Herb of the Year for 2023: Ginger ( (Zingiber officinale). Named by the International Herb Association
Birthday Flower for June: Honeysuckle
June is National Dairy Month, National Candy Month.
Feature of the Month for June: Herb Take-Alongs for Travelers
June 5: National Gingerbread Day. (Why this doesn’t take place in November or December is a great mystery.)
June 6: National Gardening Exercise Day.
June 7: On this date in ancient Rome, the annual festival in honor of Vesta—the goddess of hearth and home—began.
June 14: Flag Day. Fly yours.
June 18: Father’s Day. America’s first national celebration: 1972.
June 19. Juneteenth. Celebrating the end of slavery and the beginning of a challenging road to racial equality in America
June 20: The summer solstice—the official beginning of summer
June 23: St. John’s Eve, a time to celebrate Midsummer
June 27: National Indian Pudding Day.
June 28. Yesterday was National Orange Blossom Day.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body.” – Anthony Bourdain
Summer’s here, and you’re on the road. It would be a shame to spoil that unforgettable trip with a queasy stomach, a stuffy head, a sleepless night. Doesn’t have to happen, if your carry-on includes these tried-and-true plant allies.
- Ginger is a centuries-old standby for nausea. Commercial ginger capsules may be the most convenient form of this herb for travelers, but a 12-ounce glass of ginger ale (the real thing, not artificially flavored) should contain enough ginger to do the trick. Another option: take powdered ginger in bottle or baggie. Stir 2 teaspoons into a cup of hot water. Steep 5 minutes and sip.
- Menthol (an organic compound in mint) is an effective antispasmodic that can sooth the smooth muscle lining of the entire digestive tract. It is an ingredient in many commercial stomach soothers. For take-along convenience, try a tincture. The recommended dose is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon in a cup of water, up to three times a day.
- Psyllium (husks or powdered) keeps you regular and relieves both constipation and diarrhea. Use daily. Pack enough for the entire trip.
- Research shows that essential-oil aromatherapy really works. Rosemary perks you up when travel blues get you down. Eucalyptus clears the sinuses. Lavender soothes, calms, and eases headaches. Purchase ready-made inhalers or make your own with blank inhalers, refreshable wicks, and your choice of essential oils.
- Crossing time zones? Travel can disrupt your usual sleep pattern. Capsules of sleep-support herbs such as valerian (Valeriana officinalis), passionflower (Passiflora), and skullcap (Scutellaria) can help you get your zzzs.
Here’s something very special, for those who have read Hemlock: Susan’s interview with garden writer Marta McDowell, about Marta’s exciting new edition of A Curious Herbal–the rare (and real) 1730s herbal that went missing in China’s 28th mystery (2021).
Overdid it on Garden Exercise Day? Essential oils can help ease those sore muscles, reduce swelling. Here are some suggestions.
Celebrate Father’s Day by baking Dad’s favorite cookies, Ruby Wilcox’s Hot Lips Cookie Crisps. (China gets more requests for this recipe than any other!)
Juneteenth honors African American freedom and achievement and encourages respect for all cultures. For this year’s Juneteenth, enjoy an authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Easy marinade produces a delicious blend of flavors.
Want to do something nice for yourself? Consider registering for Story Circle’s 2023 Retreat, led this year by award-winning authors Jeanne Guy and Stephanie Raffelock. Go here for more information. The nonprofit Story Circle Network, founded by Susan in 1997, supports women writers. Check out its quarterly Journal for an idea of its creative programming.
On St. John’s Eve, learn how this plant got its name and what modern research tells us about this interesting herb.
Orange blossoms aren’t just for pretty. This roundup of orange blossom recipes from around the world will surprise you.
Find out what Susan is up to these days by visiting her blog, Lifescapes. There’s always something interesting going on in the Texas Hill Country. On her “other” blog, BookScapes, she posts book reviews, bookish thoughts, and notes on the fast-changing world of books