Fall is beginning to show itself in the garden and the wild with leaves losing their vigor and some already falling here in Western Massachusetts. We are beginning the end of the fresh extract making season with our own Andrographis (known as Kalmegh from India aka the King of bitters), Jiao gu Lan (from China) having many of the same saponins that give ginseng its power but in a leafy vine so with a more gentle (less yang) energy. it is one of our very favorite tonics and delicious as extract or tea. We found this plant actually wintered over so we are planning to try again and not to have to start from seed each spring. there is so much to learn when adapting plants from other continents and climates.
the Ashwaganda (another tonic plant from India) will stay in the ground a bit longer before we dig its long and rangy roots, but the seeds are already starting to form. There are other annual plants that we will winter indoors and then put out again in the spring like Gotu Kola (so wonderful for connective tissue, and Vitex and Lemon Verbena (from South America , my newest favorite mind quieting plant which is utterly delicious and resinous lemony scent).
With climate change we never know but we still know we have to wait until real cold comes before digging roots to allow the energies of the aerial parts to sink back down into the roots. The cold concentrates the sugars or polysaccharides in the plant and makes them sweeter as well. In springtime before the tops emerge is another great time to harvest roots but this time more for their bitter constituents. Nature is so varied and so generous and we are very grateful.
My name is Bonnie Bloom and I am a clinical herbalist. Plants give us clothing, shelter, food and medicine. They are an intrinsic part of our earth ecology, diverse and essential. They breathe our carbon dioxide and generously give us oxygen. Where would we be without them.