• Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Relaxation Special There’s no getting away from it: things are pretty stressful right now. The pandemic situation is something we’re potentially stuck with until there’s a vaccine, plus on top of that, there’s a whole lot of unrest in the world. Finding time to relax and unwind has never been more important. That’s why I decided to dedicate this issue of Notes from the Apothecary to plants and herbs that help alleviate daily stresses. Remember, herbal remedies are a form of complementary therapy and should NEVER replace existing medication or treatments. You should always take advice from a medical professional, especially if you are already taking…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Willow   Willows are a type of tree in the family Salicaceae. They’re deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves towards winter, and they love both moisture and sunlight. Striking weeping willows are often seen trailing their leaves across the surface of streams, while fluffy goat willow or pussy willow brightens up the spring with its soft catkins. While only the largest of gardens will enjoy a willow tree of their own, many people will have a green area or park they can visit to find one of the many species of willow which grow all across the northern hemisphere. Find your own favourite willow creek or…

  • Reviews & Interviews

    Book Review – The Sacred Herbs of Spring: Magical, Healing, and Edible Plants to Celebrate Beltaine by Ellen Evert Hopman

    Book Review The Sacred Herbs of Spring Magical, Healing, and Edible Plants to Celebrate Beltaine by Ellen Evert Hopman 376 Pages ….The month of May is a time of great spiritual power for those who are attuned to natural cycles. In the northern hemisphere the sap is rising in the trees and medicinally beneficial new leaves and flowers are reappearing. For Druids, Witches, and other followers of the Nature Religions, May is the time to celebrate love, fertility and the new growth of summer, and most of this book is dedicated to these magical aspects of the May Day festival…. (Introduction) Call it wishful thinking or the reality that we…

  • Reviews & Interviews

    Book Review – Herbs of the Southern Shaman by Steve Andrews

    Book Review Herbs of the Southern Shaman by Steve Andrews 152 Pages Herbs of the Southern Shaman is Steve Andrew’s follow-up to Herbs of the Northern Shaman and makes an excellent companion to it. This is a well-researched overview guide to entheogenic plants which grow in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a small book, 152 pages, that contains a wealth of information about more than 50 “teacher” plants we commonly associate with altered consciousness, like peyote and ayahuasca, and those we are more likely to find in the kitchen, like nutmeg. There is a bit of overlap with the Herbs of the Northern Shaman that Andrews references, as plants like…

  • Monthly Columns

    Book Excerpt – The Sacred Herbs of Spring Magical, Healing, and Edible Plants to Celebrate Beltaine by Ellen Evert Hopman

      Introduction The month of May is a time of great spiritual power for those who are attuned to natural cycles. In the northern hemisphere the sap is rising in the trees and medicinally beneficial new leaves and flowers are reappearing. For Druids, Witches, and other followers of the Nature Religions, May is the time to celebrate love, fertility and the new growth of summer, and most of this book is dedicated to these magical aspects of the May Day festival. The May Pole The May Pole is a well-known British tradition associated with May Day. The pole was covered all over with flowers and greens, then bound with ribbons…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Cow Parsley     Anthriscus Sylvestris or cow parsley is a member of the Apiaceae family, just like the carrot and hemlock. It has tall, hollow stems topped with a flurry of delicate white flowers. In Europe it is a common hedgerow plant, and a familiar sight to walkers and foragers. It’s one of the first flowers to appear by the roadside in spring. With many common names including the grand “Queen Anne’s Lace” and the morbid “Mother Die”, this plant is a piece of living history and an intriguing part of the British countryside.   The Kitchen Garden Encouraging cow parsley into the garden would…

  • Monthly Columns

    Notes from the Apothecary

    Notes from the Apothecary: Hyacinth   The hyacinth is a flowering plant which grows from a bulb. It has beautiful clusters of fragrant flowers and is very popular during the holiday season and spring. This easy to grow plant has a wealth of history and mythology, and could bring a touch of magic into your home as well as a blast of floral colour and fragrance.   The Kitchen Garden Hyacinths are poisonous so aren’t grown for culinary purposes. They contain oxalic acid, a compound that causes skin irritation externally. If taken internally it can cause: Damage to mucous membranes Damage to respiratory tract Wheezing Shortness of breath Laryngitis Inflammation…