Saturday, March 28, 2015
Welcome Spring! Say Hello to Flowers and Medicinal Plants that You Can Grow and Use!
HALLIE EPHRON: Today we welcome Chrystle Fiedler who's a gardener and an expert on herbs and flowers and their medicinal properties. She writes the Natural Remedies series, and today she welcomes spring with a fun blog on, what else, natural remedies. She's giving away a book to one lucky commenter.
CHRYSTLE FIEDLER: I don’t know about you but after a very cold and very white winter in the Northeast, I’m ready for Spring with its warm weather and beautiful blooming flowers! My passion for flowers comes from my mother, who was always outside tending her garden when the weather got warmer.
In 2008, I was fortunate to visit England and my mission was to visit as many gardens as possible. I started with the Hampton Court Flower Show, and was wowed by the amazing displays and uses of flowers. The show takes place on the parklands surrounding Henry VIII’s castle right next to the River Thames.
Here’s one of my favorites. Amazing right?
My other favorite garden in the UK is the Chelsea Physic Garden in London. Established in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries for its apprentices to study the medicinal qualities of plants, it’s mission is to demonstrate the importance of medicinal and herbal plants to health and well-being. Over 50,000 visitors pass through the gates each year.
I was especially intrigued by the section that featured different plants for different health conditions. Years later, I was able to put my inspiration to good use, in the latest book in my natural remedies mystery series, the Garden of Death, both in terms of plot and the information about medicinal plants at the beginning of each chapter.
Many medicinal plants are really effective when it comes to common complaints. So, I thought I’d tell you more about some of the plants mentioned in the Garden of Death that you may want to consider growing and using.
Usually, natural remedies like these are perfectly safe, but it’s best to discuss their use with your doctor first. I hope that you enjoy learning more about beneficial plants!
Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway for a copy of the Garden of Death: A Natural Remedies Mystery!
Botanica Name: Aloe barbadensis
Medicinal Uses: Aloe is a handy plant that no household should be without. This juicy, succulent plant features spiky leaves that contain a thick gel that you can use topically to soothe and heal minor burns, sunburns and blisters and prevents scarring. You can also use it for insect bites, rashes, acne and other skin conditions like eczema, poison ivy and poison oak. Place this hardy plant on your kitchen window sill or plant in your garden. Just make sure your aloe plant has sunshine, well-drained soil, and moderate water and then, watch it grow and reap the many benefits it provides!
Botanical Name: Chamaemelum nobile (Roman chamomile; syn. Anthemis nobilis), Matricaria recutita (German chamomile; formerly Chamomilla recutita; syn. M. chamomilla)
Medicinal Uses: Since the times of ancient Greece, both types of chamomile have been used medicinally in the same ways. Tiny but mighty, chamomile is rich in nerve and muscle relaxing nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and B vitamins that help promote relaxation, easing stress and anxiety, encouraging the movement of chi or good energy, and promoting sleep. It is has also been approved for use by the pharmacopoeias in many countries to treat inflammation, indigestion, muscle spasms, and infection. Chamomile is a useful herb those that are "bothered by almost everything."
Botanical Name: Allium sativum
Medicinal Uses: Garlic is an edible bulb from a plant in the lily family, and one of the superstars of medicinal plants. It has been used as both a medicine and a spice for thousands of years. Antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial, garlic stimulates the production of white blood cells, improving immunity and helping to speed healing from colds and flu. There is a reason Grandma’s Chicken soup makes you feel better! Garlic also is effective at lowering high cholesterol and lowers blood sugar levels. You can eat garlic cloves raw if you’re feeling brave or add them to your next soup or stir fry.
Botanical Name: Borago officinalis
Medicinal Uses: Borage leaves, flowers, and seed oil can help you feel happier and can even, inspire courage. That’s why in medieval times these flowers were embroidered on the mantles of knights and jousters, Borage was even sneaked into the drinks of prospective husbands to give them the courage to propose!
Borage leaves and flowers have long been used in treatments for anxiety, mild depression, grief, heartbreak and worry. As a flower essence, borage is used to lighten mild depression and ease discouragement. Borage helps bring joy, optimism, enthusiasm, and good cheer, improves confidence, and dispels sadness.
Botanical Name: Calendula officinalis
Medicinal Uses: Calendula is a hardy, long blooming plant with radiant yellow flowers that will brighten your garden. But there’s more. Calendula also has amazing healing properties. Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, this flower helps to promote cell repair and growth. You’ll find calendula in many items at your health food store such as lotions, salves and creams that treat everything from cuts and scrapes, to insect bites, varicose veins and Athlete’s foot. Calendula also is a nourishing and cleansing tonic for the lymphatic system, which helps to improve immunity. It also aids digestion, helps to ease throat infections, and is used in children’s ear drops. Inside and out, this is a helpful herb that speeds healing and improves health.
PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF?
Suspicion is unearthed when an outspoken surgeon turns up dead in Willow McQuade’s medicinal herb garden.
A bitter battle has sprouted in the village of Greenport on the eve of the annual maritime festival: Willow McQuade has transformed a vacant lot alongside Nature’s Way Market & Café into a beautiful garden of healing plants—as much a tribute to her late aunt Claire, the shop’s beloved founder, as an enlightening educational center. The town board awarded Willow the plot fair and square, but that’s not how some folks see it—including Dr. Charles White, who invested in plans to develop a high-end hotel on the property. When the belligerent surgeon publicly threatens Willow during the festival, Willow’s boyfriend, Jackson Spade, ratchets up the hostile confrontation to defend the woman he loves, sowing seeds of guilt that take root by the time Dr. White’s corpse turns up amongst Willow’s chamomile and ashwaganda plants. To prove Jackson’s innocence, she must dig deep to bring a killer to light.
CHRYSTLE FIEDLER is the author of the previous Natural Remedies mysteries, Scent to Kill, and Death Drops, as well as six nonfiction books on natural healing and herbal remedies. Also a freelance journalist specializing in alternative health topics, her work has appeared in Natural Health, Spirituality & Health, Mother Earth Living, Green Living, Better Homes & Gardens, Prevention, Vegetarian Times, and Remedy. She lives in Greenport, New York with her 3 dachshunds and 2 cats, three of which are rescues. Visit www.chrystlefiedler.com, or follow her on Facebook, and Twitter.
HALLIE: I confess, the only natural remedy I have is aloe, and I dug up all my foxglove (digitalis poison) when we had little kids crawling around in the garden.
Did your mother swear by chicken soup? What natural remedies do the rest of you swear by?