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The Big E 
By Jen L. Jones 

Well here we are - officially an E-Zine, all E-Published and E-Bullient! 

Welcome to all our new visitors from around the world and to all our old friends from Canada and the United States. 

These are truly exciting times for communications and publishing and we are pleased to be a part of it all. But even more importantly, we are pleased to be a part of the herbal field - that area of interest which centres around those powerful plants that we humans use for teas, medicines, ornamentals, flavourings, and crafting. 

The herbal field is something like publishing - it’s been around a long, long time, but is constantly changing. We will bring you these fresh and new ideas for gardening and crafting, news from around the world, event listings, business updates, and articles on health and cooking with herbs. But just as this new electronic medium won’t mean goodbye to the printed page, the exciting new world of herbal discoveries doesn’t mean an end to the delight and pleasure found in the old, traditional uses of herbs. And so we will continue to bring you articles on history and folklore, where you may read about fairy gardens and witches’ brews, alongside press releases from medical journals announcing the "new found" efficacy for some herbal treatment. Ah, the versatility of herbs! 

In this our first issue you will read about "Rose, our Herb of the Year 2002," Susun Weed’s article "Using Herbs Simply and Safely," the herbal surprise in cola, and herbal news from Paraguay and Israel. And for those who wish, you are invited to read my one time only (I promise) rant, "Paddling our own Canoe."  

I extend the warmest of welcomes to you all. 


MASS PLACEBO EFFECT OR AUTHENTIC MEDICINE:  
       DO HERBAL REMEDIES REALLY WORK?
Of all the issues swirling around the growing interest in herbal remedies, one question surfaces again and again: Do herbal remedies really work?  

Unfortunately neither "Yes" nor "No" are satisfactory answers. Few issues can be seen in terms of black or white; this is especially true in the case of herbal remedies. 

Every day around the globe, herbal remedies are in common usage - but whether the user is aware or not that they are using a herbal remedy is another matter. Hospitals, pharmacies, homes, restaurants, nightclubs, and schools all provide us with examples of herbs in use. Whether you could classify all these instances as examples of "herbal remedies" in use is not too clear, for here is another complication - what is the definition of "herbal remedy"?  
"Does tossing dandelion leaves into one’s salad  
constitute using a herbal remedy?"

Is a herbal remedy a plant-based prescription (such as digitalis from the foxglove used in cases of congestive heart failure, or colchicine from the autumn crocus used in cases of gout)? Or is it Aunt Mary’s steaming infusion of spirit-lifting lemon balm or the dentist’s use of clove oil to relieve tooth pain? Must a herbal remedy come in a labelled bottle and be purchased at the herbalist’s or the pharmacy? Does tossing dandelion leaves (which act as a diuretic) into one’s salad constitute using a herbal remedy? What of drinking hawthorn leaf tea (a heart regulator) daily as is commonly done in Germany? 

Morphine, caffeine, marijuana, codeine, peppermint, gripe water, heroin, tea, ginseng, pepper (and pepper spray!), ephedrine, cayenne, cocaine - these are all herbs or herb-derived substances or products in daily use across North America and around the world. Sometimes these are obtained by prescription, sometimes from the local grocery, sometimes from the wild. They are used sometimes for pain-relief, sometimes for relaxation, sometimes for pleasure. Sometimes they are legal, sometimes not.  

If these herbs and herbally-derived substances don’t "work," then why the continuing usage, in some cases for millennia? It’s hard to believe that the placebo effect could be that far-reaching and long-lasting. 

Much clinical research substantiates the claims of herbal efficacy. Currently the benefits of Echinacea, Gingko, and St. John’s Wort are being recognized by the medical profession. But the total picture is not a simple scenario. 

"Does one approach herbal remedies cautiously or confidently?"
Do herbs work for all people? No. Do they work all the time? No. Are herbs safe? Sometimes. How safe? It depends. Are herbs dangerous? Sometimes. How dangerous? It depends. Does one approach herbal remedies cautiously or confidently? It depends. 

The answers depend on a host of factors: which herb is being used, which part of the herb (root, leaf, flower - the active ingredient is found in varying proportions in different areas of the plant), the plant’s potency (the natural, inherent vigour of the plant which is a result of its genetics and its growing conditions), the form in which the herb is taken (tincture, infusion, capsule, etc.), the dosage of the herbal remedy consumed, the specific condition for which it is being taken, the severity of the condition being treated, the length of time consumed, and a host of other factors. Some even say that one’s state of mind when taking a herbal remedy is a crucial factor, and others might even swear that the brand name makes a critical difference!  

"If herbs are useless as some maintain,  
then why the need to legislate and protect the public?" 
The Canadian and American governments are currently attempting to regulate the herbal industry, standardize the products, and no doubt regain control over these powerful plants. If herbs are useless as some maintain, then why the need to legislate and protect the public? If herbs are dangerous as others maintain, then why are recorded fatalities due to herbal usage in North America practically nil per year, whereas the prescription drug industry regularly accounts for many thousands of deaths per year? 

Obviously there is an element to the word "herbal" which inspires distrust. For example, the Canadian government recently advised the public to be cautious when using kava, an ancient South Seas herb used to promote relaxation. The reason given was that twenty-four of cases of liver damage and one death had been attributed to this herb in a study in Europe. Compared to the number of cases of liver damage and death which can be attributed to alcohol, the kava figures seem minuscule, yet governmental cautions on the use of alcohol are scarce. 

Just remember: Herbal remedies can range from mild to extremely powerful but their effects depend upon many factors. Yes, indeed they "work" but how any specific herb will affect you can’t be determined ahead of time. Use common sense and do a little reading before trying any herbal remedy; that way, you and your chosen herb can "work" together. 

                                                                                         Jen L. Jones 
 


ROSE: OUR HERB OF YEAR 2002!

Perhaps surprising to some, puzzling to others, our unconventional choice for herb of the year can hardly be disputed. Read on: 

We've chosen the rose, Rosa, as our Herb of the Year 2002. Beautiful and beautifying, medicinal,  romantic, nourishing, both common and rare, found wild and cultivated around the world - what better choice could there be?  The adaptable rose can be used in teas, sauces, flavouring, vinegars, mouthwashes, perfumes, cosmetic oils and ointments, syrups, and jellies. Blooming in a fountain of colour from deep black-red  to snow white, the rose is the undisputed Queen of Flowers - why not make her the Queen of Herbs too? 

With over one hundred species of rose and thousands of varieties, there's sometimes confusion with names and taxonomy, but no one has trouble identifying that glorious flower called the rose. Of course, Shakespeare's Juliet expressed it well: 

What's in a name? That which we call a rose 
Would by any other name smell as sweet. 

Roses and memories seem made for each other.  Who doesn't have a sweet or sad rose saturated memory from somewhere in their past?  

Regardless of the myth and meaning surrounding roses, we have all personally ascribed our own feelings to roses.  Just think back to those marker points of your life and you won't have any trouble finding the rose.  Remember the pink rose corsage with streaming silver ribbons of prom night, the Valentine's gift of a dozen American Beauties, the crimson roses carried down the aisle on a white Bible, the anniversary bouquet of cream and yellow blooms, and the single red rose on the casket? 

But not all rose memories involve cut flowers and vases. 

In post-war Britain, when food shortages and sugar rationing were still in effect, chocolates and candies, or "sweeties" as we called them, could only be obtained by coupon. Anything sugary was a real treat. In the midst of this austerity came a sweet surprise from the National Health Office - free bottles of rosehip syrup provided for families with children.  I was one of those children and I remember that I liked this syrup which came in a clear glass bottle - it was ruby red, pleasant tasting and sweet! The plan behind this generosity was to ensure that British children, most of whom lived on plain post-war diets of fish and tatties (potatoes), broth and neeps (turnips),  had enough vitamin C in their diets. It had been discovered in the 1940s that rosehips were an excellent source of vitamin C and somehow the government found enough sugar in their rationed stores to sweeten the tart flavour of the rosehips. What did I know of vitamin C then? Nothing - but with a child's fond remembrances, I recollect that I regarded rosehip syrup on a par with the elixir of the gods, right up there with potato crisps and Smarties. 
 

The roses poignantly said it all.
Another rose memory for me is captured in a photograph from the 1970s of my grandmother in Scotland and my two eldest daughters, at ages five and two, clad in crocheted pink ponchos.  My grandmother was kneeling on the grass by a tall rose bush, its arching branches heavy with fuschia coloured blooms, while behind the bush was a sombre grey stone wall over top of which could be seen the cold and dark waters of the North Sea.  Wearing a pink housedress the colour of the blooms behind her, my grandmother had her arms warmly wrapped around my two little girls. The roses poignantly said it all. 

Living here at the edge of a woodland, I find wild pasture roses growing everywhere.  They often volunteer in my garden and I'm reluctant to remove them all. Sometimes, I  pamper one and let it grow up among the hosta and ajuga groundcover. Its blossom to me is just as sweet as the showiest hybrid tea. I'm also in love with a somewhat craggy and unkempt Rosa rugosa which I planted fifteen years ago. For my scant attention, this Asian native showers me with fragrant cerise flowers. At first I dried these and used them in winter pot pourris, but lately I have discovered a better use. The dried petals go into my winter teas, my favourite blend being mint and rose. 

Canada Post last year issued a collectors' series of four rose stamps which are available until July 31, 2002. The chosen varieties represent the four pure main rose colours (white, red, pink, yellow) and all have historical roots in Quebec, Ontario, the Prairie provinces and British Columbia. Although Canada Post makes reference to the rose's use by ancient Romans and Greeks as medicine and food, it implies that modern uses are limited to perfume, love symbols, beauty and artistic inspiration.  Now these are powerful uses I admit, but I would suggest that Canada Post is a little behind the times. Our future rose articles will show how "Everything old is new again" in the world of roses. 

The rose does symbolize beauty and love, but there is a dark side to the rose -  its thorn, a sharp deterrent to browsing animals and careless human hands. Blossom and thorn side by side have also come to symbolize life's ironies which along with the pathos of the rose's too exquisite short-lived beauty are often expressed by poets: 

ROSELEAF  
A little while the rose,  
And after that the thorn;  
An hour of dewy morn,  
And then the glamour goes.  
Ah, love in beauty born,  
A little while the rose!  
                               - Unknown 

In our future issues, we will touch on all aspects of the rose - its use in food, crafting, medicine, and cosmetics, its place in the garden, and the folklore and historical associations of this the most romantic of herbs.

 


Are herbs "dilute forms of drugs" — and therefore dangerous? Or are they "natural" — and therefore safe? What is the "right" answer? It depends on the herb! These thoughts on herbs will help you understand how safe--or dangerous-- any herb might be. 

To prevent problems when selling or using herbs: 

1. Be certain you have the correct plant.  

2. Use simples. 

3. Understand that different preparations of the same herb can work differently. 

4. Use nourishing, tonifying, stimulating, and potentially poisonous herbs wisely.  

Be certain you have the correct plant 

One of the easiest ways to get into trouble with an herb is to use the "wrong" one. How could that happen? Common names for herbs overlap, causing confusion as to the proper identity. Herbs that are labeled correctly may contain extraneous material from another, more dangerous, herb. Herbs may be picked at the wrong stage of growth or handled incorrectly after harvesting, causing them to develop detrimental qualities.  

Protect yourself with these simple steps: 

Buy herbs only from reputable suppliers.  

Only buy herbs that are labeled with their botanical name. Botanical names are specific, but the same common name can refer to several different plants. "Marigold" can be Calendula officinalis, a medicinal herb, or Tagetes, an annual used as a bedding plant.  

If you grow the herbs you use, be meticulous about keeping different plants separate when you harvest and dry them, and obsessive about labeling. 

Use simples 

A simple is one herb. For optimum safety, I prepare, buy, sell, teach about and use herbal simples, that is:preparations containing only one herb. (Occasionally I use will add some mint to flavor a remedy.) 

The more herbs there are in a formula, the more likelihood there is of unwanted side-effects. Understandably, the public seeks combinations, hoping to get more for less. And many mistakenly believe that herbs must be used together to be effective (probably because potentially poisonous herbs are often combined with protective herbs to mitigate the damage they cause). But combining herbs with the same properties, such as goldenseal and echinacea, is counter-productive and more likely to cause trouble than a simple. A simple tincture of echinacea is more effective than any combination and much safer.) 

Different people have different reactions to substances, whether drugs, foods, or herbs. When herbs are mixed together in a formula and someone taking it has distressing side effects, there is no way to determine which herb is the cause. With simples, it's easy to tell which herb is doing what. If there's an adverse reaction, other herbs with similar properties can be tried. Limiting the number of herbs used in any one day (to no more than four) offers added protection. 

Side effects from herbs are less common than side effects from drugs and usually less severe. If an herb disturbs the digestion, it may be that the body is learning to process it. Give it a few more tries before giving up. Stop taking any herb that causes nausea, dizziness, sharp stomach pains, diarrhea, headache, or blurred vision. (These effects will generally occur quite quickly.) Slippery elm is an excellent antidote to any type of poison. 

If you are allergic to any foods or medicines, it is especially important to consult resources that list the side effects of herbs before you use them. Understand that different preparations of the same herb can work differently 

The safety of any herbal remedy is dependent on the way it is prepared and used.  

Tinctures and extracts contain the alkaloids, or poisonous, parts of plants and need to be used with care and wisdom. Tinctures are as safe as the herb involved (see cautions below for tonifying, stimulating, sedating, or potentially poisonous herbs). Best used/sold as simples, not combinations, especially when strong herbs are being used. 

Dried herbs made into teas or infusions contain the nourishing aspects of the plants and are usually quite safe, especially when nourishing or tonifying herbs are used.  

Dried herbs in capsules are generally the least effective way to use herbs. They are poorly digested, poorly utilized, often stale or ineffective, and quite expensive. 

Infused herbal oils are available as is, or thickened into ointments. They are much safer than essential oils, which are highly concentrated and can be lethal if taken internally.  

Herbal vinegars are not only decorative but mineral-rich as well. They are a good medium for nourishing and tonifying herbs and not as strong as tinctures for stimulants/sedatives. 

Herbal glycerins are available for those who prefer to avoid alcohol but they are usually weaker in action than tinctures.  

Use nourishing, tonifying, stimulating, and potentially poisonous herbs wisely 

Herbs comprise a group of several thousand plants with widely varying actions. Some are nourishers, some tonifiers, some stimulants and sedatives, and some are potential poisons. To use them wisely and well, we need to understand each category, its uses, best manner of preparation, and usual dosage range.  

Nourishing herbs are the safest of all herbs; side effects are rare. Nourishing herbs are taken in any quantity for any length of time. They are used as foods, just like spinach and kale. Nourishing herbs provide high levels of proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carotenes, and essential fatty acids. Examples of nourishing herbs are: alfalfa, amaranth, astragalus, calendula flowers, chickweed, comfrey leaves, dandelion, fenugreek, flax seeds, honeysuckle flowers, lamb’s quarter, marshmallow, nettles, oatstraw, plantain (leaves/seeds), purslane, red clover blossoms, seaweed, Siberian ginseng, slippery elm, violet leaves, and wild mushrooms.  

Tonifying herbs act slowly in the body and have a cumulative, rather than immediate, effect. They build the functional ability of an organ (like the liver) or a system (like the immune system). Tonifying herbs are most beneficial when they are used in small quantities for extended periods of time. The more bitter the tonic tastes, the less you need to take. Bland tonics may be used in quantity, like nourishing herbs. 

Side effects occasionally occur with tonics, but are usually quite short-term. Many older herbals mistakenly equated stimulating herbs with tonifying herbs, leading to widespread misuse of many herbs, and severe side effects. Examples of tonifying herbs are: barberry bark, burdock root/seeds, chaste tree, crone(mug)wort, dandelion root, echinacea, elecampane, fennel, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, ground ivy, hawthorn berries, horsetail, lady’s mantle, lemon balm, milk thistle seeds, motherwort, mullein, pau d’arco, raspberry leaves, schisandra berries, St. John’s wort, turmeric root, usnea, wild yam, and yellow dock.  

Sedating and stimulating herbs cause a variety of rapid reactions, some of which may be unwanted. Some parts of the person may be stressed in order to help other parts. Strong sedatives and stimulants, whether herbs or drugs, push us outside our normal ranges of activity and may cause strong side effects. If we rely on them and then try to function without them, we wind up more agitated (or depressed) than before we began. Habitual use of strong sedatives and stimulants—whether opium, rhubarb root, cayenne, or coffee—leads to loss of tone, impairment of functioning, and even physical dependency. The stronger the herb, the more moderate the dose needs to be, and the shorter the duration of its use.  

Herbs that tonify and nourish while sedating/stimulating are some of my favorite herbs. I use them freely, as they do not cause dependency. Sedating/stimulating herbs that also tonify or nourish are boneset, catnip, citrus peel, cleavers, ginger, hops, lavender, marjoram, motherwort, oatstraw, passion flower, peppermint, rosemary,sage, skullcap. 

Strongly sedating/stimulating herbs include: angelica, black pepper, blessed thistle root, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, licorice, opium poppy, osha root, shepherd’s purse, sweet woodruff, turkey rhubarb root, uva ursu leaves, valerian root, wild lettuce sap, willow bark, and wintergreen leaves. 

Potentially poisonous herbs are intense, potent medicines that are taken in tiny amounts and only for as lon as needed. Side effects are common. Examples of potentially poisonous herbs are: belladonna, blood-root, celandine, chaparral, foxglove, goldenseal, henbane, iris root, Jimson weed, lobelia, May apple (American mandrake), mistletoe, poke root, poison hemlock, stillingia root, turkey corn root, wild cucumber root. 

In addition, consider these thoughts on using herbs safely: 
Respect the power of plants to change the body and spirit in dramatic ways. 
Increase trust in the healing effectiveness of plants by trying remedies  
for minor or external problems before, or while,  
working with major and internal problems.  
Develop ongoing relationships with knowledgeable healers— 
in person or in books—who are interested in herbal medicine. 
Honor the uniqueness of every plant, every person, every situation.  
Remember that each person becomes whole and  
healed in their own unique way, at their own speed. People, 
plants, and animals can help in this process.  
But it is the body/spirit that does the healing.  
Don’t expect plants to be cure-alls.

 



THE GREAT GIVEAWAY: THE POWER OF SECRET HERBS
Good ideas are worth money. So why are hard headed operators giving them away for free? Read on and learn how the herbs in this secret cola recipe symbolize a growing resistance to corporate power. 

IF YOU'VE BEEN to a computer show in recent months you might have seen it: a shiny silver drinks can with a ring-pull logo and the words "opencola" on the side. Inside is a fizzy drink that tastes very much like Coca-Cola. Or is it Pepsi? 

There's something else written on the can, though, which sets the drink apart. It says "check out the source at opencola.com". Go to that Web address and you'll see something that's not available on Coca-Cola's website, or Pepsi's--the recipe for cola. For the first time ever, you can make the real thing in your own home. 

The surprising combination of eight essential oils listed here prove once again the power of herbs in more ways than one.  Neroli? Lavender? Cassia? Who would have though that they would be found in this "cool" drink for the hip generation?  

Here are some of the popular uses /actions associated with each of the essential oils in this OpenCola recipe: 

Orange - depression, tonic, nervous tension 
Lemon - oily skincare (acne), poor circulation, asthma relief 
Nutmeg - bacterial infections, arthritis, nervous fatigue 
Cassia - (powdered bark) toothpastes, mouthwash, common cold 
Coriander - colds, colic, migraine, neuralgia, nervous exhaustion, muscle aches 
Neroli (Orange Blossom) - anxiety, depression, tonic (cardiac), shock, stress related conditions 
Lime - fevers, colds, infections 
Lavender - depression, anxiety, migraine, insomnia, shock, vertigo, halitosis 

The magic which results from this blending of flavours produces that cola taste we all know and which is in demand around the world. Once a highly guarded secret, the recipe is now on the Internet. 

OpenCola is the world's first "open source" consumer product. By calling it open source, its manufacturer is saying that instructions for making it are freely available. Anybody can make the drink, and anyone can modify and improve on the recipe as long as they, too, release their recipe into the public domain. As a way of doing business it's rather unusual--the Coca-Cola Company doesn't make a habit of giving away precious commercial secrets. But that's the point. 

"growing opposition to corporate power,  
restrictive intellectual property rights and globalization"
OpenCola is the most prominent sign yet that a long-running battle between rival philosophies in software development has spilt over into the rest of the world. What started as a technical debate over the best way to debug computer programs is developing into a political battle over the ownership of knowledge and how it is used, between those who put their faith in the free circulation of ideas and those who prefer to designate them "intellectual property". No one knows what the outcome will be. But in a world of growing opposition to corporate power, restrictive intellectual property rights and globalization, open source is emerging as a possible alternative, a potentially potent means of fighting back. And you're helping to test its value right now. 

And so the experiment goes on. As a contribution to it, New Scientist [where this article originally appeared] has agreed to issue this article under a copyleft. That means you can copy it, redistribute it, reprint it in whole or in part, and generally play around with it as long as you, too, release your version under a copyleft and abide by the other terms and conditions in the licence.

One reason for doing so is that by releasing it under a copyleft, we can print the recipe for OpenCola without violating its copyleft. If nothing else, that demonstrates the power of the copyleft to spread itself. But there's another reason, too: to see what happens from this the first magazine article issued under a copyleft. Who knows what the outcome will be? Perhaps the article will disappear without a trace. Perhaps it will be photocopied, redistributed, re-edited, rewritten, cut and pasted onto websites, handbills and articles all over the world. I don't know--but that's the point. It's not up to me any more. The decision belongs to all of us. 







The WORLD of HERBS 

HerbsParaguay 

LEARNING FROM THE GUARANÍ 

Growing wild in the highlands of land-locked Paraguay is found a small perennial shrub which produces the sweetest substance on earth. This shrub, once found only there, is rapidly becoming much more widely known and cultivated for this sweet essence which is harvested from its leaves. 

The plant, which grows to be one metre tall and bears leaves two to three centimetres long, is called Khaa Jeé by the natives.  It is more commonly known as stevia Stevia rebaudiana or by its common names of "sweet leaf of Paraguay" or "honey yerba." Since pre-Columbian times the indigenous peoples of this area have collected stevia  from the rainforests to use as a sweetener, to treat diabetes, hypertension, and to keep skin looking young.  

In the 16th century the Spaniards noted this mysterious plant, but it wasn't until 1889 that the first studies were done by botanist M. S. Bertoni. He "discovered" stevia after seeing its use by Guaraní natives, and his studies showed that stevia is 200-400 times sweeter than sugar - but has no negative side effects.  

In the early 1900s stevia was being widely used throughout Paraguay, and had earned the attention of other countries.  By 1941 it was being grown in Britain as a sweetener to combat the shortages brought on by the Second World War.  In the mid 1950s the Japanese started growing stevia and by the 1970s, after extensive studies, they began marketing it as an alternative to aspartame.  Today, health conscious Japan is one of the world's largest users of stevia, although stevia is widely used in other countries as well.  It is used in Japan in gum, diet soda and in a large multitude of other products. 

Studies now show that stevia's benefits include: pancreas nourishment, blood sugar regulation, stabilization of high blood pressure, digestive aid, prevention of tooth and gum decay, suppression of cravings, safe for diabetics and candida sufferers and as a great weight loss aid: the native Guaraní knew their stevia well! 
                                                                                                                     - Jolene Oliver 
                                                                                                  
Herbs Israel 

BRITISH ROOTS and a LOVE of HERBS 

What do Earl Grey tea and an Israeli kibbutz have in common? British roots and a love of herbs. 

Here Roy Bouskila, Managing Director of the Medicinal Herb branch of Galilee Herbal Remedies, explains how a group of British pioneers established this Israeli kibbutz  which specializes in growing medicinal herbs. 

Galilee Herbal Remedies is owned by Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi.situated near the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The Kibbutz society is a unique economic and social structure encompassing a co-operative economic system with a family-based social structure. All means of production are jointly owned, and a fully democratic system ensures that each member has equal rights.  

In 1989, the Kibbutz set up a Research Station for the growing and processing of medicinal herbs. The aim of the project is to grow high potency, certified-organic, kosher medicinal herbs and Galilee Herbal Remedies has achieved worldwide recognition, following the development of its highest potency feverfew herb. No genetic engineering or chemicals are used. The high  potency is achieved by encouraging the plant to naturally increase its level of active ingredients, by using organic farming methods - the way nature intended. 

Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi is situated thirty kilometers from Tiberias. It was established in 1948 by a group of thirty English pioneers from Britain. They were all members of a Jewish youth movement called Habonim (the builders). Today there are over three hundred members, including many third generation families. We still have a very English atmosphere about us, despite of the fact that only half the members are English born: On a typical Saturday afternoon, if you take a walk around the Kibbutz, you will often hear the BBC World Service football commentary, blasting from members' radios, as they sit on their manicured lawns, drinking (what else) Earl Grey Tea!! 

Most members still have family in England, and there is a constant flow of visitors to and from the homeland. When The British Zionist Federation wished to build a park in memory of Lord Sief, of Marks and Spencers, they approached Kfar Hanassi to be the site for the project, which was completed ten years ago. 

Harry and Brenda Smith are an unlikely couple to be found in Israel, yet totally at home at Kfar Hanassi. They have broad English country accents a result of having lived in Leicester for most of their lives. Harry was a warehouseman for Marks and Spencers for twenty years, and Brenda was an expert gardener, with a special love for medicinal herbs. But their heart was always in Israel. As soon as they retired they moved to a small town near Kfar Hanassi, where they quickly made friends with many Kibbutz members. Ten years ago they began working as volunteers in the Kibbutz medicinal plant research centre. Since then they never looked back -  nor did Galilee Herbal Remedies. The Smith's know-how has been invaluable. Without them we would probably still be growing cotton or peanuts, instead of being the number one supplier of high potency feverfew in the world! 

I was born in Wellwyn Garden City in 1956 and I came to Israel in 1974 as a member of Habonim. After three years army service (the best absorption center in Israel!!), I moved to Kfar Hanassi, where I  met my future wife, Dalya, who is now a registered nurse. We have three boys, Shani aged 17 and Alon, 15 and Adi - aged 3 - a very welcome late arrival! 

After ten years working in Agriculture, as manager of the field crops, I was made Managing Director of the Medicinal Herb branch. We were very lucky: Just at that time the whole awareness of alternative medicine and medicinal plants was undergoing a revival, which is still in progress today. That together with the rising numbers of migraine suffers in the Western World (for an unknown reason - some say due to processed food and artificial sweeteners) we found a ready market for our migraine and arthritis medicinal herb - feverfew. 

The plant feverfew Tanacetum parthenium has been used for over four hundred years for various ailments, including: reducing fever (hence the name) and vertigo, and as an insecticide and more. (By the way, the story goes that one doctor fell off the Parthenon, in Greece, and used feverfew to relieve his headache, hence the name: parthenium.) It was only in the late 1970s that its possible use as a preventative for migraine became apparent, when Dr. Stuart Johnson, of a London migraine clinic, heard that numerous people were chewing the fresh leaves of feverfew and reporting remarkable alleviation of their migraine symptoms 

Recently, the Canadian Authorities granted high potency feverfew a full medicinal licence.  Galilee Herbal Remedies is the exclusive supplier of this high potency herb.  So far, we have no competition in terms of the quality of our plant. With Harry and Brenda's help, and our own expertise, we hope to keep it that way. 

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Through the Grapevine 

Snippets of Herbal Insights   with Janette Oliver-Rodgers

Spring is just around the corner! I can't wait to get back in the garden. And I've only killed about half of my rosemary plants this winter. Well, that's up from last year! It seems funny how once inside - these potted herbs seems to be more apart of my housekeeping than anything else. But once placed in the garden they become a joy and I could spend hours tending to them.  

Last summer, here in southern Ontario we experienced a terribly hot, dry summer like most of North America and most plants succumbed to the elements. Weeks and weeks of no rain and scorching humid weather took its toll. Some plants withered away and others quickly turned into pathetic little parcels of seed. Drought resistant herbs such as in the silver garden spent most days wilted and wimpy in the sun. This spring we will find out the real level of damage that was done. It will be interesting to see which herbs will return and which ones probably won't. We will be putting more energy into the herbs and perennials that are more likely to survive a hot season. The garden is hardly enjoyable when every spare moment is spent watering!
 
 

Biscotti is a most versatile biscuit recipe that can be used to create special gifts and flavourful accompaniments to serving coffee or hot chocolate. Just as coffee and hot chocolate are compatable  
with many flavours, so too is the biscotti biscuit. For an added touch, dip the ends in melted chocolate and place on wax paper to set. Biscotti will keep for weeks in a tin or jar. You may experiment with different 
nuts and the addition of dried fruits in combination with white and milk chocolates, which chunks could also be added to the dough. 

When using lavender for culinary purposes, use a sweet scented variety such as an English or French variety.  Dried flowers can be crushed and added to a multitude of recipes. 

Makes about two dozen. 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Sift together the flour, sugar, instant coffee, 
baking soda and salt into a bowl; set aside. In another bowl, blend the eggs and vanilla extract with an electric mixer for half a minute.  On low speed mix in the dry mixture until a stiff dough forms, adding the hazelnuts and lavender. 

On a floured surface divide the dough in half. Form each half into a log 12 inches long.  Roll the dough back and forth into a cylinder shape with floured hands to make the log shape. Transfer the logs to the baking sheet, spacing them well apart (width-wise on the pan) as they will expand. Pat to smooth the shapes. Bake 35-40 minutes until almost firm to the touch. 
Remove from the oven, place on wire rack, and let cool 
for 10 minutes. Carefully transfer the logs to a cutting board. Using a bread knife cut the dough into slices 1 inch thick on the diagonal. Arrange the slices 
cut-side down on the baking sheet. Bake for another 15-20 minutes at 300 degrees F. Turn the slices over and bake another 15-20 minutes. Biscuits should be crisp and dry. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.  

More wonderful recipes coming soon!

Ingredients: 
2 cups of all purpose flour 

1 cup packed brown sugar 
2 tsp instant coffee (granules) 
1 tsp baking soda 
1/4 tsp salt 
3 med. eggs 
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract 
2 tsp crushed lavender buds 
1 cup hazelnuts (crushed and toasted)