The Forest Apothecary serves as an ecclectic online compilation of some of my herbal recipes, plant ponderings and insights.

I hope you find my notes here useful and enjoyable.

~ Green Blessings ~

Back on the Path ...

I haven't forgotten my journey with rosemary.. I've just gotten a bit off track with some recent life challenges. It's been slow going, but I'm feeling stronger now and have been reflecting again on my ally Rosemary.

Unfortunately, my seedlings didn't do very well. Go figure that seedlings require attention, or at the very least to be watered! I failed terribly with both, so did not have baby rosemary plants to add to my garden this year, though I could try again now that I'm back home again.

Happily, my potted rosemary plant that I introduced you to earlier continued to thrive without my care and a bit of love from my husband and the evening showers we've been having. We move her around the yard now, and her current location is by my front gate where I can see her both coming and going. My reminder.

I'm still enjoying my rosemary vinegar in salads, and still prefer to drink the tea iced. I created a wonderful freshening spray with rosemary, grain alcohol and distilled water. Her fragrance comes through beautifully without adding and essential oil. I usually make this with thyme, but rosemary works wonderfully as well. I use this to freshen the air, and even on countertops in the kitchen. It's like smudging without the smoke :)

In my absence my herb garden continued to thrive. I share a few snippets with you here......

"Green Goddess of the Forest"

"Bee in the Balm"

"Green Plant Spirit Amongst the Mint"

"A Tangle of Marigold and Chamomile"

"Lemon Thyme.. My Other Ally.. Ambrosia to Me"

"The Promise of Pears... Untreated Fruit Trees in My Grove"

"Blueberries..Just Try Not to Eat One!"

Hope everyone is continuing to pursue their herbal ally journeys and enjoying the Summer!

Green Blessings to all.

Added another book to the collection...

I was lucky enough to win a drawing for "Betwixt & Between... a Faery's Herbal" by author Joanna Rowan Mullane, and have added this to my ever growing herbal library. A Faerie theme seems to be emerging when engrossed in my herbal studies... more to come... but had to share this new lovely new edition. Link to Hedge Faery Herbals on the side bar.

Green Blessings! Happy Spring!

Sacred Spaces & Faerie Places

A sort of faerie-goddess-plant diva has been visiting me on occasion, since I've started my herbal ally research. She started as a face in my sketch book, some watercolors, and has now ended up on canvas in a collage piece. Who knows what other places she may take me.

She is reliable, strong, steadfast and true. Can you see the print on her hair? This was a rosemary branch dipped in paint then pressed on canvas.

Also, much to my delight, I recently re-discovered some natural incense that I crafted last year in a forgotten drawer. Last season I started getting into the idea of crafting my own incense using dried herbs and flowers from my garden. There are so many blend possibilities and research on natural incense is fascinating! These pellets are crudely shaped, but their scent is divine. I've always found that smudging or burning natural incense is condusive to creating a sacred space and evoking my creative muse. It's particularly lovely to burn when doing herbal meditations, especially when crafted by one's own hand. For that matter even just the act of gathering the ingredients and forming the pellets is meditative. This particular blend also contained raw natural honey as a binder. If you're at all interested, I leave you with the ingredients, which of course includes my beloved rosemary.

Amounts are not indicated, so use your judgement, what feels right, or as I've sometimes been known to write down in my scientifically correct herbal recipe journals... a "pinch or a drop" :) The botanicals were ground by hand in my mortar & pestle, though I did leave some of the rose petals whole.

~lavender buds
~jasmine buds
~rosehip powder
~red sandalwood powder
~lavender essential oil
~ylang ylang eo
~raw natural honey to form pellets by hand, dry in oven on warm.

Until next time... green blessings all.

Rosemary Seeds Started

Wanted to post a quick update on my progress. I located some seeds I didn't plant last season, and will try to sprout them inside for the garden this spring. Didn't do many, but hopeful they will sprout and bring some much needed spring cheer. It's still so cold outside, and even a slight chance of snow this weekend. I've also been working on a rosemary inspired watercolor faerie, and planning a rosemary healing balm. Green Blessings all.



Ground ivy in my snail planter... a sign of spring? :)

Rosemary Studies Continue... and an Herbal Give-Away!

I've been continuing my journey with Rosemary. She is such a popular plant, that I haven't just limited my reading to the books mentioned in my previous post, but have been cross-referencing with other books I haven't opened in ages, along with my online research, and have also been tempted lately to check the cookbooks as well. I made a rustic bread using rosemary instead of caraway seed, and it turned out wonderfully.

I've also created a lovely herbal oil, and a vinegar, but have decided after more research not to make a tincture, since there can be danger of raising blood pressure, and kidney damage if taken in large doses. I created the oil in my yogurt maker, which allows for a consistent low warmth and strained in a french press, which I find to be an indispensible tool for straining herbal oils. I plan to use the oil topically for massage, and perhaps in a hair treatment. I've also been continuing to make a simple rosemary tea in the morning, which I enjoy drinking on my way into work.

Today I treated myself to a bottle of rosemary essential oil. I look forward to burning some in my diffuser this evening when resuming my reading, and will also use this when starting my herbal ally meditations.

My potted rosemary plant continues to keep me company, she speaks to me, I'm sure of this. We had a couple of warm spring-like days so she was able to get outside and stretch a bit in the warm sunlight. With spring here, now, I'm dreaming up all sorts of other ideas for using this herb.

I'll end this quick post by mentioning a give-away that you might be interested in. Joanna Rowan Mullane of Hedgefaery Herbals has just finished creating this magical book and will be giving away two copies! You only need to comment on her blog, or become a follower, and she'll do a drawing when she returns from her travels to Ireland. This book would be such a wonderful addition to my herbal library, I would love to own a copy, and Joanna's work is amazing. You can find her here:

Green Blessings to all!

Rosemary Journal, Infusions and Research Started ...

My first rosemary infusion didn't yield much in the way of color, but packed a punch in flavor. Unreal how much flavor a few sprigs added after steeping throughout the day! I tried some hot when first brewed, and enjoyed it's earthy pungent flavor, and then decided I may like this cooler so tried an iced version (no sweetener added) before heading to out work. This was actually quite agreeable. Strange too considering it's freezing out and we have 10" of snow on the ground, but I have always enjoyed my nettle infusions cold with a bit of mint, and now I've discovered I like rosemary this way too.

The thing about rosemary is that I love just touching the leaves. This is what I remember most as a child, when discovering herbs. They seemingly ask to be touched, and the scent that lingers behind is pure magic! This plant seems so regal and proud even being cooped up in a pot in the house. The picture that comes to mind when thinking of her image is a strong yet gentle, regal green goddess with her feet planted firmly in the earth.

In my book and online research I've discovered there are so many uses for rosemary it's almost overwhelming. Everything from natural home cleaning, medicinal uses, flavoring foods, beauty and ritual. The folklore is facinating stuff. I tend to digress and get way off track whenever studying the plant, jotting down notes for future uses and concoctions, getting lost in the folklore and poetry. I could probably benefit from some tea right now just to keep me on track. She is a practical, strong, useful plant. Though I tend to wander off and get interested in other herbs when reading the posts others have done on their ally, I really could spend a least a year with this plant and all that she offers. It's mind boggling really.

I'm also having a wonderful time discovering some beautiful writings about this herb. One of my favorite herbalists, Juliette de Bairacli Levy shares an old story here about rosemary:

"When Mary and Joseph were fleeing with the infant Jesus, Mary placed her damp blue cloak on the rosemary bush to dry it. The rosemary, thus blessed, forever more has had blue flowers, and the absolute power to protect against evil. A sprig of rosemary hung by the door banishes all thieves; a bush of rosemary growing by the door allows only love to enter.

And this lovely poem, author unknown, will also be included in my journal:

I thank you gentle rosemary
Henceforward you shall bear Blue clusters for remembrance
Of this cloak I wear.
And not your blossoms only I give you as reward.
But where His raiment clung to you Which clad the little Lord
All shall be aromatic, Said Mary, for I bless

Leaf, stem, and flower
That from this hour
Shall smell of Holiness.

Since beginning my research it has become apparent to me that I am a romantic dreamer, approaching my herbal challenge much the same way I approach many things, slowly, deliberately, with an emphasis on the sensory level. Rosemary has chosen me I think, to help me gently ground and center.

So I share here some of my books used for my rosemary research:

Healing Oils, Healing Hands, Linda L. Smith

Growing and Using Herbs and Spices, Milo Miloradovich

Plant Spirit Healing, Pam Montgomery

Herbal Rituals, Judith Berger

Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs, Gaith Faith Edwards

The Wild & Weedy Apothecary, Doreen Shababy

And here a couple of pictures of the journal in progress:

Along the way I wandered off and found this book, and couldn't resist adding it to my library, again I digress....

And have added this one to my wish list....
Through the Wild Heart of Mary; Teachings of the 20 Mysteries of the Rosary and the Herbs and Foods Associated with Them; Gail Faith Edwards.

And since I don't want to take too many cuttings from my plant, I discovered I'm out of dried rosemary so will be purchasing some this weekend from Roots, or better yet getting some from my mother's stash if she still has some left.

I currently don't have any rosemary essential oil, but when doing my reading and working in my journal I've taken to burning a bit of Young Living's "Thieves" or "Purification" oils, both of which contain rosemary in the blend. This has helped to make the bits of time I devote to my herbal studies more of a sacred ritual for me.

Thanks for sharing in my herbal journey with rosemary. I will continue to post on the challenges as I move forward.

Herbal Ally 2011 ... Rosemary

"Who now knows the ancient tongue of the moon? Who still listens to what the Goddess says, the language of the land has slipped away into the well of the past, and only the rocks and mountains remember what was told us long ago. Yet the land still sings in the wild and open spaces and whispers still in the flowers and grasses. I have found comfort and inspiration in the silence of these places, and I am most grateful for it."

Rosemary Remembers... and I chose Rosemary for my ally this year. She was the first herb I ever had contact with as a child, and have been enthralled ever since! I usually grow my rosemary in a pot, near the kitchen entrance. I seem to find practical uses for her without even thinking much about it. A snip here and there when cooking and grilling, a snip goes into my drinking water to freshen it, even a snippet in my shoe when hiking... she is reliable, strong, steadfast and true. She calls to me when I'm weak and in need of her guidance.

So I will study her more closely as a result of this challenge, and hope I learn more of her ways.

I'm a bit nervous about trying to winter this plant indoors all winter with limited sunlight, and was hesitant to take any cuttings for my infusion. The new growth is so soft and green.

But it seemed I was given her blessing, so I made a small infusion/tea with the some freshly snipped branches.

Will soon post on the results of this infusion, and more on the journal and research.

Green Blessings!