Plant Profiles

This is my Materia Medica, started during my herbal studies, which lists the medicinal properties of plants and how to use them. Although interesting and useful, that part is rather scientific and, might I add, dry. So I’ve included botanical information, energetics/correspondences, and my experiences with the plants, to give you an even deeper understanding and admiration of these plant allies.

Plants are listed in the order I’ve added them, the most recent first. Click a tag to filter plants by their use, or use the search box above to search for something specific.

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Fennel

Botanical Name: Foeniculum vulgare | Family: Umbelliferae Common name(s): Fennel GROWING Perennial; herbaceous | Zones 6-9 | 4-5 feet tall  | Yellow umbels bloom from July until frost and produce seed after blooming Full sun | Any soils, prefers well-drained HARVESTING Harvest the seeds in autumn. PREPARATION / DOSAGE Infusion: Pour 1…

Cascara sagrada

Botanical Name: Rhamnus purshiana | Family: Rhamnaceae Common name(s): Cascara Sagrada, Sacred Bark, California Buckthorn GROWING Evergreen Tree | Zones 4a-9b | 32 feet tall  | Flowers May – June, black fruit in October, 3-lobed seeds. Young bark is purple brown changing to brown with age. Sun to semi-shade (woodlands) | All…

Gentian

Botanical Name: Gentiana lutea | Family: Gentianaceae Common name(s): Gentian, Yellow Gentian GROWING Perennial | Zones 3-9 | 3-4+ feet tall  | Yellow flowers grow in whorls in the uppermost leaves, bloom in summer/autumn. Full sun/partial shade, protected from wind | Loamy, moist soil HARVESTING Harvest root in the fall and…

Turkey Rhubarb

Botanical Name: Rheum palmatum | Family: Polygonaceae Common name(s): Turkey Rhubarb, Chinese Rhubarb GROWING Perennial | Zones 6-9 | 9 feet tall  | Palmate, roughish leaves. Greenish-white flowers in June/July. Larger than garden rhubarb. Full sun to partial shade | Prefers well-drained, moist soil but will grow in clay soils HARVESTING…

Pumpkin

Botanical Name: Curcurbit pepo | Family: Cucurbitaceae Common name(s): Pumpkin GROWING Annual vegetable | Zones 3-9 |  | Sprawling vines, orange fruit Full sun | Very rich, nutrient soil HARVESTING Parts used: Seeds and pulp Harvest in autumn, when the pumpkin is ripe (turns orange). Use fresh seeds (discard after 30 days).…

Saw Palmetto

Botanical Name: Serenoa repens (syn. Seronoa serrulata) | Family: Palmaceae Common name(s): Saw Palmetto, Sabal, Seronoa GROWING Palm tree/bush | Zones 8-11 | 7 feet tall/wide | Stems grow along the ground and upright. Green (and sometimes blue) leaves are the shape of a fan blade with sharp, saw-like edges. Fragrant white flowers in the…

Sarsaparilla

I am not posting a photo of this plant because I can’t find one for officinalis and there are tons of Sarsaparilla varieties. Please see my notes at the bottom of this post for a picture of wild sarsaparilla, which is a different botanical plant (but used medicinally, as well).…

Damiana

Botanical Name: Turnera aphrodisiaca, T. diffusa | Family: Turneraceae Common name(s): Damiana, Mexican Holly GROWING Shrub | Zone 9-11 | 3-6 feet tall | Serrated green leaves, yellow flowers, sweet-smelling fruit 4-6 hours of direct sun/day | Sandy, fast-draining soil HARVESTING Harvest leaves and stems while the plant is in flower. PREPARATION / DOSAGE Infusion: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over…

Blessed Thistle

Botanical Name: Cnicua benedictus | Family: Compositae Common name(s): Blessed thistle, Holy thistle GROWING Annual; herbaceous | Zone 5-9 | 10-30 inches tall | Hairy leaves and stems. Stems are 5-sided. Yellow flowers with spider-web like hairs in them, April – September Full sun | Dry, stony, waste soil HARVESTING Harvest aerial parts while in flower and…