One of my goals for 2015 is to learn more about using herbs, both in cooking and for medicinal purposes. For years I’ve purchased herb combinations to help take care of my family. It’s been good for us. But I think I’m ready to take my herbal knowlege to the next level.
One of my hesitations with learning more about herbs is that it’s hard to find reputable sources, especially with essential oils being all the rage right now. I worry about how herbs and essential oils are being marketed today. I mentioned in my DIY Spa Basket post that while I’ve used essential oils for over 20 years, I don’t believe they are the be-all and end-all of good health. The same holds true for herbs. They are such an important part of our overall health but I don’t believe we can take a handful (or a couple of dropperfuls) of herbal supplements each morning and call it good.
Herbs can be powerful medicine, especially if instead of eating the whole herb we make tinctures, extracts and essential oils with them. Herbalism is the study of using plants for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. It’s a long tradition but it’s also a science and should be treated as such. Which is why I appreciate places like The Herbal Academy of New England. HANE respects herbalism as a tradition but also as a science. The fact that they have several MDs on their staff and a professor from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy as a contributor speaks loudly to me as to their commitment to the science part of herbalism.
An herbarium is a systematically arranged collection of plants it can be anything from a room that houses dried plants to something small like a pressed flower journal. I’ve always wanted to keep an herbal journal that had good drawings or dried plants in it, especially for identifying wild herbs. Which is why I’m so excited about HANE’s new program The Herbarium and that they’ve given me an opportunity to review it.
The Herbarium is a virtual systematically arranged collection of plants. Each month members will find new articles on herbs and using herbs that strike a great balance between tradition and science. I loved reading the article on incense, who knew the the cheap sticks at the store that remind me hippy pothead movies, isn’t true incense? I also got a lot out of the article on women’s hormones because, well, I’m getting older and want to learn how to best take care of my changing body.
There are plant specific downloads, in fact there is one on there right now that is a 74 page article on calendula, it is impressive. But it’s not all work and no play, there is also fun stuff like the substitution chart above. There is an active forum which makes me really happy because sometimes, I just need to talk to someone knowledgeable about herbs.
Each month new monographs will be added. Monographs are plant specific and include information such as actions, taste, energy, ways to use, safety concerns, scientific research and much, much more. There are also recipes for using herbs as food and as tinctures. And there is information on using the essential oil along with safety considerations.
HANE is offering a year membership for only $39 until November 30th. This will give you full access to the Herbarium and you get a pretty fun cooking ebook, also you’ll get any ebooks they publish this year. You’ll be able to print up any or all the articles to make a personal reference notebook.
If you want to join us on this herbal 2015 journey, you can go here to register.
What are your favorite herbs to use in your home?