health through herbs!

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angel gardenIn a tucked away part of a rather unlovely car park in town, a rather lovely community garden has been created! There are lots of herbs growing here – borage, yarrow, red clover, calendula, poppies, shepherd’s purse, heartsease, chamomile to name a few! Bravo to these amazing and mostly unseen gardeners!angel herbs

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I hope the holiday season has been fun and that 2015 has begun well for you.  The photo above seemed appropriate for a brand new year – it is one of the beautiful sunrises I saw while away for the festivities.

There are lots of herby things to look forward to this year, for example, the first herb course of the year (helping with stress!) is on 24 February, there’s a summer herb walk in May and Herbal Medicine Week in June to name just a few …

Here’s to a happy and healthy new year!

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drink me© original illustration by Sir John Tenniel

The summer holidays are over and it’s back to school, but there’s no need to despair about the imminent approach of autumn, there are some uplifting herb courses to look forward to!

For starters, there’s an hour’s introduction to herbal medicine this coming Wednesday (15 September) to get you started on your herbal journey.  Click here to book:  Tonbridge Adult Education

The main courses, which last 3 hours, range from herb walks, to stress and allergies, nettles and hand massage.  Visit here for more details, just type ‘herbs’ into the ‘Find a Course’ box!

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dig it© laura stoddart

So, I hope you had some fun during Herbal Medicine Week?  Personally, I drank lots of herb teas, made plans for the herb garden, took part in a wellbeing day (a talk about herbal medicine and 12 herbal hand massages!), started off a lovely St. John’s Wort infused oil, bought some heart-shaped moulds in preparation for future lotion making, made some rose petal tincture, and listened to a radio programme about Hildegard of Bingen (more on this later).  A very enjoyable week indeed!

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herb bags©  herb bags

This week is Herbal Medicine Week – time to celebrate the healing power of mother nature.  Each day this week, wouldn’t it be nice to do something herby every day?  For example, you could:
–  go on a herb walk to see what’s growing round about you,
–  make your own tincture from herbs that are plentiful now,
–  plant a little herb garden (even in a window box),
–  give your hair some shine with a herbal hair rinse,
–  make a cotton bag filled with herbs (like the ones above),
–  read a book on herbs,
–  make your own herbarium,
–  or simply enjoy a nice cup of herbal tea!   So many herby things to do!

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plantagoThis is such a magical time of year for harvesting herbs and one in particular is growing very prettily now – Plantain.  There are two types Plantago lanceolata and Plantago major(The latter used more for urinary tract infections/haemorrhoids).  This valuable little plant is much underrated and I have often heard it said that Plantain is Europe’s Echinacea.  You can appreciate why when you see a list of its extensive properties!

        –  anti-inflammatory          –  antimicrobial
–  anti-histamine                 –  lymphatic
–  astringent                         –  demulcent
–  anti-catarrhal                  –  diuretic

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racecourse © TMBC

Thank you so much to all those who joined me on the herb walk around The Racecourse last week – a very enjoyable three and a half hours!  It was wonderful to see all the herbs looking so healthy, especially given the terrible winter flooding that turned the area into a lake.

For those who are interested, here’s the super simple recipe for the dip we sampled.
I hope to see you again soon on another herb course!

Nettle and Cleavers Dip


  • Generous handful of nettles
  • Generous handful of cleavers
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4-5 tbsp crème fraîche or Greek yogurt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

What to Do
Put the nettles and cleavers into a food processor and blend until roughly chopped.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.   Taste and adjust seasoning.  Enjoy!