Notes Taken During this Program: Incorporating Medicinal Plants into Your Garden – Brighid Doherty
Brighid will discuss some of her favorite plants and how they grow. How can they be used medicinally? How can they be used aesthetically? Elder, comfrey, elecampane, and more will be highlighted.
Brighid Doherty is an herbalist and landscape gardener. She studied sustainable horticulture and organic agriculture at UNH and Evergreen State College. She has studied, worked with, and taught about medicinal herbs for the past 22 years. She currently lives in Deer Isle, ME where she has a landscape gardening business and teaches workshops about herbal medicine, some at the hospital. Her workshops have included an Herbal Spa, Medicinal Plant Walks, Immune Soups for winter and Nourishment and Base-line Health Through Herbs. She has worked on an herb farm and organic farm in Washington state and at the “Herbal Path, an herbal pharmacy in Hampton NH.
If you wish to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elderberry – In cold and virus season, elderberry prevents and works against viruses. It can be taken as a syrup. The Latin name is sambucus canadensis and sambucus nigra (black). These are native plants and are purple. Don’t eat the red ones for they are poisonous. Most scientific studies have been done on nigra. Its properties display a propensity to knock an enzyme off a virus. It then can’t enter the cell and replicate. It shows an affinity for the lung. It has the ability to increase chemicals that boost the immune system.
In the garden, it likes wet feet. It can get to 8 feet in height. It has beautiful white lacy flowers and blooms in late May or June. The flowers can be used in fritters and dried for tea. It can alleviate high fevers and sinus issues. Do not eat the berries fresh; they can upset you stomach. The vibernum plant looks like it so be careful not to confuse them. The leaves are different.
St John’s Wort – Hypericum Perferatum blooms in mid July. It loves the sun and can handle rocky soil. The leaf has perforations which are oil glands. It is a short-lived perennial that moves around the garden. It has a yellow flower and can be tall. It is used as a remedy for sunburn and sun protection (infused in olive oil). It is also used for depression and has anti viral properties. It is effective against HIV but can cause sun sensitivity. It should be used topically with fresh extract only.
Pick the flowers or flowering tops and put them in a jar packed down. Cover with lite olive oil. Let it steep for 6 weeks. Oil will turn blood red. Strain through muslim cloth. It can be used as a body oil, moisturizer, for nerve damage, sore muscles and joints, and shingles.
Tincture form – Use 100 proof vodka with it. Fill a jar and wait until it turns red. In 6 weeks, strain. It can be taken internally. It can kill viruses. A tsp. In water can relieve muscle strain and it has shown to be effective with seasonal affective disorder.
Yarrow – Achillea Millefolium. This has volatile oils, which are hard on the kidneys and liver so it should not be used for aroma therapy. Plain white yarrow is a bio-accumulator, seeking out minerals in the soil so it helps plants around it. Bio-dynamic gardeners like it for this. The roots react symbiotically with other plants in the garden to keep them healthy..
It can be used as an insect repellent in a tincture in place of bug spray. It is used as an anti-microbial, and as antiseptic on wounds. It is a blood stauncher. Grind leaves up in wound or use it dried (ground in coffee grinder). In folklore it was called the “herb of protection” and was hung in doorways, in bridal bouquets and over babies cradles.
Echinacea – Augusta folia – is a long droopy flower and cone. Purpurea – the root is most medicinal. It is a long-lived perennial. Dig it up after 3 years. Take the root below the crown (can replant crown). As above, a tincture can be made. It is tingly on the tongue. It boosts the immune system. Use ¼ tsp. to a tsp. every hour in water for 1 or 2 days for the onset of a cold. It is good for strep.