Dong quai has a global reputation as one of the most valued herbs for women. As with all adaptogenic herbs, this member of the angelica family strengthens at the same time that it regulates hormones. The seeds can be sown directly onto the soil and then gently pressed in a bit. They should be sown either in early spring or late fall when it is still cold. It likes partial shade. The leaves are edible and have a celery-like flavor. The stems are also edible and taste a bit like licorice. It is the roots that are used medicinally. These are harvested in fall and can be added to soups and casseroles. They have a slight hint of a sweet potato taste. It has lovely flowers late in the season that are attractive to bees and butterflies. Because of the long taproot, think about where you want this planted before you put the seeds into the soil! It can go near a fence or behind other plants. It takes three years for the plant to mature so do not harvest the root until autumn when the roots are 3-4 years old.
Indigo, Wild, 50 seedsBaptisia tinctoria
Hardy to -20°F. Somewhat rare. Scarify seed, soak overnight, plant in warm, sunny, fast draining soil while weather is still warm. Used medicinally by Eclectics for red, swollen membranes.
Cayenne Pepper, 50 seedsCapsicum frutescens
These peppers are native to South America and they are hot! They are usually dried and powdered (wear mask) and used to fire up food and promote circulation. They can also be processed and used medicinally. If you can grow tomatoes, you can grow this prolific producer.
Gotu Kola, organic, 50 seedsCentella asiatica
Gotu kola is a tropical herb but can be grown in temperate climates. It is a ground cover and once established spreads by runners. The germination rate is quite long in temperate climates, but it can be grown in zones 7-11. Known as Brahmi in Ayurvedic medicine, gotu kola holds a place of great honor among the rasayana herbs. It is used to improve memory. It is calming and aids sleep. The leaves can be used in salads or taken medicinally.
Carob, open pollinated, 7 seedsCeratonia siliqua
Carob is Mediterranean plant that likes full sun and fast draining soil. It is not very frost tolerant, but does well in the right place. The seeds should be deeply scarified and dropped in boiled water and then left overnight or longer. The seed needs the water before it will germinate. Plant the seeds 1-2 inches deep. The trees take a long time to mature and one needs both male and female plants so several trees should be planted. Years from planting, the pods can be eaten raw or cooked as a chocolate substitute or as animal fodder.
Lamb's Quarters, 300 seedsChenopodium album
Wild medicinal food. Soft, slightly downy, and mucilaginous leaves, like — high in protein, calcium, and vitamin A. Dried herb good in soups. The seeds are also edible and nutritious and make good bird feed.
Epazote resembles wormwood and the seeds are a potent vermifuge and anti-malarial herb. It can be used to treat hookworm in both people and animals. The leaf is used in cooking, especially of beans, to reduce flatulence. Dried leaves can be used to make a tea. The fresh leaves are a bit resinous but can be added to salads. The plant grows well in waste soil but needs to be kept moist until germination. It grows in zones 4-12 and is perennial in warmer climates. If using in cooking, only a few leaves are required. When used medicinally, do not take in high amounts over a prolonged period of time.
Codonopsis, 200 seedsCodonopsis pilosula
The root is edible but takes 3-4 years to grow. It is called the poor man's ginseng and is often barbequed in Korea. See the article on Kitchen Doctor.
Lemongrass, 50 seedsCymbopogon flexuosus
Lemongrass is a multipurpose plant. It stalks can be eaten, such as in tom kha gai, a delicious Thai soup made with coconut milk and galangal. The stalks can also be dried and used to make tea. The stalks should be whitish at the lower part of the stalk and greener at the top. Lemongrass can also be steam distilled to make essential oil. It is an insect repellent but can be taken internally to aid digestion and relieve jetlag. It is also antifungal and can be applied externally for conditions such as athlete's foot as well as rheumatic complaints. It is hardy to zone 10 but can be brought indoors in the winter in cold climates.
Echinacea or purple cone flower is prairie flower native to North American. It is relatively easy to grow in zones 4-9, even 3-10. It likes cold winters and high elevation, but does all right at sea level also. The plant can reach 4-5 feet in height and flowers from June to October, attracting lots of pollinators. The roots are a famous immune herb and can be harvested in Autumn. These are usually processed into tinctures while fresh. It the tincture does not tingle, the potency is suspect. Echinacea is commonly taken due cold and flu season or at the first sign of infection. Native Americans used it for insect and snake bites as well as on open sores, wounds, and burns. It is antiseptic and many herbalists consider it to be an adaptogen.
Licorice, organic, 30 seedsGlycyrrhiza glabra
Licorice is perhaps one of the truest adaptogenic herbs. It is used in countless Chinese formulas as well as many Ayurvedic ones. It is also used as a natural sweetener and is sometimes added to herbal preparations to mask the taste of other herbs, but the real benefit is that it protects against allergic reactions. The plant has lilac flowers, and the roots can be harvested in the autumn after two to four years. They are quite fibrous. Usually, they are sliced and dried. If extracting, use water first and add the alcohol later.
This plant, despite its name, is actually Japanese, but it is found from the north of China to Vietnam. It is a climbing vine and tolerates extreme cold. It is an antioxidant and is adaptogenic. The leaves are used to make tea that tastes a bit like nettles, and those who drink it say it promotes longevity. It is used to lower cholesterol and blood pressure as well as to relieve hangovers. It is also reported to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Called Yu-xing-cao in Chinese, is an herbaceous perennial that is both frost tolerant and edible. It is easy to grow and will tolerate temperatures to -20F. It is native to Asia, extending from Nepal to Thailand to the Korean Peninsula and islands of Japan. As a culinary herb, it is used to avoid degenerative diseases, but traditionally, it is regarded mainly as a lung herb. It is slightly pungent in taste and clears thick mucus from the lungs, but it is detoxifying enough to be considered with snake bites as well. The essential oil has been used in China to treat AIDS and gram negative bacteria such as bartonella, a co-infection of Lyme disease. The leaves can be eaten in salads or dried and powdered to make decoctions or fill capsules. The roots are also edible.
Dan Shen, organic, 30 seedsSalvia miltiorrhiza
This red sage is a perennial native to Manchuria and Japan where its medicinal value is much appreciated. It is hardy to zone 7. The flowers are bluish-lavender but the roots are very red which is how the plant got its botanical name. As one might expect, Dan Shen improves blood flow, but what is important is that it does this without stimulating the adrenals. It is also used to prevent strokes. The chemical constituent that is believed to explain this action is an antioxidant called salvianolic acid. Dan shen seeds should be planted in spring in full sun in temperate zones. The root is harvested in autumn and is the part that is used medicinally.
Figwort, organic, 300 seedsScrophularia nodosa
Figwort has tiny flowers that bloom for months and months. It is hardy at least to zone 7 and is very easy to grow. It is much loved by bees and is a powerful medicinal herb, working mainly on the lymphatic system. It is both a parasiticide and blood cleanser and can be taken internally or used topically as an ointment for skin diseases.
Sophora flavescens is native to China and Japan and is tolerant of extremely cold temperatures. It grows very well with sea buckthorn and can be used on slopes to hold the soil. It is a very important herb in Chinese medicine and has been used in everything from hair growth formulas to viral hepatitis, heart arrythmias, and cancer. It grows around five feet high and the roots can be harvested in spring or fall. They can be consumed raw or dried and used later to make medicine.
Chickweed, 100 seedsStellaria media
This makes an excellent ground cover and grows easily right up to the Arctic. It is rich in saponins and vitamins and makes a splendid tonic.
Cancer Bush, 20 seedsSutherlandia frutescens
Cancer Bush is native to the southern parts of Africa where it is a perennial. Though often used as a panacea for everything from the common cold to AIDS and cancer, it is actually a tonic herb, albeit one with antitumoral properties. The dried leaves and stems are used internally. This plant is very drought tolerant and requires little care; it does not however like frost. Scarify the seeds with medium sandpaper and sow in warm soil 3 feet apart in sunny area.