In recognition of the 40th anniversary of Gahanna as the Herb Capital of Ohio and National Travel – and in observance of National Travel and Tourism Week May 5-13 – herbal activities are planned leading up to Herb Day on May 12 at the Ohio Herb Education Center, 110 Mill St.

In recognition of the 40th anniversary of Gahanna as the Herb Capital of Ohio and National Travel – and in observance of National Travel and Tourism Week May 5-13 – herbal activities are planned leading up to Herb Day on May 12 at the Ohio Herb Education Center, 110 Mill St.

Herb center director Valerie Hamill said residents and visitors could pay homage to all who have contributed to and participated in the journey to have Gahanna declared the herb capital of the state in 1972.

"We are trying to cover many different aspects of herbs and the incredible knowledge and information learned over the past 40 years and beyond," she said. "Our ancestors didn't have a CVS or Walgreens on every corner as we do now. How did they heal themselves naturally?

"With the public's outreach to simpler, natural and safe home and health care, it makes sense to look back just a few generations on how the herbs were used to improve their quality of life."

By learning just a few simple tips about herbs, Hamill said, visitors could incorporate a myriad of herbal benefits into their lives.

"From simple aids, such as a cup of chamomile tea to help fall asleep more quickly in the evening, or to ease a headache with lavender, everyone can benefit from learning about herbs," she said.

An herb is defined as a plant lacking a permanent woody stem, Hamill said. Many are flowering garden plants, grown for purposes other than food, wood or beauty. They could have culinary, medicinal, aromatherapy, cleansing and ornamental uses.

The rose has been named the 2012 international "Herb of the Year," and herbalist Suzanne Lucas will lead a free class on the botany of the rose at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at the OHEC.

Lucas, a trained botanist with a passion for herbs, will lead an up-close experience on what types of roses should be used for food. That and other questions will be explored, along with tastings and samplings of rose recipes, including rose honey and other delicacies.

Hamill will lead a workshop beginning at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 7, about Civil War herbs. She will guide participants on a free "time-travel" experience to discuss how herbs were used for healing the sick and treating wounds during the Civil War years.

The focus will turn to "Wedding Flowers & Herbal Folklore and Legends" at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, followed by "Kitchen Countertop Terrariums" at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9.

Participants will be able to create their own herbal terrarium under the guidance of Shannon Burnett. The countertop gardens can provide favorite cooking herbs. Cost of the class ranges from $15 to 25, depending on the size of the terrarium.

Gahanna's Herb Day will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at Creekside, with more than 100 varieties of herbs for sale.

The week of activities will conclude with a mother-daughter tea party at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 13. It will feature tea with sweet and savory treats, beautiful china and a chance to relax and appreciate the bond that can exist among women of all ages.

Participants will be able to create a Tussie Mussie bouquet as a keepsake. The cost is $15 per resident or $20 for others. Reservations are required.

For additional information and updates on Herb Day and the OHEC workshops, visit the website at www.ohioherbcenter.org or call 614-342-4380.