May 26: Wood Sorrell
Clue: I may look like clover but I am not even related. Take a bite and you may enjoy the sour flavor of my leaves which contain oxalic acid. I have a yellow flower and you will often find me growing on the side of the road as I try to bring nutrients back to damaged soil.
I have let this little weed stick around in my planter boxes this year so I can add it to my salads. Its sour taste is nice additional flavor and it goes very well in mixed green salads or as a little flavor in other mixed green dishes such as a green quiche.
May 27: Mugwort
Clue: I may be a bit bitter but my taste will be great for your stomach. I am great to help stimulate bile release and I encourage better breakdown of the fats you eat. If you know The Dancing Herbalist well, I am also the namesake of our patron cat.
Our adorable furball is named Artemisia, the genus of the plant mugwort, as well as the genus for wormwood. The bitter herb mugwort, while maybe not a delicious tea, is great to add a bit of to meat marinades to help with the digestion. It is a classic bitter herb and can be used to stimulate bile production for better fat digestion. It strives at being an herb to go to when you have just had a very fatty meal so you don’t have the same heavy feeling after eating.
May 28: Valerian
Clue: So many of my cousins are poisonous that you might be scared of me. I will help you to sleep if you need the support. I will just knock you right out.
Valerian is very commonly used for medicine even though it smells quite bad to most people. It is considered both a safe and effective herb to use for sleep and anxiety. It’s root is usually made into a tincture for usage right before bed. I always say start at low doses for sleep herbs and work yourself up so that you do not have any adverse effects that may be due to excessive drowsiness. Valerian is also used for muscle spasms and pain, coughs, and sometimes it is even used as a carminative herb to lower gas in the digestive system.
May 29: Ginkgo
Clue: I am a tree, even if I am small here. You may not want to have some of me around because my pollen smells really bad. But even still you may want to use me for memory support-if you can remember who I am? OH and I look so pretty in the fall. All of my leaves turn yellow and then fall off at the same time. It is fun to watch.
Ginkgo was one of the first herbs I fell in love with due to it’s botanical features. While most trees with leaves are angiosperms (they make flowers) ginkgo trees are more closely related to conifers, a more ancient evolution in the tree world. Ginkgo is often used for memory support but we also use it in our nerve cream to support healing to damaged nerve tissue.
May 30: Comfrey
Clue: Everyone loves me for healing cuts, wounds, and bruises but be careful to take me internally because I may be toxic to your liver. I have been used internally for hundreds of years but some countries have even banned me. You may prefer to use my leaf instead of my root which may be safer.
This lovely root was fun to harvest last fall. When harvesting roots, keep in mind that you will be killing the plant. Comfrey is one herb that is generally alright with this because it does spread so easily it is not a plant at risk of dying off. I generally only harvest comfrey root when I am removing entire plants from an area. This exact root was used to make one of the four comfrey extracts that is found in our super power comfrey cream. If you are looking for some of the amazing healing action of comfrey, even restarting the healing process of some scars, look no further.
Jillian Carnrick, founder and manager of The Dancing Herbalist, has a Masters of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine, practices as a nutritionist, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Exercise Is Medicine Professional through the American College of Sports Medicine. The Dancing Herbalist posts on this blog every Thursday. For more of our posts, join us on Patreon. Jillian also presents regular live classes in The Dancing Herbalist’s home herbalist courses online. For more learning opportunities or work one-on-one with Jillian with her wellness and herbal consultations visit The Dancing Herbalist.com.