Thursday, October 29, 2015

Trees for Health Tree Planting in Balboa Park

We're very excited that the plans Herb Guild member Charlotte Tenney drew up are becoming real! Six new oak trees and four Torrey pine trees will be planted in the area bordering the northeast of the current garden. Four of the oaks will form the oak circle Charlotte envisioned three years ago. The remaining oaks and the pines will be placed on the hillside to enhance the native habitat. The trees being planted in Trees for Health are part of a larger effort by the Balboa Park Conservancy to plant 40 new trees in the park. This is a significant event with the mayor and other officials in attendance.

Come help us plant! If you're not currently a volunteer but would like to come for the event, please do! RSVP here. Learn more about the Trees for Health Garden in Balboa Park on our blog here.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

We Will Miss You, Charlotte

Charlotte Tenney

We are saddened to report the passing of longtime San Diego Herb Guild member Charlotte Tenney. Charlotte was a member of the San Diego Herb Club (now Guild) for more than 20 years. During that time she was instrumental in founding the Trees for Health Arboretum, along with Herb Club members Barbara Carey and Fern Wilson. Trees for Health began in 1995 and has evolved into an arboretum with more than 70 trees, shrubs, and ground covers, all with medicinal uses. Charlotte's vision for the garden has kept growing over the years, and includes educational outreach with videos posted on You Tube, a new Five Flavors of Health Tour, and a class for students of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University. In March 2015, Charlotte was our featured speaker and spoke on "Herbs for Supporting Cancer Recovery" at the San Diego Herb Guild's first Herbal Marketplace and Program. The talk drew one of the largest crowds the Guild has hosted. Charlotte's depth of knowledge and great delivery captivated the 70+ people in attendance.

In addition to her work at Trees for Health, Charlotte has volunteered at Shakti Rising and had a regular column on herbal medicine in the Presidio Sentinel. She pursued a Masters in Integrative Health and made connections with practitioners at Scripps Integrative Health. She led the annual tour of medicinal plants for the Scripps Natural Supplement Conference at the San Diego Botanic Gardens. Charlotte has made a notable contribution to herbal medicine in San Diego.

Charlotte not only believed in the power of integrative and alternative health care, but embraced it on her own journey of healing. She sought out and found a treatment with someone - Dr. Ben Johnson - who believed in her ability to heal. Charlotte knew that integrative medical treatment, nutrition, supplements and exercise work with the body to enable it to heal itself.
The Scripps Natural Supplements Conference

Charlotte leaves beyond a wonderful legacy for us to enjoy now as well as for future generations to enjoy and find healing from. Rest in peace Charlotte, you were loved by so very many. We will miss you.
Strewing herbs for a presentation at San Diego Herb Guild

Dedicating the Ylang Ylang tree to Fern Wilson

Charlotte at a San Diego Herb Guild meeting

Charlotte and visitors to the Trees for Health Garden

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Come Join Our Community at San Diego Herb Guild's Annual Potluck

Come join San Diego Herb Guild at our Annual Potluck in the Trees for Health Garden in Balboa Park on Wednesday, July 1 at 5:30 PM. Please bring your own utensils and drink, chair and a dish to share. All are welcome! Click here for an online map.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Using the Herbs in Your Garden by Judy Dunning

Drying Herbs

Now that you have had a few months growing time it’s time to think about drying some of your herbs.  If you prefer working with dried plants, there are many ways to dry the herbs you’ve picked. You’ll see fairly consistent results if you lay your herbs flat on a framed screen in a warm, dry place, ensuring that air will circulate to all sides of the plant. So if you have a room with a ceiling fan or good cross-ventilation that would be the place.  Avoid drying herbs in direct sun, as this will affect the color and flavor of the plant and your finished product.  Some people swear by using a food dehydrator on a very low setting (while this is certainly the quickest method, it’s not exactly the most natural or energy efficient). 

If you want to use a dehydrator it is best to have one designed for herbs as they are usually bigger.   Others rely on nothing fancier than some twine and a well-placed nail from which to hang the bundled herb – a technique closest to the historical method of hanging bundles from the rafters. This may be the historical way to do it but keep in mind they didn’t have paper bags in those days.  I think you will have spiders and dust for your efforts.  My favorite method is if the herb has a high moisture content such as basil, mints, calendula, and lemon balm then the method of laying them on screens is very good but if they are heartier plants, such as rosemary, thyme and sage, they will dry just fine by putting them in paper bags.  With the paper bag method you need to shake up the bags once in a while so that everything dries evenly. The drying time depends on the moisture content of the plant and can take anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks. Also remember to write on the bag what’s in it.  You may think you will recognize the contents by smell but sometimes drying changes the smell. 

Trading Herbs

If you have no garden to call your own, try approaching a neighbor about arranging a barter. Gardeners often have more plants than they know what to do with. In exchange for providing you with their surplus herbs, you might offer to give them half of whatever you make. If they don’t have a particular herb you want to concoct something out of, you could propose a similar deal for the next season: they provide the garden space and the watering, you buy and plant the seeds, and you both divvy up the results. Now let's make something! 

Spring Tonic (Stinging Nettle Infusion)

1 ounce dried stinging nettle leaves
1 quart water (boiled)
1 quart size glass jar

Place dried nettle into a glass container that will withstand boiling water. Pour boiling water over the nettle leaves and infuse, covered for 4-10 hours or overnight. Strain into a quart sized jar and store in the refrigerator. The infusion will only keep for a couple of days. An infusion of nettle is more concentrated than a tea. You can drink 2 – 3 cups of the infusion each day for a week. After that, drink as you please. The infusion is dark green with an earthy, grassy taste. Drink it over ice for optimum flavor. If you prefer, use local honey to sweeten it. Some folks add salt or a bit of lemon to their drink which gives it a different flavor. You can also re-heat your infusion and drink it warm.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Recap of Spring Marketplace and "Herbs for Supporting Cancer Recovery"

What a great evening! We had about 70 people, a variety of herbalists with information, herbal formulas, and more, and and a great presentation by Charlotte Tenney, Thank you to everyone that came out, we hope you all met new folks, learned a little something, and took home new ideas and excitement for what's going on locally. We'll be doing it again June 3rd so mark your calenders now.

Our May meeting on Wednesday, May 6, will be a continuation of our "Herbal Basics 101" class. Check back here, sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Facebook for details.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

2015 Nettles Festival Saturday, February 21, 8 AM - Noon

Trees for Health volunteers, members of the San Diego Herb Guild, professional herbalists and student herbalists are all invited to come harvest nettles in the Trees for Health Garden on Saturday, February 21st. The Trees for Health Garden is located on Balboa Drive just south of the Camp Fire Boys and Girls Camp and just north of Quince Drive. Follow this link for a map.

Once you have harvested what you need, please be prepared to stay and help clear the garden of nettles for at least one hour. The park allows us to grow the nettles as long as we remove them in a timely fashion. You may start later than 8 AM, but may miss the best nettles.

Please check in with Joanne Odenthal when you arrive. Joanne will be wearing a straw hat, green shirt and yellow volunteer vest - and a name tag. Everyone there to harvest MUST have a name tag prior to starting. (We need a record of who has joined the fun!)

Bring water, a hat, your own gloves and a bag for your harvest. 

Questions? Contact Joanne Odenthal via email.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cinnamon Species and their Pharmacological Activities

The genus cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.) comprises about 250 species worldwide. The bark of many species is used as a cooking spice, in perfumes and fragrances, as a food preservative, and in traditional and modern medicines. True cinnamon (C. verum syn. C. zeylanicum) and cassia cinnamon (C. aromaticum syn. C. cassia) are most used as a spice. From studies published from 1982 to 2013, some results include the following:

Antioxidant effects
Anti-inflammatory actions
Antidiabetic effects
Anticancer activity
Cholesterol- and lipid-lowering effects
Inhibiting formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs)
...and more.

Read the full article here.