Thank you everyone for playing our botanical bingo in 2019. I hope you enjoy our botanical walk for celebrating National Herb Day. We celebrated all May playing bingo and through June as well with our botanical walk with all of our bingo answers. Look forward to see our winners posted in our newsletter. I hope you enjoy learning about each of these plants and that you will look forward to playing next year.
May 16: Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle is one herb that most herbalists in the western world use often. This plant can be harvested and dried to use as tea, used for uritication to relieve pain, steamed when fresh to make a lovely green like spinach, or even added to a pesto for added nutrients. This plant is very high in nutrients and is just as valuable as taking a vitamin on a daily basis.
May 17: Poke
Poke is very easy to identify it once you have seen it in person once. The stem of this plant is a bright red/purple color and it is prolific where it grows. The berries will grow on the flower combs and are a bright blue color themselves. Take care. While the berries are beautiful and have been long used to make a lovely dye, the seeds of poke berries is poisonous and because they are so small, the fruits should not be eaten. It is the root of this plant that is used medicinally.
May 18: Tulip Poplar
This tree is one I first found when I moved to Maryland. I have always loved the beautiful flowers that it produces. I first learned to identify it by its leaves because I like to think that the leaves are shaped like a cat’s face with whiskers. This tree is a very tall one and easily missed when walking through the woods unless you spot the flowers on the ground. Be sure to always look up when walking through the forest as well as searching for beautiful plants along the ground.
May 19: Artichoke
Most people are most used to seeing artichoke in a can so finding a full plant is uncommon. This lovely flower you see here is the artichoke itself that would be eaten. As a medicine, globe artichokes are used, different than in this photograph. The part of the flower that has been selectively bred to create an artichoke is the leaf bracts. This is the outer part of the flower, outside of the petals. Artichokes are in the thistle family but look quite different than their breatheren.
May 20: Mullein
Both mullein leaves and flowers are used as medicine. Generally the leaves are used to support respiratory illnesses either in tea or as part of an herbal smoking blend. The flowers are often used mixed with garlic to make an ear oil that is great for children and adults who have ear infections. Because mullein’s flowers are indeterminate, flowering from the bottom of the stalk upwards, they will continue to bloom for a long time. To make an infused oil of mullein flowers, you will need to harvest the flowers over time rather than all at once.
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.