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Happy Groundhog Day!

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

In honor of Groundhog Day, I was searching for things about groundhogs and came across Groundhog “Resistant” Plants by Linda S. Wiles at Penn State Cooperative Extension. When looking over this list I see a few of my favorite herbs which gave me the idea to share how wonderful they are. Unfortunately, our artist is currently in the process of packing and moving across the country, (she’s moving out closer to us) so only lemon balm has an image.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Hand-drawn lemon balm by Debora J. Brown

Family: Labiatae (Lamiaceae) Energetics: cool, dry, relaxant Taste: aromatic, sweet Medicinal parts: aerial parts –flowers & leaves Actions: initially warming, ultimately cooling; relaxant, sedative, nervine, diaphoretic, antiviral, anodyne Affinities: digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems Cautions: safe for children and elders. Pairs Well With: catnip Culinary Uses: search will bring up a few recipes Bugs Deterred: gnats, mosquitoes Bugs Attracted: bees, butterflies How I Use Most Often: tea, cooking especially in pasta sauce

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Family: Lamiaceae Energetics: warm/cool, dry, relaxant Taste: pungent, aromatic, acrid Medicinal parts: leaves Actions: digestive, carminative, hepatic, nervine, diaphoretic, sedative, antispasmodic Affinities: digestive and nervous systems Cautions: A safe herb for children Pairs Well With: lemon balm Culinary Uses: search will bring up a few recipes Bugs Deterred: gnats, mosquitoes Bugs Attracted: bees, butterflies How I Use Most Often: tea, cat treat, cooking especially in pasta sauce

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Family: Lamiaceae Energetics: hot, dry, tonifying Taste: pungent, aromatic Medicinal parts: aerial parts Actions: respiratory antimicrobial, stimulating expectorant, carminative, intestinal antimicrobial, relaxant, emmenagogue, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory Affinities: respiratory & digestive systems Cautions: Undiluted essential oil of thyme can cause chemical burns and should never be taken internally: always dilute in a carrier oil. Friends: catnip, lemon balm Culinary Uses: search will bring up many recipes Bugs Deterred: cabbage loopers, whiteflies Bugs Attracted: bees, native pollinators How I Use Most Often: cooking

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Family: Asteraceae (Compositae) Energetics: warm/cool, dry, tonifying Taste: bitter, pungent, acrid, aromatic Medicinal parts: leaves, flowers, aerial parts Actions: stimulant, diffusive, astringent, styptic, hepatic, stimulating diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, anodyne, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory Affinities: digestive & circulatory systems Cautions: Some people have an allergy to yarrow, a member of the aster family. Large doses are to be avoided in pregnancy. Pairs Well With: lavender Culinary Uses: search will bring up a few recipes Bugs Deterred: mosquitoes Bugs Attracted: ladybugs, hoverflies, butterflies How I Use Most Often: tincture to help stop bleeding

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) Energetics: warm, moist, relaxant Taste: aromatic, pungent, sweet. Medicinal part: seed Actions: carminative, cholagogue, choleretic, antispasmodic, galactagogue, anticatarrhal, diuretic Affinities: digestive system Cautions: Fennel is safe and effective for everyone from children to elders. Pairs Well With: catnip Culinary Uses: a simple Google search will return many recipes. Bugs Deterred: aphids, slugs, snails, fleas, and mosquitoes Bugs Attracted: bee, wasp, beetle, butterfly How I Use Most Often: cooking or tea Plant village has a nice write-up on fennel you can view it here.

Duncan’s Poem

Duncan wrote a poem for the day and I thought it would be nice to include it here for you all to enjoy. If you would like to see more of his work you can find it here. For those that don’t know, Duncan is my hubby and also the one that does the music for the podcast.

The beast that hates the chill arises Greets the cold midwinter day It’s been awhile but now it feels A hankering for the signs of Spring It’s you and me and everything That lies in in-between A face pokes out, smells the earth A nose with sight unseen Do we move forward and face the day Or turn around and find a way To rest a little longer not sure Waiting for a sign Do we brave the chill and start to live Again, now that we’ve heard the word That nature will be joining soon And all will be sublime Again, I hesitate I feel the weight The eyes upon me, tempting fate And hoping that I’ll find a way To make it through mid-winter day And not see me a’ facing me A sight I do not wish to see If so all this will come to end And winter will continue

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