A wonderful herb walk last Saturday with beautiful autumn colours and so many herbs to see: horse chestnut, oak, two sorts of nettle, chickweed, comfrey, even St John’s Wort made an unexpected appearance. Thank you ladies for your company (and for your gorgeous photos, Sharon!), I hope you are now fortifying yourselves ready for winter with your rosehip teas!
Do you know your lemon balm from your lemongrass? Or which herb is helpful for skin problems? Find out if you’re a master herbalist! How well do you know herbal remedies?
Just what is going on at the BBC – two articles on herbs in two days! Today’s article on their website relates to rosemary essential oil and its effect on memory. It’s most intriguing, and encouraging, to read the final quote especially: “We have spent many years rubbishing alternative treatments but there is, I believe, a real benefit in allowing people to take control of their own health with treatments that make them feel better – even if we haven’t been able to prove how.” Hear Hear!
There was a very interesting programme on Radio 4 all about the Nightshades – “it soothed us before anaesthetics, sent our imaginations flying and tempted us with alluring flavours – and they are still pushing the frontiers of both medicine and food today”. It covered all sorts of topics, from Harry Potter to murder to apothecaries and even an interesting aphrodisiac recipe (despite a curiously-mispronounced “lycopene” mention). A very interesting but sometimes deadly family and well worth listening to!
#1 Herbal Medicine Week: I hope you’ve been out enjoying the herbs and the sunshine – like the bumble bee drinking from the burdock above. Burdock (Arctium lappa) is a helpful nourishing and eliminative herb with lymphatic, diuretic, laxative, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial actions. As you might expect its uses include enlarged lymph nodes, skin conditions, constipation and arthritis. It is better taken in combination with other herbs – like Dandelion (maybe you remember that old-fashioned drink from childhood!) or Cleavers or Red Clover.
Curious fact: Burdock was the inspiration behind Velcro! In 1941, Georges de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, was out walking with his dog and musing about the burrs clinging to them both. After nearly eight years of research (apparently it’s not so easy to copy nature and make a synthetic burr ; p), Velcro was born!
With midsummer comes the time to explore and celebrate all things herbal! This week, I’ll be posting things we can do to become more aware of our amazing herbs and what they can do, as well as discover the rich tapestry of our herbal traditions and history. Meanwhile, enjoy the lovely image above which was created by a talented fellow herbalist!