Grow Your Own, DIY Natural Garden Care, April Sales & Herb Classes
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April Classes & Events


April Special Sales Days 

Seniors save 10% every Tuesday ~ Receive a five cent credit for each bottle, jar or bag that you bring in to reuse ~ Join our Bulk Herb Club and save 10% on all bulk purchases, all the time!

Arts Alive! Saturday April 1st

Come join us from 6 to 9pm and enjoy "Subtle Relationships" - an exploration of personal spiritual relationships by local artist and Shamanic Practitioner Michal Mugrage.  Jan Bramlett will be playing and singing - both originals and favorite covers, and we'll be serving a Masala Chai Spiced Wine Cocktail, fresh sliced apples, ginger cookies, and a delicious cream cheese schmear made with our organic 7 Seas Curry.  


April 2nd to 8th:  Bulk Tea Sale!
Save 15% all week long on our expansive selection of vibrant bulk tea blends--stock up on your favorites or try something new!

April 9th to 15th:  Tincture Sale!
Save 15% on all tinctures this week!  From our organic or wildcrafted single herb extracts to our choice selection of effective formulas we have you covered!

April 16th to 22nd:  Culinary Spice Sale!
Save 15% on all our delicious organic culinary spices and artisan spice blends--nourish your body with food as your medicine! 

April 23rd to 29th  African Market Basket Sale!
Save 15% this week on our beautiful collection of African market baskets--whether its for Farmer's Market or a forage in the woods these baskets are a must-have!
classes April Classes & Learning Opportunities

Drop us a note if there's a particular subject you'd like to learn more about, or if you'd like to teach a class at Humboldt Herbals. 

Please pre-register for classes by calling us at (707) 442-3541

Food Heals with Marcia Stroud, MA, Biochemist, Herbalist & Nutritionist
Wednesday, April 12th 
f rom 6:30 - 8:00pm  ($25)

Thinking about changing the way you eat?
Good health depends on good nutrition - learn how you can eat your way to better health!

In this class, we'll discuss five key principles of healthy nutrition.
*           How to determine your nutritional type
*           Which saturated fats are healthy
*           How the glycemic index relates to overall well-being
*           How enzymes, pH, and raw foods relate to overall health
*           When raw veggies may not be the best choice and which organic foods  are not the healthiest

And, because what you don't put into your system is just as important as what you do, we'll examine ways to reduce your intake of toxins. This course also includes a look at some natural allies to support specific areas such as energy and sleep. And, finally, we'll discuss external body and skin health and their relationship to overall well-being.

We are proud to be a part of Humboldt Green Week !!

"My Natural Medicine Cabinet" 
Tuesday, April 18
~ Free to all attendees ~
Location: 219 D Street, Eureka(next to Humboldt Herbals)
J oin us as we celebrate all things green! Come learn about some key herbal items to have on hand for everything from scrapes and pain to immunity and stress, as well as other common symptoms.  This educational event will feature the lovely staff of Humboldt Herbals and will be free to all attendees. Warm herbal tea provided, bring your own mug!  


Tea Making 
with Community Herbalist Laura Brockman 
Date: Sunday April 25th
Location: 219 D Street Eureka
( next door to Humboldt Herbals in the Community Classroom)
Time: 6 - 7:30pm  
Cost: $35 dollars
Learn to blend your own medicinal teas at home!  Take home 2 tea blends that you make in class!  A detailed handout is included, with instructions for how to properly blend teas, different tea preparation methods, recipes and more!  Call Humboldt Herbals at (707) 442-3541 for questions or to reserve your place.   


Spring Plant Walks!   
$20/$10 for students and seniors 

Join us for a casual stroll along some of the most spectacular plant trails in Humboldt County!  We'll meet the vast array of medicinal plants that grow along these gorgeous paths, discuss their medicinal properties and explore how each plant contributes to the entire trail eco-system. 

All walks are from 1:30 to 3:30(ish) - rain or shine.   
Please be at the designated meeting place at 1:15 so that we can begin promptly at 1:30.
A detailed handout is included in the price. Please dress in layers, bring water and a snack if you need one, and bring a camera and writing implement if you wish. 
Join us for one or all three!!  For additional information or to pre-register, please call us at (707) 442-3541. 
Sunday April 30th at Elk Head Trail with Candice Brunlinger  
 Meet at the College Cove parking lot in Trinidad at 1:15.

Sunday, May 21st at Trinidad Head with Julie Caldwell 
Meet at the Trinidad Head trailhead at 1:15.  

Sunday May 28th at Azalea Reserve with Candice Brunlinger 
Meet at the Azalea Reserve parking lot in McKinleyville at 1:15. 

Register NOW for these groundbreaking herbal conferences!  Click the images for more information. 

April 29 & 30th 2017 at the Arcata Community Center
T he 3rd Annual Medicinal Cannabis Conference in Arcata, CA will present growing details, clinical pearls and the current research on cannabis.  Presenters are international, national, and local experts that will utilize substantiated research and experience to advance your knowledge base on Cannabis to the next level. It is important that consumers, growers, and our medical providers can make more educated and effective decisions concerning the medicinal applications of cannabis.
Presenters include: 
Ethan Russo, MD, Jeff Hergenrather, MD, Christian Le, MD, Dustin Sulak, DO, Jeff Raber, Ph.D, Kevin Spelman, Ph.D., Tammi Sweet, Mindy Bumgarner, Tara Bluecloud, Brie Malarkey

For more information or to register, visit 

We're thrilled to once again sponsor our favorite gathering of Herbalists, Plant People and Revolutionary Thinkers!  Click the image below to register or for additional information, but be forewarned. . . .if you go, it's going to change your life.


Grow Your Own Medicine, Plus DIY Recipes for Natural Garden Care
By Candice Brunlinger, Herbalist

  These 5 easy to grow medicinal plants are chock full of healing properties for the whole family.  Read on to learn how to grow them, when to harvest them, and how you can use your bounty!

Lemon Balm
(Melissa officinalis)
Family: Mint (Lamiaceae)
Common Names: Lemon balm, sweet balm, balm mint, Melissa and heart's delight
Characteristics & Care: Perennial; Herbaceous; Zones 4-9
Most Lemon balm plants grow about 1-2 feet tall and wide. They have little sweet white flowers which bloom off and on throughout the summer months, especially as you graze and harvest the plant to encourage new growth.  Its heart shaped leaves have a delightful lemony scent and flavor. Lemon balm is a well-adapted Mediterranean plant and does well in cool or warm climates with full sun, partial shade in extreme heat and well-drained but evenly moist soil. Avoid fertilizing this plant as it can shock the foliage and reduce its lemony scent. The plant easily self-seeds and can take over a garden, if you allow it. You can help control spreading by frequent pruning, removing the flowers and/or planting it in a container or pot.
Leaves can be prone to rust so its important to remove any rusty leaves/stems to prevent the rust from spreading. To help minimize or reduce the rust, graze, thin and divide your plants as needed to ensure adequate air flow, and cut your plant(s) 2 inches from the ground after flowering and/or in fall. Lemon balm will die back to the ground in freezing weather, but will return in spring.
How to Plant/Propagate: Sow lemon balm seeds in the spring after the last frost or in late summer.  They can be slow to germinate so you may have more success if you start your seeds indoors or in a green house. Root divisions are an easy way to introduce lemon balm to your garden and can be planted at any time during the growing season, but your plant(s) will become more established if planted in early spring when the weather is cooler. Cuttings from new growth can be started in moist sand or loose dirt/soil but I have not tried that method before and find that divisions are my preference since the plants like to be thinned anyway. When transplanting lemon balm into the ground, planter or pot, space plants 18-24 inches apart. Lemon balm spreads easily so thin the plants as needed.
Companion Planting: Other mints, bee balm, chamomile, calendula, nasturtiums, thyme, sage, basil, garlic, onion, most fruits and veggies, etc. Its mild citrus scent can act as an insect repellent so you can plant lemon balm next to plants prone to non-beneficial bugs or near fountains, ponds, bird baths or other areas where there may be standing water, gnats and/or mosquitos.
Tips for Pruning & Harvesting: To harvest, use scissors or clippers to cut the stem 2 inches from the ground or pinch the tip of the branch to encourage the plant to be more bushy. Use it fresh or store the sprigs in the fridge wrapped in a towel or in a bowl with a towel covering them and use within a week. Leaves for drying are best harvested before the plant flowers in summer, when the leaves are pristine and aromatic. It is best to harvest in the morning before the sun is strong, because the warm sun makes the leaves begin to release their aromatics oils. Leaves will naturally start to brown as they dry. I dry and store the leaves whole and crush them to break them up as I use them in my tea and bath blends.
Herbal/Medicinal Preparations: Tea, Tincture, Glycerite, Vinegar, Syrups, Respiratory Steams, Facial Steams, Herbal and Bath Salt Blends, Aromatherapy, etc.
Culinary Uses: Mince fresh leaves and mix in soft cheese, hummus, pesto and butter spreads for a mild and delicious lemony flavor. I love to mix in some fresh leaves and flowers in my salads too. Add a sprig or 2 into a smoothie or muddle the fresh leaves in refreshing spritzer drinks and cocktails. I also like to make tea which I use as part of my liquid base in smoothies and popsicles. It is also a delicious addition to homemade herbal syrups, jello and gummy recipes.
Benefits of Growing Lemon Balm:
Lemon balm is just lovely to have in the garden and is very easy to grow. The aroma is pleasant and delightful while helping to deter some pesky bugs. I take the fresh sprigs and brush them over the skin and clothes to help deter mosquitos. It is a wonderful plant for children so it can be a great addition in kid's gardens. The convenience of having lemon balm as medicine for the family in your own yard is a blessing, especially when anyone gets sick or irritable. I use fresh lemon balm in tea to drink or to pour into our baths to wind down for the evening, for stress and anxiety, cold and flu symptoms, to help peak fevers, to sooth digestive discomfort, irritability, agitation and to improve focus. The tea is so delicious and mildly cooling, especially when using the fresh leaves. It makes a lovely iced tea to take the edge off the summer heat and my favorite way to brew it is as a sun or moon tea for 8 hours or so. I even use some of the larger sprigs in my herbal bouquets for a refreshing aroma and switch them out as they wilt since they tend to not be long lasting like other flowers.
(Rosmarinus officinalis)
Family: Mint (Lamiaceae)
Common Varieties: Tuscan Blue, Madeline Hill, Arp, Majorcan, Spice Islands
Characteristics & Care: Perennial; Woody shrub; Herbaceous; Zones 8-11; Drought tolerant; Frost resistant
Rosemary grows anywhere between 1-6 feet tall depending on the variety and growing conditions. Smaller shrubs may only grow 1-2 feet wide but well established shrubs will spread and slowly fill in a garden bed or planter, if you allow it. Some rosemary varieties are lower growing and can be used as a ground cover. All varieties have the needled leaves and most have little blue or purple flowers, though some can have pink or whitish flowers. The flowers bloom when the nights are cool, in early-mid spring and usually again in fall.
Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region so it does prefer hot, dry climates; however, it can do well in other zones if you help ensure it has well drained soil, plenty of sun and limited frost exposure. It does well either in the ground or in a container; however, it will likely grow much larger if it is planted in the ground. Rosemary prefers to be outside with a lot of sun but it can be grown indoors if there is enough sunlight (like in a greenhouse, sun room or large sun-facing window). If you live where there is frost or extreme rain or snow, you may need to bring it inside to overwinter. When growing Rosemary, remember the general rule of thumb, "less is more Rosemary". Rosemary does not like to be fertilize or over watered so it does best if you only water it as needed and avoid/limit during the rainy season.
How to Plant/Propagate: Cut the tip of a fresh rosemary sprig, about 3-4 inches long. Strip the bottom to expose a few of the nodes on the stem. Since rosemary has a woodier stem, it can take longer to root so I dip the sprig in a natural kelp or white willow bark rooting solution (see recipes below) for faster results. Fill a small 4-inch pot with well-drained soil/dirt and gently water until moist. I usually moisten the soil using the rooting solution tea to encourage healthier root growth but it is not necessary. Poke a hole in the middle and place the rosemary sprig into it. Pat down the soil so there are no air pockets. Keep your new plant in a warm and well-ventilated place until roots form and allow it to become well established before transplanting it into the ground, planter or larger pot, spacing each plant at least 1-2 feet apart depending on how large you want to encourage your rosemary to grow. Make sure soil is well drained but stays moist until roots become established, then water as needed.
Companion Planting: Rosemary grows well with other drought tolerant plants which prefer well drained soil and full sun. I like to arrange other mint family and Mediterranean plants around it such as thyme, oregano, marjoram, sage, lavender, peppermint, spearmint, hyssop, bee balm, lemon balm, calendula, California poppy, etc.
Tips for Pruning & Harvesting: Rosemary likes mild pruning throughout the season so graze it as needed. I try to aim for grazing around 10% to encourage new healthy growth regularly and cutting no more than 25% for more moderate pruning. Rosemary can be pruned before the winter months but refrain from pruning too much; otherwise, the plant may not return as strong and since it is one of the few plants which can continue to grow throughout winter, she can be valuable medicine for your home.
Herbal/Medicinal Preparations: Tea, Tincture, Syrups, Vinegar Infusions, Honey Infusions, Anti-Fungal/First Aid/Pain Relieving Oils, Salves & Liniments, Respiratory Steams, Facial Steams, Herbal and Bath Salt Blends, Body Scrubs, Lotions, Hair and Scalp Oil/Vinegar/Rinses, Aromatherapy, etc.
Culinary Uses: Rosemary has a distinguished flavor that is easily recognized. Many would describe its taste as sharp, bitter, pungent and earthy. It is strong so a little goes a long way, especially when using the fresh needles/sprigs. It pairs well with other Italian spices such as thyme, oregano, marjoram, sage, parsley, bay, garlic, onion, etc. Try sprinkling a little in any Italian or pasta dish, mixed in cheese spreads, in potato dishes, soups, stews, beans, grains, sautéed vegetables, baked breads, meat, infused in butter and oil and used as a spread or in your cooking, etc. I love the flavor in my pickled or fermented vegetables and greens. Rosemary compliments BBQ and grilled food and the stalks can be stripped to be used as skewers on the Barbeque. It is very high in anti-oxidants and is anti-microbial to help preserve food and meats.
The flowers make a colorful and spicy addition to salad, stir fries, bakes goods, cheese and dip spreads, etc.
Benefits of Growing Rosemary:
Rosemary is by far one of my top 3 most used and versatile herbs in my garden. I love the aroma when walking by and its sweet little flowers attract bees to the garden. You can harvest the sprigs as needed for culinary use or when you desire a little pick me up, need to enhance concentration, memory and mental alertness, to stimulate circulation and ease pain, sore muscles, stiff joints, cramps, etc. It is great for digestion, heart health and it is one of my go-to plants for colds, flu and respiratory infections especially when there is excess congestion and mucous which needs to be thinned and cleared out. It warms the body and has a motherly and comforting energy. I really enjoy using the fresh rosemary in decorative bundles and wreaths around the house and in herbal themed floral bouquets.
(Scutellaria lateriflora)
Family: Mint (Lamiaceae)
Characteristics & Care: Perennial; Herbaceous; Zones- 4-8
The foliage grows about 8-24 inches high depending on environmental conditions and has small light blue flowers with a little white on them which bloom throughout the summer months.  Skullcap's genus name, Scutellaria, comes from the Latin Scutella, a small dish or try, which refers to the appearance of the sepals during the fruiting period.  The species name, lateriflora, means "flowering on the side," which is how the flowers appear on the one-sided racemes.  Skullcap's common name comes from the helmet-like shape of the flowers.    This meadow plant loves moist soil and growing near running water, streams, rivers, or in marshy lands and prefers full sun or partial shade. It grows in clumps and should be planted 12 inches apart in well drained but moist soil.
How to Plant/Propagate: I mainly propagate skullcap using plant divisions but you can also plant from seed by stratifying the seeds at least 1 week before planting. Once planted, it should germinate and be sprouting within 2 weeks. For best results, germinate your seeds inside and transplant them after the last frost. Skullcap will grow well in the ground, planter or pot if the soil stays moist.  
Companion Planting: I like to plant skullcap with other relaxing plants such as chamomile, lemon balm, feverfew, catnip, valerian, etc. It can grow well with other low growing mints but you may need to contain them so they do not completely take over the less aggressive growing skullcap.
Tips for Pruning & Harvesting: Harvest the aerial parts when in full bloom, cutting the stem 3 inches above the soil. Use fresh skullcap for making your herbal preparations. You can also bundle a few sprigs to hang dry or strip the leaves and spread them evenly on a screen or in a basket to dry in a well-ventilated place away from moisture and sunlight.
Herbal/Medicinal Preparations: Tea, Tincture, Glycerite, Vinegar, Syrups, Foot Baths, etc.
Culinary Uses: Skullcap does not have many culinary uses; however, I will use skullcap in my relaxing, digestive and cold/flu/fever tea blends which are flavored with yummy herbs to improve its bitter taste and use the tea as a liquid base in stress smoothies or popsicles, especially for kids when they get sick or are overly anxious or hyper-active.
Benefits of Growing Skullcap:
This calming nervine not only helps to take the edge off to manage stress and anxiety but it is also nourishing and restoring to the nervous system, helping to rebuild resilience. It is not sedating but can aid with insomnia by restoring our natural rhythms, especially when the stress and worries of the day, over-exhaustion and/or an overactive mind keep you awake. It is a calming digestive aid, helps reduce pain, inflammation, tension, cramps, spasms and twitching. It can be beneficial for women's reproductive health but should be avoided during pregnancy. Skullcap is beneficial for aiding with addiction and withdraw symptoms from alcohol, tobacco and drugs. It can also be beneficial for preventing seizures. Skullcap is one of the herbs I like to use in a foot bath to help peak fevers, especially for children. Another reason to grow your own skullcap, especially if it is a plant you use regularly, is because there have been cases of adulteration where skullcap has been contaminated by other non-skullcap plants.  
(Valeriana officinalis)
Family: Honeysuckle (Caprifoliaceae)

Characteristics & Care: Perennial; Herbaceous; Zones 4-7
Valerian grows 3-4 feet tall but can grow a little taller if the stalks are supported. Valerian has very fragrant white and pale pink flowers which are very tiny and grow in clusters. They bloom in late spring and through most the summer, attracting many bees and butterflies. It self-seeds very easily as the tiny flowers turn into seeds with parachutes which help them float easily in the wind, and the heavy flower heads make the branches fall and spread their seeds. Valerian prefers moist soil and it enjoys growing near ponds, lakes and streams. Water it well and frequently to prevent it from drying out especially in the warmer summer months. It prefers temperate climates and partial shade but it can handle full sun.
How to Plant/Propagate:
Valerian has a quick germination rate of 7-10 days and is an easy plant to start from seed, especially for beginners. You can either sow the seeds directly into the ground in early spring and thin the plants as they grow or use a seed tray. Transplant them into the ground, planter or pot, 12-15 inches apart. You can easily collect the seeds in fall to give away or plant the next season but once you allow valerian to go to seed in your garden, you should have no problem getting an abundance of plants to return.
You can also plant the root bulb of Valerian. When I harvest Valerian I will sometimes trim off the smaller rootlets and leave the main part of the bulb to plant back into the ground so it may return or give it away to friends so they can easily introduce Valerian into their garden.
Keep in mind cats love valerian and get a similar effect like catnip. I grow separate valerian for my cat so he leaves some plants for me to use. He will lay between the plants and dig at the soil to expose the root bulb, chewing it and rubbing his face all over it. He sometimes goes a little crazy at first but then gets quite dopey and falls asleep in the plants. If you have cats, consider growing Valerian along with catnip or cat mint in a little cat garden. If you want to deter cats from digging and napping in your valerian, try arranging larger rocks around the plants to barricade them.
Companion Planting: I like to plant valerian near other nervine plants which prefer moist soil such as lemon balm, skullcap, chamomile, California poppy, vervain, etc.
Tips for Pruning & Harvesting: I personally do not do much pruning of my Valerian plants until the fall after the plant has gone to seed and I cut back the plants for winter. I will harvest flowering stalks for floral bouquets and culinary décor in which case just cut the stalk at an angle at the desired length. If you cut the flowers just above the lower nodes or buds, you can continue to get more flowers on that same stalk.
The roots of the Valerian plant are the part used for medicinal preparations. The best times to harvest roots are in the fall and early spring. I harvest the entire plant, cut the leaves and stems off and wash the dirt off. Cut off the smaller rootlets to finely chop. Then either replant the bulb if you want the plant to return or break it up into smaller pieces so it is easier to chop down. Use the fresh root to make medicinal preparations or dry the roots on a screen (preferred) or basket lined with an open paper bag to prevent the tiny roots from sifting through the basket. Make sure the roots dry in a well ventilated area away from moisture and sunlight.
Herbal/Medicinal Preparations: Tea (decoction/simmered on the stove), Tincture, Syrups, Vinegar Infusions, Honey Infusion, Topical oils, salves and balms
Culinary Uses: The roots are not used in culinary preparations but the flowers are fun for decorating baked goods, salads, appetizer platters, jello, etc.
Benefits of Growing Valerian:
Valerian root is not enjoyed for its flavor as the roots have a very bitter and earthy taste. Fortunately, valerian medicine is very strong and a little goes a long way so we do not need to take much of it to receive its sedating and pain relieving effects. It can be used in tea but most do not enjoy drinking it unless it has been flavored with other yummy herbs such as chamomile, linden, rose, ginger, etc. and/or has been sweetened with honey. Tincture and syrups seem to be the most preferred medicinal preparations for internal use. Many people notice that valerian extracts made with the fresh root tend to be less likely to give the groggy feelings or "Valerian hangover" that some people can have after taking it.
I also like to use the freshly wilted or dry root to make an infused oil, salve or balm to be used topically for pain, cramps, spasms, tension, stress and anxiety. It is great for rubbing on sore and tired feet especially at night before bed to aid with falling asleep and reduce the frequency of waking up throughout the night.
(Borago officinalis)
Family: Borage or Forget-me-not family (Boraginaceae)
Common Names: Star flower
Characteristics & Care: Annual, Zones 8-10;
Borage may just be one of the easiest plants to grow as it requires little maintenance, does not need to be fertilized and it is not particular about its soil medium. It grows out of just about anything, including the lawn and cracks in the sidewalk and pathways. Once you introduce it into your garden and allow it to self-seed, you should have an abundance of borage for the next season. Just thin out the clusters of new starts to allow space for the plants to grow and use the fresh early greens you thin out as an edible.
This Mediterranean native plant continues to grow throughout the summer and fall months, creating little star shaped flowers which bloom most the year, attracting many beneficial bees and insects into the garden. Borage will benefit from having a little extra space in the garden as it may take up 3 square feet of a garden space. It typically gets about 3 feet tall and should be planted about 24 inches apart. It does well in the ground, planter or in pot. Plant it in full sun or partial shade and keep the soil moist with moderate watering.
How to Plant/Propagate:
You can sow the seeds directly into the ground in spring or start them indoors and transplant them outside after the last frost has passed. Borage can be a little finicky after being transplanted and tends to not like being moved much so plant it wisely. It will also take over so plant it with other vigorous and competing weeds especially for the wild and overgrown garden or plant it between food/herb crops for companion planting to deter harmful insects and attract beneficial ones.

Companion Planting:
Borage is a wonderful companion plant and addition to any garden. It helps protect many herbs but is praised for being helpful companions to strawberries, the brassica family (cauliflower, broccoli, kale, cabbage, etc.), spinach, legumes, etc. It is also said to be a good companion plant for tomatoes because the mother moths of the tomato hornworm will lay their eggs in the borage plant instead. It attracts beneficial predatory insects and bees while deterring many harmful pests.
Tips for Pruning & Harvesting:
I end up not pruning my borage much and I tend to let it grow a little wild, harvesting leaves and flowers as needed, especially for culinary use. I do cut larger branches as they become heavy and are ready to break and fall. I strip the leaves off those branches to use medicinally or as an edible green. The most optimal time to harvest the leaves and flowers is when the seeds are green and just starting to form. When harvesting the flowers, you can carefully pick them by gently pinching them between your thumb and pointer finger and tugging or plucking them off the plant. I also collect the flowers which naturally fall off the plant if they are still clean and pristine.
Herbal/Medicinal Preparations: Tea, Tincture, Vinegar Infusion (Acetum), Syrups, Elixirs, Honey Infusions, Crystalized (preserved or candied) flowers
Culinary Uses: The whole aerial parts of borage are edible and can be used in culinary preparations. The leaves are an edible green which can be used just like spinach or kale. They have a mild cucumber-like flavor and are a delicious green to add to stir fries, sautéed veggies, baked salads, raw salads, soups, stews, green smoothies, etc. As the leaves mature, they become more rough and fuzzy so you may need to blanch/cook them or puree them before eating; otherwise, just use the younger leaves.
The sweet little flowers are delicious to eat and can be snacked on right off the plant. They are tasty enough that children enjoy picking the delicate flowers and munching on them while they play in the garden. I add the flowers to my raw salads and as a garnish on my baked salads or sautéed veggies. Heat does damage the flowers and make them wilt and fade so I use the flowers as a garnish and avoid cooking them. The blue flowers will store in a jar or Tupperware container in the fridge for up to a week or candy them to help preserve the flowers and retain their color. The flowers make beautiful decoration on desserts and baked goods.
Benefits of Growing Borage:
Borage is a nourishing plant filled with various vitamin and minerals. It is considered a beneficial women's herb to support reproductive health, pms, menopause, thyroid health, etc. It calms and restores the nervous system and acts as an adrenal tonic to restore exhaustion. It brings a lovely energy to the garden along with the bees and beneficial insects. Borage flowers are high in nectar so they are a good food source to support our depleting bee populations and to encourage the honey supply. Borage was used during ancient wars to manifest bravery and courage so you may hear the phrase, "Borage for Courage" among the herbal community. Whenever I feel the need for some courage and strength, I hang out with my Borage plants and snack on their flowers, embracing the flow of courage from within.  
recipesDIY Recipes to Naturally Care for your Garden
White Willow Bark Rooting Solution/Tea
Gently simmer 1 heaping tsp of willow bark chips per 8 ounces of water, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Allow the infusion to sit until water cools to room temperature (or up to 12 hours for a stronger infusion) before straining and using to soak/water cuttings. Allow cuttings to soak for a minute or two before planting. Store the leftover infusion in the fridge for up to 2 days to use again or water/moisten the starts with it. White willow bark is naturally high in B-vitamins which act as a natural root stimulant.
Kelp Solution (for rooting, foliar spraying & watering)
You can follow the same instructions as above to make your own kelp solution but I find that I use it so often, purchasing an organic kelp concentrate is more convenient for me. I just follow the instructions for making a rooting solution, a foliar spray or watering solution to nourish the plants with trace minerals and help prevent bad insects.
Herbal Compost Tea
Add this tea solution into your compost pile to nourish and activate it or use it as a natural fertilizer when watering your plants.
8 cups fresh nettle (or 4 cups if using dried leaves)
8 cups fresh comfrey leaves (or 4 cups if using dried leaves)
8 cups fresh horsetail needles/stalks (or 4 cups if using dried leaves)
2 cups kelp granules, flakes or powder
Add herbs into a 5-gallon bucket and cover with warm-hot water. Allow the herbs to infuse for 4-8 hours before pouring into your compost or using to water plants. You can ferment the solution by adding air stones which oxygenate the solution and speed fermentation of beneficial bacteria. Store the solution outside and use within 1-2 weeks.
Anti-fungal Baking Soda Garden Spray
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of natural dishwashing liquid (avoid degreasing ingredients which can harm the plants)
1 quart warm water (replace with horsetail tea decoction for added benefits)
Add all ingredients into a spray bottle and mix well. Spray the plant thoroughly, making sure to fully cover the entire plant, especially under the leaves. Repeat every 3 days or as needed to prevent and reduce powdery mildew and wash away insects like aphids.
Horsetail Spray
¼ cup dried horsetail or ½ cup fresh horsetail needles
1 gallon of water
Simmer the horsetail in the water on the stove, covered, for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow it to cool overnight or up to 12 hours. Strain and add ¼-1/2 cup of the horsetail tea into a spray bottle with 12-14 ounces of water. Spray your plants to reduce or prevent various plant fungal diseases including powdery mildew, leaf spots, botrytis, etc. Store excess tea in the fridge or cover and set outside and allow it to ferment while you use it as needed. I also periodically add the horsetail tea into my watering solution for an extra nutrient boost.
Horsetail is high in silica which help strengthen the integrity of the plant cells especially in the early stages of growth. Spraying with a horsetail foliar and can create healthier stems, stalks and leaf structure while improving the plants ability to absorb nutrients and water. When the plants are strong and healthy, they are more resilient and less susceptible to disease and pests.
*If you don't have horsetail you can try using nettle or comfrey, both of which are also great plants to nourish other plants.
Anti-fungal Neem Spray
Use 100% cold pressed organic Neem oil. Gently warm the container in hot water to make the thick neem oil easier to blend (natural separation occurs), pour and mix. A foliar neem spray helps deter harmful insects that eat plants and prevent fungal growth. If you use neem in your watering solution it will absorb into the plant systemically and affect the predatory bugs as they eat the plant to deter them. It can also help reduce insect egg populations in the soil.
1 tbsp of Neem Oil
1 tbsp of a gentle dish soap (avoid degreasers)
1 gallon of warm water
Optional: Add 1 tbsp of baking soda for added benefits against powdery mildew
Pour warm-hot water into a foliar sprayer or container for watering. Add the neem and soap. Soap will help the neem disperse evenly throughout the water. If you still see neem oil floating on the surface, add a little more soap and mix. Repeat until all neem is mixed throughout the water. Add baking soda if needed and shake until mixed well. Spray or water in the cool early morning which is the most optimal time or in early evening. Try to make sure plants can dry before night fall to help prevent rust, rot and mildew while being mindful to avoid the late afternoon sun which can burn the leaves. Some plants may be sensitive to neem oil so test the foliage first by spraying/applying the solution on a leaf and waiting 12-24 hours. If there does not seem to be any damage or burning on the leaves, then your solution should be safe to use. If there is damage you can try a higher dilution or avoid the neem and use other natural deterrents instead.  
Herbal Gardening Resources:
Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs
By: Tammi Tartung
*Zone and specific growing conditions for the plants discussed in this article were referenced from this book. Many of the natural recipes for caring for your garden also have been inspired by the information and recommendations in this book.
The Medicinal Herb Grower (Volume 1)
by Richo Cech
Growing At-risk Medicinal Herbs (Second Edition)
by Richo Cech
Gardening Know How
Has information and considerations for growing herbs and food, naturally treating pest, general gardening tips, soil, composting, building beds, designing your garden and more.
Companion Planting
Here are some charts and lists of companion plants and how they can benefit the garden
Strictly Medicinal Seeds (Horizon Herbs)
Source on the Pacific Northcoast for organic seeds and plant starts
Seed Savers Exchange
Source for organic and heirloom seeds
Herb Society of America
United Plant Savers
A non-profit organization founded by Herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar, which preserves endangered and threatened species of herbs in their wild habitat and creates botanical sanctuaries to preserve the environments for these diminishing botanicals to thrive. They have newsletters and resources to educate others about the importance of growing your herbs, especially the common herbs which are heavily used and becoming endangered in their wild habitat. They also provide free seeds in spring and plant starts in fall for members.
About the Author:
Candice Brunlinger has been studying and practicing herbal healing since 2004. Her interests include incorporating plant medicine as a way of living, making herbal remedies, cooking, growing herbs, gardening, teaching, writing and being a mom. She teaches for the Northwest School of Botanical Studies & Humboldt Herbals, volunteers as a Farm Herbalist, has a small clinical practice and an herbal product line, Herbal Infusions.
You can visit her Nourishing Herbs blog or become a member of her Facebook group Herbal Living .

Humboldt Herbals
300 2nd Street
Eureka, California 95501