The San Diego Herb Club

Volume 15, Issue 6, October 2008

Mission Statement

The San Diego Herb Club is a group for people interested in herbs, from novice to professional, and in between. Through monthly meetings and special events, we explore, learn, teach and experience herbs as garden plants, their culinary, craft and medicinal uses, as well as their history and folklore.


?Have you checked the library lately?

July, 2008 Herb Companion: Marvelous Mint for Body, Bath & Hair: Fragrant Native Pest Repellent

September, 2008: Herb Companion: Hold Onto the Harvest: Try Soothing Valerian for Sweeter Sleep

Ask the Herbalist/Gardener/Cook/Crafter

Email me your questions or give me a written question at the meeting and I will find and print the answer in the next newsletter. November’s question will be: What should I use to grind up my herbs? Feel free to share your stories to help me answer this question. Let me hear from you. Judy

Q What does Costmary look like and what do you use it for?

A Tanacetum balsamita is a perennial temperate herb known as Costmary, Alecost, Balsam herb, Bible leaf, or Mint geranium. It grows to about 2’ tall and as wide and has large elongated mid-green leaves that smell strongly like bubblegum or wintergreen when crushed. It’s flowers are yellow and the bloom comes in late summer, early fall. It doesn’t grow easily from seed so propagate it by divisions.

Native to the Orient it was brought to the new world by early English colonists who combined it with lavender to scent linens and blankets. Costmary can be used to give a spicy flavor to ales (costmary is sometimes called Alecost). Fresh young leaves may be used in salads. Dried leaves are commonly used in pot-pourri. You can add leaves to lemonade, iced tea, and other cooled beverages as a garnish. It’s great for bath teas and acts as an astringent. Fresh costmary leaves may be placed on the bottom of a baking pan before pouring the batter. When the leaves are young it can be added to fruit salads, cold soups and green salads. Use the dried leaves in sleep pillows. The following combination is soothing:

2 parts dried roses
2 parts dried lemon balm
2 parts costmary
1 part whole cloves

Mix the herbs together and allow them to blend for a week or so in a dry, covered container. Sew two square pieces of fabric on three sides and turn. Place the herbs into the fabric and hand sew the last side. This can then be placed inside your pillow case.

New officers for 2009

Would you like to help run the club the way you want, to have a say about the big decisions, TO MAKE HISTORY!! Whoops I’m getting carried away but this is your opportunity to make changes or keep the status quo. A sign-up sheet will go around at the Oct meeting for those interested in becoming an officer for 2009. The positions are President or Co-President, Vice President, Note Taker, Librarian, Treasurer, Hospitality. Think about it!!

Caring for your Lavender

There are only a few important steps to maintaining the health of your lavender plant: Good drainage. Sandy, rocky soil is great. No clay soil. Lots of sunshine. Plant in the hottest Southerly or Westerly exposure.
Water to keep moist while plant is young. Once the plant is established, cut back on watering. Water when the soil is less than damp. Drip irrigation is the best, and place the emitter between the plants, not at the base of the plant. Root rot is a common cause of death for the plant.

Harvest flowers as they bloom. Prune in the fall to 2 inches above the woody base. Never cut into the wood.

I found a little handout I had picked up at the Lavender Fields. It seems timely since we're coming up on fall now and should be trimming the lavenders back. Cindi L.


Oct 7 Tues, Hillside Gardening, Connie Beck, Water Conservation Garden, Cuyamaca College Community Learning, 6:30-8:30P, $25, 619-660-4350

Oct 11* Sat Herb Day Herbal Resource Fair in the Trees for Health Garden, corner of Balboa & Quince, Balboa Park, 10A-4P demos, talks, tree tours, free admission

Oct 12 Sun, Old Mission Dam Herb Walk, John Finch, Herbalist, Self-Heal School of Herbal Studies and Healing, 10 A-Noon $20, Couple’s Discount, kids& dogs free, register on site. Call 619 224 1268 to verify in inclement weather.

Oct 16 Thur for 6 weeks, Herbal Fundamentals, John Finch, Herbalist, Self-Heal School of Herbal Studies and Healing, Ocean Beach, 619 224 1268, In this interactive course, you’ll learn to use a variety of medicinal herbs to make herbal preparations. In our herb garden as well as the classroom & herbal apothecary, you’ll discover herbs found growing in San Diego & around the world. You’ll learn basic Western herb theory, simpling, medicinal plant ID and more.

Oct 18 Sat. CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY Fall Native Plant Sale, Balboa Park, 11A-3P, Casa del Prado, Balboa Park

Oct 18 Sat, Soup, Stock, & Sauce, Learn how to make & store your own low-sodium soup stocks. In celebration of the release of her first cooking novella Talking Pictures, Chef Elizabeth will teach how to prepare the onion soup recipe from the book. Learn how to make your own low-sodium soup stocks & store them for future uses. Also, add sophistication to any beef dish with a full flavored Bordelaise Sauce with delicious bits of onions, herbs & a wine-enhanced flavor. Samples & recipes provided. 10A–12:30P $33 San Diego Natural History Museum 619.235.9446

Oct 18-19 Sat-Sun, Quail Botanical Gardens Fall Plant Sale, Encinitas 11a-4p.

Oct 19 Sun. SOAP MAKERS' LUNCHEON, 2:00P Marie Callendar’s 6950 Alvarado Rd., La Mesa.. Free meeting for anyone interested in making handmade soap; for all skill levels from novice to expert. Discussions include the best practices for adding essential oils & herbs to handmade soap. For more info:

Oct 25 Sat, California-Friendly Gardening Festival, Water Conservation Garden, 12122 Cuyamaca College Dr. West, El Cajon. 9A-3P. plant sale, talks on water-wise gardening, buy compost bins. Ask the Designer area for free 20-minute landscape design consultation with a professional designer (appt schedule available beginning mid-October for Octobe25th). Admission/parking FREE. 619-660-0614 x10.

Oct 26 Sun, Hands-On Medicine-Making Workshop, Self-Heal School of Herbal Studies and Healing, Ocean Beach, 6 Useful Tinctures - 5 Teas/Powders. Rescue Remedy - Herbal Salve 10A-5P, $120 - send $40 (non-refundable) deposit to register 619 224 1268

*Herb Club Members