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.

Blue Vervain

This beautiful purple flowered plant is called Blue Vervain, and is a wonderful addition to my herb garden.  Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata) has been used by herbalists for centuries in Europe and in the United States. The name Vervain is derived from the Celtic word “ferfain” and was used as a diuretic to treat bladder infections. Other common names are “Herb of Grace” or “American Hyssop.”

Presently Vervain is found in many herbal formulas to treat PMS and menopausal anxiety, since it has a relaxing effect on the nervous system. It also helps to expel mucus from the lungs and relieve coughs and induces a sweat during the early stages of a fever.  I have enjoyed watching the bees gathering pollen on the deep purple flowers, that slowly fade to a lavender as the flowers ages.

Do not use Vervain during pregnancy.

Osmunda Cinnamomea – Cinnamon Fern

At the North Carolina Arbortetum this weekend saw this beautiful fern Osmunda cinnamomea  also known as Cinnamon Fern native plant to North America. Lovely!

Osmunda cinnamomea