Marc and Mindy discuss herbalism, starting with an acknowledgment of the ancient wisdom that connects plants and animals. The Herb of the Podcast is Verbascum thapsus, or common mullein, an easy to find weed in the northeastern United States. Marc discusses its botanical features and its historical and modern uses, including as a cosmetic for reddening the cheeks and dying the hair of girls in ancient times. They discuss how they used a mullein leaf as a make-shift bandage for their dog’s sore paw once on a hike. The research article discussed is: “Efficacy of Naturopathic Extracts in the Management of Ear Pain Associated with Acute Otitis Media” ) Sarrell EM, et al. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2001; 155: 796-799. The researchers compare ear drops made of garlic, mullein, calendula, and St. John’s Wort extracts in olive oil with a standard anesthetic ear drop; they conclude that either one works in relieving ear pain associated with ear infections. The book review is on The Constituents of Medicinal Plants by Dr. Andrew Pengelly (2004). Marc and Mindy both feel that this book provides a good general background of how plants may work as medicines. They discuss two news pieces, “Contaminated packs of St. John’s Wort herbal medicines recalled” and Frontline’s “Supplements and Safety“. A huge announcement is also made: The Walking Herbalist will be Official Sponsors of this years Herbstalk (June 4 & 5) in Somerville Massachusetts! Rounding out the discussion is an update on the Master Urban Gardener program by the Trustees of Reservations in Boston.