health through herbs!

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rosemary-leaves© bbc

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!

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mandrakes© erowid

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!

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sunshine© wellnessoutloud

It’s really important to keep cool and hydrated in this hot weather and there are lots of herbs that can help. Members of the ‘rose’ family are particularly cooling, so Rose, Rosehips, Hawthorn and Raspberry leaves would all make a lovely supercool tea. You could also mix in some Chickweed, Cleavers, Lavender, Blue mallow, Spearmint or Peppermint which are also considered very cooling herbs. They not only taste amazing, but are packed with phytonutrients and are just perfect for a refreshing iced tea or face spritzer!

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burdock + bee#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!

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HMW© nr-herbalist

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!

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elderflower-close-up© thenaturenut

This coming Thursday 18 June, there will be an “Introduction to Herbs” course!  It’s at Tonbridge Adult Education from 12-1pm so come along, bring your lunch and enjoy a cup of herbal tea while learning about herbal medicine!

You can book online here: Tonbridge Adult Education

Or telephone: 0845 606 5606

p.s. the little picture above is a sneak preview of one of the herbs we’ll be talking about!  Isn’t it beautiful?  Do you know what it is?

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meditation-works© ashleyturner

If you’re at a loose end in Tunbridge Wells tomorrow afternoon, why not come along and join Claire and me at Neal’s Yard Remedies, Mount Pleasant Road for another uplifting hour of meditation with the herbs!  We promise that you’ll leave with a sense of calm and balance – feelings which don’t end when our meditation session ends.  According to research, meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and can even improve certain medical conditions.

Just drop in for 2pm or telephone the store to reserve a space: 01892 524 523

We hope to see you!