This website is a culmination of years of experience and passion cultivating plants and working as a

professional herbalist (RH, AHG) and a work in progress. My aim is to provide information on medicinal herbs that

can be cultivated in Alaska, based on my experience.  Much of my learning has been by trial and error as previously

there has been precious little information on the subject of cultivating medicinal herbs in the far North.  Over time I

will add more information on wild herbs but this is not the focus at this time as there are many sources of info out

there, however as time permits I intend to expand this collection. 



Please note that none of the references on this site are to the use of herbs as essential oils.

Information presented is culminated from many sources over time and years.  Thank you to Robin London, Lesley

and Michael Tierra, Greta LaMontagne, and Jon Carlson for sharing terrific clinical knowledge  with me.

  Safety notes and cautions are accumulated from teachings, experience, and from the American Herbal

Products Association Botanical Safety Handbook.  Thanks to Lisa Ganora for demystifying Phytochemistry.  Strictly

Medicinals for all their wonderful seeds.  Also thank you Susan Sushma and Jim Clark who have graciously

leased us the land upon which these herbs and our gardens grow.

I don't call myself a "master" but think of myself as a perpetual student.  For 14 years I lived at the bottom of a

creek valley outside of Fairbanks, my husband and I grew all or our own vegetables and I struggled to grow

whatever medicinal herbs I could get to suffer through extreme colds- some years we saw frosts every month of

summer and  temperatures below -60 degree F during the winter.  The common medicinal herbs that we are

familiar with are generally not very fond of such extreme conditions, though I tried many, the exceptional plants

that thrived were:  arnica, valerian, chives, field mint, burdock.  Others like lemon balm, stinging nettles and anise

hyssop would limp along reseeding themselves but never thriving.

For the last 7 years we have been cultivating vegetables and medicinal herbs in Southeast Alaska, the climate is

much more moderate and the garden has expanded to reflect such.  You will find highlights on cultivation,

medicinal values, and contraindications that are important for each of the herbs.  There is no way this can be a

complete work as that would take many life times to complete. I acknowledge all errors to be my own.  Please

contact me with more information if I have made glaring mistakes or omissions, so that the knowledge can be


natural rock garden, Kodiak island

Why grow

medicinal herbs

in a place

with so many

wild plants?

1.  For the pure pleasure of the experience and connecting with plant medicine.

2.  More southern species typically have a lot more research behind them than many Alaskan species,

so for safety it is easier to use these commonly known species.

3.  Ease of use:  if you have to hike or drive for miles to get an herb you are less likely to use it

than if it is right outside your door. 

4.  Growing herbs in a garden, gives you much greater familiarity with all their stages of growth and  maturation. 

You experience how healthy plants look, feel, smell and taste -this is very valuable and I  encourage people to grow 

herbs for this reason alone.

5.  Preservation:  species like black cohosh are losing their native habitat and due to their popularity are over-

harvested making their populations vulnerable and in some places threatened.  By growing your own you lessen the

burden on market demand for these species.  For more information check out the United Plant Savers "At Risk" list

and support their work.

Having said all this I know some will prickle that I am encouraging people to introduce non-native species into their

land and gardens.  I do recommend caution with plants that are likely to spread- to date I have noticed that

cultivated medicinals will often thrive in a garden environment but I have not seen any --YET-- move beyond the

confines of my fertile garden into less fertile uncultivated land.  However we are in a time of unprecedented climate

change and so I cannot predict how plants will change with these larger changes and take advantage of any new

favorable opportunities.  So I do advise caution, if you are going to introduce non-native plants please keep them in

your garden where you are responsible for them and can manage them.  Plants are much more mobile and

opportunistic than we give them credit... as a gardener I check myself with the reality that horsetails will likely

thrive on this planet long after we humans have moved on...

This idea it seemed so simple..but it took much time and effort to bring it to fruition.  I hope you enjoy that which I

have to share.  If you are able to support the continuation of  this work please do so at


Jen Landry, Steller Botanical Health 

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