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Heartsong Farm Healing Herbs: Village Herbalist Nancy Phillips and Apple Grower Michael Phillips
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All Things Herbal

This eclectic page of herbal insight will continue to evolve. Kind of like our favorite public radio program, with both relevant research and favorite teachings about plants and healing. Check back often to find out more about the herbs we grow and gather, as well as empowering articles about natural healing and nourishing foods.

All Things Herbal Articles

Living in these Viral Times

Viruses! They are the cause of many imbalances: colds, influenza, herpes, shingles, warts, cold sores . . . heck, even our computers get viruses. Many an herbalist understands the basics of promoting general health and immunity. We're zeroing in specifically on practices that can help prevent viral diseases or shorten their duration in these days of fear about a coming pandemic.

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Lemon Balm soothes our souls and is a clinically-proven antiviral herb.
Lemon Balm soothes our souls and is a clinically-proven antiviral herb.
Calendula Flower -- Healing Preparations: click for herbal remedies from Heartsong Farm Healing Herbs (photo: Michael Phillips)
check out our herbal remedies in Nancy's Apothecary

An array of readily-available herbs are known for their anti-viral activity, such as lemon balm, elderberry, and spilanthes. Plants have long been exposed to viral invasions. Accordingly, successful species evolved by producing antiviral and immune stimulant properties and compounds. Many of the chemicals used by a plant to protect itself from viral infections also have antiviral activity in other species. Lucky for us! Using antiviral herbs in combination with good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle can help us prevent and reduce the severity of viral attacks.

Antiviral herbs primarily work in two ways:

  • They stimulate the immune system to produce more immune cells and immune chemicals.
  • They disrupt the replication cycle so the virus cannot survive.

We are putting out the call to all herbal folk to direct our attention to good research, solid folklore, and especially profound scientific understanding of how each antiviral herb works specifically against viruses. Our intention is to share this information in workshops and a self-published handbook to be written next winter. Please contact Nancy or contact Michael with anything you think we should know about as we proceed to continue living in these viral times.

Herbal Medicine for Guys

Michael has been having fun presenting on healing plants that the "everyday guy" can use. Plenty of humor comes with this turf! Equal Time Radio recently interviewed our guy about town for a taste of what can be done for and by guys seeking to improve their health. Check out this short but manly interview to hear more about three especially useful herbs for guys.

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Michael and Gracie going to pick healing herbs for Heartsong Farm Earth Medicine Shares -- photo: Geoff Forester.
Michael and Gracie going to pick healing herbs for Earth Medicine Shares.

All Things Herbal Books

All Herbal Things

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Have you watched for fairies lately in your gardens? Real magic happens when you open your spirit to All Things Herbal. (photo: Robert Chartier)
Have you watched for fairies lately in your gardens? Real magic happens when you open your spirit to All Things Herbal. (photo: Robert Chartier)

Plants Greener Than Green

Michael traveled down under for a year in the early eighties. One day he took a municipal bus out of Christchurch, New Zealand, to the end of the line, heading to Arthur's Pass towards the glorious southern Alps. The Maori driver, a man nearing retirement age, turned to him -- no one else was left on the bus at this point -- and said, "I had this dream. A Greek-looking temple faced me. The broad steps led up to a pair of doors upon which were written the words Love and Respect. Like a complete code for living our lives, don't you think? I opened the door and saw not the inside of a building but a fabulous garden landscape. I saw people, all happy people, wearing white togas. One figure stood out from the rest. All the others basked in this presence of love. Then I noticed that everyone, when they ate, partook of a leafy plant, a plant greener than green. That seemed to nourish the people completely."

Then the bus driver focused his eyes deep into Michael's: "Perhaps that's why you are here, to find this plant that is greener than green."

Heady stuff for a youth headed for the hills to be sure. Discovering a plant greener than green that offers such spiritual and physical nourishment seems more a community task. Twenty years later Michael's coming to an understanding how this man's dream meshes with his own quixotic path. The underlying spirit of the plant world awaits us on a much deeper level than we've ever expected. We're intuiting a right direction as we open our hearts to the full circle of Creation. Our work with the healing plants themselves is what's greener than green.

The Herbalist's Way: The Art and Practice of Healing with Plant Medicines by Nancy and Michael Phillips -- click for book summary The Herbalist's Way: The Art and Practice of Healing with Plant Medicines

Apple Bark and Hyperacidity/Heartburn

When an apple grower gets hold of an apple remedy for a particular affliction of his own - and one commonly shared in middle age then look out! It turns out that the bark of the apple tree possesses astringent properties that make it useful for treating hyperacidity and heartburn. This information comes from Appalachian herbalist Tommie Bass, who used a tea or syrup from the bark to settle the stomach. We in turn learned more from Jim McDonald in Michigan: "Apple bark is an ideal remedy in treating this malady, as it not only acts as an antacid, but its astringency also restores strength and tone to the sphincter that separates the harsh stomach acids from the esophagus, thereby acting in a curative, as well as palliative, manner."

Jenn brings in a basket of skullcap from the lower field while apprenticing at Heartsong Farm. (photo by Michael Phillips)
Jenn brings in a basket of skullcap from the lower field while apprenticing at Heartsong Farm.

For excerpts (with beautiful illustrations by Robin Wimbiscus) from our latest book, visit our online edition of The Herbalist's Way (click for book contents).


Join our Herbal Healing Network

Stay informed about issues important to herbalists and the happenings here at Heartsong Farm Healing Herbs by signing up to be a part of this emailing list. We'll write only on occasion, as you can imagine how busy life on an herb farm gets to be throughout the growing season.

Names will not be exchanged with other lists, and unsubscribing is as easy as simply asking.

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