HerbDay 2024

May 4, 2024 8:38:04 AM | herbal medicine Rooted in Nature: HerbDay Tales from ACHS Herbal Leaders

This HerbDay we celebrate the power of healing herbs with insights from ACHS herbal leaders sharing their favorite herbs and recipes. Embrace the power of plants this HerbDay!

The first Saturday in May each year, HerbDay brings the herbal and integrative health industry together to celebrate the rich history and wonderful world of healing herbs. Now in its 18th year, HerbDay promotes education about how to integrate herbs into your daily life to foster wellness. The HerbDay Coalition consists of the American Botanical Council, United Plant Savers, the American Herbal Products Association, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and the American Herbalists Guild.

Susan Belsinger and Tina WilcoxIn honor of this HerbDay, we held a collaborative and conversational webinar for both novice enthusiasts and seasoned herbalists: HerbDay Celebration: An Exploration of Herbal Inspirations. Our ACHS herbal leaders featured in the conversation are sharing their personal favorite herbs and some simple recipes that incorporate these powerful plants. We were also joined by renowned herbalists Susan Belsinger and Tina Wilcox who joined us live from their HerbDay celebration at the Ozark Folk Center, sponsored by the Herb Society of America. Read on and get into the spirit of HerbDay!  

ACHS HerbDay Webinar Recording


Versatile Yarrow

Dorene Petersen and Yarrow plant

ACHS Founding President Dorene Petersen’s favorite herb is Yarrow Achillea millefolium.  She names it as her favorite due to its versatile therapeutic actions, ranging from antimicrobial and antifungal to anti-inflammatory properties. It has a rich history, dating back to ancient civilizations, which, coupled with its underappreciated nature, makes it a fascinating and invaluable addition to her herbal journey. She shares, "Yarrow is an ancient ally, underappreciated yet invaluable in its versatility, weaving a tapestry of healing through time and across cultures."

Dorene’s journey into herbal medicine began as a child. Her parents and grandparents were deeply connected with nature, herbs, and an organic lifestyle. This influence helped her to develop a deep curiosity about traditional healing methods and a desire to explore natural remedies. As she delved into the rich history and diverse cultures of herbalism and pharmacognosy, she found herself captivated by the profound connection between plants and human health. 

Through study, experimentation, practical clinic work as a New Zealand-trained naturopath, and personal experience, Dorene discovered the transformative power of herbs, leading her to embrace herbal medicine as not just a practice but a way of life. Experience Dorene’s favorite herb with this Yarrow-infused tea recipe.


Clear Your Head Tea

  • ½ ounce of Yarrow Achillea millefolium leaves and flowers
  • ½ ounce of Catnip Nepeta cataria herb
  • ½ ounce of Elderflower Sambucus nigra flowers
  • ½ ounce of Peppermint Mentha piperita leaves

Blend the herbs and prepare them as a standard infusion. Enjoy up to three cups a day to support a clear head.


A Love of Lemon Balm

Judith Thompson and Lemon Balm leaves

The calming herb Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis is a favorite of ACHS Dean of Herbal Medicine Dr. Judith Thompson.  A versatile herb in the mint family, lemon balm has a slightly citrusy flavor with woody and earthy notes. It blends well in many teas and infusions, especially with peppermint, ginger, or chamomile. It is ideal for sleep support blends and can also help maintain a calm and balanced mood.

While Judith finds so many herbs to be wonderful, lemon balm has come to be a trusted & reliable ally in her life. In moments when stress is high, she finds lemon balm helps to calm her. When she's physically feeling down, the comforting herb supports her. When faced with a particularly busy day or week of work, Judith turns to lemon balm to provide gentle strength. “When days are long, and demands are high, lemon balm provides me with patience and attention. I couldn’t ask for a better ally," she says. 

Try this tension support blend containing Judith's beloved lemon balm.


Nervous Tension Support Blend

  • 1 ounce of Lemon balm Melissa officinalis leaves
  • ½ ounce of Chamomile Roman Chamaemelum nobile flowers
  • ¼ ounce of Catnip Nepeta cataria herb
  • ¼ ounce of Lavender Lavandula angustifolia leaves and flowers

This blend can be used to steep a cup of tea, as a facial steam, or placed in a pouch for use in the bath. 


Mighty Dandelion

Jacqui McGrath and Dandelion plants

ACHS Professor Dr. Jacqui McGrath shares, “I've heard dandelion likened to the somewhat annoying neighbor who shows up even when she's not invited, eager to be helpful. Eventually, she becomes a beloved friend because she can be counted on.” And it turns out Dandelion Taraxacum officinale is really good at a LOT of things!”

Jacqui’s herbal training has been a winding road, starting with formal training in botanical medicine that has eventually led to an enduring love for cultivating and foraging medicinal "weeds." Dandelion is one of her favorite herbs for many reasons. She believes the taraxacum species are the ultimate underdogs, generously sharing their medicine and sending a powerful message of hope and resilience. She learned from ethnobotanist Linda Black Elk to think of dandelion as a family member that you may not like very much, but anytime you really need something, they're always there to help you.

Interested in trying a new tea that's rich in potassium? This Dandelion tea could make a great addition to your tea repertoire!


Dandelion Tonic Tea

  • 1 ounce of Dandelion Taraxacum officinale root
  • 1 ounce of Parsley Petroselinum crispum leaves
  • 1 ounce of Alfalfa Medicago sativa herb

Mix the herbs and store them in an airtight container. As needed, use one teaspoon and one cup of boiling water to prepare your tea.


Reliable Peppermint and Chamomile

Amanda Lattin with peppermint leaves and chamomile flowers

ACHS Dean of Aromatherapy Amanda Lattin expresses her reverence for two herbs: Peppermint and Chamomile. “They have been steadfast herbal allies for me and many people I have supported with herbs. Peppermint and Chamomile are simultaneously soft and strong and willing to play a healing role in any situation. You can almost feel them standing beside you, holding your hand, bringing quick assurance and comfort.” Amanda believes their resilience shows in how prolifically they grow, displaying the adapting energy they encourage us to embrace.

Amanda’s relationship with healing plants started when she was young. She had the blessing of learning about plants from her grandmother, great-grandmother, and naturalists in the area where she grew up, long before any formal training. From an early age, Amanda planted gardens and loved visiting the growing plants every day. One of her favorite memories is showing her son how to grow a garden when he was still a toddler.

This children’s cold tea combines Amanda’s two favorite herbs into one powerful recipe. Use this tea to support fevers, aches, and coughing.


Children’s Cold Tea 

  • 1 ounce of Peppermint Mentha piperita
  • 1 ounce of German Chamomile Matricaria recutita
  • 1 ounce of Lemon balm Melissa officinalis

Blend the herbs and store them in an airtight container. As needed, use one teaspoon of the herb blend to prepare one cup of tea. Cool to lukewarm before serving. Add honey as desired (no honey for children younger than 12 months old). This tea be taken three to four times a day.


Celebrating the Healing Power of Plants

Our ACHS herbal leaders encourage you to approach your herbal journey with an open heart and a curious mind this HerbDay. Embrace the wisdom of nature and the vast array of medicinal plants it offers. Remember that herbalism is not just about remedies but also about cultivating a deep connection with the natural world and honoring the interdependence between humans and plants. Happy HerbDay!

Learn more about HerbDay and ways to make herbs part of your wellness.

2023: A Look Back at 17 Years of HerbDay

2020: From Starter to Finish - Making Herbal Sourdough. Instructions and how-to videos to bring your herbal sourdough to life!


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This content is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice. Always use herbs and essential oils with caution and keep out of reach of children. Use particular caution when pregnant or nursing. Always check contraindications and think safety first! The statements herein have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.

American College of Healthcare Sciences

Written By: American College of Healthcare Sciences

ACHS's mission is to lead the advancement of evidence-based, integrative health and wellness education through experiential online learning and sustainable practices. This includes sharing helpful, informative, holistic healthcare articles on the ACHS Health and Wellness Blog.