Thursday, June 30, 2011

Excellent Herb Knowledge Site

I'm still reeling from an amazing extended weekend at Wheaton College in Massachusetts for the 10th Annual International Herb Symposium!  My brain is overflowing!

As I visit the web sites of some of the amazing instructors, I thought I would share any that seem particularly good with you.  The first one I am browsing is Guido Mase's site called Grian Herbs.

I attended Guido's very technical workshop on Polyphenolics (i.e. how tannins work) and was blown away by his wealth of herbal knowledge at the molecular level!  He did a superb job of explaining the complex topic in a manner that made sense (even to someone like me who has a very limited chemistry background).

Anyway, Grian Herbs provides a wealth of high-quality herbal knowledge including various Workshop and Class Handouts, an Herbal Database, An Introduction to Herbal Protocols, Medicine Making recipes and so much more.  It's certainly worth a visit!!!  Guido also maintains his blog called A Radicle - be sure to check it out too!

Thank you, Guido for a wonderful workshop!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Amazing Yoga Class Discount!!!

Holy smokes!!
Pure Freedom Yoga Studio is offering an incredible 69% discount right now!!
Get a 10 class pass for just $39!!! WOW!!
The offer expires in just 2 days - act fast!

Click here for all of the details!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nova Scotian Herbal Workshops

I received this flyer from local herbalists, Jeanette Poirier and michele Haddal.  A group of us have attended their workshops in the past and have thoroughly enjoyed them!  It's wonderful to have workshops here so close to home!  I'm hopeful that I'm going to be able to make it to these this time!  Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

HANS 9th Annual Herb Fair and AGM

Date: Saturday, July 16, 2011
Time 8:30 am to 5 pm
Location: Camp Brunswick, 42 Mines Road, East Chezzetcook
(approx. 1/2 hour from either bridge in Halifax/Dartmouth)

Cost: $40 (members) and $65 (non-members). Yearly membership $25.
For those needing to overnight, there is indoor space and tenting available at an extra fee.

Food: Participants are responsible for their own nourishment.
Herbal teas and water will be provided.

Come and enjoy a day of herbal workshops. There will be plant walks, herbal medicine making, plant spirit medicine, and much more.

There will also be a silent auction, a plant sale and a raffle.

Learn more at or contact Michele at for more information.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Apple Blossom

Tonight Wendy and I visited a local park to harvest Hawthorn Flowers. We found apple trees blooming nearby and I could not resist bringing some of the sweetly-scented apple blossoms home for a bath! What a treat!! I felt so wonderful after the bath, I just had to search around and see what people were saying about the benefits of apple blossoms. I have compiled some of my findings below... no wonder I had a beautiful bath!!!

Photo by Glenn Franco Simmons on Flickr
The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae). It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. The tree originated in Western Asia, where its wild ancestor, the Alma, is still found today. There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock.[2]

NMC News:
Aromatherapy uses and benefits include:
love, friendship, happiness, success

Magical Herbalism by Scott Cunningham:
Wear to promote happiness and success.
Anoint candles during love rituals.
Add to bath to aid relaxation.
Apples and their blossoms can be associated with abundance, fertility, love and immortality.

For the ancients, the apple was considered a symbol of immortality. Interestingly, it's also seen as a food for the dead, which is why Samhain is sometimes referred to as the Feast of Apples. In Celtic myth, an apple branch bearing grown fruit, flowers, and unopened bud was a magical key to the land of the Underworld. It's also a symbol of the harvest, and is frequently found on altars during Mabon celebrations.

In the English ballad "Thomas the Rhymer," young Thomas is cautioned against eating the Fairy Queen's apples, because to eat the food of the dead would prevent him from ever returning to the land of the living. This story reminds us that apples, and their blossoms, are associated with the realm of the Fae.

The apple is often found as a component in love magic, and the blossoms may be added to incenses and brews. In traditional folklore, apples are used as part of love divination -- peel the apple in a continuous length, and when the first strip of peel falls off, it will form the initial of the person you are to marry. Cut an apple in half and count the seeds -- an even number means marriage is coming, an uneven number indicates that you'll remain single for a while.

Use the fruits of the apple tree in divination, or brew the flowers into a tea. Use the tea to wash your face and hair in, to bring love your way. In some Druid traditions, apple blossoms are pressed to release oils, and the oils are used in blends to bring health and prosperity. A seventeenth-century herbal recommends mixing apple blossom extract with a bit of rose water and some pig fat as a cure for rough, dry skin.

Pomona was a Roman goddess of orchards, and is associated with abundance and bounty. To bring fertility and abundance into your life, hang garlands of apple blossoms around your home - particularly over your bed if you're trying to conceive.

Other names: Silver Bough, Tree of Love, Fruit of the Gods
Gender: Feminine
Element: Water
Deity Connections: Venus, Aphrodite, Diana, Apollo, Zeus

Monday, June 6, 2011

Congratulations On Your New Yoga Studio, Kathryn!!

Kathryn over at Pure Freedom Yoga has just opened a brand new studio in Rockingham Ridge Plaza off of Dunbrack Street, Clayton Park in Halifax!

There are FREE classes all week! Be sure to drop by, check out the amazing new space and stretch a little!

Congratulations, Kathryn!!!
Val :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Herbal Juices

Comfrey is ready for harvest here!  In fact, I've been cutting back the blooms to help the plants bush out a bit and prolong harvesting - as it is best to harvest before blooming.

Comfrey is a member of the Borage and Forget-me-not family, Boraginaceae. Comfrey thrives in almost any soil or situation, but does best under the shade of trees. Michael Phillips (author of The Apple Grower) tells us to plant comfrey under our fruit trees to attract bees to improve pollonation.

Comfrey should be harvested before it sends its vital energy into producing flowers. An established comfrey is a robust plant and will grow over and over again throughout the summer so you can enjoy multiple leaf harvests by cutting back the plant to keep it from flowering until later. For Mrs. Grieve's overview of comfrey and its medicinal properties, visit There are also a few other links in my sidebar with great herbal info.

Herbal juices allow us to extract the entire wealth of vitamins and minerals from nutrient rich herbs because we are consuming the entire harvest in its most vital state. In a past herbal class, Savayda Jarone of Mayflower Herbs had us in the garden picking 4" baby comfrey leaves to make herbal juice. I was shocked at the lovely light cucumber flavor of this mild slightly green drink!


1/2 cup chopped fresh herb
1 cup water

Blend in food processor or blendrer until pureed and frothy.
Strain and serve.

To preserve herbal juices longer, put unstrained juice in a sterile glass jar and add 1 cup apple cider vinegar and cover. Shake daily for 2 weeks then strain. Take 1 tsp in water, 1 or 2 times daily. The shelf life is about 3 months.

If you are not familiar with this wonderful garden specimen, give it a try. It will thrive in partly shaded areas of the garden, it produces gorgeous texture with its large leaves and it attracts beneficial bees with it's striking blossoms.

Originally posted: May 12, 2010