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[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 54 – Learning Plant Families

Posted in Uncategorized on May 28th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 1 Comment so far

Learning Plant Families

Nature’s economy shall be the base for our own, for it is immutable, but ours is secondary. An economist without knowledge of nature is therefore like a physicist without knowledge of mathematics.”

— Carolus Linnaeus

Chicory and Bergamot

Chicorium intybus (Chicory), a member of the Asteraceae family and Monarda didyma (Bee Balm), a member of the Lamiaceae family.

Why Learn Plant Families?

Learning plant families is a useful tool for being able to identify key features of herbs and how they relate to the families they belong to. By learning these key characteristics and common shared uses, it is possible to learn to identify plants by family and know what they can be used for even if you do not know the exact genus/species of the plant.

For example, members if the Lamiaceae family (Mint family) have square stems, simple opposite leaves and many are aromatic. Aromatic plants indicate plants that are high in volatile oils. Volatile oils in Mint family plants are spicy and stimulating, which cool the body through opening pores and increasing perspiration. Many members of this family are also great digestive aids and because of this, many are what we know as ‘kitchen’ herbs such as Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, and Oregano.

Malus spp. (Apple) is in the Rosaceae family.

Malus spp. (Apple) is in the Rosaceae family.

The History of Botanical Plant Families and Genera

We have Carolus Linnaeus to thank for our modern day plant classification, he is considered the father of taxonomy. Linnaeus, also considered one of the best botanists in the world, created the system of classification, using a method called binomial nomenclature.

Linnaeus classified organisms by shared characteristics, creating 7 levels of classification: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.

Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) is a member of the Asteraceae family, Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit, on the lower left and right of photo) and  Lamium purpureum (Purple Dead Nettle) on the righthand side in the middle are both members of the Lamiaceae family.

Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) is a member of the Asteraceae family, Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit, on the lower left and right of photo) and Lamium purpureum (Purple Dead Nettle) on the righthand side in the middle are both members of the Lamiaceae family.

How to Get Started Learning Plant Families

There are over 600 plant families in the world! That’s a lot of families and can sound overwhelming when you start. When teaching about plant families, I like to start with some of the more commonly found ones such as Asteraceae, Lamiaceae and the Rosaceae families.

Get familiar with common plant terms. This is important for a good identification, especially when you start comparing your notes with the field guides. If you don’t know a botany term, you may misunderstand what a characteristic is. Common terms include leaf arrangement (opposite, alternate, whirled, basal, spiral), leaf types (simple, compound) and flower parts (pistils, stamens, stigmas, styles, anthers, petals, sepals, bracts) to name a few.

Get to know the common characteristics of a family you wish to learn about. Make a list of those common characteristics.

Now that you have made your characteristics list and gotten familiar with botany terms, go out into your yard with this list and see how many plants you can find that fall into those categories.

Once you have found all the plants in your yard that you think fit into that family, grab a field guide for your area and compare your notes to the plant guide. If you don’t know what your plant is, use a field guide that lists plants by families. There are some great online websites as well that make identifying plants easy, to help double check what you’ve found.

One important thing to remember is to not try to make a plant fit into a family. So many times I have seen people try to make a plant be something it’s not. I’ve been guilty of this myself. If the plant is missing those common characteristics, chances are very good that it is not the plant you want it to be.

It can seem intimidating at first but the more you test yourself, the easier it will become. Over time, you’ll be able to add more plant families and you’ll find that learning to identify plants becomes simpler, just by knowing plant families.

There are many fun resources for learning plant families, I’ve listed them at the end of this article for you to access. I highly recommend Thomas Elpel’s books, cards and video for getting started and he makes it fun and simple to learn the 8 most common families.

Prunella vulgaris (Self Heal, Heal All, All Heal) is a member of the Lamiaceae family.

Prunella vulgaris (Self Heal, Heal All, All Heal) is a member of the Lamiaceae family.

Resources for teaching plant families:

Plant families and identification

Tom Elpel’s book and card set Shanleya’s Quest is a great starting book for kids and adults alike

More advanced students will enjoy his Botany in a Day book

Watch Tom in a brand new video teach plant families and explain how to use the card deck

The Wild Classroom online botany guide

Missouri Wildflower Guide is a great online resource for IDing plants by flower color

Wildflower of the United States is another great source, listing by plant families

Books on Linnaeus

Carl Linnaeus: Father of Classification by Margaret Jean Anderson

Carl Linnaeus: Genius of Classification by Margaret J. Anderson

Do you feel it is important to learn plant families? Have you incorporated this aspect of botany in your herbal studies with your children? What are your favorite plant families?

Giveaway Monday – Fire Cider eBook Collection

Posted in Uncategorized on May 25th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 41 Comments


This week, I am giving away 3 copies of my Fire Cider eBook Collection in support of recent events that are going on in the herbal community.

This is a collection of past Herbal Roots zine issues that are in the popular fire cider recipe. This collection includes the history of fire cider, instructions on how to make fire cider, a label and card that can be printed off and 6 HRz issues: Apple, Cayenne, Onion, Garlic, Ginger, and Horseradish.

Many of you are familiar with the ongoing battle to free the name “Fire Cider” from a company that has trademarked the name, even though it was not created by them. This week, the company that trademarked the name has decided to sue 3 herbalists in the attempt to free the name. If you would like to help support the Legal Defense fund, please check out the Indiegogo page with many ways you can help, from signing petitions to contacting the trademark holders to donating cash if you have a little extra available.

For a bit more on the history, you can read a post I created last year on kids making fire cider. There’s a video of my daughter making some too.

Love Herbal Roots zine? You can show your support by ‘liking’ us on Facebook.

Want a chance to win a copy of this collection? Leave a comment, telling us if you’ve ever heard of or made fire cider before. For more chances to win, leave a separate comment every time you do one of the following:

-if you’re a kid, tell me how old you are and what your favorite Herbal Roots zine activities are

-Blog about it (leave reference link)

-Follow  Herbal Roots zine on Pinterest and pin this giveaway with hashtags #freefirecider #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

-Become a follower of  Herbal Roots zine on Twitter and tweet this giveaway with hashtags #freefirecider #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your twitter ID in comments so we can find you)

-Follow Herbal Roots zine on Instagram and share this giveaway with hashtag #giveawaymondayhrz  and tag @herbalrootszine (list your Instagram name in comments so we can find you)

-Sign up for the Herbal Roots zine monthly newsletter (and receive an issue for free!)

Sign ups end on and I’ll draw the 3 winners on Monday, June 1, 2015. Thanks for entering and good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets] No. 53 – Building Your Backyard Herb List

Posted in Uncategorized on May 20th, 2015 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

backyard herb list

If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it. Perhaps this is what Thoreau had in mind when he said, “the more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of human beings.

-David Sobel, Beyond Ecophobia

Bird enthusiasts keep Bird Lists. Herb enthusiasts keep Herb lists. Last year, we did not have time to put in our usual vegetable garden so the plot of land that usually is full of veggies this time of year has been dormant. But, dormant, no, really, it is full of life! So many medicinal “weeds” have filled the space, it is amazing. Here is a short list of what we’ve found in this new plot (this does not include the rest of the yard or the herb gardens already in place):


Ragweed: Ambrosia tenuifolia (on the left) and Ambrosia trifida (on right)

Narrowleaf Ragweed – Ambrosia tenuifolia
Broadleaf Ragweed – Ambrosia trifida


Prunella vulgaris

Prunella/Self Heal/Heal All/All Heal – Prunella vulgaris

Plantago rugelii

Plantago major

Blackseed Plantain – Plantago rugelii
Broadleaf Plantain – Plantago major
Narrowleaf Plantain – Plantago lanceolata

Vicia villosa

Vicia villosa

Hairy Vetch – Vicia villosa


Lactuca virosa

Wild Lettuce – Lactuca virosa
Fleabane – Erigeron spp. (I haven’t keyed it out yet)

Solidago spp.

Solidago spp.

Goldenrod – Solidago canadensis and related spp.

Violet – Viola sororia

Bistort – Persicaria bistorta syn. Polygonum bistorta
Lady’s Thumb – Persicaria maculosa syn. Polygonum persicaria

Red Clover – Trifolium pratense

Burdock – Arctium lappa

Lobelia – Lobelia inflata

Abutilon theophrasti

Abutilon theophrasti

Velvet Leaf – Abutilon theophrasti

Cleavers – Gallium aparine

Chickweed – Stellaria spp.

Your list can be this simple or you may choose to make it more complex. Some ideas for your plant list is to group your plants by family and then list the plants by their botanical names. You might also wish to mark down if they are annuals, biennials or perennials. If including trees, coniferous or deciduous as well. If you want your list to be a continually expanding list, purchase a journal or notebook and dedicate it to your plant list. Reviewing each year’s list is a fun way to how your yard grows and changes over the years as well as how your knowledge base grows.

While we may not know all the medicinal uses or any of the medicinal uses of each of these plants, we do know that they all have value in their own way. Besides medicine, they are wonderful for attracting pollinators, feeding the bees and hummingbirds and fixing the soil for next year’s hopefully vegetable garden.

What’s on your Backyard Herb List?

Giveaway Monday – Feverfew Set from Mountain Rose Herbs

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 19 Comments

***Congratulations to Nicole! She is the winner of this week’s giveaway!***


This week’s theme is Feverfew, our herb for June!

4 oz organic Feverfew herb


1 oz organic Feverfew extract


1 packet of Horizon Herbs Feverfew seeds


This collection of Feverfew products will give you plenty for learning about Feverfew over the next month.

Mountain Rose Herbs is a certified organic processor through Oregon Tilth which is fully accredited with the USDA National Organic Program. Since 1987 they have continuously worked for the advancement of sustainable organic agriculture and state they will continue this lifelong passion into the future. They wholeheartedly recommend discovering the joys to be found in organic food products and the best place to start is right here at Mountain Rose Herbs. From the herbs they offer, to the teas they process and the oils they have distilled.

M0untain Rose also has a great YouTube Channel which offers an amazing amount of tutorials and educational videos, many created by John Gallagher and Rosalee de la Foret of

You can also follow them on their Blog for more information and great Giveaway offers!

Love Mountain Rose Herbs? You can show your support by ‘liking’ them on Facebook. Tell them Herbal Roots zine sent you!

Want a chance to win this awesome package from Mountain Rose Herbs? Leave a comment, telling us if you’ve ever worked with Feverfew before. For more chances to win, leave a separate comment every time you do one of the following:

-if you’re a kid, tell me how old you are and what your favorite Herbal Roots zine activities are

-Check out MRH’s website and tell me some of your favorite things

-Blog about it (leave reference link)

-Follow Mountain Rose Herbs and Herbal Roots zine on Pinterest and pin this giveaway with hashtags #mountainroseherbs #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

-Become a follower of Mountain Rose Herbs and Herbal Roots zine on Twitter and tweet this giveaway with hashtags #mountainroseherbs #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your twitter ID in comments so we can find you)

-Follow Mountain Rose Herbs and  Herbal Roots zine on Instagram and share this giveaway with hashtag #giveawaymondayhrz  and tag @herbalrootszine (list your Instagram name in comments so we can find you)

-Sign up for the Herbal Roots zine monthly newsletter (and receive an issue for free!)

Sign ups end on and I’ll draw the winner on Monday, May 25, 2015. Thanks for entering and good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 52 – Teaching Kids the 6 Tissue States

Posted in Uncategorized on May 14th, 2015 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!

Teaching Kids the 6 Tissue States

“They would suppose that there is some principle harmful to man; heat or cold, wetness or dryness, and that the right way to bring about cures is to correct cold with warmth, or dryness with moisture and so on…These are the causes of disease, and the remedy lies in the application of the opposite principle according to the hypothesis.”


Herbalism is more complex than just using an herb with a specific action to heal a specific disease. While knowing these aspects is a good start, to deepen your knowledge and understanding, it’s important to have a good grasp on the other elements as well. Subscribers to Herbal Roots zine will note that I have added the tastes and energetics of herbs to my “All About” section of each issue. Today I’m going to be discussing the tissue states and how the energetics of herbs relate to them. I will be covering the tastes next month. By learning these important aspects of herbs as you and your children learn the herbs themselves, you will be adding another layer of understanding to your knowledge of herbs and be able to better apply them to individuals.

If you have never heard about the tissue states and herbal energetics, do not let them intimidate you. Even if you have heard of them, you may still find yourself struggling with them and that’s alright too. The point is to start thinking about them when you think about herbs and how they can be applied. The more familiar you become with these concepts, the more understandable they will become.

A bit of history

The knowledge and use of energetics in herbal medicine is not something new. Traditional Chinese, Greek, Ayurvedic, Native American medicine, etc. all have their own energetic systems. Terms like doshas, elements, qualities, humors, temperaments and directions are all common vocabulary used to describe these systems. Western herbalism also had a system but the terms became unrecognizable as time went on and terms were changed. Modern Western herbalists have worked to decipher these energetics and make them easy to understand.

Making sense of it all

What are energetics? They are our way of describing energy patterns in the body. While modern biomedicine looks at the molecular structure to try to heal, holistic medicine tries to return the body to a state of balance to allow healing to occur naturally. Holistic medicine is based on the knowledge that an organism (the body) is a fully functioning unit, able to self-regulate and self-correct the energy or life force of the body. Because of this basis, holistic medicine sees the organism as having the ability to be cured or returned to homeostasis or a state of balance.

Contrary to this, modern medicine focuses on removing or replacing the imbalance through pharmaceutical medicine and/or surgery. While modern medicine seeks to suppress the symptoms without necessarily focusing on the cause, holistic medicine seeks to go to the cause of the disease and return the body to health, easing the symptoms in the process.

Because of our familiarity with how modern medicine works, it is often a common mistake to try to apply herbs in the same way. Once we understand how herbs work and learn to apply the systems to this concept, we have a better chance of using herbs to make a difference with healing.

Tissue states

So what are tissue states? Tissue states refer to our bodies and the symptoms they are presenting, what the condition of the tissues are. There are 6 tissue states: hot, cold, dry, damp, lax and tense. Hot and cold refer to the metabolism, with hot being overactive and cold, underactive. Dry and damp refer to the moisture in our bodies, dry referring to a deficiency in moisture, damp indicating an excess. The final two, lax and tense refer to the tone of the body. Sometimes you will see lax listed as ‘relaxed’ which refers to atony (muscle weakness) while tense refers to spastic tone. So, when we are looking at herbs to match with illnesses, we want to find an herb that will balance out the imbalance. For instance, if someone has a hot condition, we will want to give them cooling herbs.

Let’s look at these 6 tissue states a bit more closely. Please note that herbs can fall into more than one category and sometimes be seemingly contradictory to themselves.



Shown through excitation, irritation, stimulation

Signs of heat include: Inflammation due to overreaction,  exaggeration of function, autoimmune overreaction (not from injury or infection), heat, redness, swelling, pain, tenderness

Herbal energetics needed: Cooling, refreshing, calming, sedating, pain relieving (anodyne)

Herbs to dispel heat: Rose, Apple, Hawthorn, Peach, Wild Cherry, Strawberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Honeysuckle, Elder, Crampbark, Lemon, Lime, Peppermint, Spearmint, Lemon Balm, Lavender, Yarrow

How to demonstrate cooling herbs: Try drinking Peppermint tea on a hot summer day

Ginger root


Shown through depression

Signs of coldness include: Deep cold, cold hands and feet, pale tissues – may be white, grey, blue, purple or black in color, showing lessened oxygenation, lack of sensation or function, tissues may fail to respond to stimulation, skin is inactive: lack of perspiration, lack of natural oils

Herbal energetics needed: Warming, stimulating, opening the pores, aromatics, antiseptics

Herbs to dispel cold: Arnica, Calendula, Echinacea, Goldenrod, Daisy Fleabane, Wormwood, Sweet Annie, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Hyssop, Bergamot, Oregano, Angelica, Osha, Dill, Fennel, Mustard, Horseradish, Shepherd’s Purse, Melilot, Alfalfa, Red Clover, Ginger, Turmeric, Pine

How to demonstrate warming herbs: Cut a small sliver of fresh Ginger root and suck on it



Shown through atrophy (wasting away)

Signs of dryness include: Lack of moisture in tissues, a weakened state, lack of tissue function, hair loss, bloating, gas, constipation, hard bowel movements, thin tongue, tissues dry, withered and wrinkled

Herbal energetics needed: Moistening, softening, appetite stimulant, nutritive, mucilaginous, oily, emollient, demulcent, salty

Herbs to dispel dryness: Marshmallow, Shepherd’s Purse, Mullein, Nettles, Burdock root, Dandelion root, Slippery Elm, Comfrey, Fenugreek, Angelica root, Evening Primrose, Borage, American Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, Codonopsis, Rehmannia root, Red Root, Mushrooms

How to demonstrate moistening herbs: Mix a bit of Marshmallow or Slippery elm with some water to make a gruel. The gruel will be sweet tasting and slimy (mucilaginous).



Shown through stagnation

Signs of dampness include: “Bad blood”, “damp heat”, thickened builds in the body presenting as thick phlegm, possibly hypothyroidism, dull facial expression, blockage of channels of elimination such as the skin, kidneys, lungs, lymph, colon, low metabolic function such as thyroid, cells, liver

Herbal energetics needed: Alteratives, bitters, laxative, purgative

Herbs to dispel dampness: Dandelion, Burdock, Oregon Grape Root, Poke root, Black Walnut Hull, Barberry, Blessed Thistle, Yellow Dock root, Senna, Red Clover, Cleavers, Chickweed, Nettles

How to demonstrate damp dispelling herbs: Eat a Dandelion leaf and notice how your saliva increases, which will stimulate sluggish organs.

chamomile 1


Shown through constriction, tension, contraction

Signs of tension include: Tension in the body or mind or both, alternating symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation, chills and fever, gas and bloating coming and going, muscle spasms, restlessness and irritability, vascular tension, cold in joints, cold hands and feet, reverse normal movement such as vomiting, hiccoughs, tremors

Herbal energetics needed: Acrid, relaxing

Herbs to dispel tension: Lobelia, Passionflower, Kava, Calendula, Valerian, Catnip, Chamomile, Hops, Crampbark, Wild Lettuce, Boneset, Blue Vervain, Vitex

How to demonstrate relaxing herbs: Before bedtime brew up a cup of Chamomile and Catnip tea to sip while relaxing



Shown through relaxation

Signs of laxness include: Watery blood that does not clot easily, tissues lack tone, prolapsed organs, cool, clammy skin, low energy, secret mucus, sweat, diarrhea, tend to have copious, clear urine, sagging tissue

Herbal energetics needed: Astringents

Herbs to dispel laxness: Oak, Rose, Sumach, Raspberry leaf, Lady’s Mantle, Apple, Sage, Witch Hazel, Tea, Blackberry

How to demonstrate toning herbs: To feel an astringent at work, lick the inside of a green banana peel or crack open an acorn and try to eat the nutmeat


Deepening the knowledge

Tissue states, energetics and these systems can be overwhelming but they are necessary to help with mastering the art of herbal medicine. Don’t be discouraged, the more you study, the more familiar you will become with them. Start by introducing the terms and relating them to known herbs that you have already studied. Try tasting the herbs and determining their energetics. As you learn about each herb’s use and properties, test yourself on their energetics.

For further study of this subject, try these links and books:

Matthew Wood
The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism
Study Guide to the 6 Tissue States

Kiva Rose
Reading the Terrain: Understanding Tissue States

Steven Horne
The Six Tissue States

Kathy Eich
The 6 Tissue States as a Means for Health Assessment Part 1, 2, 3

Michael Moore
Herbal Energetics

Do you incorporate herbal energetics and tissue states with your herbal learning? Are your kids able to determine the energetics of the plants and understand the tissue states of people? What have you found to be helpful in teaching them the tissue states and energetics?

Giveaway Monday – Coriander Tea Cup from Mulberry Mudd

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 42 Comments


This week I am delighted to give away this beautiful Coriander teacup from Mulberry Mudd. This one of a kind handmade ceramic teacup features Coriander on both sides and is perfect for serving up your favorite cup of herbal tea or steaming cup of nourishing bone broth.


This beautiful teacup is handleless and rests comfortably in your hands. The  clay, natural green glaze and acrylic accents make this a work of art that is as beautiful as it is practical! It holds approximately 16 oz. and fits comfortably in your hands, warming them as the hot beverage contained within it warms your insides!  What would be your favorite drink in this cup?


About Rebekah:


Artist and herbalist Rebekah Dawn has been walking with the plants for as long as she can remember. A life long love has translated into passionate study of herbal lore that has deepened and grown through the years. She currently lives with her family at Labyrinth Gardens, a United Plant Saver Botanical Sanctuary, where she gives monthly plant walks and medicine making workshops. When she is not in the garden or wild-crafting she is most likely in her ceramic studio. Rebekah is the Teen Camp Coordinator for the Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference.

Be sure to stop by to check out her other items in her store. She makes beautiful Herbal Faeries, pendants, birdhouses, mugs and more! She also does custom orders so if you have a special ally or idea, convo her with questions! There may be a few other one-of-a-kind pendants featuring past Herbal Roots herbs as well! Rebekah uses naturally found elements in nature combined with clay to create these amazing pieces. Her sculptures are amazing, incredibly original and just plain wonderful. I fall in love with each one she creates.

Each piece in Rebekah’s store is original in every way, she uses no molds or reproductions ever. A percentage of her profits go to Tree Sisters and Radical Joy for Hard Times each month, and the rest builds her own Botanical Sanctuary at Labyrinth Gardens.

You can become a fan of Mulberry Mudd on Facebook if you would like to do so.

If you’d like a chance to win this one of a kind Coriander tea cup, leave a comment below, telling me what your favorite beverage would be to sip in it. For more chances to win, you can leave a separate comment each time you advertise this giveaway by:

-Kids, you get 1 extra point for being a kid! Leave a comment telling me how old you are and what you like best about Herbal Roots zine.

-blogging about it

-tell us which herb you’re most excited to be learning about this year with Herbal Roots zine

-telling me your favorite item in her store

-share this giveaway on your Facebook page

-follow Herbal Roots and Mulberry Mudd on Pinterest and pin this giveaway with hashtags #mulberrymudd #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

-follow Herbal Roots on Instagram and pin this giveaway with hashtags #mulberrymudd #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your Instagram name in comments so we can find you)

-follow Herbal Roots on Twitter and tweet this giveaway with hashtags #mulberrymudd #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

Sign ups end and I’ll announce the winner on Monday, May 18, 2015. Good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 51 – Cilantro? Coriander? What’s the Difference?

Posted in Uncategorized on May 6th, 2015 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!


The healing powers of nature are only limited by man’s idleness.

– Shawna @ Nature For Kids

Is it Coriander or Cilantro? That depends on the part of the plant you are using and the part of the world you live in! Both come from the plant Coriandrum sativum. Coriander is the seed, Cilantro is the leaf. Both parts of the plant are used in food and medicine and as a medicine, both have different uses.


Let’s start with the energetics of each. Do you have Cilantro growing in your garden? If you do, pick a few leaves from the plant. Depending on the time of year, your plant may have gone to seed, enabling you to harvest some seed as well. If not, Coriander is easy to find in the grocery store’s spice section. Trying each, one at a time, chew a bit. Starting with the seed, Coriander, what do you taste? Are the seeds bitter? Pungent? Do you find them a bit hard to chew? Don’t spit them out yet, first, observe how they make your mouth feel. A bit warm perhaps? Maybe a bit drying? Most people describe Coriander as bitter, pungent, warming and drying. Go ahead and spit out the seeds now, or swallow them if you want. Take a drink of water to clear your palate and try the experiment with the Cilantro. Do you like the taste? Some folks do not. Some folks find Cilantro to have a soapy taste, which has been linked to a genetic variants. If you find the taste to not be soapy, continue on with the experiment. How does it taste to you, perhaps a bit citrusy or sour? Maybe some bitterness and pungency too? How does the leaf make your mouth feel? It might surprise you to notice the leaf is cooling instead of warming like the seed.

Nutritionally, Coriander contains carbohydrates, fiber, protein and omega-6 fatty acids. She also contains vitamin C, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc. Cilantro also contains carbohydrates, fiber and protein plus vitamins A, C, E, K, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), folate, choline, beta carotene, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc.

Photo by Rosalee de la Foret

Photo by Rosalee de la Foret

Medicinally, Coriander is alterative, anodyne, antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, nervine, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. Let’s take a look at what we can use him for…

As many kitchen herbs are, Coriander is great for the tummy. As a carminative and stomachic, he works on digestive problems such as bloating, belching, loose stools with undigested food and other cold and damp digestive issues. Remember, we found Coriander to be drying and warming, so he is most effective on problems that are cold and damp in nature.

Coriander is good for treating acute or chronic indigestion, hiccoughs, flatulence and cramps, headaches due to digestive issues and chronic indigestion with debility. Coriander is great to add to homemade gripe water, a tea blend given to colicky babies.

If you’re suffering from sleeplessness caused by indigestion or other digestive issues, Coriander is great for calming you and helping you to get to sleep.

Those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome may find Coriander to be of use in soothing the symptoms, especially when combined with dietary recommendations.


Coriander has also been found to be beneficial for easing chronic constipation and is found in the popular Traditional Medicinals brand tea “Smooth Move”, combined with Fennel, Cinnamon, Orange peel, Licorice, Ginger and Senna. 

Coriander can also be added to bitters formulas. Herbalist Rosalee de la Foret describes Coriander as a corrigent, helping to balance formula blends. Because his taste is not as bitter and overwhelming, he is often added to digestive blends as a corrigent, which helps to modify or improve the taste of the blend.

A Strong tea of Coriander makes a great mouthwash and gargle for inflamed gums, mouth ulcers and inflamed tonsils.

Coriander is a specific for strengthening the urinary tract. For irritation of the bladder, urinary tract infections, a burning urethra, cystitis, and other urinary related problems, Coriander may be beneficial. As a diuretic, Coriander will stimulate the flow of urine.

For colds and fevers, Coriander’s diaphoretic action will help you sweat out a fever. He is often combined with Ginger for this purpose, making him a great remedy for colds and influenza.

Coriander has also been found to be helpful in lowering blood glucose levels and increasing insulin levels in type 2 diabetics, making him a useful addition to a diabetics diet.

As an antioxidant, Coriander is good for the heart, working to decrease the LDL levels in cholesterol while raising the HDL levels. Those same antioxidants may assist in delaying or preventing the spoilage of food, if the food is seasoned with the Coriander.

Poultices and compresses of Coriander can be applied externally to soothe achy joints, arthritis, cramps and inflammation.

As an antibacterial, Coriander has been found to be useful in killing Salmonella choleraesuis.

The leaves, also known as Cilantro are great for soothing hot, inflammatory issues. Try a poultice on a strain or hot, achy joint, you will find it to be quite soothing.

One of my favorite ways to use Cilantro and Coriander are in food. Coriander is one of those herbs that is easy to use as a food-medicine. Coriander combines surprisingly well with many foods…


Coriander pairs well with Apples. Add them to your Apple crisp for a surprising taste.

Add freshly crushed Coriander to Lemon Ginger tea, great for soothing upset tummies and sore throats.

Add freshly roasted and powdered Coriander to your chocolate sauce before drizzling it on your ice cream.


Want to learn more about using Coriander medicinally? You can grab this month’s issue for only $3.99 through the end of May 2015.

Do you use Coriander in cooking or medicine? What is your favorite way to prepare this wonderful herb? Hopefully this monograph has inspired you to incorporate Coriander into your meals if he is a new herb for you.

Giveaway Monday – Ceramic Mulberry Leaf from Winding Road Studio

Posted in Uncategorized on May 4th, 2015 by KristineBrown — 3 Comments


This week I have one more giveaway for Mulberry! This leaf was specially made from a Mulberry leaf by Winding Road Studios and measures 11 inches x 9 inches. It would be a wonderful room decoration to remind you of your studies with Mulberry. The Mulberry leaf was imprinted into clay, fired and then glazed a rich chocolate brown.

About Winding Road Studio:

“I have been asked many times why I do so many different things, my best answer is that I am a restless soul, with too much in my mind that wants release. I am always trying to find the best medium to express the journey, the connection and find that inner balance.

The things I make resonate with my passion for the inner and outer worlds. I strive to imbue everything I do with an energy, be it whimsy or wisdom that others can connect with and enjoy.

I have been  doing pottery since 1992. My pottery can be found throughout the U.S. and in 8 countries around the globe. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t painting or piddling in some form of art.
Mostly I divide my time between the many different forms of art that call to me. In the winter I can be found painting, quilting, weaving and teaching classes. In the spring I segue back into pottery, stained glass and broom making. During the summer months I add soap making, jewelry and whatever new form catches me.”

You can become a fan of Winding Road Studio on Facebook if you would like to do so. Tell her Herbal Roots zine sent you!

If you’d like a chance to win this beautiful leaf, leave a comment below. For more chances to win, you can leave a separate comment each time you advertise this giveaway by:

-Kids, you get 1 extra point for being a kid! Leave a comment telling me how old you are and what you like best about Herbal Roots zine.

-can you tell me what hidden treasure is on the Winding Road Studio website?

-blogging about it

-checking out Winding Road Studio’s shop and telling me your favorite item(s)

-tell us which herb you’re most excited to be learning about this year with Herbal Roots zine

-telling me your favorite section(s) of Herbal Roots zine

-share this giveaway on your Facebook page

-follow Herbal Roots on Pinterest and pin this giveaway with hashtags  #windingroadstudio #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your Pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

-follow Herbal Roots on Instagram and pin this giveaway with hashtags #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine#windingroadstudio (list your Instagram name in comments so we can find you)

-follow Herbal Roots and Winding Road Studio on Twitter and tweet this giveaway with hashtags #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine#windingroadstudio (list your Twitter name in comments so we can find you)

Sign ups end and I’ll announce the winner on Monday, May11, 2015. Good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 50 – Herbal Activities for May Day and Herb Day

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1st, 2015 by KristineBrown — 1 Comment so far


We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children’s memories, the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist.

― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

This weekend is packed full of fun days to celebrate! Today, Friday, May 1 is May Day and tomorrow is Herb Day! This is a great time to get outside, enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, pick a few herbal friends and celebrate them.


May baskets are a fun tradition of May Day. Making paper baskets, decorated with colors and symbols of spring, filling them with springtime pretties such as Dandelions, Violets, Lily of the Valley, Lilacs, Irises, Tulips, Jonquils and other spring blooming beauties as well as a few sweet treats and hanging them on neighbor’s doors is an tradition that is sadly dying out. Louisa May Alcott wrote about it in “Jack and Jill”:

The job now in hand was May baskets, for it was the custom of the children to hang them on the doors of their friends the night before May-day; and the girls had agreed to supply baskets if the boys would hunt for flowers, much the harder task of the two. Jill had more leisure as well as taste and skill than the other girls, so she amused herself with making a goodly store of pretty baskets of all shapes, sizes, and colors, quite confident that they would be filled, though not a flower had shown its head except a few hardy dandelions, and here and there a small cluster of saxifrage.” 

Kids today still adore this tradition, surprising their neighbors with a kind gesture of spring. Not only does it brighten people’s day to get a wonderful surprise but kids get to learn to be kind and generous to others for the sheer enjoyment of it. Alternatively to delivering them around the neighborhood, they could be taken to a retirement home to brighten the day of some elders who might enjoy a bit of spring cheer and nostalgia. Who knows the stories that might be conjured up from those spring laden baskets!


It’s also a great way to teach others about herbs. Since Dandelions and Violets are blooming now, neighbors who might not think it so grand to get a basket of ‘weed’s left on their doorknob might enjoy a small note telling of the virtues of these sweet plants. Writing “Happy Herb Day” at the end of the note might share a lesser known holiday with them as well. Even though this is the 10th annual Herb Day, it’s still a holiday that is just catching on.

Other ways to celebrate Herb Day:


Invite some friends over for a Herb Day tea party

Play herbal games, make foods from herbs such as Dandelion Fritters, Rose Petal Jam, Wild Greens and Flower Salad and Sautéed Nettles. Served with a favorite herb tea, of course.


Host a Herb Day class

Invite friends over to learn about herbs. Use a copy of Herbal Roots zine as a teaching resource, there are plenty of fun activities and ideas in each issue!

Photo by Lisa Rose

Photo by Lisa Rose

Host a Herb Day plant walk

Take a walk through your back yard with your friends or neighbors, showing them a few ‘weeds’ that are actually medicinal herbs. It doesn’t have to be extravagant and who knows, maybe you’ll even convince one or two to stop spraying their Dandelions.

These are just a few ideas, there are so many ways to celebrate! Can you think of any more? Do you celebrate Herb Day? Do you make and pass out May baskets for your neighbors? We’d love to hear what you do to celebrate this time of the year!

May 2015 – You Say Cilantro, I Say Coriander! is Available

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1st, 2015 by KristineBrown — Be the first to comment!



For details and to purchase go to our sales page.