Elder Berry & Flower

Elderberry with Flowers

Elder has more folklore associated with it than most any other European herb. In rural England, it was thought dangerous to cut the branches, as it was believed that the plant was inhabited by the Elder Mother. To avoid her wrath, woodcutters and herbalists would recite a rhyme prior to harvesting to appease the goddess.

The most commonly available species of elder is Sambucus nigra or European Elder. In the PNW, we have two native species, Sambucus cerulea, Blue Elderberry and S. racemosa, Red Elderberry. The Blue Elder species has be used medicinally by native peoples for influenza and arthritis for hundreds of years. The Red Elderberry is considered toxic, especially the fresh berries.

Elderberry and Elder Flower are both used similarly medicinally for Continue reading

10 Reasons to Take Herbs

1. Plants have always been the primary medicine for people. Many herbs are still used today as they were thousands of years ago. Herbs have many advantages over pharmaceuticals and posses attributes that man-made drugs never will.

2. Plants contain hundreds of compounds that work together in a complex synergistic effect destroying pathogens, promoting healing and nourishing the body. The chemistries of herbs are too highly complex to build resistance from pathogens. Drugs are a “silver bullet” or single active chemical, targeting one region and eventually leading to resistance.

3. Herbs are Inexpensive. Compared to pharmaceuticals, herbs are very inexpensive and very readily available. Many can even be grown in containers, in your garden or inside your home.

4.Herbs are generally Safe. The side effects of herbs are of no comparison to the potential harmful effects of pharmaceuticals. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the fourth leading cause of death in America is caused by adverse drug reactions. Properly used herbal medicines cause very few side effects. Exercise caution when taking herbs in combination with pharmaceuticals. Consult with a professional Herbalist or other qualified health care practitioner and your physician whenever needed.

5. Herbs are Food. Herbs can provide us with nutrients like food does, as well as vitamins and minerals. These plant based phytonutrients are absorbed and utilized in our bodies much more efficiently than commercially made vitamins.

6. Herbs can be Taken in Many Forms. You can cook and bake with fresh and dried herbs. Herbs also can be consumed as teas, extracts and in encapsulated formulas. Herbs can be applied to the skin in creams, sprays, washes, oils and in baths. There is always a way to take herbs that fit your lifestyle, time and budget!

7. Herbs are a natural renewable resource. Plants grown using organic methods and limited harsh pesticides don’t cause the severe pollution caused by the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals.

8. Herbal information is practically free. Knowledge is Power, so learn about herbs, and how you can improve and maintain your health for life. Remember to be cautious and smart about the information you read about on the internet. Do not believe all you hear and read, even if the information is from famous Doctors on TV. Anyone paid for endorsements may influence you to buy their products and may not have your best interest in mind.

9. Herbs are readily available. There are local herb stores as well as many internet sources for good quality herbs. Look for products that are local, fair trade and organic.

10.  Right Herb, Right Remedy© blog.thepondpad.com . There is an Herb for Every Remedy and a Remedy for every Herb. Have you wondered why some herbs work for some people and not for others? Herbs have an “energy” to them, they range from warm, neutral to cool. As individuals we also have an energetic tendency based on our body type. We then match up the right herb with the right remedy based on energetics. Our goal is to balance, nourish and feed the body’s systems to prevent and eliminate disease.

We are what we eat, as the old saying goes. Be aware of what you

  • Ingest (eat, consume, drink)
  • Apply (personal care products, clothes you wear)
  • Use (detergents, pesticides, plastics).

Read labels and remember just because a product says it is Natural or Organic doesn’t really mean that is truly is.

Kerri Bailey, C.H.,B .S.

The following article is for educational purposes and not intended for diagnosis.  Always consult your health practitioner when needed





Take the Sting out of Nettles

There are many species of Nettles growing in temperate regions throughout the world. The most popular used-Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)- is a perennial that grows up to 3′ tall found in moist, shaded areas. The stinging hairs found on it’s stems are activated by touch, causing the sting and ironically, the juice of the nettle plant is it’s own remedy.

Nettles have many nutritional and medicianal uses. The young leaves can be eaten as a salad green or cooked as a vegetable. They are rich in vital nutrients including vitamins A, C and D, calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Medicinally, the leaves and root are used for Continue reading



Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis name means “dew of the sea”) is an evergreen shrub or shrublet native to seaside cliffs of the Mediterranean region. This tough and versatile plant thrives in full sun tolerating poor alkaline soil & drought.

There are various forms of rosemary from stiff upright shrubs, to low growing creepers, with heights ranging from less than 1′ to up to 6′ tall. Rosemary has glossy green leaves and winter or spring blooms of various shades of blue (rarely white or pink). The edible flowers can be used in salads, as garnish; are attractive to bees, butterflies & birds.

The aromatic leaves are widely used as a seasoning for all kinds of meat dishes (especially lamb), casseroles, marinades, baked fish, rice, salads, vinegar and oil. The leaves have been used for many centuries for external and internal medicinal preparations for nervous disorders, upset stomach, baldness, headaches, pain, arthritis, and bruises. More recently, rosemary has been researched and findings show positive results for Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, indigestion, menstrual cramps, irritable bowel syndrome, yeast infections, circulatory problems, eczema and rheumatic disorders. Rosemary is a powerful antioxidant with antiseptic and antispasmodic properties. It can be taken as a tea internally or used externally as a skin wash. The essential oil is a great bath additive for sore muscles.

You can grow your own rosemary in herb gardens, containers or window boxes. Choose the hardiest variety for your area. Avoid planting rosemary in wet areas and protect from harsh winter winds (may need protection). Here are two of my favorite rosemaries, one is a low grower and the other is an upright grower.

Red Flowering’ Rosemary. This compact bush grows 24” tall by 18” wide bears attractive pink flowers with dark red hued detail. Deer resistant, drought tolerant and hardy to zone 7. Use in the landscape as a small hedge, in herb gardens or in containers.

‘Tailing Irene’ Rosemary. Creeping trailer that grows 6-12” tall spreading 30-36”. This late winter / early spring bloomer has delicate light blue flowers. Deer resistant, drought tolerant and hardy to zone 7. Use in containers, window boxes or hanging baskets. Works great as a ground cover for erosion control in rock gardens, banks and walls.

You should always consult your health care professional when needed. Pregnant women should avoid rosemary. Large or excessive use of the essential oil may cause irritations. Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe and vice versa. All Drugs and herbs have side effects and influence each other.

If you would like to know more about rosemary and growing herbs, join me for Herbal Kitchen & Tea Garden Class at Ubiquitous Journey on Tuesday March 20th at 6pm and on Saturday March 24th at 10:30am and Sunday March 25th at 11:30am at The Pond Pad at Alpine Nursery. Email for more details: herbalelements@comcast.net

References:  Blooming Nursery  www.bloomingnursery.com;  Sunset Western Garden Guide; Prescriptions for Natural Healing by Phyllis A. Bach