I hope you are all enjoying our Botanical Bingo for National Herb Day. We celebrate this all month long by posting about different herbs on our social media platforms. If you have not yet had a chance to play there is still time to catch up. Find more details on how to play and what prizes you can win here. Now let’s look at some of the herbs in our bingo game.
May 11: Strawberry
We all enjoy lovely strawberries when spring comes around but did you know it is in the rose family just like your apples and peaches. You can identify plants in the rose family quickly by their three leaflet leaves and their five petals on the flower. A modern rose you buy at a flower shop looks quite different due to selective breeding of multiflora roses. One of my favorite things to do with strawberries is to add them to a fruit compote or in my morning smoothie.
May 12: Sheep Sorrell
Just like its relatives, wood sorrell, this plant has a nice sour bite to it. You can identify it by it’s little ears near the base of the leaf blade. This is what gives it it’s characteristic sheep look. This plant is easy to find and harvest in the spring as a lovely spring green in a salad. Be sure to wash any plants you are harvesting from the side of the road as they may have been sprayed with pesticides and herbicides in addition to being exposed to fumes from cars.
May 13: Redbud
Redbuds are a tree that is in the pea family. Because of this even the lovely purple flowers are edible. They are delicious added to a salad, as a garnish, or as a snack when you come across them during an early spring walk. In Maryland, redbuds will generally begin to bloom right before cherry blossoms and will continue through the cherry blossom season and for a few weeks after. They are always a lovely sight mixed with the whites and pinks of the cherry flowers.
May 14: Ephedra
This plant is no longer used as medicine due to its alkaloid content. It traditionally was used as a tea by Native American peoples. The modern pharmaceutical ephedrine is no longer on the market due to the dangerous effects of the alkaloids. It can raise blood pressure and heart rate, restrict blood vessels, and open airways. These effects are considered beneficial for athletes using this but can cause serious damage to the body. Use of the pharmaceutical can lead to heart attack, seizures, stroke, and death.
May 15: Wormwood
This herb has a gained a bad reputation because of one of it’s most popular preparations. Wormwood is one of the herbs used in making absinthe, a distilled liquor. This liquor was banned for a long time due to the thought that it was hallucinogenic. Wormwood is a close relative to mugwort and both of these herbs are often thought of as dream inducing herbs which may have led to the expectation of it’s hallucinogenic actions. Absinthe is a very unique herbal preparation and I recommend you learn more about it.
Be sure to continue on this year’s botanical walk and play bingo with us before time runs out. Get your completed bingo cards e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 10th to be entered to win.
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 to work one-on-one with Jillian with her wellness and herbal consultationsvisit The Dancing Herbalist.com.