Treehugger’s Best of Green 2011

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Have your voice heard in Treehuggers’ annual Best of Green Awards. Vote for your favorite Earth-friendly car, green cookbook, eco home decor and more!

Nominees will be announced daily. Voting is open through March 30th at 11:59 p.m. Awards will be announced the week of April 2 – 6.

Click here to start voting!

News from the Web: The pH and the Sea

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Poor, poor ocean. How we abuse thee.

New research suggests that we are changing the pH of seawater — a measurement of how acid or alkaline it is — at an alarming rate. While history indicates that there have been many episodes of acidification over the history of the Earth, some scientists say that the current changes in the oceans’ pH level is cause for great concern. Please read this recent New York Times
short editorial and tell us what you think.

Changing the Chemistry of Earth’s Oceans

Ingredient Spotlight: Plantago

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Elemental Herbs’ products are full of great stuff picked fresh on organic farms all over the Bay Area. In this series, we take a peek inside our jars and tubes to explore the healing properties of some of our ingredients. This week we investigate the magic of plantago!

Plantago is a genus of about 200 species of small, inconspicuous plants, which is commonly called plantains, even though they are in no way related to the banana of the same name. Plantains are found all over the world, and many species grow wild as weeds.

Different species of Plantago have been used since prehistoric times as herbal remedies, with some ancient folklore even claiming that the plant could pull the venom from a snakebite. It was sometimes also ingested as a tea or tincture to cure coughs and colds. The broad-leafed varieties can also be eaten as a salad.

At Elemental Herbs we use plantain externally in our All Good Goop for its antibacterial, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, when ground, the leaves create a mucilage, which helps stimulate mucous membranes. This is essential for keeping the surface of a scrape, sting or burn soft for healing.

Elemental Herbs: News of the Week

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After a year of debate, the Iowa legislature has passed a bill that makes taking undercover footage and photography at factory farms illegal. It is one more hurdle for animal rights activists whose mission it is to expose those farms who don’t treat their animals humanely. Montana, North Dakota, and Kansas have already enacted similar laws and Illinois, Missouri, Utah, New York, Nebraska, Indiana, and Minnesota are considering such bills.

Do you think that these videos should be illegal, or do you believe activists have the right to expose factory farms that mistreat animals. Read the article on Treehugger and let us know what you think.

Get Your Garden Going!

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Spring is coming, though depending on where you live that may be hard to believe. Here in the Bay Area the weather has been pretty great, sunny and cool with hints of rebirth showing up on the shrubs and tree branches.

Right now is the perfect time to start thinking about your garden. Plan you plot. Gather your seeds. Seek out the perfect containers. (Even if you don’t have outdoor space, window boxes and container gardens can keep you in herbs all summer long.)

To ensure that your garden is 100 percent organic, from start to finish, consider starting your own seeds instead of buying plants. You’ll need to start now but the results will be work the dirty work.

For tips on starting your own seeds, check out this handy guide on OrganicGardening.com, with tips on choosing  seeds, containers and soil, as well as techniques for raising healthy plants.

Happy sowing!