Fragrance Herbs

March 2021 Herb of the Month ~ Viola Tricolor


By Sherry Schmidt ~ Western Reserve Herb Society~ Herb Scents Editor




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 “Perhaps no flower (not excepting even the queenly rose) claims to be so universal a favorite, as the viola tricolor; none currently has been honored with so rich a variety of names, at once expressive of grace, delicacy and tenderness”.

Dix, Dorothea Lynde. The garland of flora. S. G. Goodrich and Co. and Carter and Hendee, 1829.

Viola tricolor is a tiny 3-colored member of the Violaceae family.  As a result of its popularity, both in society and in Romantic poetry, it has acquired many common names, including Wild Pansy, Johnny Jump-up, Heartsease, Heart's Ease, Heart's Delight, Tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, Come-and-cuddle-me, Three faces in a hood, Love-in-idleness, or Pink of my john.

This little plant is an herbaceous annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial wildflower found in lichen-dominated or meadow-like rocky outcrops, dry and sloping meadows, banks, fields, gardens, wastelands, sand fields, as well as seaside beaches.  It was brought to North America from Europe.


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Viola tricolor blooms spring through summer.  After blooming, the fertile flowers are replaced by seed capsules producing up to 50 seeds in each capsule making it spread easily, though it is not particularly aggressive.  When mature, the capsule will divide into 3 parts and the seed will be ejected.  The plants are hermaphroditic and self-fertile, pollinated by bees.

A typical flower has violet or purple upper petals, white lateral petals and a yellow lower petal.  Several purple veins originate from the flower’s throat.  Its leaves have a variety of shapes.  The lower blades are cordate-ovate, or heart- to egg-shaped.  The middle and upper leaves are lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate (resembling a lance), rounded at the end and having parallel sides. 

The beautiful flowers of Viola tricolor have a mild pea flavor, which combines equally well with sweet or savory foods, such as grilled meats and steamed vegetables.  When newly opened, Viola flowers may be used to decorate salads.  Candied violets are the flowers preserved by a coating of egg white and crystallized sugar. Alternatively, hot syrup is poured over the fresh flower and stirred until the sugar recrystallizes and has dried.  Candied violets are still made commercially in Toulouse, France, where they are known as violettes de Toulouse. They are used for decorating cakes or trifles, or included in aromatic desserts.  The French are also known for their violet syrup.  Viola essence flavors the liqueurs Crème Yvette, Crème de Violette, and Parfait d'Amour.

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Viola tricolor has medicinal benefits.  It contains saponins (a naturally-occurring chemical compound), salicylates (a natural anti-inflammatory) and flavonoids (with powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties).  Herbal uses include the treatment of eczema and autoimmune diseases and as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, expectorant, capillary tonic, laxative and diuretic.  Topical applications are for cradle cap, diaper rash, weeping sores, itchy skin, varicose ulcers and ringworm.

This viola has many additional uses.  It supports Fritillary butterfly larvae.  The flowers attract honeybees, bumblebees, long-tongued bees (Anaphora sp.), syrphid flies (Rhingia sp.), and butterflies.  Its flowers can be used to make yellow, green and blue-green dyes.  The leaves can be used in place of litmus paper to test acidity or alkalinity.  Viola tricolor is also the progenitor of the cultivated garden pansy.

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In the language of flowers, Viola is a symbol of innocence, modesty, and decency by the allusion of its little corolla, which seems to hesitate to leave its casket of leaves.

What to do with all of that delightful Mint!

 By Bobbi Henkel - WRHS Garden Chair

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Peppermint is one of the easiest to grow and most versatile of the common kitchen herbs.  It gives back to your effort with its lovely green appearance and pretty little tufts of terminal racemes of flower spikes.   But, the fragrance and the taste potential give its most sought after delights.

Ease of growing:   Mint grows in full or partial sun, and can easily be started in pots on your patio, or placed into soil directly in places where you wouldn’t care if it spreads like wildfire.

It attracts pollinators and grows in lousy clay soil like my Ohio backyard,  but even better in some cultivated lovely loamy humus.  Even Miracle Grow.  Don’t let it dry out.  It loves moisture and is a frost-hardy perennial in zones 3-12.   And, if you’re worried and want it to produce even longer, bring it into your garage or porch over the winter.  My pots stay outdoors in Northern Ohio Winters and are about 5 years old so far.

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Fresh cut for flower bouquets:  The leaves are a pretty deep green growing off square stems that hold their shape easily.   You can mix them into black eyed Susans  and you have a sensual treat because of the fragrance and the colors.   The blooms appear at the terminus of the stems in little tufts of white or light pink or lavender.

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To use Peppermint freshly picked:  Choose small tender bright green leaves and pick whole stems.  Wash it under cold water and pat it dry with a towel.

Add a sprig to garnish a glass of lemonade or iced tea

Add small leaves to fruit salads:  cantaloupe, watermelon, berries with a squirt of lemon over them all.  Chill and serve. Also? Why don't you mix up fresh Arnold Palmers:  1/2 lemonade with 1/2 cold tea and add 2 tablespoons of minced fresh peppermint.    Allow to stand for an hour then strain and serve over ice. This allows a subtle hint of mint.   Longer steeping yields stronger flavor.

Freeze finely chopped peppermint (2 tsps) into ice cube tray compartments.  Add water or lemonade to fill the cube compartments and freeze.  Use the cubes in beverages immediately or up to two months later if kept in plastic bags in the freezer.  You are ready for mojitos anytime  or you can add them to spice up steamed veggies:  baby carrots, new potatoes are the ones I do with a little butter and lemon or lime juice.

 Another of my favorite uses for chopped peppermint is to combine it with parsley, bulgur wheat and lemon juice to make your own tabbouleh salads

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Dried:   wash your fresh peppermint under cold water and pat it dry.  Then allow it to dry for a few days in a warm dry not at all humid place.  You can hang several stems upside down in paper bags for a few days until the leaves are crispy.

Add it to summer beverages and allow to sit overnight.  Strain, and serve over ice.  Dried mint is stronger than fresh so this makes a minty lemonade for those of us who love that menthol flavor in tea or ginger ale or lemonade. 

Slip a few leaves into your facial mask for a subtle pleasant minty lift that distracts you from thoughts of pandemics.

Steep dried mint into boiling water and add honey for a soothing mint tea great for sore throats.

Make the dried leaves into a “Mint Potpourri” and house them in little fabric pockets to ward off spiders and add fragrance to closets or drawers.

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Mint Jelly: This recipe from Simply Recipes is one of or favorites because it uses tart Granny Smith Apples as its base so it needs no added pectin! This delicious jelly will always add a little zip to your roast lamb, fish dishes, or chicken.

The  oils in mints are strongest when picked from mid summer leaves when the plants are receiving 14 hours of sunshine a day.   Pinch off blooms to retain tenderness in new leaves and bushier plants.   Older tougher leaves are stronger tasting and less pleasant, but still make great dried preparations for potpourri’s that are said to repel spiders.

Growing mints in your garden allows a fragrant green colony of plants that are pleasant to humans but not to deer, squirrels, mice, or ants.    If you don’t mind their love of life and desire to take over the adjacent spaces, they are terrific 2 to 3 foot high covers serving to hide in front of air conditioner boxes.   If you mind their spreading tendencies, sink pots into the soil that impede the roots from trespassing beyond the container limits.  I just create “peppermint pots” that offer free aromatherapy when I water them in the evening.

Sigh.   Bliss, bliss. 




We are still in the middle of our month of fundraising, and if you would care to support our “No Fair Herb Fair” with a tax exempt donation of any size it will always be greatly appreciated.
Through your donations, The Western Reserve Herb Society is preserving our legacy of expanding and sharing knowledge of these wonderful plants and their impact on our lives, our culture, and our environment.
To make a donation in honor of the “No Fair Herb Fair!” please go to
Thank you so much!



Anise Hyssop-An Unsung Herbal Workhorse


By Kathy Shriver - WRHS Website Chairman


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When I joined the Western Reserve Herb Society in 2016, I was excited to work in its historic Herb Garden. We were able to choose a section that peaked our interest and since I am obsessed with flowers, so jumped at the opportunity to work in the Edible Flower Section.  There we grow several dozen varieties of flowering plants and herbs and the blossoms of all of these are edible.  I was drawn to almost all of them because the flowers were bright and beautiful and lent themselves to being a show stopping part of a salad, baked goods, drinks or could be beautiful and edible garnishes.  And then there was this one lonely anise hyssop plant in the corner that I never paid much attention to.  You see, I don’t much care for the taste of anise and I had no idea what a hyssop was.  But what I did notice week after week was what an amazing bee magnet this plant was. 

Fast forward to 2018.  I made a late-in-the-gardening- season trip to a local organic nursery to buy some herbs for my home garden.  The selection wasn’t as grand as it would be at the beginning of planting season so I wasn’t able to get everything I wanted, but I saw some anise hyssop there and thought to myself since this is the Herb of The Year TM for 2019, let me add a few of these….at least the bees love them.  I hadn’t done any research about them and planted the four plants entirely too close together, not realizing how tall and wide each one would grow.  By the end of summer, these 4 plants had grown into quite an impressive “hedge” of tall, purple blooms surrounded by pollinators of all kinds:  Bumblebees, honey bees, and butterflies buzzed constantly from flower spike to spike.  Brushing up against the foliage to harvest other herbs released a sweet smell of anise into the air.  I decided one day to taste some of the leaves and flowers.  I was amazed at how sweet the flowers were and that the anise flavor was not as strong as I thought it might be. 

In the very early spring of 2019, I noticed some purple foliage poking through the soil.  I couldn’t figure out what it could be.  It seemed to be in the very spots I planted the anise hyssop the previous year, but purple?  Lo and behold, as the spring progressed and the weather turned warmer, the purple foliage started becoming more lush and more green.  I recognized the telltale shape of the semi heart shaped/triangular leaves and realized this was in fact the anise hyssop coming back.  It is a hardly perennial to Zone 4 although it is considered “short lived” perennial i.e. dies after about 2-4 seasons.  However, it is a self-seeder and as I discovered, I had several volunteer plants sprouting up around my raised garden bed.  Unlike other mints, anise hyssop doesn’t spread like wildfire so it is easy to relocate unwanted volunteers and keep the wanted plants from crowding out others.  Just keep in mind, it can get up to 3 feet in width and up to 6 feet in height so it will do best in the back of a flower bed (too bad mine is planted front and center and hides my calendula) and should be given plenty of its own space.  Once again, as the growing season went on, my anise hyssop “hedge” took shape.  This year, it grew so tall, it actually fell over on itself.  But even then, the pollinators came, and came, and came some more.


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I realized, as many others who also grow anise hyssop find, that it is a very useful herb that is often overlooked.  For one thing, it’s not well-known.  Had it not been the Herb of The Year TM for 2019, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought.  My preferred nursery always carries it, but your average garden center won’t.  Even though anise hyssop is not considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe) like more well-known herbs such as basil, rosemary or even lavender, herb gardeners have been cooking with it for decades, but you won’t find it among the fresh herbs for sale even at the most high end grocery stores.  And don’t try to look for it amongst the dried herbs and spices or extracts.  Anise hyssop is not that anise i.e. anise or anise seed-the herb that imparts a licorice taste or what you’d find as anise extract in the baking aisle.  Nor is it star anise-the lovely star shaped spice that makes frequent appearances in recipes this time of year. Despite its name, anise hyssop doesn’t contain high amounts of the principal component of anise, a compound called anethole and in fact, there are those (myself included) who think anise hyssop smells more like French tarragon or fennel than anise.  Which is why many prefer to refer to anise hyssop by its botanical name of Agastache foeniculum, rather than its common name.

Agastache takes its name from the Greek words ‘agan’ meaning very much and ‘stachys’ meaning spike.  The Latin ‘foeniculum’ refers to the fennel-like smell and taste.  Like other members of the Agastache genus, A. foeniculum is part of the mint family and can be identified as such by its square stems and its oppositional leaves.  The flower heads or inflorescence are made up of hundreds of tiny pale purple-blue or white flowers that produce nectar all day long.  As a result, pollinators find this plant a wonderful food source.  In fact, it has also been nicknamed “Wonder Honey Plant” by beekeepers who are known to plant A. foeniculum close to their hives.  The inflorescence flowers for up to 80 days. 

Although A. foeniculum thrives in dry, rich and neutral soil, it can also be found growing in the random crack near where seeds may have fallen the season before.  It does best in full sun, but will tolerate part shade.  Though the original plant may only live 2-4 seasons, because A. foeniculum self-seeds, one is sure to have additional plants year after year.  The taproot that forms helps give the plant its drought resistance.  It is also fairly heat, deer, disease, and pest resistant making it a great herb for someone who has areas in their garden where nothing else seems to grow.  Besides making for a pretty flower garden or a great way to draw all kinds of pollinators to your yard, A. foeniculum can be used to compliment fresh cut flower arrangements, create beautiful dried floral arrangements or made into potpourri.  In the kitchen, both the leaves and flowers can be used to make teas, cordials or infuse honey or liquor.  They add flavor and color to salads, custards, ice cream, and baked goods.  The flavor also compliments savory dishes like pastas, fish and beef.

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Agastache foeniculum can also be used for natural beauty or spa products because of its astringent, anti-inflammatory, cleansing and soothing properties and made into fascial masks, skin sprays and salves, or bath soaks.

So if you have some space in your garden this spring to sew some seeds or are able to find some anise hyssop plants at a specialty nursery, please don’t pass up the opportunity to add what will become an “herbal workhorse” to your yard.

"the upside of house arrest by one wishes she was really an herb gardener but is just one who tries".  Episode 1

 By Bobbi Henkel - Western Reserve Herb Society Garden Co-Chair
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Before I retired, a friend gave me a book to write down one thing every day that I was grateful for.   She suggested that if I wrote down the things about work I hated and wouldn't miss, then when I was home and bored, I would look back and read them.   It is truly hard for me to imagine I will look back at this particular  House Arrest era and reminisce.   BUT......
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     1.   I can drink my morning coffee looking out at my back yard and deciding what I'm going to do based on the weather and how well I slept and I watch the birds.   I have 3 bird feeders.   Maybe the birds have always been there in numbers, but now I see them.   I have an X rated movie going on out there.  There are horny birds chasing each other with ridiculous speed and reckless abandon.  My holly bush has turned into a Bordello.  It's just shocking.    And, the bird feeder my kids bought me that is squirrel proof?  Hah.  And, it isn't deer proof either.
    2.   When I walk the dog, I pass neighbors who smile and wave more than ever before.  My dog just doesn't understand "social distancing."   She sees the same dogs she has sniffed and greeted before in that mortifying doglike way.  But now, their owners and they have to stand farther away.
She is so BUMMED out. She gets that really pathetic look on her face and ends up with a treat. But she really rallies when we get to the baby's house.
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    3.   We are visiting our son, daughter in law, and first grandson twice a week.  Temperatures first, and we don't go if anyone even thinks they don't feel good.  Didn't start until we'd all been in and away for 2 weeks.  But, that baby is keeping us going. 10 months old, he acts out when he doesn't get his way. He has brief tantrums for not being allowed to walk  down the steps, because the yogurt puffs in his bowl are gone,  because he doesn't want to nap,  because he has to lie down to get changed and other life shattering tragedies. And, he  can be instantly distracted by a good game of peek a boo with his favorite blanket.  Or singing "Wheels on the Bus".   We are entertaining him so his working from home parents can get some work done.  We are treated to someone else buying our groceries at the store when we haven't gotten something but "need" it.   Mostly, we just love seeing them and they give us joy.  And we experience vicarious relief through those tantrums.
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   4.   Back to the dog walks.  Three doors down, there lives a six-year old red headed girl. She and her family were out Christmas morning riding her brand new bike this year.  Just a full of Joy of Living kind of kid..  Well, a week into school closures this 4x6 foot rainbow appeared on her window with the words "Keep smiling."  This week, there was an arrow in one end of the horseshoe driveway and an arrow out on the other end.   And, balloons were on the mailbox.  And, we watched the first drive thru Birthday Party I've ever observed.   Treat bags picked up from the entrance.   BD presents left on a table.   Paused cars singing "happy birthday" to the beaming child on the front porch.   Lemonade from lemons.
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    5.   So, when your husband can't sneak out to the gym or to the library, he kind of has no excuse not to help Spring Clean.   So, we actually moved the bedroom furniture and vacuumed behind the dresser and under the Queen sized bed and the bureau.   I think I probably last did that before we painted that room and the painters wanted the furniture either out or pushed into the center of the room.   I'm not revealing when that painting occurred.   I'm also not revealing the size of the dust-bunnies we found under that bed.   I thought of competing with others who have the nerve to confess.   But, it's no contest.  YOU CAN'T TOUCH MINE.
 6.    But the contest I really do want to start is this one:   Who has the worst looking hair in this no beauty shop/barbershop/dog grooming era?   I've got my husband beat so far, but the dog is gaining on us both.  (My grandson might win but his is cute and hasn't ever had a haircut yet.) He probably thinks everyone looks like him.
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7.   So my herbs.  Oh yeah. I got cuttings from our Fragrance section last fall and tried to root them.  Well, I cut those Pelargonium below the nodes and stuck them in dirt, or put them in water.  I kept them damp and I changed the water.  Well, I changed the water up through the holidays and then, well maybe not so much.   Anyway, all the dirt clipping grew.  I have about 40.  Almost none of the water ones sprouted any roots.   There must be a trick, or maybe it was too cold out on the screened in porch, or maybe they were a different species. Or those holiday pauses in changing the water?    But, anyway the only problem is I didn't label which Pelargonium I was trimming or plugging in.    So, no worries:  I'll just look them up on line and identify them.   I downloaded PlantSnap and got answers for 4 out of 5 of what I think are different plants.   But I got at least 6 different FAMILIES of plants for the last pot.    I'm bringing that one in to our garden and letting the pro's tell me what I have.
Want me to send you pictures and you guess?

The Herb of The Year! Why do we study it?

 By Kathleen Gips ~ Ex- Officio Western Reserve Herb Society

Rubus or Brambles- The Herb of the Year 2020

The Herb of the Year ~ What is it all about? ~ Why do we study it?

In 1995 the International Herb Association (IHA) designated Herb Education Week to be the week before Mother’s Day every year. Soon after, they selected an herb for each year. The criteria were that an herb must fall into at least two of these three major categories: medicinal, culinary, or decorative.

At the time I was an active member in this marvelous organization dedicated to the retail and business world of herbs. Our members were charged with educating the public about herbs during Herb Education Week. So the public would become more aware of herbs and their varied uses, we were to explore, in depth, the herb of the year with products, written materials, seminars and workshops. What an excellent way for the educators to be educated. Focus on a specific herb and learn everything about it. How exciting! I loved researching the history, horticulture, culinary, craft and medicinal properties of all the chosen herbs. I treasured learning about my favorite herbs: lavender, scented geraniums, sage. I learned so much about some less common herbs like fennel, calendula and bergamot. Even mundane herbs such as lemon balm and mint gained new knowledge and respect.

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I became immersed in building my herbal expertise on each Herb of the Year. Some years challenged my level of excitement more than others. When it was horseradish and elderberry, I initially thought these were not herbs worthy of my passion. As I studied each of these herbs, I learned how wrong this first opinion was. Every herb has magical properties, rich history and many uses. I was rewarded with even more knowledge in my special world of herbs. In 2018 when I learned hops was designated as the Herb of the Year  , I thought, “Oh no! Not hops!”

Worse yet, I am not even a beer lover. My first introduction to hops came when I invited Jim Long to be a guest speaker at my herb shop to discuss his new book, “Making Herbal Dream Pillows". 

 I dutifully ordered hops for him, since they were an ingredient in his sweet dreams pillows that would be made in our workshop. Imagine my surprise when I opened the bag and the entire room smelled like stinky feet. Ewww! But then Jim explained the powerful relaxation properties of hops. So that is why my Dad fell asleep while drinking a beer and watching a football game. It was the hops!

My next introduction to hops was a golden hops plant that Mark Langdon from Mulberry Creek Herbs delivered to me to sell. Since my customers knew little about growing hops at the time, I was left with hops plants at the end of the selling season. So I planted them near an iron arch at the entrance to our herb garden. The vine grew quickly and prolifically covering the entire arch in a single season. What a magnificent show of beautiful chartreuse leaves and stunning green pendant flowers! It was a traffic stopper and attracted a lot of interest. Everyone wanted to grow these beautiful golden hops in their own garden. Imagine my surprise when it became my favorite landscape herb in the garden.

When we pulled the vines down after the first frost, I learned about the tenacious prickly tendrils of hops and came away with scratches and a skin rash. I learned about the very hardy nature of the hops plant as it came back each spring from nothingness. It spread its tendrils far and wide and even needed some restraint! What a resilient, tenacious, and beautiful herb plant. How useful it is in the garden landscape, the flavoring of beer and its calming medicinal properties. And there you have it!

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This is why the Herb of the Year is so important for those of us whose passion lies in the world of herbs. Our lives are enriched by studying the history, horticulture and uses of even the herbs that are not so well known to us!  We get to know these herbs by using them, observing them and even journaling about them and then suddenly a year has gone by and there is yet another new herb to get to know!

This year, our Herb of the Year is the absolutely delightful and sometimes completely frustrating Rubus, more affectionately known as Brambles, Raspberries, Blackberries or Brambleberries! This plant is definitely more familiar to me than Hops was, but nonetheless there is still so much more for me to learn!

The Herb of the Year fits very well into the mission of our Western Reserve Herb Society. Together we gather information about herbs and share that knowledge with the public.  So this year, we will all learn to be experts about  Brambles and we will  talk about them with anyone and everyone who will listen.

Join your fellow members as we stroll through  the Bramble patch in 2020, learning and teaching together.

Hopelessly in Love with Lovage!~ (and a wonderful Poultry Seasoning Recipe!)



By Mary Lynn Fruit ~ WRHS Program Committee



 I am hopelessly in love with lovage.  My affair with this wonderful plant began a few years ago when we  introduced it into the Culinary Section of the Western Reserve Herb Society Herb Garden.  Indeed, it was love at first "smell".

Lovage ( Levisticum officinale)  is native to western Asia and southern Europe and is believed to have hitched a ride with the Pilgrim Fathers to North America.  It has been used since Roman times and is very popular here in the United States.  It has many uses, both traditional and modern.  At one time, its leaves were laid in shoes to revive the wandering traveler, and at inns it was served as a cordial which was flavored with tansy and yarrow.  Today, a modern form is made by steeping fresh lovage seed in brandy and sweetening it with sugar.

Lovage is strongly aromatic, which is very similar to celery; however, it is more pungent and hints of anise, lemon and yeast.  The parts used are the leaves, stems, roots and seeds.  (The stems of lovage are hollow and make wonderful natural and eco-friendly straws!)  It is very easy to grow by division or seed, doing equally well in the shade or sun.  Its deep roots need moist, fertile and well drained soil.  It is a perennial in zones 3-9; it dies down in winter, but is extremely hardy and returns each spring.  It is one of the first up in the spring growing up to 15 inches tall by the time the dandelions make an appearance, and can grow to be six to seven feet tall!  It makes a wonderful background border to any garden.  Like other early plants, it is loaded with vitamins - particularly vitamin B and C.

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Lovage has many culinary uses.  It can be used like celery or parsley in many dishes, however, keep in mind that it is much stronger than these and a little goes a long way.  Its delightful taste diminishes somewhat in cooking, so you will want to wait until that last bit of cooking to add it.  Leaves, stems (chopped) and roots work well in casseroles, soups and stews.  Young leaves make a good simple soup on their own or combined with potato or carrots and are used in seafood chowders.  In addition, the leaves are good in salads; older leaves add a wonderful taste to bean or potato dishes and are good in stuffing. Try Lovage-flavored potato and rutabaga gratin, potato cakes with lovage, cheddar and baked vegetable dishes.  Whole or ground Lovage seeds can be used in pickles, sauces, marinades, crackers and all sorts of breads.

If you have never met this divine plant, I urge you to come to our Herb Garden in the Spring and visit our Culinary Section.  We will be delighted to introduce you!  If you come to our Herb Fair in October (the second Saturday in October every year at the Cleveland Botanical Garden) we have packages of dried Lovage for sale. I promise you - once you have tried Lovage, you will be hooked!


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Here is a recipe created by Kathleen Gips for the best poultry seasoning that you'll ever try , just in time for Thanksgiving!

This is a traditional herbal blend to use to season turkey, duck, chicken, game, stuffing and gravy.


Mix together:

1/4 cup sage

3 Tablespoons thyme

3 Tablespoons marjoram

1 Tablespoon lovage

1 Tablespoon celery leaf

3 Tablespoons parsley

2 Tablespoons granulated onion

1 Tablespoon powdered rosemary

1 teaspoon granulated orange peel

 Use 1 tsp. for every 4 servings For full flavor crush herb leaves before using.

Herb Rub Recipe:
Mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 1 tablespoon of poultry seasoning. Stir to blend. Rub on outside of bird and under skin.

No salt or preservatives added.




WRHS Medical Disclaimer: In accordance with FDA and other government entity rules: the information and products you may learn about in regard to Herbal Wellness as a result of your association with WRHS are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You, and you alone, are legally responsible for any and all decisions you make regarding the health of yourself, your family, children and your friends, clients and even your pets. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have learned as a result of your association with WRHS. Reliance on any information provided by The Western Reserve Herb Society, and members teaching or writing for WRHS or guests speaking at the invitation of WRHS, is used solely at your own risk.

Herbs — Out of the Past and Into the Future

By Kathleen Gips - ex officio Western Reserve Herb Society



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This year I have had the pleasure of speaking about herbs to two gatherings in north-east Ohio and Central Indiana. At both places, I was struck by the fact that hundreds of people are eagerly interested in learning about herbs. WRHS members already love herbs and are always eager to learn more about them. But what is the general public looking for?


In my travels I noted that their questions were different from the past. Instead of asking how to make pesto, they were asking how to sleep better at night using hops.


Let’s follow the path of herbs from the seventies to the present to see how engrained herbs become in our society and why their questions have changed.


In the 70’s

The 70’s were a reawakening in the uses of herbs to flavor foods. My own passion for herbs began in early 1972. My local garden centers were filled with geraniums and petunias. I was lucky to find a parsley or mint plant to purchase. I ordered my first herb plants from a Merry Gardens catalog, a peppermint leaf scented geranium and a bay plant. I was so enchanted with these “exotic herbs” that they kindled my passion to learn more.

Not many were versed on using herbs and there was little in print to use as reference. I found a 1972 Sunset book “How to Grow Herbs,” and I was off on the herbal journey of a lifetime. I read the book many times and made every product it suggested: potpourri, herb teas, butters, jellies, vinegars, salts. To go beyond the culinary uses of herbs, reading the works of Adelma Simmons introduced me to herbal celebrations and theme gardens. I soon realized that most people at the time knew little more than to use parsley as a garnish and mint in iced tea. A mention of lovage or santolina drew blank stares.


In the 80’s

The popularity of herbs heightened in the 80’s. People couldn’t get enough of hand made herb products. Herb Fairs were prevalent and many people attended these outings to buy their herb vinegars and jellies. Some of the more creative vendors introduced them to new uses and products like lotions and soaps. Herb plants were always for sale and many people bought them to start their own first herb gardens.

Emilie Tolley and Martha Stewart taught us how to garden, cook and decorate with herbs. Interest in the business of herbs increased and many herb shops opened. Books about herbs flooded the market. Was this the top of the interest curve?

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In the 90’s

Herb groups formed, specialty shops taught classes about herbs, and small companies like Burt’s Bees began to produce herbal products that entered the mainstream. People became interested in using herbal scents to fragrance their homes. Scented candles and potpourri were everywhere. Fairy gardens and fairy festivals expanded the uses of herbs to children.


In the 2000’s

Herbs exploded into the mainstream. The word “herb” became synonymous with “good for you.” Herbal shampoos, lavender scented Tide, and baby shampoos with chamomile became popular. Herbal products moved into Walmart, groceries, and drug stores.

Herbs were increasingly associated with improving health. Herbs were used to make our bodies healthier and our lives enriched through aromatherapy and skin care. Herbs fit well into the public interest in living more natural lifestyles and natural home cleaning preparations.

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2010 to Present

There is even more interest in natural herbal approaches to health and well being. Herbal teas flood the market to promote sleep, reduce stress, ease digestion, and boost immunity. Essential oils are frequently mentioned on websites and social media. Questions have become more sophisticated. People want to know which herbs they should grow in an herbal tea garden. How do I make a tincture? What herbs can I use for …?


We have come a long way. The Herb of the Year has moved from familiar herbs like lavender to more unusual ones like hops. My 1972 first book on herbs was 80 pages long and today we have a 300 page book on hops alone.


Our Mission

In the past we were ready to teach how to make a rose scented potpourri, a lavender sachet, Herbs de Provence and pesto.

As herbalists and herbal enthusiasts are we ready today to answer the new questions for the future?

In order to continue to be leaders in educating about herbs for “use and delight, meat and medicine”, the need to continue to educate ourselves is apparent. Let’s be on the wave of to-morrow and continue looking towards the future of herbs!