When most people think of herbs, they think of cooking. When some people think of herbs, they think of healing. If you have ever had a warm, soothing cup of chamomile tea before bedtime to improve your sleep, you were healing yourself with herbs. Those pesky dandelion plants that are taking over your yard? Guess what—their leaves are packed with vitamin C and iron, and they are bitter, which helps improve digestion. Want an alternative to synthetic food dyes? Many herbs have powerful pigments that can be used to colour food and fabrics naturally. Mother Nature’s bounty is inspiring, if you take the time to stop to smell the herbs.
This Sunday the Ontario Herbalists Association holds their annual herb fair at Harbourfront Centre. You can find out everything you ever wanted to know about herbs and natural healing by visiting the “Ask the Herbalist” table, or talking to the folks on hand from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and the Institute of Traditional Medicine. Consider attending some of the seminars and demos throughout the day to learn more about tackling conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol and arthritis with herbs, as well as finding out more about Japanese green tea and herbal food colouring. In the market area, you might want to pick up a few herb plants from Richters Herbs, or if you are more adventurous, pick up some heritage seeds from Seeds of Diversity to start your own herb garden. For those without a green thumb, many other herb-related products will be available including books, food, and personal care products.
The best part about this educational and fun event is that it is free. The fair runs from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is kid friendly with lots of family activities available. And next time you see a dandelion, please don’t insult it by calling it a weed.
Photo by Cordelia Coyle.