Tag Archives: eco friendly

Spirit of Giving: Big Herbal Solstice Ring – Part II

This past winter solstice will forever be cherished and remembered, a time when 12 herbalists from all over the country joined a ring and shared gifts, love, and inspiration through the post. This second batch of gifts were as magical and beautiful as all the others, bringing some extra warmth and excitement in the mail through the cold crisp afternoons of January.

I love the medicinal vinegar infused with Moringa, an herb I was unfamiliar with before Paula sent me these gifts. Moringa is a “miracle tree,” with a super-high mineral content and a plethora of gifts. Paula is from South Florida where she grows and harvests this plant and uses it for salad dressings and soups, and as a water purifier.

I adored Wunder Budder’s Dark Mint Lip Balm and Super Soft Salve, truly versatile and blissfully simple herbal salves – the way it should be! Darcey Blue of Blue Turtle Botanicals sent me an exotic tube of Sacred Treasures Resin Balm with Frankincense and Myrrh along with a Winter Mist Tea blend and a Winter Solstice Elixir. So special – I could smell the earthy, botanical scent of Darcey’s Arizona-based herb farm the moment I opened the box! Lastly, though this special friend didn’t take part in the larger Solstice Swap, we did our own little barter for these lovely, heavenly Flower Fairie Herbal Soaps by Forest House Herbals. I received these amazingly soft, lavender and oatmeal soaps with beautiful packaging depicting fairies (my favorite) in exchange for a year’s subscription to the Starry Eyed Herbalist. They were so special that I waited to use them and last night I finally did, the soap is so soft and lathers up with the beautiful scent of lavender for a truly relaxing experience.

Munay Botanicals (FL)
Wunder Budder (Salem, MA)
Blue Turtle Botanicals (AZ)
Forest House Herbals (NH)
soon to come — Hedge Wife (AK)

Thank you to all the special green women who shared their gifts with me this Winter.

You are all beautiful! Until next Solstice!! xoxox Gem

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Love Your Neighbor: At-Risk and To-Watch Native Herbs of Long Island, NY

As I began researching the native flora of Long Island, NY, I was fascinated by the diversity, magnitude, and beauty of the many medicinal and healing plants that I found. I was also stunned at how many of the native plants I came across are also on United Plant Savers‘ lists for at-risk or to-watch native plants. The goal in compiling these lists is to raise awareness of the fragility of our native flora and to be able to assist these irreplaceable plants to regrow and repopulate in their natural environment. We can do that by cultivating these plants ourselves and also not purchasing any products which use these plants from the wild, which would further strain the plants’ ability to survive for future generations. Let’s honor and educate ourselves about these amazing plants who are native to our home, what I like to think of as our dear old neighbors, who deserve our respect and our help in their time of need. Here is a list of Native Herbs and Plants of Long Island, NY that are on United Plant Savers’ At Risk or To-Watch lists:

Black Cohosh – an at-risk LI plant. source: everlastingseeds.com

At-Risk Native Plants of Long Island, NY:

Bloodroot –  Sanguinaria canadensis
Black Cohosh – Actaea racemosa (Cimicifuga)
Blue Cohosh – Caulophyllum thalictroides
Slippery Elm – Ulmus rubra
Sundew – Drosera spp.
–Drosera rotundifolia var. rotundifolia
–Drosera intermedia
Trillium, Beth Root – Trillium spp.
–Trillium cernuum
–Trillium erectum
Virginina Snakeroot – Aristolochia serpentaria
Wild Yam – Dioscorea villosa, D. spp.

To-Watch Native Plants in Long Island, NY:

Butterfly Milkweed – Asclepias tuberosa
Gentian -Gentiana spp.
Closed Gentian – Gentiana clausa
–Narrow-leaved Gentian – Gentiana linearis
–Soapwort Gentian – Gentiana saponaria
Lobelia – Lobelia spp.

Wild Blue Indigo – a To-Watch LI Plant. Source: Schaumburg Garden Club

–Great Blue Lobelia – Lobelia siphilitica
–Indian Tobacco – Lobelia inflata
Maidenhair Fern – Adiantum pendatum
Mayapple – Podophyllum peltatum
Partridgeberry – Mitchella repens
Wild Indigo – Baptisia tinctoria

Sources:

Plant Native: Regional Plant List for Long Island, NY
New York Flora Atlas
Wild Flower Center
United Plant Savers

Further Reading & Resources

Long Island Botanical Society
Top 10 Reasons to Use Native Plants in Your Garden
NY Flora Association Blog
NY Natural Heritage Program’s Plant Guides
NY Botanical Garden on Home Gardening

Soon I will be posting a list of Native Flora that are fortunately not at-risk, as well as information about the medicinal and traditional folkloric uses of many of the native flora of Long Island, in hopes that this information will inspire Long Island’s people to turn to the native flora for guidance, healing, and partnership in the old ways, for a better future for all.

Your input is appreciated and encouraged, do you know of any other native plants to add to these lists? Have any photographs of these plants growing near your home on Long Island? Please share!

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Spirit of Giving: Big Herbal Solstice Ring – Part I

We formed a ring of 12 herbalists, some strangers, some old friends, all united by a love of herbs and a spirit of sharing and healing. On the online herbal marketplace Poppyswap, one woman sagely decided to revive a lovely practice called a “solstice ring” in which 12 herbalists would each create 12 unique gifts in time for the Winter Solstice. Each herbalist would then send out a gift to each of the other 12 participants, so in the end nearly 150 packages traveled all over the country, from NY to Washington and anywhere in between. For the past couple of weeks it seems not a day went by without receiving a magical package on my doorstep. The fresh scents, creative packaging, and unique artisanship that went into these creations were breathtaking and inspiring. I finally sent out the last of my packages today and so I have decided to share part of this experience tonight, as the Winter Solstice is just hours away…It’s been an honor to partake and I hope all the love and generosity exchanged will continue to bring healing, warmth, and joy throughout the Winter season! Check back soon for the rest of the gifts as well!

Here are some of the beautiful handmade gifts I received so far from:
Worts + Cunning Apothecary (CA)
Good 4 You Herbals (MA)
Green Journey Seeds (OR)
Rosemary & Rue (NC)
Twysted Thystle (CO)
Maya Made (MN)
Wildly Natural Skincare (PA)
Herbal Revolution (ME)

more to follow….

…..and a Special offer! Comment on this post or on my Facebook Wall to be entered to win a Solstice Gift from Gem Botanicals. 3 winners will receive a handmade energy amulet filled with white sage, yarrow, or st. john’s wort!  Contest ends 12/31/12.

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