We're passionate about sharing our knowledge of herbs and herbalism. So, we brought in one of our experts to help answer some of the most common questions and concerns. Lina Watanabe, an Herb Pharm Herbalist, earned a B.S. in herbal sciences from Bastyr University and has been working with herbs for nearly a decade.
Herbs are simply plants (and sometimes non-plants) that are known to contain phytochemicals, which are specific constituents that possess various properties to support the structures and functions of the body. These phytochemicals are found in specific plant parts, such as the roots of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and the flowers of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), or in the whole plant, as is the case with California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica).
Most of us are familiar with culinary herbs like Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), which add flavor and aromas to meals, but the world of herbs is actually much larger. It even includes some non-plant materials like lichens (e.g., Usnea spp.), algae (e.g., Bladderwrack or Fucus spp.) and fungi (e.g., Reishi or Ganoderma lingzhi mushrooms).
Herbs can be found just about everywhere. That includes your backyard — where you might consider herbs like Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) or Plantain (Plantago major) to be “weeds” — and the cracks in a sidewalk, where you might find Chickweed (Stellaria media).
Beyond the culinary herbs you see at the farmers market or grow on your patio, there are hundreds of others to learn about, from Albizia (Albizia julibrissin) to Yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Check out our ever-growing Herb Library to deepen your knowledge.