Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Florida Herb Society Meeting

Last night I attended the monthly meeting of the Florida Herb Society for the first time. I was interested to see what the group is about and to also, hopefully, meet other people with some of the same interests I have (I think some people would say: make friends). The meeting was structured a little bit like a union meeting (which kind of cracked me up): the president used a gavel, there was a report from the treasurer, and the secretary read the minutes from the last meeting. There were a lot more people there than I expected: I'd say there were a good 30-40 people there. I say people, but really there were two men and the rest were all more or less senior citizen women with the exception of one of the guest speakers and the VP of the group who were closer to my age. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed that there really wasn't anyone there that I could relate to age-wise, but everyone seemed nice.

They had two guest speakers scheduled: Deserie Valloreo of Herbalwise was scheduled to discuss Herbs for Vibrant Skincare and Kathy Oliver of My Mother's Garden discussed helpful and harmful garden bugs. Deserie provided a great handout and demoed how to make a hydrosol/toner (see the end of this post for instructions). In addition to Kathy's talk, she also had herbs for sale from her organic nursery. I picked up some Texas tarragon and Lemongrass. Texas tarragon is a culinary herb with a lovely, light scent that will be good with poulty, pork, or shellfish. Lemongrass is commonly used in stir fries or Thai food, but it's also great for skincare (as an antiseptic for oily skin) and as a medicinal herb (it removes harmful metals from the body).

I still have A LOT (tons, in fact) to learn, but this meeting (particularly the skincare stuff) taught me that I actually know more than I realize. Despite either knowing much of what was discussed or knowing that I could read it in a book, it was nice to get out and be social even if it wasn't with my peers. Next month they have an herbal vinegar hands on workshop scheduled and even though I pretty much already know how to do this, it could still be fun.

Here's a brief description of the hydrosol/toner demo from Deserie:
Use distilled water combined with your choice of herbs to make an infusion.
Strain your floral water into a spray bottle.
Add 1 or 2 drops of alcohol (preferably vodka since it's pretty much scentless) for every ounce or so of herb water.
Add 3 or 4 drops of your choice of essential oil.
Shake, spray, enjoy!


mermaiden said...

look at you gettin' your badself out there in the herbal world!

Athena's Armoury said...

I'm trying! =)