Mullein: Verbascum thapsus

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

By Jim McDonald Mullein is an easily recognizable plant found throughout Michigan in fields, meadows, and anywhere the ground has been disturbed. It is a biennial, putting forth a rosette of fuzzy leaves upon the ground the first year, and sending up its characteristic yellow flowered stalk the second. After seeding, the plant dies. The … Read More

New England Aster: Aster novae-angliae

Aster novae angliae

By Jim McDonald One sunny fall day, while walking through a field on out way into the Michigan Renaissance Festival, my wife and I stopped at the edge of a small pond. Standing there on a rotting dock, I was, as is usual, looking around at all the blossoming flora, which included perhaps 5 different … Read More

Henna: Not just another pretty face


By Jim McDonald Some years ago now, on the Henna Tribe forum, a conversation about using henna for foot & nail fungus came up, which left me somewhat shocked at the confidence that some of the henna artists had in using henna to treat this decidedly stubborn condition… most herbalists will agree that nail fungus … Read More

Enjoy Thyme for Flavor and Health


New Year’s day was as one of those perfect Pacific Northwest winter days — 45 degrees, misty and soft. The kind of day that smells and feels like earth. My garden is pretty much hibernating. A long spell of deep cold knocked back the last of my greens. There’s a fairly even layer of deciduous … Read More

Backyard Medicine: Chamomile


“….. Peter was not very well during the evening. His mother put him to bed, and made some chamomile tea and she gave a dose of it to Peter.”  ~ from The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (England, 1901) History Chamomile is one of the more familiar medicinal herbs, with a high profile … Read More

Hawthorn: Heart Healing from Physical to Spiritual

Crataegus spp., berries

By Dr. Mahalia Freed Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) is medicine for the heart on all levels. Indigenous to countries across the northern hemisphere, this small thorny tree has a long-recorded history of medicinal use in both Europe and China, as well as in North America. Poetically – and significantly – Hawthorn is a member of the … Read More

Flexible Strength: Willow Medicine Salix spp


By Dr. Mahalia Freed Willow is a distinctive tree that many people recognize, and many more are drawn to. Willow’s story offers many examples of the power of tree medicines, and the difference between living plant medicines and pharmaceuticals or isolated extracts. There are over 400 species of Willow, growing all through the Northern Hemisphere. … Read More