Mindful Nature Experiences

Donate to help me offer more mindful nature walks.

The fee for my walks don’t cover the cost of preparation and time it takes to lead them. Your donation helps to support this offering to the community and makes it more sustainable. Thank you!


Holli Richey, Clinical Herbalist, MS, MAT, MSW
Holli Richey teaching the medicinal and edible properties of Southern plants.
  • Tuning into your senses
  • Breathing it all in
  • Being present and aware of what you notice
  • Becoming plant literate, familiarizing yourself with plants: native & non-native; naturalized & invasive; medicinal, edible & toxic
  • Empowered to prepare and eat herbs and wild foods

Class Schedule for 2022:

April 19 – May 24, Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Class, 6 weeks, Tuesdays 6:30-8pm. In-person, limited to 10 participants, at 513 E Main St., Chattanooga, TN. Register by 4/15. $150

Class Schedule for 2021:

Only one Mindfulness in Nature event occurred in 2021. It was a guided Forest Bathing walk on the Spring Equinox at Rising Fawn Gardens. Stay tuned (subscribe) to hear about future Mindful Nature Experiences in 2022.

Class Schedule for 2020:

2020 had lots of great walks and backpacking trips planned for the Spring Ephemeral Season. You can read about what was planned in the blog posts. It was a stunning Spring Ephemeral season experienced in solitude or with only a few people.

Class Schedule for 2019:

I will not be teaching or leading plant walks that much this year due to personal reasons: work-life balance, work with individual clients, self-care, and tending to home and family.

April 6-7, Spring Renewal Self-Acceptance Retreat, Johnson Woods Lodge in McDonald, TN near Cleveland. An overnight, nature-based retreat for women who have survived trauma, led by Holli Richey and Bonnie Cretton. Bonnie is the founder of Woodsong Forest School. Experiences include, Forest Bathing (mindful walk in nature opening senses to nature’s elements to calm and soothe our mind and body), gentle yoga, herbal identification walks, herbal tea blends, meditation. Meals are included. Lodge setting, but must bring linens, yoga mat, comfortable outdoor clothing. Space is limited. Register with Holli by March 25th, 423-240-4578.

April 12-14, Mid-South Wise Women’s Gathering, Mentone, AL. Intensive on Friday, Herbs for Self-Love.


Class Schedule for 2018:

April 20-22, Mid-South Wise Women’s Conference, Mentone, AL on Lookout Mountain. Topics: Intensive on Herbs for Traumatic Stress and Forest Bathing: A Mindful Walk in Nature.

May 6th, Spring Wildflower Hike with the environmental advocacy non-profit group Tennessee Heartwood. Hike is located along the North Fork of the Citico Creek in the Citico Wilderness east of Tellico Plains, TN. Sign up. Space is limited. Free.

May 20th, 9:30-12:30. Rising Fawn Gardens–Herbs of the Southern Forest. Herbal identification and medicine making. Register with RisingFawnGardens.com.

June 2nd, Forest Bathing with Crabtree Farms, on the Guild-Hardy Trail. (NOTE: This is not at Crabtree Farms). Experience the practice of mindfulness in nature. Be present with the body and senses. Simply rest in natural awareness, grounded, and discover the intimate engagement of life within life. Within this sacred context, gain skills in how to work with difficult thoughts and feelings to reduce stress and anxiety. Forest Bathing, also called Shinrin-yoku, is a Japanese concept of immersing oneself in the rich sensory experience of the forest with open awareness and no expectations. The body and mind “bathes” in the smells, sounds, light, movement, taste and feel of the forest. Research in Japan is providing evidence of what nature-lovers have intuitively known for years: that reconnecting to the forest will heal us. Studies show, specifically, that intentional forest walking elevates the mood, reduces stress hormones such as cortisol, boosts the immune system, and reduces the heart rate. Experience it for yourself.

Location: Guild-Hardy Trail at Lookout Mountain Conservancy–410 Ochs Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 3740. (The trail is located at the northern end of Lookout Mountain within the Chattanooga city limits. Parking in the far west end (gravel) lot at Ruby Falls.)

October 25-27, American Herbalist Guild 29th Annual Symposium. The symposium focus is on Bioregional Herbalism. I will be presenting on Herbs for Traumatic Stress and leading a Mindful Forest Bathing walk at the beautiful Unicoi State Park in the North Georgia Mountains. Register with AHG.

Class Schedule for 2017:

March 19th, 10 am, Spring Ephemeral Walk with Georgia Herbalist Guild at The Pocket, Shirley Miller Wildflower Trail, Pigeon Mountain, NW Georgia. Meet 10am in the parking lot.

April 8th, 1pm, TN State Parks Springfest supporting the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail, at Ivy Academy in Soddy Daisy north of Chattanooga off Hwy 27. I will be leading a medicinal plant walk along the south side of North Chickamauga Creek.

May 15th, Native Medicinal and Edible Plants of Southeast TN, Elective for the Native Plant Certification Course with Wild Ones and Reflection Riding, Chattanooga.

June, Forest Bathing at Crabtree Farms.

October 15, Southeastern Wise Women’s Conference, Black Mountain, NC. Topic: Herbs for Mental Health and Forest Bathing. Register with SEWWC.


Class Schedule for 2016:

April 9, Sat, 10-12:30, Edible & Medicinal Plant Walk at Wildwood Harvest Permaculture Farm in Wildwood, Georgia. Participants will learn how to identify and use local plants for food and medicine. $10. Space is limited, and you must register in advance. Sign up with Wildwood Harvest.

April 16, Sat, Tennessee State Parks Spring Festival, hosted by Ivy Academy, Soddy Daisy, TN. I will be leading an Edible & Medicinal Plants Hike on the North Chick Creek of the Cumberland Trail. Several hikes, workshops and lots of fun stuff will be going on for the whole family. Go to the Cumberland Trail Facebook Page or the  Tennessee State Parks Facebook page for more information when we’re closer to the event date.

April 23, Sat, Medicinal Plants of Tennessee, at St. Mary’s Convent, Sewanee, TN as a part of St. Mary’s series on sustainability. Participants will learn how to identify and use medicinal plants by going out on the trail, and also going inside for lecture and medicine making workshop. There is a fee, and advanced registration is required with St. Mary’s Convent.

Class Schedule for 2015:

Four Seasons Native Plant Hikes with Tennessee Chapter of Wild Ones at Rock Creek Loop of Cumberland Trail. For members of Wild Ones. See Wild Ones for dates and times of each hike.

August 1st, Sat, 9am, Edible and Medicinal Plant Walk for Tellico Wild Festival. This full weekend of hikes, snorkeling, boating, backpacking and workshops are to bring awareness to the Tennessee Wilderness Act, hosted by Wild South. The hub for all programs is Tellico Plains Visitor Center. I will be leading a group of 11 people in the Citico Creek Wilderness to Fall Branch Falls. The trailhead is off of the Cherohala Skyway, which cuts through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Wilderness restricts group sizes to 12. Free, but you must register. Sign up with Tellico Wild Meetup page.

Class Schedule for 2014:

January 30th, Thurs. 6-8, Wild Edible Weeds at Outdoor Chattanooga. Free!

Holli will present on wild edible weeds in our yards, how to identify them and use them for food and medicine.

April 12th, Sat, 10-3, Spring Ephemeral Forest Bathing Retreat: A Mindful Walk in Nature. At Reflection Riding Chattanooga Arboretum & Nature Center. Fee:  $40–Reserve early—retreat limited to 20 participants

Holli Richey and Dr. Jean Lomino, outdoor educator, will lead another one-day retreat among the Spring Ephemeral Wildflowers. A day to practice grateful mindfulness in nature. Together, among the brief presence of spring wildflowers, we will experience the life-changing practice of mindfulness in nature. Through simple nature journaling activities we will discover the many profound connections we have with the natural world.

Forest Bathing, also called Shinrin-yoku, is a Japanese concept of immersing oneself in the rich sensory experience of the forest with open awareness and no expectations. The body and mind “bathes” in the smells, sounds, light, movement, taste and feel of the forest. Research in Japan is providing evidence of what nature-lovers have intuitively known for years: that reconnecting to the forest will heal us. Studies show, specifically, that intentional forest walking elevates the mood, reduces stress hormones such as cortisol, boosts the immune system, and reduces the heart rate. Experience it for yourself.

April 27th, Sun, 1:30-3:30, Spring Ephemeral Wildflower & Medicinal Plant Walk at North Chick Creek Pocket Wilderness with Outdoor Chattanooga. Free!

Chattanooga is bestowed with medicinal plant abundance. Come walk with Holli as we admire the brief lifespan of spring wildflowers and talk about how people have used these plants as nature’s medicine for centuries.

August 23rd, WILDERNESS WILD FEST: A celebration festival of the Wilderness Act’s 50th Anniversary

At Outdoor Chattanooga/Coolidge Park, Park 200 River Street, Chattanooga, TN

Free family event hosted by the Sierra Club and Outdoor Chattanooga

Holli will be leading an edible plant walk at 4pm. Sign up inside.




At Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, 400 Garden Rd, Chattanooga, TN

Holli will be leading a Fall Foraging Event Saturday, Sept 13, from 11:30-1pm. Admission is free.


logo seww


At Black Mountain, NC

Holli will be leading a Medicinal Plant Walk and a Forest Bathing Walk

Register at http://www.sewisewomen.com/

October 19, Sat, 9-4, HIKETOBERFEST, Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail. I’ll be leading a medicinal and edible plants hike at 9am on Signal Mountain, TN.

Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail on Sunday, Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Shackleford Ridge Park in Signal Mountain. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Friends of the Cumberland Trail, which supports the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail and Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park.

The event will feature guided hikes, educational programming, heritage music and food. Attendees can learn about plateau wildlife, including birds of prey, mammals, snakes, native wildflowers, medicinal plants and cultural conservation.

Musicians of all skill levels are invited to bring instruments to the Cumberland Trail jam tent hosted by Randy Steele, Matt Evans and Bob Townsend. Fall Creek Falls State Park will be on hand to offer a ragdoll kids craft program. Tims Ford State Park will offer a Native American atlatl demonstration and presentation on pelts and skulls.

We will also have door prizes, a silent auction, and concessions.  Trailhead Nursery will have a booth and a limited selection of native plants for sale. 

A $10 per person/$25 per family donation is suggested.  All proceeds go to support the Friends of the Cumberland Trail, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.  The Friends of the Cumberland Trail work to preserve and protect the environmental, cultural and historical resources of the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail corridor, to provide related educational opportunities and to support park needs.

The Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail is a backcountry hiking trail. It will extend, when complete, from a northern terminus at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park through 11 Tennessee counties and over more than 300 miles of scenic and historic terrain along the Cumberland Plateau before reaching its southern terminus at Signal Point in Signal Mountain. The Cumberland Trail connects 330,000 acres of some of the most biologically-rich, bio-diverse and spectacular lands under public stewardship, including five state natural areas.


November 6-10, AMERICAN HERBALISTS GUILD SYMPOSIUM, 25th Anniversary

At Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia

Holli will be presenting two lectures:

Emotionally-Focused Herbal Therapy: An herbalist’s role in supporting people experiencing mood disorders, anxiety and trauma disorders

Integrative Medicine Clinics: Models of collaborative care

Register at http://www.americanherbalistsguild.com/

Tiarella cordifolia (foam flower) at The Pocket 3-23-13
Tiarella cordifolia (foam flower) at The Pocket 3-23-13

Class Schedule for 2013:

April 6th, Spring Ephemeral Walk with Wild Ones at The Pocket, Pigeon Mountain

Contact Wild Ones to register. Members only. Free

April 14th, Growing your Herbal Farmacy

You’ve got the ground. Now bring on the herbs! How to create and USE those powerful plant allies in food and medicine.

Crabtree Farms Plant Sale & Festival. Sunday, 1-2pm. Free.

April 21st, Native Herbs of the John Muir Trail: Celebrating John Muir’s birthday and Earth Day.

Join Meetup with TN Wild to know when to register. Free. Limited registration.

June 8th, State Botanical Garden of Georgia (Athens, GA), Native Plant Certification Elective Course:

Trillium and spring beauties
Trillium and spring beauties

Native Medicinal Plants:The botanically rich southeastern U.S. is home to a vast array of native plants with a long history of use as medicines. This course introduces the medical botany of our region, emphasizing both traditional and current uses of native plants. Students will learn about the role that native plant medicines have played in U.S. history, the ecological impact of the growing demand for herbal medicines, and what is being done to move towards the sustainable use of medicinal native herbs. 8:30 am – 12:30, Visitor Ctr, Classroom 2  Members $45; non-members $50


June 21st, Forest Bathing Retreat, Friday, 6pm-8:30pm; Saturday, 7:30am-11:30am (6am-7:15am optional start for sitting in meditation at the pavilion. ) Chattanooga Arboretum & Nature Center (Reflection Riding)

Forest Bathing is a Japanese concept of immersing oneself in the sensory experience of the forest. Studies in Japan have proven that opening one’s senses to the forest will reduce stress hormones such as cortisol, boost the immune system, and reduce the heart rate. Join us for a retreat into the woods where we will practice mindfulness in nature. Experience how to be present with the body and senses, and watch how the thoughts pull us out of the present moment.  Donation, $25 suggested.    Register with Chattanooga Arboretum by Monday, June 17th.

September 14, 10-3: An Herbal Approach to Healing Chronic Heath Complaints such as Inflammation and Stress.   Chattanooga Arboretum & Nature Center

Stress provokes the neuro-endocrine-immune systems, and over time can cause an imbalance which looks like a chronic health condition. This class will focus on how to assess the impact of stress and inflammation on the body, and how to return to balanced homeostasis using an ecological approach to herbs. We will also focus on Supporting our Gut–Brain Axis: Herbs for mental and digestive health. The gut (the enteric brain) is considered by some as the secondary brain, and even perhaps the primary brain. This class will focus on herbs that support GI and brain/mood health–and interestingly enough there are a lot! Nature is telling us something.

Contact CANC for details and registration.    $60

Asclepias tuberosa at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia USA
Butterflyweed’s other common name, pleurisy-root, indicates its medicinal value for the respiratory system.

Class Schedule for 2012:

January 26: Want to be a Locavore? Eat the weeds in your yard! The best way to rid your yard of weeds is to eat them. Learn the safe and nutrient-dense weeds in your yard that will keep you healthy through winter into spring. Participants will learn how to prepare common weeds into simple, delicious delicacies that are good for you, too. Wild-food taste test included. Free for all.

Outdoor Chattanooga, 200 River Street in Coolidge Park.

March 31, Saturday 11am:  Native Medicinal Plant Talk & Walk.  Chattanooga Arboretum & Nature Center, formerly known as Reflection Riding. Biannual Native Plant Sale.  Sale postponed.

In the barn, herbalist Holli Richey will discuss the medicinal properties of the native plants available for sale, and afterwards will lead a walk at the arboretum to identify early spring native plants and discuss their traditional uses as food and medicine.

April 29, Sunday:  Spring Ephemeral Wildflower Walk with Tennessee Wild. Space is limited. Contact TN Wild to sign up.

For a brief time in early spring, wildflowers called spring ephemerals are blooming on the forest floor. Join herbalist Holli Richey and Tennessee Wild Director Jeff Hunter on an easy 3-mile hike of the John Muir Trail to identify and appreciate these beauties, while also learning about how they’ve been used as traditional herbal medicine.

Class Schedule for 2011:

March 26th: Native Medicinal Plant Walk and Talk, State Botanical Garden of Georgia, 10:00 am- 12:00 noon, Meet at Shade Garden Arbor, Members $15; non-members $18, Limited to 20 people.

On an instructional walk through the State Botanical Garden trails and gardens with clinical herbalist and plant enthusiast Holli Richey, enjoy the native spring ephemerals in bloom while hearing stories of how people have used Solomon’s seal, bloodroot, trillium, spiderwort, as well as common trees and other perennials, for food and medicine.

My mortar & pestle, and a 1920 Domestic Medical Practice text. This book contains a materia medica, which are the materials of medicine. In 1920 there were mostly herbs.
My mortar & pestle, and a 1920 Domestic Medical Practice text. This book contains a materia medica, which is the materials of medicine. In 1920 a materia medica was mostly herbs.

May 24th:Kitchen Cabinet Remedies: Food as Medicine, State Botanical Garden of Georgia, 6:30-8:30, in the Adult Education Classroom. $30 members, $36 non-members.

What you have in your kitchen herb and spice cabinet can be your first aid kit, your medicine cabinet, and your path to maintain health. Appreciate the rich and exciting history of culinary herbs and spices while learning the active phytochemicals which give them their healing properties. Enjoy herbal appetizers, and take home food and medicine recipes for herbs and spices, along with herbal teas.

June 11th: Wild Food Forage & Medicinal Plant Workshop. Brick House Studios, Crawford, GA. $65 + medicine making supplies. An herbal lunch featuring wild foods will be provided.

Join us for another fun and fabulous foraging day at the historical Brick House. We will also be making medicinal teas and tinctures that you can take home with you. A lovely bonus at Brick House Studios is enjoying the paintings and outdoor sculpture by local artists.

Red mulberries ripening from white, to red, to black

October 18: Medicinal Plant Symposium at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia: The Basics of Medicinal Plant Constituents. I’ll break down the medicinal constituents of plants into understandable terms. 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Callaway Building

Bot Garden member $60; non-member $65. This program serves as an Elective for the Certificate in Native Plants.

During this day-long seminar, five medicinal plant experts will explore a variety of medicinal plants and some of the belief systems that guide their use.  The program will introduce medical botany both in the botanically rich southeastern U.S. and in other parts of the world emphasizing traditional as well as current uses of medicinal plants. The program will also explore cultivation of drought resistant native medicinal plants in Georgia and herbal medicine making.

November 3: Psychoneuroimmunology of Stress and Herbs that Help, at Hillside Hospital, Atlanta, GA for the

Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work. 7-9pm. CEUs available.

Mimosa in the South, a wonderful herb for grief, depression, and irritablity. Called “collective happiness bark” in Chinese Medicine.

December 1: Herbal Tea Talk & Tasting at New Moon Gallery & Tea Room, at 2 Northshore, Chattanooga, TN. 5:30-7pm. Free

Not only is the experience of a cup of tea enjoyable and good for the soul, when sipped over time, herbal tea blends have a variety of medicinal actions, which can promote vitality, longevity and balance. Whether you’re new to be infused into the mysteries of tea, or you’re a well-steeped connoisseur, you’ll learn the medicinal actions of herbs often used as teas and infusions, and appreciate the healing, sensory ritual of tea.

December 5: Gardening with Useful Native Plants. Chattanooga Native Plant & Wildflower Group (subgroup of Hamilton County Master Gardners). 6-8pm. At greenspaces, 63 E. Main, Chattanooga. Free.

The Southern Appalachian region is, next to Southern China, the most botanically rich region on earth. most of the plants growing around us have been used as food and medicine for hundreds of years. Some of our native plants risk being overharvested because the global demand for them exceeds the supply. Learn about the medicinal properties of plants native to this region and how you can “garden with a mission” by incorporating them into your yard and garden for both personal use and conservation.

Schedule of Classes for 2010:

September 18th: Holli will be teaching Appalachian medicine making at the Appalachian Festival sponsored by the Appalachian Center for Ethnobotanical Studies at Frostburg State University, Maryland.

September 20th: Holli will be teaching Ethnobotany of Appalachian plants at Frostburg University in Frostburg, Maryland: Traditional Appalachian methods of diagnosing illness and matching plants to people.

Matching Plants with People: Using Herbs in the West and East. Ethnobotany, Department of Anthropology, UGA. February 17, 2:15-3:30.

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Holli Richey leading a plant walk, picking red Southern Magnolia seeds for all to try. Traditionally used in Mexico. Slightly sedative and antispasmodic.

Some of the Plants You’ll Meet

Agrimony: Agrimonia parviflora: Tea from whole plant; astringent, good for gallbladder, liver, throat or skin; gout; Good flavor tea.

Beautyberry: Callicarpa americana: root & leaf tea in steam bath for rheumatism; root & berry tea used in colic; dropsy and skin disease “purifier”

Beech: Fagus grandifolia: nuts for food and anti-worm; bark for pulmonary aid, abortifacient; leaves for skin sores, when skin becomes thin & burn poultice

Blackberries: Rubus sp., fruit high in polyphenol antioxidants; root excellent for diarrhea

Black Walnut: Julglans nigra: hull and leaf are anti-parasitic, antifungal, antiviral, antidiarrheal; bark chewed for toothaches; leaf tea insecticidal against bedbugs; study suggests leaf sedative

Blueberries: Vaccinium sp: high in antioxidants; great for memory, capillaries

Christmas fern: Polystichum acrostichoides: fiddleheads for food; root tea for chills, fevers, stomachaches, pneumonia; externally applied w/ warm hands for rheumatism; wet, mashed root on child’s back for convulsions; cold compound decoction for weak blood

Dogwood: Cornus florida: bark chewed for headache; bark & root infusion for worms & measles; infusion of beaten bark for bathing after “poisons of any kind”; stem & root decoction for blood purifier “blood chills”; infusion of flower taken to sweat out the flu; infusion of bark used by women for backache; root used as tonic

Downy rattlesnake plantain: Goodyera pubescens: root tea for snakebites; leaf tea for blood tonic, colds

Foamflower: Tiarella cordifolia: leaf tea as mouthwash for “white-coated tongue”. Tannins

Galax urceolata: infusion of root for kidneys; infusion for nerve sedative

Golden rod: Solidago sp.: Leaf tea for those prone to winter colds; diuretic, mildly antispasmodic; used to treat or prevent kidney stones. Seeds are considered survival food.

Grape, muscadine: Vitis rotundifolia: edible fruit; edible leaves: high in resveratrol: longevity, anticancer, blood sugar lowering. Try Stuffed Wild Grape Leaves…Yum!

Hearts-a-bustin: Euonymus americanus: bark used by physicians as tonic, laxative, diuretic, expectorant

Honeysuckle: Lonicera japonica: in Chinese patent med. used for colds & flus; leaf and flower have at least a dozen antiviral compounds

Jimsonweed: Datura stramonium: whole plant contains atropine and scopolamine; impedes action of parasympathetic nerves. Leaves smoked as antispasmodic in asthma. Toxic!

Juniper: Juniperus sp.: fruits eaten for food; beverage to relieve thirst; infusion or decoction of fruits & berries for coughs & colds; ointment for itch; female obstructions; decoction of berries for worms; berries for digestive complaints; herbal steam; UTI

Kudzu: Pueraria montana var. lobata: root starch eaten as food (stimulates production of body fluids); root tea for headaches, diarrhea, dysentery, acute intestinal obstruction, gastroenteritis, deafness; lowers blood sugar & blood pressure; flower tea used for stomach acidity “expels drunkenness; seeds used for dysentery & expel drunkenness; tea gargled for sore throats.

Magnolia grandiflora: Bark wash for skin sores; crushed bark in steam baths for water retention; 1800s bark used to treat malaria and rheumatism; Fruits: digestive tonic for dyspepsia; Seeds in Mexico used as antispasmodic, high blood pressure, heart problems, abdominal discomfort, muscle spasms, infertility, epilepsy. Science confirms sedative activity of the seed.

Maple: Red: Acer rubrum: infusion of bark for cramps, hives; inner bark for eye wash; blood purifier; sap used to make sugar: baskets, lumber, tools, bowels, spoons

Mimosa: Albizia julibrissin: Happy Tree: bark & flowers as tea for depression, restlessness, insomnia caused by anxiety; excessive grief.

Mountain laurel; Kalmia angustifolia: higly toxic do not ingest

Mullein: Verbascum thapsus: leaf & flower tea as expectorant & demulcent; contains verbascoside: antiseptic, antitumor, antibacterial, immunosuppressant

Oak: White, Chestnut, Blackjack, Willow, Red; nuts of white oak hairless and good to eat; tannin of all oaks is astringent, antiseptic, antiviral, antitumor, anticarcinogenic; sore throat, diarrhea, skin infections; tannins of bark used in tanning hides

Pipsissewa, spotted: Chimaphila maculata: leaf tea for bachaches, bladder & kidney ailments, stones, inflammation; science confirms, diuretic, tonic, urinary antiseptic

Pine: Pinus echinata: Needle tea high in vitamin C; Pitch tea used as laxative and for tuberculosis–carcinogenic; also kidney ailments causing backaches; use inner bark as a bandage—antibacterial; pine bark syrup as a cough syrup

Poke: Phytolacca americana: root tinctured as a lymphatic; berries are a beautiful dye; toxic: very low dose herb

Poplar: Liriodendron tulipifera: nectar of flowers is divine; bark for indigestion, cough syrups, pinworms, fevers; externally on wounds; green bark chewed as aphrodisiac stimulant; crushed leaves poulticed for headaches

Privet: Ligustrum sinense: highly invasive: shows antioxidant activity in berries

Redbud, Judas’ tree: Cercis canadensis: Flowers edible and good–Beautiful in salads!; very astringent seed pods and inner bark; folk remedy for leukemia and dysentery; leaf has a yellow dye

Ragweed: Ambrosia artemisiafolia: common allergen causing hayfever; however, the cure is in the culprit: harvest and tincture before it flowers and use for allergies.

Sassafras albidum: One of 1st export crops, out-selling tobacco in 17th c. Used for colds, fever, arthritis, gout, high blood pressure, skin diseases, stomaches, diaphoretic. Used unsuccessfully to treat syphilis. Root bark tea was a famous spring blood purifying tonic; leaves & twigs used widely also as tea; powdered leaves added to gumbo at end of cooking time for flavor and thickening; safrole is converted into a carcinogen in rats, not humans.

Smilax sp: Roots used for food; leaf & stem for rheumatism, stomach troubles; science confirms anti-inflammatory, estrogenic, cholesterol-lowering, and anti-stress activity.

Solomon’s seal: Polygonatum biflorum: general debility: anti-inflammatory, for pain

Sourwood: Oxydendrum arboretum: leaves are edible; flowers used for honey; chew bark for mouth ulcers; leaf tea used for nerves

Strawberry, Virginia: Fragaria virginiana: leaf tea as nerve tonic, bladder & kidney ailments, sore throats; root tea for irregular menses, lung & stomach ailments; edible, tasteless berry

Sumac: Rhus sp.: berries used for lemonade high in vitamin C; berries, leaf, inner-bark and root-bark tea used for colds & fever; astringent, antiseptic, tonic, Smooth Sumac leaves smoked for asthma

Sweet gum: Liquidambar styraciflua: medicinal gum; sore throats, sores; antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory; similar to Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia

Virginia creeper: Parthenocissus quinquefolia: plant causes dermatitis in some though used to counter poison ivy and sumac for others

Wild ginger: Asarum canadense: leaves as poultice for cuts and boils. Infusion of root for GI upset. Indian tribes used for protection to ward away evil, especially if a sorcerer was trying to put harmful medicine into food. Circulatory stimulant, antibacterial, antifungal—aristolochia acid can damage the kidneys.

Wild yam: Dioscorea villosa: tubers baked, roasted, eaten; root for GI spasms

Yellow dock: Rumex crispus: leaves and seeds edible; root known as panacea or “life medicine”; blood purifier; poultice & salve for skin conditions; laxative; stomach upset

Yellow root: Xanthorhiza simplicissima: decoction of root for colds, ulcerated stomach, jaundice; infusion of root taken for cramps; blood tonic; chewed for sore throats.


Brill, Steve “Wildman” (1994). Identifying and harvesting edible and medicinal plants in wild (and not so wild) places.

Foster, Stephen & Duke, James (1999). A field guide to medicinal plants and herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Peterson Field Guide.

Moerman, Daniel. (1998). Native American ethnobotany. Timber Press.

Warning:To the untrained eye, and even to the trained eye, plants can be difficult to tell apart. Some plants are toxic at low doses. Do not eat or use a plant medicinally for any purposes unless you are sure of the identity.

Pipsissewa, Chimaphila maculata
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