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California Spikenard (Aralia californica)

Aralia californicaLatin Name: Aralia californicaCommon name(s): California Spikenard, Western Aralia, California Ginseng, Elk Clover Family: Araliaceae Botany: Aralia, a member of the Ginseng family, is a deciduous perennial that can grow up to 10 feet high. It has large leaves, and yellow-greenish flowers that bloom in mid-summer, and mature into blue-black berries in early fall. According to herbalist Michael [...]

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Burdock: Another Medicinal Weed to Know

Burdock (Arctium lappa) MonographLatin Name: Arctium lappaCommon name(s): BurdockFamily: AsteraceaeBotany: Burdock is a biennial herb with large, dark green leaves, tall stalks that can grow several feet high, and a plethora of characteristic round burrs, which often get caught in human clothing and animal fur. Habitat: Native to Europe and Asia, Burdocks have been naturalized all over the world. [...]

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Solving for Pattern with Herbs

I've been reflecting upon gratitude for the plants lately. How they offer us so many gifts, from their physical beauty to giving their bodies for our teas and medicines. Next week, I will be entering a clinical herbalist program in Berkeley, and really I owe so much to the plants themselves. For guiding me along [...]

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California Poppy

Early this spring, I began seeing them everywhere. These bright, beautiful orange flowers that lighten up even the darkest of days. I knew they were the state flower of California, but somehow, I had believed they were less common. Like the Lady Slipper, the state flower of Minnesota, my birthplace and home until last year. In reality, California Poppies [...]

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5 Common Herbs for Vibrant Spring Health

Spring. The season of renewal. New beginnings. Reawakening. If you're into natural medicine, you also know that spring is a great time to clear out the old, and make space for what's ready to be born. One way to do this is with herbs. Although herbal medicine is becoming more popular again, many people are [...]

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Can Herbal Medicine Heal the World?

Herbalism has made a resurgence in North America over the past three decades or so. However, it has done so in a way that has stripped away much of the power, beauty, and wisdom. Plugging directly into the Western biomedical model’s view of health and disease, what constitutes herbal medicine these days tends to be primarily or solely focused [...]

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3 Common Herbs for Winter Health

Oh November. A time of diminishing sunlight, falling leaves, and increasing susceptibility to the common cold and flu. As we move into late autumn, it’s a good time to think about ways to support your immune system. I always start by reflecting on my diet, and shifting towards cooking and eating more nutritious soups and stews. In addition, I’m [...]

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California Herbal Dreaming

Over the summer, I packed my bottles and everything else I owned and moved to California. Among other things, I'm planning on attending a clinical herbal program in the San Francisco Bay area to sharpen and expand my skills. I'll continue to offer the same high quality, homemade herbal products you've seen from NGTHerbals in the [...]

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Becoming Companions to the Plants

I am coming to believe that we have reached the limits of the analytical, logical approach to understanding. More precisely, the limits of relying on it as the sole or even dominant approach.Some questions that keep arising for me. "Where is the wildness here? Where are the weeds? The trickster animals?" Herbalism isn't ultimately about finding [...]

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The Benefits and Beauty of Red Clover

Although it's winter now, imagine it's late spring or early summer. You are hiking out in the countryside, and come across a wide, open field of blossoms. Maybe an old farm field, one where the earth was disturbed a fair amount, and now is being slowly repaired by "invasives" and cover crops. The yellow heads [...]

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