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Edible Plants

Loretta Allison, an edible plant expert, fine gardening consultant and community educator, presented a program on useful and easy to grow medicinal herbs. She talked about how all herbs have some medicinal value. They strengthen our bodies and support our health. They have been used for millennia across cultures for healing. She gave us the list of her favorite herbs for the garden! TULSI - Ocimum Sanctum, also known as Holy Basil. Tulsi creates higher levels of ozone where it grows. It is called the “Queen of Herbs” and is highly revered. There are 3 main types; Rama (green), Krishna (purple), and Vana (wild). In general, Tulsi is used for purifying, detoxifying, as an anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic. Tulsi treats fever, diabetes, asthma, lung disorders. It is a potent stress reliever and immunity booster. It is good for skin, digestion, headaches and eye health. It was also used as a mosquito repellant. The best way to take it is in teas and tinctures. STINGING NETTLE - Urtica dioca. It is used as a potent blood builder and fortifier. It is an antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-ulcer, astringent, analgesic and diuretic. It is good for bladder infections, anemia, eczema, gout and hay fever. Excellent for allergies, kidneys and urinary tract. It stimulates hair, skin, and nail growth. The leaf and seeds are used in teas, tinctures, soups and pesto. LEMON BALM - Melissa officianalis. It attracts bees and is used as a relaxing gentle sedative. It lifts spirits! It is used in Kitchen Witchery to heal broken hearts and attract LOVE! It is good for tummy aches and digestion. LEMON balm ointment is good for cold sores. It is usually taken in tea form, as well as tinctures and supplements. MUGWORT - Artemisia vulgaris. It is known as ‘Woman’s Herb and a Dream Herb’. It is mystical, magical and sacred. It gives psychic powers and lucid dreaming. It is used as a mild relaxant. It is used for epilepsy and also for symptoms of menopause. It is used in teas, infusions, tinctures and stomach compresses. RED CLOVER - Trifolium pratense. It is used as a blood purifier and cancer remedy. It reduces symptoms of menopause. It helps decrease osteoporosis. It is said to starve cancer cells and is used to treat bronchitis and sore throats. It is used in teas, supplements and tinctures. It is also used as an easy nitrogen fixing ground cover. RASPBERRY LEAF - Rubus idaeus. It is a classic women’s herb. It has been traditionally used by Native Americans. It is helpful to women at all stages of life. It is high in magnesium and other trace minerals. The tannins give it astringent properties and it can be used for sunburn, eczema and rashes. Swishing with a tincture or infusion is good for gums and prevention of gingivitis. Drink it in teas and tinctures. It grows in our cool coastal climate. YARROW - Achillea millefolium. It is a powerful healing herb and magical plant. It stops bleeding. The history of the plant is that it was an ally of the Greek hero, Achilles. Warriors would wrap the leaves on wounds to stop bleeding. It is used as an anti-inflammatory and supports the digestive and gall bladder systems. It relaxes the nervous system. It is taken in salads, soups, tinctures and teas. Loretta was humorous and informative. She also mentioned the importance of incorporating everyday herbs into our diets. The main ones she mentioned were oregano, thyme, basil, mint, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, lavender and lemon verbena. She finished her talk mentioning we could use Wooly Blue Curls in the medians! It looks like rosemary and is drought tolerant and low maintenance.

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