French Broad Food Co+Op

Open Daily: 8am to 8pm
(828)255-7650 | 

Open Daily 8am to 8pm
90 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801

Pandemic Month 6: An update from your Co-op Herbalists

Holy Basil

Hello community! It has been a long and windy road this spring and summer with the pandemic continuing and all of us trying to adapt and survive. That paired with all of the political, environmental, and social issues we are currently dealing with…wow! I will say that through it all, I am grateful for this community and the ability to help provide good food, herbal comfort, and a good laugh from time to time. No one knows what it will all look like in a month or 5, a year or decade from now. I know that for me, I am learning to lean into the unknown. To do the best I can moment by moment, day by day. As an herbalist, I highly recommend getting to know your nervine herbs and adaptogens. Some of my favorite nervines include:

milky oats
blue vervain
lemon balm
holy basil
wood betony


You can mix these all together as a tea or tincture to help nourish the nervous system, or select just a couple. One of my favorite sun teas to make is just holy basil and lemon balm, covered in water and set in the sun for several hours. Strain, add a splash of honey if desired, ice and enjoy. It is both physically and emotionally refreshing!

As far as adaptogens…which are plants and fungi that help nourish the endocrine system (including adrenals) I love:
schisandra berries
reishi and turkey tail mushrooms
holy basil

Yep, I snuck holy basil in there twice. It is a wonderfully aromatic and delicious herb that I grow every year. I use it in teas, tinctures, and even make a holy basil infused honey that can be added to tea, yogurt, or just eaten by the spoonful. Adding adaptogens to our daily food is a wonderful way to take care, One of my favorite blends I use daily:

1 part Ashwagandha powder
1 part Eleuthero powder
1 part Maca powder
1/4 part cinnamon powder (Vietnamese cinnamon is my go to)

Blend all together well, label and keep in a glass jar. I add this to milk, smoothies, or “herb balls” containing nut butters, honey and dried fruit.

Any herbs that help with our emotional well being are so very important in these times. Breathe deeply, drink tea, get the rest your body needs, take care of your heart! I have tried to focus on things that bring me joy these past months…gardening, reading, preparing great food, spending time in the hammock, and listening to podcasts for learning and inspiration. We have a few new herbal titles in our book section these days. A couple of my favorites are Working The Roots- Over 400 Years of Traditional African American Healing by Michele Lee; Wild Remedies: How to Forage for Healing Foods and Craft Your Own Herbal Medicine by Rosalee de la Foret; and The Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders by (local herbalist) Abby Artemisia.  To hit the shelves soon is Stephen Buhner’s Herbal Anti-virals book, which contains some great info not only for dealing with viruses such as covid, but also those yearly cold viruses that we all struggle with. I love to listen to podcasts while I cook or clean, and there are some wonderful herbal podcasts out there. I was just listening to a Mountain Rose Herb podcast called Meet the Herbalist. One of my favorite herbalist/teacher/authors Bevin Clare interviewed herbalist Brandon Ruiz, a Charlotte based herbalist and farmer. I highly recommend that you give this a listen…Brandon shares some wonderful information and stories based in his Puerto Rican lineage, his life as a gardener and herbalist….AND he mentions the magical herb room at the co-op. It made my heart smile to know the work that we do reaches out into not only the Asheville community, but beyond!
I hope this finds you well, thank you for being part of this wonderful co-op community!