Today we celebrate the equinox, when the length of our day is roughly equal to that of our night; tomorrow, we welcome Autumn and her harvest – the season when we bring in the roots and berries of our herbs. And also when the nights will draw in. Luckily, I’ve found a good book to curl up with – I’m looking forward to discovering Why Willows Weep!
I am so lucky to live in a town that has nature right on its doorstep and has such a wonderful variety of herbs growing wild – just watch this amazing video! You can even see the little path we usually take on herb walks from 0:48 -1:23!
Once a week, on a Tuesday, the walled garden at Knole is open to the public. Among its extensive grounds, there is a small herb garden with lots of medicinal herbs growing, including the impressive Garden Angelica. Angelica (Angelica archangelica) is probably best known as those super green, super sweet crystallised sticks used in cooking but medicinally, it is a particularly useful aromatic bitter to help soothe digestive upsets – the monks of Chartreuse even have it as an ingredient of their digestif – but it can also help with coughs and cold and fevers.
P.S. Garden Angelica does have a sister in her Apiaceae/Umbelliferae family – the Chinese angelica (Angelica sinensis) but she has quite a different character!
- Drink some herb tea
- Make a lavender heart
- Create a herb Pinterest board
- Take a herb course
- See a herbalist
- Visit a herb garden
- Strive for a Natural Health Service
- Make some superfood chocolates
- Go on a herb walk
- Plant some herb seeds
I love all the seasons of our English year, but there’s something about Spring that is so life-enhancing and hopeful – everything is literally springing to life: lambs, new leaves and flowers, buds on the trees, the bees finally out gathering pollen and nectar, it’s a busy time in nature and so nice to get out on the herb walks and be able to harvest the dandelions and nettle and cleavers for an internal spring-clean smoothie! Santé!
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!
#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!