Posts tagged ‘plants’

February 3, 2015

Wild Bergamot and Bee Balm Wildflowers Make Delicious Medicine

Bee-balm or Monarda which is the Latin name, is a beautiful wildflower native to North east North America. It is known for the popular beverage Natives call Oswego tea, and is also cooked in stews, and used to flavour salads. Being aromatic the essential oil makes great perfume and keeps insects and flies away.

Monarda fistulosa has beautiful tubular lavender-purple pinkish flowers.  The common name is known as Wild Bergamot, not to be confused with the citrus bergamot orange – Citrus bergamia L. used in EARL GREY tea, but it smells similar and is now sometimes combined. English Settlers that came to North America named it that, because they thought it smelled just like earl grey tea, and introduced it to England in 1744. Having a high geraniol content, it smells like geranium flowers mixed with citrus and mint.

Monarda didyma has showy red flowers that smell like citrus and mint. The leaves make a wonderful tea dried or fresh. The common name is Bee-balm because it attracts bees, along with hummingbirds and butterflies. It is also called Scarlet bee-balm because of the colour of the flowers. The M. didyma species has a higher thymol content that makes it smell more like citrus thyme.

The stems are square like some mints, with paired grey green leaves that is rough on both sides. It prefers moist, light soil. Being a mint family member it likes some shade from the hot afternoon sun.  Use all Monarda species the same way. The essential oil has a very pleasant fragrance and is used for coughs and colds. Enjoy in a tea, tincture or in a culinary masterpiece!

Common Name  Bee balm/  Wild Bergamot
Latin Name  Monarda didyma (Bee balm) Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot)
Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
Parts Used Perennial- pick herb from spring until it flowers in July-August
Target Organs circulatory, digestion, respiratory, nerves, lymphatic, skin, urinary, reproductive
Common Uses Respiratory: infections, colds, flu, nasal congestion, coughs, fever, swollen lymph

Digestion: digestive catarrh, indigestion,  constipation, gas, bloating,

Urinary: UTI,  incontinence, infection

Female reproductive: spasms, cramps, PMS, balancing

Nervous system: relaxant, stress, depression

External: wounds, inflammation,

Properties antimicrobial, antibacterial, anticatarrhal, antidepressant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic (digestive, general, respiratory, uterine,) antiviral, anxiolytic, appetite stimulant, astringent, warming carminative, cholagogue, circulatory stimulant, decongestant, diaphoretic, diuretic, digestive stimulant, stimulating emmenagogue, relaxing, secretolytic, stimulating expectorant, febrifuge,  nervine, rubefacient, relaxant, stomachic, tranquilizer, uterine relaxant, (neural, peripheral vasodilator), vulnerary
Constituents Essential Oil Yield: 0.4%-0.6%


Monoterpene  alcohols: geraniol 90% 

Phenol: thymol(found in M. didyma)50%

Cautions Mild remedy. Do not use during pregnancy or consult with a professional.
Dosage Tincture: 2-4ml                Tea: 2 tsp. infuse


June 4, 2013

Different Types Of Lilac Bushes


I love the way Lilac shrubs/bushes/trees perfume the air in springtime. Come and sit in the garden and smell the fresh scent of lilacs blooming.

This Lilac is blooming now and the smell is really strong attracting hummingbirds, bees and hummingbird moths.

This lilac bush blooms later and has smaller flowers, but it has a larger fragrance.

This lilac bush blooms later and has smaller flowers, but it has a larger fragrance.

imageOther than the purple and white solid colours, I love this striped variety of Lilac, Syringa vulgaris L.

Enjoy the fragrance while it lasts.

Enjoy the fragrance while it lasts.

July 26, 2012

Echinacea with Amazing Butterfly Pictures

Echinacea is blooming and what a beautiful butterfly magnet it is! Echinacea is the latin name that people are familiar with, but the common name for this amazing perennial wildflower is purple coneflower. ‘Echinos’ is the Greek word for sea urchin or hedgehog, which relates to the look of the center cones that resemble the spines of hedgehogs, especially when dried.

There are three types or species of Echinacea:

  1. ‘purpurea’ is the purple variety
  2. ‘angustifolia’ is the narrow leaf variety
  3. ‘pallida’ means pale, named for the paler varieties. This variety is used less  medicinally.

Do not misuse Echinacea as a long-term immune enhancer, it is not like adaptogens such as ginseng. Echinacea is a cool detoxicant that reduces infection and heat. Use it for short-term infections and acute conditions only.

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***Echinacea should only be used as short-term immune stimulant. Do not use long-term and avoid overuse. Do not pick it in the wild, it is extinct and endangered. Cultivate it yourself or buy the root dried. Echinacea is also a good ingredient in gargles, washes, compresses, syrups, and used externally to treat injuries, burns, and skin disorders.

Learn how to make your own tincture here:

Common Name  Echinacea/ Purple coneflower root
Latin Name  Echinacea spp. angustifolia/ purpurea/pallida
Family Asteraceae
Parts Used perennial flowers rarely used/ root harvested in late summer /fall after blooming
Target Organs Blood, lymphatic, skin, stomach, urogenital, immune,
Common Uses bacterial viral infections, first sign cold, flu, chills, swollen glands lymph congestion, runny stuffy nose, cough, laryngitis, food allergies, UTI, skin infections, fever, inflammation, discharge,  wounds, ulcers, burns,
Properties Cool, dry, calming, stimulating, restoring, dissolving, anti-microbial, antibacterial, antiallergenic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-toxic, astringent, alterative, anti-catarrhal, antiviral, antineoplastic, febrifuge, depurative, detoxicant, diuretic, lymphatic, decongestant, stimulating/regulating, immune stimulant, vulnerary
Constituents Essential oil, humulene, sesquiterpenes, glycoside echinoside, polysaccharides-echinacin, inulin, isobutylamides, polyines, polyenes, echinolone, betaine, tannins, resins, oleic/cerotic/ linolic/ palmatic acids, 13 polyacetylenes, enzymes, fatty acids, phytosterols, trace minerals, vitamin C
Cautions Mild remedy but may cause dizziness, nausea, numb tongue, gastric upset, cankers, throat irritation due to its stimulating nature.
Dosage Most effective: Tincture: 2-4ml                 Decoction: 6-10 g

Acute conditions like infection or onset of a cold

Take up to 2 tablespoons of decoction or 1 tsp. of tincture every two hours at acute protocols

December 1, 2011

DIY Terrariums~ Miniature Plant Worlds


Terrariums are low maintenance, miniature, magical plant worlds. They are a great solution for people who want to grow plants but don’t have a lot of light, space or time. It is important to group plants together that have the same watering requirements. A really low maintenance planter consists of cactus or succulents which don’t need a lot of water.

Flowering succulent Terrarium fishbowl

Top view Terrarium

Terrarium with Unicorn close-up

Items You Will Need:

1. A clear glass/plastic container, such as a fish bowl, a vase or whatever you can find, but it needs to be colourless. It can have a lid or it can be left open like the one I made for larger plants that stick out over the top. Use a lid to put on top of the terrarium to keep in moisture when you go away for long periods of time. The planter is self watering through the process of condensation.

2. Rocks, for the bottom of the bowl. You can use river rocks, pebbles, polished decorative stones, coloured gravel or even make sand pictures with coloured sand.

3. Charcoal or sphagnum moss, to help absorb bad smells and prevent rot.

4. Soil. Use specific soil for different plant types. For instance use African violet soil for African violets, and use cactus soil for cactus and succulents. The soil should be sandy for good drainage.

5. Small plants that fit inside the vessel without touching the sides. When plants touch the sides during condensation it can lead to rot.

6. Add fun elements, like a wooden toothpick bridge, pebble path or miniature animals. Do not put in things that are going to rust. Create whatever themes or ideas you want and let your imagination run wild.

The pebble path at the back that leads to…

Jade Buddha with chunk of rose quartz

Assembling a Terrarium

Fill the container with rocks or pebbles.

Then layer the charcoal or moss and then put the soil on top.

I use chopsticks and a long-handled spoon to help to put the plants inside the glass container.

After planting make sure that the plants don’t touch the sides of the container to avoid rot.

Water each plant by measuring a shot glass of water for each plant.

Add fun elements or go au natural.


When you travel or are away for long periods place a lid or plate over the top of planter so that the process of condensation will keep watering the plants.

Do not over water or you will cause rot and mould to form, especially when you leave the top on.

Do not place in direct full sun, especially with the lid on.

Mist the plants occasionally to help them to get established. Water the plants about once a month or according to plant type. You can see for yourself through the clear glass if there is water in the bottom of the container. Do not over water!

Glass Terrarium

The beauty of terrariums is that they need little maintenance in the long haul and can be left for long periods of time because they are self-sustaining. I enjoy succulent terrariums which are more kid-friendly than the prickly cactus terrariums.  My favourite combo is baby hen and chick succulents, which look great with stones, and a Jade plant in the centre. I separated the baby jades from my larger Jade plant. I like to add crystals and gemstones.

Jade with baby hen and chicks

Jade and assorted succulents Top View

Jade and assorted succulents with hen and chicks

 Enjoy creating your own green magical worlds!

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