The Washington Post

Herbal Essences

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) can help with insomnia and anxiety. Consult an herbalist or health-care provider before munching straight from someone’s garden.

Sunday starts National Herb Week, begun by the International Herb Association, which exists. Holly Poole-Kavana, an herbalist and owner of Little Red Bird Botanicals in Columbia Heights, spoke with us about the herbal world, which goes far beyond garnishes.

One size doesn’t fit all, at all: “That’s the thing that’s very frustrating in the media: There’s an herb of the month that everyone should take for stamina or energy or whatever,” Poole-Kavana says. “Herbs are a very individual thing. If there are 10 people with nausea, they might [need] 10 different herbs.”

Make it and take it: Herbs can be taken in a variety of ways, and Poole-Kavana tries to match not only the herb with the person, but the person with the method of delivery. “If somebody is trying to increase breast milk, I might use a tea because it’s very calming to sit down with a cup of tea,” she says. “But if making tea is one more thing to do and will stress them out, I might use a tincture.”

Celebrate good times: Poole-Kavana has no plans to mark National Herb Week. “Actually, I’m moving, and I have lots and lots of little jars to move,” she says. “So, that’s what I’ll be doing.”

Little Red Bird Botanicals; 202-726-1924.


Kristen Page-Kirby covers film, arts and events for Express.



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