2016 Herb Farm in Chicago — Part 3

First, permit me to introduce our diligent Japanese farmers from 2016, the Miyazaki twins — Kouta and Keita.


They deserve most of the credit for all of the hard work evident in the photos to follow.twins-1

Next, the continuation of the 2016 herb growing season narrative…

Being a cold hardy flowering plant, 275 calendula seedlings (Calendula officinalis) could be safely planted at the same time that the Krishna Tulasi seedlings were getting started in the greenhouse. The photos below were taken on the same day as those posted yesterday.

We grew calendula for its bright orange flowers, intending to use them both in our herbal soaps as well as for their medicinal properties. The oil of calendula flowers is used by herbalists as an anti-inflammatory and a remedy for healing wounds. Calendula is also used topically as an antiseptic and for treating acne, controlling bleeding, and soothing irritated tissue.

The plants quickly took to the rich Midwestern soil and developed a bright green color.

After sprouting 700 ashwagandha plants (Withania somnifera) in the greenhouse, the Japanese farmers began planting them in the field in late May. This herb is a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine, which primarily uses the root, but also the berries and leaves for topical treatment of tumors, tubercular glands, carbuncles, and ulcers. It is also used in Yemen, where the roots are used in the treatment of burns and wounds. A lot of research has been performed on this plant to confirm its active chemical constituents, some of which are found exclusively in the ashwagandha plant itself.

Here is a young ashwagandha plant in our field.

One well known Western herb is Sage (Salvia officinalis), which has been used in the Western world since antiquity. The Greeks were aware of its medicinal properties at least as early as the 4th century BCE, and Pliny of the 1st AD century refers to its use in the Roman empire. In modern herbalism, some refer to studies that have demonstrated that sage extracts can facilitate improved memory and alertness, as well as improved cognitive and behavioral function in Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Below is pictured a young Sage plant, shadowed by a thistle plant…

Another traditional Chinese medicinal plant recommended to us was Dang Shen (Codonopsis pilosula). As with many of the other herbs, it is the roots that are used as medicine, and are said to build chi and tonify the blood. (Dang Shen seedling below)

More to come…

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