Herbal Classes with Judith Brooks



The Wisdom of Elderberry: Medicinal Properties of Flowers and Berries

The class on Elderberry medicine making was a fun exploration of the many benefits of the flowers and berries.
The elderberries were ripe and plentiful near my home.

We tasted fresh Elderberry juice and elderberry syrup made with local honey.
The rich dark juice makes a slightly bitter drink full of health benefits for the immune system.
We also made Elderberry Elixir with dried elderberries, honey and brandy.

We also tasted a cordial made from Elder Flowers and lemon zest and sugar that I had made in June with my friend Paulette.
We ended the class with a plant meditation; an opportunity to be outside and observe the beauty of the elderberry bush.
Thank you to the wonderful women who attended.
I hope to teach this class next summer.

Sampling the Elderberry Syrup

Beautiful Elderberries!

Cleaning the berries.

Blessings of the New Year!


One of the many blessings of living here in North Carolina is that there are plants that bloom in the winter time.  Rosemary was shining in her radiant periwinkle light when I took this photo.   I planted this Rosemary around seven years ago and she has given me many gifts. In the kitchen I often add Rosemary to salad dressings, stir fries or chicken dishes.

rosemaryflowers2Have you ever tried Rosemary tea with honey when you have a cold?  In Chinese Medicine Rosemary promotes sweating which helps the body detoxify during a cold. It also opens the sinuses and helps expel phlegm.   I often drink Rosemary tea when I have a sinus headache.

Rosemary has been known through the ages as an aid to memory and concentration. In Latin the plant was called rosmarinus “dew of the sea.” Rosemary was used by many cultures for ritual cleansing, and as incense for purification. In Egypt, Rome and Athens it was considered a sacred plant for healing often used to clear confusion and mental fogginess.   Essential oil of Rosemary always needs to be diluted with carrier oil as it is a very potent oil. It helps to strengthen the nerves when there is exhaustion and restlessness from overwork and stress.  It is wonderful to add a few drops to massage oil as it helps relieve muscular and arthritic pain.  Not to be used during pregnancy because of its powerful stimulating properties.

As I sit and write this blog I have a sprig of Rosemary from my garden next to me, and the scent of it reminds me to have gratitude and appreciation for this important plant ally.