differing density/weights of the herbs.

Goodnight Tea

Blended with herbs to help you relax. If you drink this right before bedtime, it can help you fall asleep.

INGREDIENTS: chamomile, lemon balm, oat straw/tops, spearmint, rose, holy basil

Coffee, Not!

A healthy coffee substitute made with herbs to help with digestion and support your liver.

INGREDIENTS: roasted dandelion root, roasted chicory, roasted burdock root, roasted carob, yellow dock, wild sarsaparilla or sarsaparilla*, reiki mushroom, cinnamon

*depending on availability

NOTE: dandelion can cause reflux in certain individuals, so if you are prone to it, start off slowly, or we can make you up an alternative blend heavier on the chicory and lighter on the dandelion.

Tummy Tamer Tea

A blend of herbs to help with indigestion and/or reflux. 

INGREDIENTS: chamomile, calendula, fennel seed, ginger

For Baby & Me

A pregnancy tonic made with herbs full of vitamins. Good for you even if you aren’t with child!

INGREDIENTS: red raspberry leaf, spearmint, lemon grass, nettle, oat straw, strawberry leaf

Cha Cha Chai

A mild chai with added chaga mushroom and  turmeric. Red raspberry leaves are used in place of black tea. Caffeine free, anti-oxidant, immunity-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and full of vitamins.

INGREDIENTS: red raspberry leaves, cinnamon, cardamom seeds, ginger, fennel, cloves, black pepper, turmeric, nutmeg, dried orange peel, chaga

NOTE: adding milk/nut milk will boost the effectiveness of the turmeric (its the fat). Try coconut milk!

Custom Tea Blends

I can make up a custom supportive blend for you to deal with your specific health issues. This requires a $50 consult, which includes your first container of tea.

 

 

Health & Beauty

First Aid Kit – $45

Contains the items listed below (except for the aloe plant), which can also be bought individually.

Winter Lips Balm – $3

Good for cold sores and chapped lips.

Up the Anti Ointment – $7.50

Antimicrobial ointment for open wounds.

Skin Heal – $10

Wound and skin spot salve.

Sprain & Strain Salve – $10

For those pulled or torn ligaments/tendons/muscles.

Drawing Salve – $7.50

For drawing out infections, helping to pull blisters to the surface, and acne*.

*Our current inventory is an old-fashioned black drawing salve, containing charcoal. It washes off, but is not recommended for delicate areas you can’t scrub if you mind the black (like facial acne). Future formulas will not contain charcoal this to allow it to be a little more versatile.

Insta-scab – $5

Yarrow powder sprinkled on wounds will help stop bleeding and has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties.

Earache Oil – $7.50

Warmed-to-room-temperature oil is placed in the ear and has antimicrobial and pain-relieving properties.

Aloe Plant – $5

A living burn treatment! Just cut off a leaf and apply the gel to your burn.

Other Goodies

Herbal Sleep Pillow – $10

Filled with relaxing herbs to help you fall asleep. Scrunch the pillow to release the scent of calm.Tuck into your pillowcase at night.

Smudge Stick – $5, Abalone Shell – $14

A smudge stick is like incense. Light the tip until it begins to smolder then, holding it over the shell, walk around the room, wafting the aroma. Our mullein smudge sticks are good to help with respiratory issues.

Traditionally, an abalone shell is used to catch the ashes.

Make Your Own Tincture Kit – $25

You supply the solvent. We give you everything else, including the herbs. For future tincturing using your kit, see our web site for available herbs and additional / replacement supplies.

Herb Salts / Seasonings – $6

Herbal blends for cooking.

Culinary Herbs – $3

Grown at Dandelion Forest, bagged whole to retain maximum flavor. Just crumble as you use them.

Medicinal Herb Seeds – $2

Grow your own herbs!

Gift Baskets – $20-$50

An assortment of our products for gift-giving.

Tea in a cup – $15

Our bagged teas (12) in an attic-treasure cup with saucer. Perfect for gift giving.

Fennel

Botanical Name: Foeniculum vulgare | Family: Umbelliferae

Common name(s): Fennel

GROWING

  • Perennial; herbaceous | Zones 6-9 | 4-5 feet tall  | Yellow umbels bloom from July until frost and produce seed after blooming
  • Full sun | Any soils, prefers well-drained

HARVESTING

Harvest the seeds in autumn.

PREPARATION / DOSAGE

Infusion: Pour 1 cup of water over 1 – 2 tsp seeds and let infuse for 10 minutes. Drink 3x/day.

Tincture: 2-4 ml at 3x/day.

MEDICAL

Constituents: Essential oil including fenchone and anethole, fatty oil

Actions: Antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, galactogogue, expectorant, rubefacient, stimulant

Uses:  colic, flatulence, digestive stimulant, appetite stimulant, stomach pain, bloating

Cautions: do not exceed recommended dose, Limit use if pregnant, do not use for children or if breast feeding, do not ingest essential oil.

SOURCES 


I have fennel in my garden. It doesn’t produce big bulbs, for whatever reason, but it gives me seeds, which I use for my Tummy Tamer tea. Even though I’m in zone 5, plants have come back the next year, and some come up from seeds that fall to the ground.

Cascara sagrada

Botanical Name: Rhamnus purshiana | Family: Rhamnaceae

Common name(s): Cascara Sagrada, Sacred Bark, California Buckthorn

GROWING

  • Evergreen Tree | Zones 4a-9b | 32 feet tall  | Flowers May – June, black fruit in October, 3-lobed seeds. Young bark is purple brown changing to brown with age.
  • Sun to semi-shade (woodlands) | All types of soil, likes it moist

HARVESTING

Harvest bark in the springtime from the branches and trunk of at least a one year old, but still young, tree. Leave it to age for a few years before using.

PREPARATION / DOSAGE

Decoction: Put 1 – 2 tsp dried bark in 1 cup of water. Bring to boil and let infuse for 10 minutes. Drink at bedtime.

Tincture: 1-2 ml at bedtime.

MEDICAL

Constituents: Anthroquinone glycosides, bitter principle, essential oil, resin, tannins

Actions: Bitter tonic, laxative

Uses: chronic constipation, dyspepsia, indigestion, hemorrhoids, liver congestion

CHARACTERISTICS

  • Cold, bitter

SOURCES 


I have never even heard of this tree. Don’t know if there are any growing around us, but it does grow in our zone 5!

Gentian

Botanical Name: Gentiana lutea | Family: Gentianaceae

Common name(s): Gentian, Yellow Gentian

GROWING

  • Perennial | Zones 3-9 | 3-4+ feet tall  | Yellow flowers grow in whorls in the uppermost leaves, bloom in summer/autumn.
  • Full sun/partial shade, protected from wind | Loamy, moist soil

HARVESTING

Harvest root in the fall and dry. The best roots for medicine are the years before the plant produces flowers, which can take up to 3 years.

PREPARATION / DOSAGE

Decoction: Put 1/2 – 1 tsp shredded root in 1 cup of water. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Drink, warm, 15-30 minutes before meals or when experiencing stomach pains from overeating.

Tincture: 1-4 ml 3x/day (as for decoction), or take as drops to stave off cravings for sweets

MEDICAL

Constituents: Bitter principles, mucilage, pectin, sugar, tannin

Actions: Anti-inflammatory, bitter, cholagogue, gastric stimulant, sialogogue

Uses: appetite/digestive stimulant, dyspepsia, flatulence, jaundice

CHARACTERISTICS

  • Very bitter, cold, astringent, drying

SOURCES 


It appears Gentian is not all that easy to grow. Given that I am all about wild gardening – I plant ’em, then they are on their own – I don’t think I’ll be growing this plant anytime soon. Also, this plant has been over-harvested in the wild so I will be sure to only buy root from cultivated plants, should I want to add it to my herbal closet.