Botanical Name: Artemisia Vulgaris Family: Compositae

Common name(s): Mugwort, Moxa, Cronewort


  • Perennial; herbaceous | Zone 4-8 | 4-5 feet tall | Spikes of whitish green flowers on top of purple stems. Green leaves have silver undersides.
  • Full sun/partial shade | Any soil


Harvest aerial parts any time during the growing season, preferably when blossoming (between July and September)


Infusion: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herb. Steep, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Drink 3x/day.

Tincture: 1-4ml 3x/day


Constituents: bitter principle, essential oil, inulin, resin, tannin

Actions: Anti-spasmodic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, hemostatic, nervine tonic, mild narcotic, stimulant, vermifuge

Uses: Menstruation induction and regulation, menstrual cramps, depression, tension, nervousness, insomnia, liver and stomach disorders,

Cautions: Avoid during pregnancy


Bitter, acrid, slightly warm


  • The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
  • Holistic Herbal, David Hoffmann
  • Homegrown Herbs, Tammi Hartung
  • photo credit: Hannah Lena Puschnig Mugwort via photopin (license)

Mugwort was used in many interesting ways by other cultures. The Chinese use it as part of a technique called moxabustion, where the herb is placed on acupuncture points and burned down to the skin. The Native Americans use the dry leaves for smudging.


Botanical Name: Achillea millifolium Family: Compositae

Common name(s): Yarrow, Chipmunk’s tail, Soldier’s woundwort, Milfoil, Nosebleed


  • Perennial; herbaceous | Zone 3-9 | 2-3 feet tall | White* flowers in mid- to late summer
  • Full sun/partial shade | Disturbed, well-drained, soil | Likes open, grassy areas


Harvest aerial parts  mid- to late summer, while in flower


Infustion: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herb. Steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink hot 3x/day or hourly when feverish.

Tincture: 2-4ml 3x/day

External: Apply the powdered herb directly to wounds to stop the bleeding.


Constituents: A bitter alkaloid, essential oil,flavonoids, tannins

Actions: Anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antisepticantispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, hemostatic, hypotensive, stomachic

Uses: Cold, flu, fever, hypertension, bleeding, painful menstruation, hemorrhoids, amenorrhea,menorrhagia, leucorrhea

Combinations: Combine equal parts yarrow, elder flowers, lemon balm, and mint for early stages of a cold (drink the tea, get into bed with covers on until sweating occurs, get out of bed and do a cool sponge bath, then hop back into bed).


Warm, bitter, spicy


* There is a variety of yarrow that has yellow flowers. That kind is not medicinal. There is a rose-colored variety of the medicinal plant, A. millefolium var. rosea, which is also okay to use. So white and shades of pinks/red are good, yellow is not (although it’s probably really pretty…nothing personal, yellow yarrow).


We sell freshly cut herbs, dried herbs, and herb plants over the course of the season. Here is a partial list:

Bergamot (bee balm) – the dried herbs and flowers of this plant make a lovely tea and the fresh flowers (and topmost leaves) can be added to raw honey for a delicious spread. This plant also attracts bees and hummingbirds.

Calendula – this is a beautiful medicinal with yellow and orange flowers. It is part of our digestive tea blend. It reseeds itself readily, especially in rich garden soil. We have seeds we harvested from last year’s flowers available for sale.

Catnip – this is a lovely, calming herb.

Chamomile – one of our favorites in tea blends.

Chives – these are one of the earliest herbs to come up for consumption! They go great with our eggs. Try a duck egg and chive omelet!

Comfrey – great for wound healing used externally.

Dandelion – this is the king of herbs! Great for the liver. It’s roasted root makes a nice coffee substitute.

Melissa (lemon balm) – this herb is a nervine and helps relax the nervous system. It can be used fresh or dried and has a lovely lemon flavor.

Motherwort – once you plant this plant, if you let it go to seed you will never have to plant it again! Best to cut it back to 3 inches after harvesting.

Nettle (stinging) – this is the queen of herbs. So much nutrition!

Oregano – this culinary herb has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties!

Parsley – did you know chewing on a fresh sprig of parsley is a great breath freshener? It’s got more goodness in it, too, which you can read if you click on the link to its plant profile.

Peppermint – great for digestion, headaches, and more. Plus it tastes great. I drink a peppermint tea blend in the afternoons for a pick-me-up.

Spearmint – a gentler version of peppermint, medicinally, which makes it a nice, not-to-strong, stimulant to add to tea blends. Plus it’s great added to a pitcher of water in the summer.

Thyme – we have both regular and lemon thyme in our garden.

Tulsi (holy basil) – this annual herb is an adaptogen and the dried leaves make a lovely tea. So good for you!

Valerian – this herb is great for the nervous system and a great sleep aid! If you drive by Dandelion Forest, you will see it in our orchard, which is on the wet side. It’s very happy here. And when it’s in bloom, I just stand next to it and drink it it’s calm.

Yarrow – a great styptic alternative! We powder the herb which can be applied directly to a bleeding wound.

False Unicorn

Botanical Name: Chamaelirium lutem Family: Liliaceae

Common name(s): False Unicorn, Helonias, Colic root, Devil’s bit, Fairy wand, Star grub root, Grub root


  • Evergreen herb | Zone 5-8 | 1 foot, 8 inches tall | White flowers in May-June | Male and female plants, only females produce seed.
  • Dappled shade | Moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil


Harvest the root in autumn and dry for later use.


Decoction: Pour 1 – 2 teaspoons of the herbin a 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil and simmer 10-15 minutes. Drink 3x/day or in large amounts for threatened miscarriage.

Tincture: 2-4ml 3x/day


Constituents: Glycosides, steroidal saponins including chamaelirin, helonin, diosgenin

Actions: Adaptogen, anthelmintic, diureticemetic, estrogenic, uterine tonicvermifuge

Uses: Ovarian cysts, hormonal imbalance, low fertility, menopausal symptoms, internal parasites, threatened miscarriage, nausea during pregnancy

Combinations: A cardiac toxin in large quantities, which may cause nausea and vomiting. Should not be used in pregnancy except under the care of an experienced practitioner.


Bitter, warm


Aletris farinosa is True Unicorn. False Unicorn is an endangered plant because not too many people are cultivating it and harvesting the rhizome destroys the whole plant. I think I have the right conditions for growing this plant so it may wind up on my property at some point. (I haven’t noticed it on my property growing wild.)

There seem to be some contradictory indications in this materia medica. Used for nausea in pregnancy but can also cause nausea…. 

Squaw Vine

Botanical Name: Mitchella repens Family: Rubiaceae

Common name(s): Squaw Vine, Patridgeberry, Twinberry, Deerberry


  • Evergreen herb | Zone 4-9 | 1 foot tall | White flowers in late spring/early summer followed by red berries
  • Partial to full shade| Consistently moist soil


Harvest the aerial parts and berries in late summer.


Infusion: Pour 1 cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoons of the herb and let sit for  10-15 minutes. Drink 3x/day.

Tincture: 1-2ml 3x/day


Constituents: Mucilage, saponins. Not very well known but probably also contains alkaloids, glycosides, and tannins

Actions: Astringent, diureticemmenagogue, parturienttonic

Uses: Painful periods (dysmenorrhoea), preparing the uterus for childbirth, absent periods (amenorrhea), colitis, diarrhea

Combinations: Use with raspberry leaves for a parturient tonic.

Cautions: Do not take during the first 6 months of pregnancy.


Bitter, cool energy


It consistently amazes me when I do one of these materia medica only to find out that it is a plant I know – by sight, not by name. I love connecting the dots! I live in a forest town and see this plant all over the place, and I usually bend a leaf and sniff it to see if it is  wintergreen, a look-alike.

Chicken vs. Duck Eggs

People ask me what the difference is between chicken and duck eggs.

  1. Duck eggs are bigger.
  2. The whites are clear
  3. The shells are a bit harder
  4. The ducks lay them on the ground and step on them. I have to wash them but I don’t scrub off the protective film. So their presentation isn’t as appealing. But crack that egg open and it is beautiful!

They taste the same.

(In the picture above, the egg on the right is a chicken egg – and the white didn’t stay nicely together, but the cloudy white is from the chicken egg. The rest are duck eggs.)

As far as chicken/duck keeping goes…

I am beginning to realize that ducks are easier to keep in New England. They are hardier birds and do better in the cold. When it rains, they actually stay outside to be in the showers. Ducks are messier, but they also don’t dig up gardens like chickens do. However they do eat bugs. And slugs! They are also easier to herd (which is actually pretty fun to do).

Cramp Bark

Botanical Name: Viburnum opulus Family: Caprifoliaceae

Common name(s): Cramp Bark, High Cranberry, Snowball Tree, Guelder Rose, Squaw Bush


  • Perennial; shrub | Zone 2-7 | 8-15 feet tall | White flowers in June followed by red berries which can stay on the bush throughout winter
  • Full sun to partial shade| Well-drained, moist soil


Harvest the bark between spring equinox (March 21) and summer solstice (June 21)


Decoction: Put 2 teaspoons of the dried bark into a cup of water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for  10-15 minutes. Drink 3x/day while hot.

Tincture: 4-8ml 3x/day


Constituents: Bitter (viburnin), valerianic acid, salicosides, resin, tannin

Actions: Antispasmodic, astringent, nervinesedative

Uses: Menstrual cramps, PMS, threatened miscarriage, asthma, muscular tension and spasms, heart palpitations, rheumatism

Combinations: Combine with False unicorn root for a female reproductive tonic. Combine 1 part cramp bark, 1 part ginger, 1 part angelica root, and 3 parts chamomile for menstrual cramps, PMS and convulsions.


Bitter, neutral


I planted a highbush cranberry. Now I have to do some additional research on what variety I am growing. According to the University of Maine source, the berries of the European version are not edible, it is considered an ornamental, as opposed to the American version.

Black haw is a near relative and is considered a more powerful plant than crampbark.


Botanical Name: Mentha pulegium Family: Labiatae

Common name(s): Pennyroyal, European pennyroyal


  • Perennial; herbaceous | Zone 7-9 | 10-12 inches tall | Lavender flowers in whorls mid to late summer
  • Full sun to partial shade| Well-drained soil | Propagate via root divisions or cuttings. Can also start from seed.


Harvest the aerial parts during the growing season


Infusion: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of the dried leaves and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink 3x/day.

Tincture: 1-2ml 3x/day


Constituents: Alkaloids, bitters, essential oil, flavone glycosides, tannin

Actions: Carminative, diaphoretic, digestive tonic, emmenagoguestimulant

Uses: Stimulates menstruation, strengthens uterine contractions, flatulence, colic (due to air), easing anxiety, flea repellent (should not be used on cats)

Cautions: Avoid during pregnancy and do not use the essential oil which is highly toxic


Spicy, bitter, warm


  • The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
  • Holistic Herbal, David Hoffmann
  • Homegrown Herbs, Tammi Hartung
  • Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Andrew Chevallier
  • photo credit: Jordi Bosch Janer via wikipedia (cc license)

I haven’t posted this on all my materia medica (plant profiles), but I present all this information via research and have no personal experience with some of these plants. I am not recommending any medical treatment. I also feel like this plant – part of the mint family – is a stronger herbal medicine than mint, so it’s not something I envision using. Work with a professional herbalist when using a plant like this.

Dong Quai

Botanical Name: Angelica sinensis (syn. A. polymorpha) Family: Umbelliferae (syn. Apiaceae)

Common name(s): Dong quai, Chinese angelica, Dong qui, Dang gui, Tang quei, Female ginseng

Related: Angelica, which can be substituted in some cases


  • Perennial | Zones 6-9 | 3 feet | White, umbrella-shaped flowers August-September and seeds ripen September-October
  • Full sun to partial shade | Moist, well-drained soil | Woodland garden plant
  • Sow seeds directly in spring or fall (better germination rate in the fall, keep in cold frame for first winter). Does not transplant well because the taproots go very deep. Not frost-hardy.


Harvest the root/rhizome in Autumn. Plants take 3 years to mature. Slice the roots before drying for easier use.


Decoction: Put 1 tsp of the dried root into 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drink 1-2x/day.

Tincture: 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) with water up to 4x/day

Dried root: 4-7 grams

Culinary: All parts of the plants can be used in cooking – leaves, stems, roots.


Constituents: Coumarins, essential oils, ferulic acid, phytosterols, polyacetylenes

Actions: Alterative, antispasmodic, uterine tonic

Uses: Female gynecological ailments, especially cramping, irregularity, menopausal symptoms; insomnia, hypertension, constipation

Cautions: Promotes bleeding, do not take when pregnant, on blood thinners, or with heavy menstrual flow. The oil in the plant can cause sensitivity to sunlight if used externally.


Warm energy, bitter and acrid taste


Sometimes doing a materia medica is very difficult. This was one of those. Information all over the place, trying to find all the pieces I needed, including a photo of the plant. Couldn’t find one that I could use, but found one of the roots. There are also multiple spellings of the common name (Dong Quai appears to be the most used) and synonyms for the botanical names!

Blue Cohosh

Botanical Name: Caulophyllus thalictroides Family: Berberidaceae

Common name(s): Blue Cohosh, Squawroot, Papoose Root


  • Perennial; herbaceous | Zone 3-8 | 1-3 feet tall | Leaves dark purple when they emerge then they turn green. Greenish-brown or yellow-brown flowers mid to late spring, turn into waxy yellow flowers that hang below the foliage.
  • Partial to full shade| Moist, hummus-rich, acidic soil | Grows in woods


Harvest the root/rhizome in Autumn


Decoction: Put 1 tsp of the dried root into 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drink 3x/day.

Tincture: 1-2ml 3x/day


Constituents: Alkaloids, glycosides, gum, minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, silicon, phosphorus), salts, starch, steroidal saponins, resin

Actions: Anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, anthelmintic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, uterine tonic

Uses: Menstrual irregularities (including cramping), genito-urinary disorders, worms, colic, easing childbirth

Cautions: Do not take during the first two trimesters of pregnancy


Acrid, bitter, warm, mildly toxic


This herb may be growing down by my stream. I’ll be looking for it!