Spring 2021 Newsletter
For those of us who love plants, springtime is always a time for great rejoicing! As our communities turn back toward normal social interaction, we're celebrating the triumph of natural life. Let the festivities begin!
Taraxacology is the word coined to describe the study of Dandelions, that large, widespread, and familiar genus of flowering plants. The most common species is Taraxacum officinalis, the edible and medicinal weed that was brought to North America by the English colonists who arrived on the Mayflower. Dandelion, a hardy perennial, is one of the most important flowers for providing nectar to pollinators in the early spring. May and June are the peak season for Dandelion flowers, but some can be found blooming throughout the year.
Dandelion greens are part of traditional cuisine for many cultures including Kashmiri, Albanian, Sephardic Jewish, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Chinese, Slovenian, and Korean. The flower petals are used to make wine, and the roots are used in root beer and herbal coffee blends.
As far back as records go, the plant has been part of traditional medicine practiced in China, Europe, and North America. Naturally, we offer both the leaves and roots of this humble and beloved herb which offers so many benefits.
A promising, recently developed use of Dandelion involves using its latex, the thick milky liquid secreted when the plant is cut or broken, for producing rubber for tires. German scientists have bred a variety of the plant that is particularly rich in latex and can be used for commercial rubber production, with qualities comparable to rubber made from rubber trees.
The Dandelion, popping through cracks in the sidewalk—and robustly persisting in lawns and gardens, in spite of determined efforts to eliminate it from manicured landscapes—is an evocative symbol of nature’s generosity and tenacity, and the inspiration for a classic Rolling Stones song from the Summer of Love.
Like the Dandelion, herbal healing just keeps on coming back, and will never be rooted out by detractors who strive to replace it with a monoculture of allopathic medicine!
One of our key values at Em’s Herbals is supporting and reaching out to other local businesses and groups.
• We are looking forward to working with our neighbors at the Growing Veterans project (shown in the image above) in Whatcom County, Washington, to plant and harvest herbs at their nearby organic farm.
• We are selling our flagship Calendula and Arnica salves at the two Community Food Co-op stores here in Bellingham.
• We’re collaborating with local naturopathic physicians to create custom label specialty products for their practices.
• We created an occasional pop-up shop at the wonderful Icing on the Cake cupcake bakery in downtown Bellingham.
• We’ve donated salves and other items to a foot care clinic for homeless people just down the road in Skagit County.
• And we plan to set up a table at the Whatcom County Home and Garden Show in Lynden, as in previous years, this coming September 24-26.
As the flowering time for St John’s Wort (shown at right) draws near, we’re planning to harvest fresh flowers to infuse into oil, another great product that we offer seasonally—perfect for topical use, especially in cases of nerve pain or skin eruptions.