Once upon a time, I loved to eat fresh salsa. I lived in California, so it was plentiful. Then a bad thing happened: I got pregnant, and in the way things often go during pregnancy, I could no longer eat many of the foods I loved. Anything with cilantro in it made me violently ill. …
My son was worried that my new interest in herbalism would expose us to all sorts of deadly dangers. I scoffed at him. But then I discovered Bitter Sweet growing in our side yard.
Everyone said to start by exploring what already grows in my yard. I wanted to learn about the vibrant New England Aster. It was much more difficult than I anticipated. Could the methods of the historian help?
When Martha Ballard's niece was ill in 1794, she made her a syrup that contained plantain. Two hundred and twenty-three years later, I learned that this useful herb was growing wild in my backyard.