Herbalist Robin Rose Bennett

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Celebrate and Explore Mother Earth

By Robin Bennett
Posted in Blog
On April 26, 2022

Happy Earth Day!

Wait… did you say Earth Day was last Friday?
My friends, every day is Earth day! Consider this your call to join in a local clean up or beautification day in your town! You can Google search “town cleanup near me” or check Earth Day’s interactive map where you can join a cleanup event or plan one of your own. There’s truly nothing like coming together as a community and giving back to the Earth. Think of it like a spa day for Mama Earth!

Keep reading for pics from the garden on Sunday, a Parsley Pasta recipe, sign-up links to my upcoming events and how to craft a Passion Honey!

(ABOVE: White trillium, Trillium grandiflora, though ours has a decidedly pink hue, lovely! Also known as birthwort, or my favorite nickname, Wake-Robin! It used to be in all the ladies’ tonic formulas, but I don’t use it or suggest it medicinally, but rather grow it to help the plant thrive again.)

I am so pleased to announce that the Native and Wild Medicinal Plant Garden here in West Milford is finally open. I started this garden over ten years ago and it has been maintained by volunteers from near and far ever since. Come get your hands dirty and share in the laughs and learning on Garden Sundays! Join us on one or all of the dates for the rest of the year (listed below). You can check out the website for more details. We welcome you to come for all of the work day or any part of it!

Opening day was Sunday, April 24, and we were gifted with an exquisite sunny day as we cleared leaves, raked paths, and checked on our many perennials. I love this time of year in the garden, when our spring ephemerals bloom, including these endangered and at risk native plants that have been given sanctuary here at our educational garden in the middle of a triple crossroads..

 

Native Medicinal Garden - 2022 Dates

SUNDAYS in April - October

11:30am - 3pm

May 15th
June 26th
July 17th
August 21st
September 18th
October 16th

Wild Ginger
(Asarum canadense)
This beautiful plant is native to the northeast woodlands and though it has no relation to the ginger we use in cooking, this root, too, has a spicy, aromatic, uplifting scent. I have used it sparingly, tincturing the root and, as traditional midwives do, given it to help birthing mothers keep up their energy during a long labor.

Lastly, bloodroot…an exquisite spring blossom. The roots are bright white inside, like the flowers, but when they are cut open “blood vessels” form and the root drips red “blood”! Eerie! Even in areas where bloodroot may be abundant, it is endangered, through habitat destruction and it is not a safe plant for beginning herbalists to use internally.
Up until recently the rhizomes of this plant (Sanguinaria canadense) were used in products used for mouth care such as toothpastes and mouthwashes, most famously, Plax™ used in many dentist and periodontists’ offices.

Speaking of gardening, have you heard about permaculture? It’s been gaining a lot of traction these past few years, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you have!

Permaculture is one of the most hopeful, practical, and magical movements around the world today that was started by Australia’s Bill Mollison, and it teaches us how to regenerate land and has even brought wastelands into flowing, flowering abundance.

I have been recommended this documentary “Need to Grow” (free to watch if you give them your email) and that not only does it explain, in no uncertain terms, about our current environmental state (notice I did not say “emergency”), but it also gives us many reasons to hope and tools to enact a change in the world around us. Watch the trailer here (warning: Spoilers!!!)

I couldn’t talk about Earth Activism without also mentioning the Earth Activist Training - with Starhawk. I took this course myself and I highly recommend it. (Or, look for a local permaculture design course where you live!)

I value the ways in which permaculture teaches us to heal our soil and work with the land. Let's continue to share our wisdom and grow our skills for the health of the Earth and ourselves!

While we are on the subject of classes, I am so looking forward to teaching in-person again. Come see me at one, two, or all of my upcoming events! I will be sharing recipes as well as herbal knowledge, and we’ll even be making some of these recipes during class so you have something to taste and to take home!


Sunday, May 1 // 2-4pm EST // $45
In-person in Oakland, NJ, and on Zoom.
Accessible Herbal Medicine the Wisewoman Way
($45 / Closer to the Heart Yoga for tickets and info on what easily accessible supplies to have ready for our medicine-making)

There is medicine all around us. Our kitchens, including our spice racks, can be an abundant source of effective medicine for us, and safer than what we find in the pharmacy. Open your mind and your senses to the broader possibilities for creating healing feasts in your own kitchen. We’ll talk about common herbs, foods, and condiments and their uses with everyday ailments.

Here’s a recipe that exemplifies Accessible Herbal Medicine:

If you are having trouble viewing the image above:

Perfectly Easy Parsley Pasta

Whole-wheat, egg, quinoa, rice, mugwort, or (my favorite) black bean pasta (your choice)
1–2 cups parsley, curly or flat
Olive oil, to taste
Tamari, to taste
Herb-infused vinegar, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste (optional)
Cook your pasta according to the package directions. While it’s cooking,
finely chop up your fresh parsley, including all but the largest stalks. Put the chopped parsley into a colander.
When the pasta is ready, pour the boiling water over the parsley and then let the pasta fall out of the pot on top of it, cooking it just a touch more—that is enough cooking for parsley. Stir in olive oil, and add these seasonings and/or any others you may desire. Stir it all together well. Serve and enjoy!
You can elaborate on this dish by adding more sautéed vegetables, such as onions and garlic, but this is how I make it when I want minimum time and effort to make a satisfying, nourishing meal—and have only one pot to
wash when I’m done.

Parsley has minerals galore, including a good supply of iron.
It’s high in folic acid, which helps relieve stress by strengthening the nervous
system. Parsley is well-known for strengthening the functioning of the kidneys. Kidneys are connected with fear and anxiety in Chinese medicine, as well as considered to hold our basic life essence.

The salt in the pesto is a great antibacterial. That’s one reason why we gargle with warm salt water for a sore throat; it’s also soothing. And olive oil is one of the healthiest, most nourishing fats available for daily use, providing essential fatty acids and benefiting almost every system in the body, beginning with the cardiovascular system. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants (incl. chlorophyll, carotenoids, and vitamin E).

(Even though the following events are outside and in-person, they are limited in their capacity. If there are too many sign-ups for the Wawayanda State Park walk, a second (or third) date will also be announced. Stay tuned!)

Monday, May 2 // 6-8pm // $40
A Beltane Ritual (with Flower Power) in Piermont, NY
Herbal Aphrodisiacs for Goddesses and Gods

Let’s celebrate ourselves this Beltane!
The Star Goddess says:
“Let all acts of love and pleasure be my rituals”.
Whether you are flying solo, partnered, and/or whomever your preferences are; come enjoy a fun and spicy exploration of herbal recipes and tastings for enhancing sensual bliss and opening your heart to love.
We will explore herbs such as roses, orange blossoms, damiana, and of course, chocolate! Sexy meals, scintillating scents, sensual wines and seductive smokes; all based on a strong foundation of self-respect, will be included in our explorations.

Together we will craft a fabulous passion honey! Sneak peek below:

(If you have trouble viewing the image to the right, here's the recipe. Or you can right-click and save the graphic for easy reference!)

Rose Vanilla Bean Honey

Fresh rose blossom or buds of any fragrant species—unsprayed
1 dried vanilla bean, as fresh as possible
Wildflower, linden, or clover honey
Cut off the ends of the vanilla bean, open it up lengthwise, scrape out the
insides, cut it up into small pieces, and place every part of the bean into a
pint jar. Fill the rest of the jar with fresh rose blossoms or buds. (If you are
using dried roses, use about 1 cup to fill the jar half full.) Cover the herbs
with honey and stir gently, poking here and there with a chopstick to make
sure the honey saturates the herbs completely, and continue filling the jar
to the top.
Cap it and wait 6 weeks or more before decanting. You can leave the
herbs in there as long as you like; when you’re ready, decant them by gen-
tly heating the honey until it pours like water, through a strainer into a
fresh bottle. (Recipe from The Gift of Healing Herbs)

 

Sunday, May 22 // 2-4pm // cost varies, see below
Wawayanda State Park
Weed Walk with Robin Rose Bennett

Come delight in the discovery that wild food and herbal medicine is all around us wherever we live. Enjoy an uplifting and sensory educational experience identifying, sniffing, and tasting the wild local plants that are often dismissed as mere weeds and learning about majestic trees like white pine. The plants you likely spend hours pulling out of your garden may become your new best friends when you discover that plantain stops the itch of a mosquito bite, dandelion leaves strengthen kidneys and ease blood pressure, and violets are rich in salicylic acid and can reduce headache pain! Nature is a marvelous teacher and ally and Robin Rose has been leading people on “weed walks” for 30 years. This will be a relaxing stroll and fun for all ages.

As it’s early in the season, there is no entry fee for the park. The Weed Walk itself is $35 for adults, $17 for humans 12-18 or students, and children under 12 are free!

Please understand that for the safety of everyone, attendance caps at ~12! If more than that sign up, an additional date will be announced. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

These are a few other future events I will be either attending or speaking at in the coming months. I encourage you to show up with me!

 

IN-PERSON CONFERENCES:
August 12-14:
Black Walnut Botanical Conference
Innabah, in the beautiful Philadelphia countryside of Chester County, PA.
I am thrilled to be a Keynote Speaker at this conference, and to be sharing my love and knowledge of the mighty plantain! The center of focus for the Black Walnut Botanical Conference is on the plants and herbal education, but there will be so much more. A variety of classes, wild weed walks and activities will take place throughout the weekend. You are invited to participate in as many as you wish, or to use this time and space as your personal retreat. There are camping options and cabin rentals, and food passes as well.

September 9th-11th:
Red Earth: The Mountain West Women’s Herbal Gathering (6th Annual Event)
Parrish Ranch in Berthoud, CO

Red Earth is a sacred ceremonial container created by and for women to honor and activate our inherent life-nurturing power. We gather together to learn from and inspire each other through ceremony, workshops, deep healing and community building. By recognizing the beauty and power of what it is to be women doing our sacred work, our life’s calling, we step into our collective potential to support the great turning of our planet at this time.

Green Blessings and love,
Robin Rose
~*~

Robin Bennett

Robin Bennett

Robin Rose Bennett is a writer, teacher, green witch, herbalist, and a wisewoman… one who loves the earth and gives voice to the healing wild food and medicine plants which surround us. She has been a practicing herbalism for over 30 years, based in New Jersey & NYC. Robin focuses on the spiritual and ecological lessons of plants and treatment of illness.