The Botanicals Times

Greetings from the Heart of the Applegate Valley!

Well, this year is shaping up to be a bit shaky in the economy. We haven’t seen this kind of downturn in a long time and it has a lot of us concerned. In these kinds of times I think people are adversely affected by the high prices of conventional medicine as well as medical care, especially if they have recently lost health benefits from a job, or do not have insurance at all. At these times herbal medicine becomes an even more viable healing modality than normal. It is more of a do-it-yourself-kind of process and there is so much good information out there that is readily available to consumers in the form of books, CD’s and online destinations.

Another dynamic quality of this kind of a severe recession is that the cost of food becomes a focal point. Finding sources for local food supplies can insure us against the volatile markets of highly processed and manufactured foods that are tied into the corporate grid.

This is a great time to grow a little home garden. I have a friend who is turning his little flower patches in his backyard landscape plot into veggie patches this year. He is going to grow some eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and a few of the culinary herbs that he so enjoys. It is also a good time to look into CSA’s or Community Supported Agriculture, and your local farmer’s markets. Not only does it allow you to see the real cost of food, get incredible quality, but it keeps the money, and the jobs in the community.

For us at the farm we are always looking for ways to cut down our dependence on outside inputs that are so market sensitive. Not only to save on costs but to control the quality in every way possible. In place of phosphates we are increasing the use of compost that is made from our organic recyclables as well as manure from a local organic dairy. We also use crop rotation as a way to put nutrients back into the soil.

So much about organic farming is about being a sustainable operation. When we put in the solar panels above the mill it was a big investment. But with the tax credits and the fact that on good days we make more electricity than we use and sell the rest back to the grid, it has benefited us in the long run.

All of us in America are so fortunate to have plentiful food, a safe country, and unsurpassed freedom. But we are headed for a dip in the road as a result of some of the worst of our traits. Each of us can accept responsibility to be part of the solution; getting back to basics, accepting the possibility of making some personal sacrifices, conserving resources, supporting local economies, doing with a little less consumption, and cutting back on waste. We will get through this and hopefully we will be better for it.

I hope you and your families are well. Keep the faith. Support your local farms this summer. Best to you from our home to yours, Mark.

~ Mark Wheeler, Founder, Pacific Botanicals

Toni's Team Spirit

There was a day recently when we had cabin fever and were about to break into a cold sweat—feeling just a bit irritable with one another. Taking our valerian and lemon balm wasn’t helping and so I decided what we really needed was a dose of what’s right and what’s sweet and what’s true about us.

There’s a story about a tribe in Africa that when a child is born, the tribe sings a song unique to that child welcoming him or her into the world.

This song is sung to the child during important times in his or her life but most especially when the child’s behavior is out of integrity with who they really are. . . their friends would remind them about what’s good and right with them. . .

We’ve all heard (or maybe even said) “We really dislike in others what we dislike about ourselves! Well, what if the opposite was also true? “We really love in others what we love about ourselves!” You wouldn’t recognize these traits if they didn’t live inside of you! I shared an exercise with our team so that they could see who they really are in their hearts. From there we created bookmarks to keep at our computers to look at every day. For me and the team the results were magical—people discovered that they are courageous, loving, kind, gentle, spiritual, creative, generous and strong. So, when they’re having a bad day, they remind each other about their standards of integrity that live within them. When we are out of integrity—we feel bad. When we are living in integrity—we feel terrific!! It’s that simple. . .

If you’d like to do this exercise with your team, co-workers, or even with your children, spouse, or partner, you can find it in the book written by Dr. Maria Nemeth, “Mastering Life’s Energies: Simple Steps to a Luminous Life at Work and Play” (Page 83). I was blessed to have Maria as my coach and mentor when I became a certified coach. The Academy for Coaching Excellence also offers a wonderful course called “Mastering Life’s Energies” that anyone can take. Check it out at

~With Gratitude for Everything, Toni

Featured Products

Check out our New Tincture Calculator
The Tincture Calculator is a menstruum calculator that will tell you how much alcohol, water, apple cider vinegar or glycerin you will need to mix with your herbs to make a tincture! It also provides a full analysis of the final yield based on percentages and volumes. These calculations are vital for getting the best possible extraction of the medicinal components in herbs. No more messy formulas to figure and redo to know the proper amounts. Just pick your herb and the amount you have and then click on the Calculate Menstruum button. That’s it! $18.99 ea.
Click here to view product.

Black Caraway Seed: Rediscovering a Potent Old Friend
Nigella sativa, also known as Black cumin, is an aromatic herb seed with a peppery bite. They are enjoyed as a spice in Egyptian, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisines. No relation to true caraway, these tiny dark seeds are often used in spice blends, breads, and vegetable dishes. Black caraway seed comes from an herbaceous annual, the buttercup (Rununculaceae) family. The peppery seed not only adds pleasing spice to dishes but it is also widely used in Ayurvedic medicine.

Black caraway's increasing popularity is due in part to research into its healthful properties. Studies have indicated that the spice may strengthen and stimulate the immune system and act as an anti-histamine, anti-tumor, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. Recent studies point to its ability to prevent some toxic side effects of cancer treatments and even slow cancer growth. Along with other riches now shown in museums throughout the world, King Tutankhamen's tomb contained black caraway oil, of paramount importance to the ancient Egyptians. Both Hippocrates and the Greek physician Dioskorides recommended black caraway extensively as a remedy, and it was also reputedly used by Cleopatra. It can be found in the Old Testament, where it's called "black seed." And the Prophet Muhammad underlined its therapeutic qualities, stating, "Hold on to use of the black seed, for it has a remedy for every illness except death."
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Hot Herbs for Summer

Astragalus mongholicus membraneous
Known in China as a ‘Qi’ tonic, Astragalus is one of the most beneficial immune tonics and cancer-fighting herbs. It increases the body’s resistance to disease, strengthens the digestion, and improves the vitality of the immune system. Astragalus increases the ‘bone marrow reserve’, enabling the body to produce more immune effector cells (such as t-cells), aiding the immune system in its fight against pathogens. Astragalus has a taste of SWEET and a temperature of WARM. Click here to search the online store.

Sage: Salvia officinallis
Sage is used as a wash for mouth sores, gum problems, sore throats, and tonsillitis. As a tea, sage is drunk to reduce perspiration and to dry up mother’s milk. Sage makes a good addition to cold and flu formulas. The powdered herb and its extracts are added to natural commercial anti-perspirant formulas. Sage oil contains the chemical substances alpha-and bet-thujone, camphor, and cineole as well as romarinic acid, tannins, and flavinoids. Sage has a taste of SPICY, ASTRINGENT and a temperature of WARM. Click here to search the online store.

Baikal Skullcap: Scutellaria baicalensis
Native to the mountains of southwest China Baikal Skullcap has been used to treat excess inflammation and support cardiovascular heath. It contains baicalin, bacalein, and wogonin, anti-aging and inflammation modulating molecules. Considered one of the fifty fundamental herbs in Chinese herbalism. The root contains flavonoids that greatly enhance liver function and also have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic effects. It has a taste of BITTER, SWEET and a temperature of COOL. Click here to search the online store.

American Ginseng: Panax quinquefolius
American ginseng (), is an excellent energy and adrenal tonic for all ages that is a cooling ginseng used for people with long-standing conditions with such symptoms as chronic lower back pain, ringing in the ears, night sweats, fatigue, and chronic infections of any kind. Ginseng has a taste of SWEET, BITTER and a temperature of WARM.Click here to search the online store.

Lemon Balm: Melissa officinalis
Lemon Balm is a relaxing herb with a great lemon smell. It is a good one for herbal pillows.

It works mainly as a gentle sedative and digestive aid. It is beneficial for fevers, flatulence, painful menstruation, and to relieve tension. It calms the nervous system and relieves tension and insomnia. Lemon balm has a particularly beneficial effect on nervous stomach with symptoms such as heartburn and knots in the stomach. As a powerful antiviral, a tea concentrate, not the essential oil, is used internally and externally to treat cold sores, genital herpes, and oral herpes sores. Its appealing flavor makes it useful for acute children's ailments. Commercial creams are made of a watery extract of the plant to treat herpes lesions, as well as for colds and flu. The essential oil of lemon balm is effective for melancholy and depression. Lemon Balm has a taste of SPICY and a temperature of COOL. Click here to search the online store.

Herbs for Attracting Bees to the Garden
These include aromatic herbs such as lavender, rosemary, thyme, sage, bee balm (bergamot), hyssop, anise-hyssop, basil and marjoram; wild herbs such as Motherwort, and catnip; bitter herbs such as southernwood, wormwood and rue; nectar rich herbs such as clover and alfalfa; all the mints; the Borage family; and the rose family. Try planting patches all over the veggie garden, making good use of the plants that have self-seeded from the previous year.
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The Arrival
by D.E.

The sky opened up today and the blue poured out spreading and seeping into the distant view. Trees sprang up and bushes and plants arose spontaneously with the new day. Bugs and snakes and gophers and birds all came out to see what the big deal was. But that wasn’t all the foxes and the coyotes and the crows and a merlin who sits on the wire above the calendula, and the returning vultures ugly as sin...they all came too.

People started to sprout up. A woman from Mexico in the greenhouse, men from New Hampshire and Minnesota driving tractors, a teenager with big hair and couple on their vacation from Las Vegas chat by the pond. They begin to call out the names of the animals and plants one by one. As they do everything begins to move.

The motion is contagious like a dance that you learned when you were young and your body was restless and perfect and you could dance for hours and the music was your favorite. The rhythm is intoxicating and the weaving green rises like thousands of tiny fountains over the rolling brown earth. Everything sways and nothing is tired. Leaves begin to shake and stems begin to writhe and somewhere the Great Green God conducts the choir that sings the sighing and the moaning and the inching upward. No one can stand to sleep. Everyone wants to watch. There are no secrets and everything is up front. People who are talking and working begin to snap their fingers and tap their feet although you can only see them if you turn very quickly. No one wants to be late, no one has other plans. Women feel their bodies heat and men begin to speak fluently. It is better than any theatre. It is the original smash hit. People begin to be thirsty and think about plates full of salads with arugula and pickled beets. They turn over their water glasses and start planning for shade. No one is staying home. Everyone shows for the arrival of spring.


For the Spirit

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness; touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.

~Fred Buechner

I remember sitting parked by the roadside once, terribly depressed and afraid about my daughter’s illness and what was going on in our family, when out of nowhere a car came along down the highway with a license plate that bore on it the one word out of all the words in the dictionary that I needed most to see exactly then. The word was TRUST. What do you call a moment like that? Something to laugh off as the kind of joke life plays on us every once in a while? The word of God?...The owner of the car turned out to be, as I’d suspected, a trust officer in a bank, and not long ago, having read an account I wrote of the incident somewhere, he found where I lived and one afternoon brought me the license plate itself, which sits propped up on a bookshelf in my house to this day. It is rusty around the edges and a little battered, and it is also as holy a relic as I have ever seen.

~Frederick Buechner

To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.

~George Santayana

The miraculous is not extraordinary but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread. Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air and pondered the improbability of their existence in this warm world within the cold and empty stellar distances will hardly balk at the turning of water into wine—which was, after all, a very small miracle. We forget the greater and still continuing miracle by which water (with soil and sunlight) is turned into grapes.

~Wendell Berry

Gardening is not a rational act. What matters is the immersion of the hands in the earth, that ancient ceremony of which the Pope kissing the tarmac is merely a pallid vestigial remnant. In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

~Margaret Atwood

I want noting to do with natural foods. At my age I need all the preservatives I can get.

~George Burns

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