Moisture Loving Meadowsweet (Filipendula Ulmaria)

 

Foraging recently I saw a small patch of meadowsweet.  My beauties are growing on a riverbank and can be seen from June to September.

If you new to foraging take a look at my “Foraging Tips for Beginners” post;

http://theforagingherbalist.com/foraging-tips-for-beginners/

Its not surprising that meadowsweet grows here because they tend to grow in damp and wet areas. Therefore they also grow in ditches, fens, marshes, damp meadows and woods.

Meadowsweet is a herbaceous perennial which means that its a plant whose growth dies down annually.  Despite this its roots or other underground parts survive.

Its a member of the rosaceae (rose) family and grows straight and vertically. Meadowsweet also likes to grow in sun and partial shade and in clay or loam soils.

If your thinking of growing your own meadowsweet take a look at this article by the Telegraph;

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/howtogrow/3342950/How-to-grow-meadowsweet.html

Other names for Meadowsweet

There are many other names for meadowsweet which include;

  • Bridewort because it was often scattered in churches for weddings.
  • Meadowwort because its grows in meadows and wort because this is the Old English name for “wyrt” and often relates to a medicinal herb.
  • Meadwort which comes from the Anglo-Saxon medu-swete and means “mead sweetner”. This is because of its use in flavouring mead during medieval times.
  • Queen of the meadow, meadows Queen or lady of the meadow because it often has a commanding presence in damp meadows.

Identifying Meadowsweet

As well as in ditches, on meadows and riverbanks meadowsweet also grows in other wet and damp areas. For example woods, marshes and fens.

Growing up to 1.2 metres high it has large heads of frothy or fluffy looking creamy-white flowers. The flower heads top tall stems and  are umbrella shape in appearance. They also emit a sweet fragrance which some say smells like almonds.

Meadowsweet leaves are dark green, deep-veined and have a greyish-white underside. They are tooth edged and divided into two to five pairs of leaflets. What catches my eye the most is the tiny pairs of additional leaflets as shown above.

Eating and Drinking Meadowsweet

Uses for the leaves include;

  • Cut while young and after chopping add to soups.

Uses for the flowers include;

  • Add flowers to jam because they add a subtle almond flavour.
  • As well as adding to mead the flower’s uses include adding to beer, vinegar and wine. 
  • Add to cold drinks in summer because this sweetens them.

Tea can also be made from the flowering tops which include the flowers, buds, leaves and stems of the herb.

Meadowsweet Tea

Drying the Flowering Tops to Make Meadowsweet Tea

When I arrive home from foraging I take the bag I use to collect the meadowsweet outside. I then open the bag to allow any remaining bugs to escape.

Next I briefly rinse my flowering tops in a colander and leave them on the draining board until the water evaporates. Then I lay them onto kitchen roll and leave them to dry for a week or two. To do this I put them out of the way and cover them with further kitchen roll. This avoids them getting dusty while they dry.

When the flowering tops are dry  I cut them into smaller pieces and store them in brown paper bags. Finally I label the bags with herb name, expiry date, uses of the tea, and details on how to prepare. I always put an expiry date of one year from storing on my dry herbs.

Making the Tea

I make meadowsweet tea from the dry flowering tops as follows;

  1. Bring a cup of bottled water to the boil. I prefer bottled water because I do not like to consume the chemicals in tap water.
  2. Add 1-2 teaspoons of the dry flowering tops.
  3. Place a plate on top of the cup and infuse for 15 minutes.
  4. Drink and before meals may be best if suffering from acid indigestion or stomach problems.

Uses for the tea which may help to support the body include;

  • Easing indigestion, heartburn and other upper gastro-intestinal conditions.
  • Gastric ulcers and reflux.
  • Its anti-inflammatory properties may ease arthritis and rheumatism.
  • Easing cystitis which is a urinary tract infection. This happens due to a bladder infection causing inflammation of the bladder.
  • Liver disorders.
  • Foul breath.
  • Expelling salt and water from the body because it is a diuretic.

Cautions

  • Contains aspirin and therefore must not be given to children unless there is no other option.
  • Do not take if allergic to aspirin because you are likely to be allergic to meadowsweet as well.

Magical Meadowsweet

Magically meadowsweet is a herb possessing very gentle vibrations and its uses include;

  • Adding to love essences.
  • Placing on the alter as a decoration and an offering when mixing love charms and sachets.
  • Spreading it around the home to gain peace and harmony.

 

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Finally

Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. Therefore only try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.

 

If you have enjoyed this post please feel free to share, comment or subscribe for future posts.

Furthermore if reading my posts are making you feel like you want to start your own blog then give it a try. I describe myself as a technophobe but here I am having a go and enjoying it too. There is also a lot of help out there on the internet.

I use SiteGround because they have a good start up deal and they are there to help when you need them. Furthermore I like their system and if a technophobe like me can navigate it then I feel anyone can.

Take a look for yourself at their start up package using this link;

 

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This post contains affiliate links

 

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Revolutionary Rosebay Willowherb (Chamaenerion Angustifolium)

This tall and elegant beauty is a herb that I don’t know what I would do without. Rosebay Willowherb has been supporting my digestion problems for well over a year now.

Anyone who reads my posts regularly will know that I have a very weak stomach. This means that I struggle to digest food  and keep minerals in my body. Fortunately Rosebay Willowherb gives me the opportunity to stop diarrhoea for a little while and this is fantastic for emergencies.

I make a syrup from the flowers and also keep a stock of dry leaves. This is because I am very sensitive to drugs and taking the usual loperamide or Imodium tablets gives me adverse side effects. These include heartburn, terrible bloating of my stomach, and stomach pains. It feels like these drugs just back me up because when I stop taking them defecation is much worse.

Both the Rosebay Willowherb syrup and dry leaf tea give me this relief. Despite this I only take the herb when absolutely necessary. This is because afterwards I still go more but this natural alternative is much gentler to my body. As a result I don’t get the heartburn and stomach pain side effects that the chemical drugs give me.

I also love Rosebay Willowherb’s beautiful dark pink colour and some even use it for dying. Read more about natural dye’s and plants here;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_dye

Other names for Rosebay Willowherb

Rosebay Willowherb is the British name for this majestic herb.

Other names for the herb include;

  • Bombweed because it grew expansively on burnt ground cleared by world wars, such as bomb craters. This type of ground is perfect for the Rosebay Willowherb to grow.
  • Fireweed again because of its ability to grow on burnt ground and this is why its the first to grow after forest fires.
  • Singerweed because it grew on the bombed Singer sewing machine factory site in Clydebank. I remember my mum using one of these machines and it would fold away inside its table after use.

Identifying Rosebay Willowherb

Rosebay Willowherb grows up to 2 meters high on disturbed ground, heaths, hedgerows, mountains, railway embankments, wasteland, woodland clearings and verges. It is a perennial herb and therefore it lives and grows for several years. 

At this time of year its easy to spot the tall and elegant beautiful dark pink flowers because they grow from June to September. They grow in abundance on long spikes and picking the flower heads is best done in late summer. Its amazing to see that they are already starting to turn to fluffy seeds.

The Rosebay Willowherb’s narrow leaves grow and spiral around erect stems. The leaves “willow” like appearance give Rosebay Willowherb this part of its name.

If you are new to foraging take a look at my “Foraging Tips for Beginners” post;

http://theforagingherbalist.com/foraging-tips-for-beginners/

Making Rosebay Willowherb Syrup

Again I thank Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal for their Hedgerow Medicine book. This time they really came through for me personally with their Rosebay Willowherb syrup.

I also love their books because they include a bit of history, fantastic recipes, and great photos and descriptions to help identify herbs.

Take a look for yourself;

 

My interpretation on how to make the syrup is as follows;

1. Forage 20 flowerheads.

2. Returning home open and place the bags of herbs outside because it allows bugs to escape. I do this using my garden table.

3. Rinse the flowerheads under a tap using a colander and leave them to drain on the kitchen draining board. This is to ensure that any other bugs still lurking around are removed.

4. Once the water evaporates put 500ml of bottled water into a large pan and bring it to the boil. I prefer bottled water because I do not like to consume the chemicals in tap water.

5. Add the flowerheads and simmer until the colour leaves the flowers. This should take 5-10 minutes.

6. Strain into a measuring jug and throw the flowerheads away.

7. Put the liquid back into the pan and add 100g of granulated sugar per 400ml of liquid.

8. Add the juice of a lemon. I have started using an amazing and simple handheld gadget for this. Its so much easier than the push down varieties because they do not require as much effort and strength. Here are some examples;

Handheld Juicers

Its amazing to see the beautiful pink colour that the liquid becomes as a result of adding the sugar and lemon juice. It nearly matches the colour of the original flowers themselves.


9. Boil for 5 minutes and allow the syrup to cool slightly.

10. Pour into a jar with a lid.

11. Label with syrup name, preparation date, expiry date, ingredients, uses and dosages. I put an expiry date of 6 months onto my syrups.

12. Store in a refrigerator.

Dosages

Use a dessertspoonful for children or a tablespoonful for adults.

I only require a child’s dose because I am very sensitive. Take a look at my “Herbal Preparation Dosages” post to find out why different people require different dosages;

http://theforagingherbalist.com/herbal-preparation-dosages-hsp-highly-sensitive-person/

Uses for Rosebay Willowherb Syrup

  • Diarrhoea and this includes childhood diarrhoea.
  • Loose bowels.

Rosebay Willowherb Tea

In case I run out of the Rosebay Willowherb syrup I like to dry some of its leaves as a back up. With my condition being chronic its a problem I deal with every day. Therefore I need the “crutch” that this herb provides to be constantly available to me.

To dry my leaves I firstly follow stages 2 and 3 in the above syrup recipe . Next I lay the leaves onto kitchen roll in a place where they can be left undisturbed for a week or two. I put more kitchen roll over the top as well because I don’t like them to get dusty.

When they are dry I store them in brown paper bags and label them with the herb name, uses, dosages and a description of how to make the tea.

Making Rosebay Willowherb Tea

I make mine as follows;

  1. Place 2 or 3 dry Rosebay Willowherb leaves (or flowers) into a cup of boiling bottled water. How many I add depends upon their size.
  2. Cover the cup with a tea plate and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain and throw away the leaves.

Drink a cup whenever wanted.

Uses of the Rosebay WillowherbTea

The tea may support the body in the following ways with regards to;

  • Colitis and this is the inflammation of the inner lining of the colon.
  • Diarrhoea, weak stomachs and gastro-enteritis. This also includes summer diarrhoea in children.
  • Digestion.
  • Diverticulosis and this is when pockets form in the walls of the digestive tract. As a result of this the inner layer of the intestine pushes through these weak spots.
  • Dysentery and this is an infection of the intestines which results in severe diarrhoea and abdominal pains.
  • Prostrate problems – Germany and Austria use it for this reason.
External uses

Also use the tea cold as a gargle for mouth ulcers, sore throats and pharyngitis which is an inflammation at the back of the throat.

I was sceptical the first time using the Rosebay Willowherb leaves instead of the syrup but they are just as effective.

Rosebay Willowherb  and Vaseline Salve

I end by talking about a little beauty of a salve that I make from dry Rosebay Willowherb leaves and Vaseline. Another annoying mosquito bit me on my back a few weeks ago. As a result there was a red and dry patch of skin on my back that would not go away.

Trying some of my other salves did not touch it but this new one was amazing. After less than a week of applying the salve its nearly gone. In fact it was no longer dry after just two days.

Making Rosebay Willowherb and Vaseline Salve

To try this little beauty for yourselves I make mine as follows;

  1. Measure 1 part dry Rosebay Willowherb leaves to 8 parts Vaseline using an electronic scale for accuracy.
  2. Place the Vaseline and the leaves into a Pyrex jug and place to one side.
  3. Next pour water into a large pan and place the Pyrex jug inside. The water needs to surround the outside of the jug to the same height as the leaves and Vaseline inside.
  4. Bring the water slowly to the boil.
  5. Once boiling reduce the heat to a simmer but be careful to keep an eye on the process so that the pan does not boil dry.
  6. Simmer for 2 hours.
  7. Remove the Pyrex jug using gloves because it is very hot.
  8. Place the jug onto a heat proof surface or chopping board to cool slightly.
  9. Remove the leaves using a slotted spoon and use another spoon to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Throw away the leaves.
  10. Pour the remaining liquid into a container with a lid and leave it to set.
  11. Label with name, ingredients, uses, preparation and expiry date.

This is the first time I have used Vaseline for a salve. Therefore I have initially put on an expiry date of one year. However I will keep an eye on it because it will be easy to see if it starts to go off before then. It may start to smell, lose its colour or consistency.

This Rosebay Willowherb salve attracts me even more to this herb. Its certainly a herb that will be in my home apothecary for many years to come.

Finally

Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. Therefore only try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.

 

If you have enjoyed this post please feel free to share, comment or subscribe for future posts.

Furthermore if reading my posts are making you feel like you want to start your own blog then give it a try. I describe myself as a technophobe but here I am having a go and enjoying it too. There is also a lot of help out there on the internet.

I use SiteGround because they have a good start up deal and they are there to help when you need them. Furthermore I like their system and if a technophobe like me can navigate it then I feel anyone can.

Take a look for yourself at their start up package using this link;

 

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This post contains affiliate links

 

49408total sites visits.

 

Richly Succulent Raspberry (Rubus Idaeus)

Coming across a small clump of raspberries growing by the edge of a wood I pick a couple. I do this because I want to know how different raspberries growing in the wild taste. To pick a juicy red berry I gently clasp it between two fingers and if it is ripe it easily parts from its stem. They taste similar to those bought in a supermarket but there is a definite thrill in finding and picking your own from the wild.

Considering the small number of berries available it feels right to leave the rest for the wildlife. In fact this will result in more because typically raspberries are spread by birds that  eat the fruit.

If your new to foraging take at look at my “Foraging Tips for Beginners” post;

http://theforagingherbalist.com/foraging-tips-for-beginners/

Finding more raspberries in the future would be fantastic because then I can bring some home too. Its best to do this using a container because the berries squash very easily. As a result of bringing the berries home so much more can be done with them besides eating them fresh. These options include making jam, raspberry vinegar, summer puddings, a sauce for ice cream, or adding them to smoothies.

As well as growing in woods wild raspberries also grow in hedgerows, heaths and hilly areas. Summer raspberries are available from July because they are usually the first soft fruit to ripen and are still around in early autumn.

 

Other Names for Raspberry

Raspberries are known by other names and these include;

  • European Rasberry because its habitat includes Europe as well as North America, and they are a significant crop throughout Northern Europe.
  • Framboise because this is the old French name for raspberry.
  • Hindberry because this is the old name for the wild variety and has now been updated to raspberry.
  • Wild Raspberry obviously named because they grow in the wild and they tend to be smaller than their cultivated counterparts.

Raspberry Leaves

Due to the lack of berries, foraging a small amount of leaves was the next best thing. The raspberry leaves are toothed, oval and a whitish colour underneath.

Before the berries arrive its easy to wonder if you are looking at raspberry or blackberry leaves. To tell them apart I take a look at their stems. Raspberry stems are woody and quite smooth apart from a few prickles. Whereas the blackberry has rough stems and much stronger and sharper prickles.

At home I wash the raspberry leaves and then dry them for storing. I do this by washing the leaves in a colander and leaving them on the kitchen drainer. Then I  wait for the rest of the water to evaporate. Next I lay them onto kitchen roll for a week or two because this allows them to dry out. Furthermore I like to cover mine with more kitchen roll because this stops the leaves from getting dusty during the drying process.

Finally when dry  I store my leaves in brown paper bags until I require them. I label the bags with name of herb, date of storing, expiry date, uses and dosages.

The expiry date I use is one year on from when I store the dry leaves. I also add how to make a tea/infusion from them.

Making a  Raspberry Leaf Tea

I make a tea by doing the following;

  1. Bring a cup of bottled water to the boil.
  2. Place 12g of dried raspberry leaves into a cup and add the boiling water.
  3. Place a tea plate on top of the cup and leave the tea to infuse for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain and throw away the leaves
  5. Sweeten if desired. I use stevia drops or honey.
  6. Drink.

Children may drink a wineglassful of the tea and babies may drink teaspoon doses.

Alternatively use the leaves to make a tincture.

 

Making Raspberry Leaf Tincture

This is how I make a raspberry leaf tincture;

  1. Weigh the dry leaves using an electronic scale for accuracy.
  2. Finely cut or crush the raspberry leaves and place them in a glass jar which has an airtight lid.
  3. Pour over alcohol and stir. I use 37.5% cheap vodka and use 600ml to 1 oz of dry herb.
  4. Put on the lid and label the jar with name, date of preparation, and alcohol percentage and ratio.
  5. Store the jar in a cupboard away from direct sunlight for 3-6 weeks. This allows the herb to macerate, which means that it softens while soaking in the liquid.
  6. Shake the jar every few days.
  7. When ready the solution will have changed in colour. Strain it into a fresh jar using a conical funnel and cheesecloth.
  8. Discard the raspberry leaves.
  9. Screw on the lid and label with name, date of preparation, expiry date, alcohol content, uses and dosages. I put an expiry date of two years on my tinctures but they can last longer.
Dosage

1-2 teaspoons in water.

Cautions
  • Tinctures are not suitable for those with alcohol intolerance or a history of alcoholism.

Uses for the Raspberry Leaf Tea and Tincture

Raspberry leaves may support the body in the following ways;

  • Alleviate pain and heavy bleeding during menstruation.
  • Ease diarrhoea and muscle cramps associated with menstruation.
  • Helpful in childbirth and the last two months of pregnancy by toning the uterine muscles. In fact it has a reputation for painless and easy delivery in straightforward births.
  • Promote milk production.
  • Easing nausea particularly the sickness and nausea associated with pregnancy.

Additionally the tea can also support the body by;

  • Using externally when cool as an eye wash for conjunctivitis and sore eyes.
  • Use as a douche, which is a spray or shower of water, for vaginal discharge.
  • Alleviating mouth ulcers, sore throats, gum problems and tonsillitis when using as a gargle or mouthwash.
Finally

Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. Therefore only try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.

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If you have enjoyed this post please feel free to share, comment or subscribe for future posts.

Furthermore if reading my posts are making you feel like you want to start your own blog then give it a try. I describe myself as a technophobe but here I am having a go and enjoying it too. There is still a long way to go with my blog but there is a lot of help out there on the internet.

I use SiteGround because they have a good start up deal and they are there to help when you need them. Furthermore I like their system and if a technophobe like me can navigate it then I feel anyone can.

Take a look for yourself and have a look at their start up deal using this link;

 

Web Hosting

 

This post contains affiliate links

 

49408total sites visits.

Warming White Mustard (Sinapis Alba)

With National Mustard Day in the US fast approaching lets celebrate mustard. National Mustard Day takes place on 3rd August 2019 this year and on the first Saturday in August every other year.

White mustard is also known as brassica alba. This is because its a member of the brassica family and alba means white in Latin.

In the wild white mustard grows up to 75cm tall and its leaves are pinnate. This  means that the leaflets are arranged on either side of the stem and typically in pairs opposite each other.

White mustard grows commercially in the UK  as a food crop for animals or alternatively as a cover crop. A cover crop means that farmers use it because it protects and enriches the soil. Therefore foraging for this one means finding escapees at the edge of fields, farmland or ditches.

Eating Mustard

Liking the hot bite that mustard gives a dish I add a little to mashed potato because it peps it up. Likewise I use it in casseroles too so that it adds a bit of spice to them.

The common yellow table mustard that we use comes from the hard round seeds of white mustard.

While going foraging for white mustard nibble the leaves as passing or take them home and put them into salads. The buds are also edible so steam or stir fry them along with the leaves.

 

Herbal Uses for Mustard Seeds

Mustard seeds are rarely used by herbal practitioners internally anymore. Therefore a practitioner needs to be seen before considering doing this.

Here are some of the external herbal uses of the mustard seeds which may help to support the body;

Poultice

Using a poultice stimulates circulation and generates warmth. As a result it may ease pain, tension and spasms.

Make a mustard seed/powder poultice as follows;

  1. Mix a handful of the herb with a binder. Easy binders to find and use include pastry flour or egg white.
  2. Moisten the herb and binder with warm water to make a paste.
  3. Wrap the paste in a coarse thin cloth and apply directly to the effected area. Avoid using linen because its weave is too tight.
Caution

Be careful not to leave the poultice on for too long or a blister may occur.

 

Uses of a Mustard Seed Poultice

A mustard seed poultice may support the body with regard to;

  • Arthritis and joint pains
  • Bronchitis
  • Chilblains
  • Colds
  • Painful joints of old age
  • Intercostal neuralgia
  • Painful chests
  • Pleurisy and this is inflammation of the tissue (pleura) between the lungs and rib cage

Footbath

Make a footbath to ease tired and aching feet by;

  1. Putting 1 tablespoon of mustard seeds into a muslin bag.
  2. Placing the bag in a basin which is big enough to put your feet into and pour 2 pints of boiling water into the bowl.
  3. Let the water cool until it is comfortable enough to put your feet into.
  4. Soak the feet for 20 minutes.

Mustard Powder

Sprinkle mustard powder into boots or shoes to ease fisherman’s feet.

Mustard Bach Flower Remedy

Bach flower remedies are complementary medicine preparations which are made from flowers. These remedies may help to balance the emotions and  allow peace and happiness to return so that a sufferer’s body is free to heal itself.

The mustard Bach flower remedy is for those who feel depression but without knowing the reason why. A dark depression descends that may last for a few days or may go on for weeks at a time. The sufferer cannot disguise the depression and feels powerless to stop it.

Therefore the mustard Bach flower essence may support the emotions by turning these feelings around. As a result a more stable and lighter mood may come about. Bringing along with it calm, peace and cheerfulness.

Other support

If you or anyone you know is suffering with their mental health, then maybe some of the alternative support that helps me may help them too. Take a look at the following posts to find out more;

Alternative Tips for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Balance – Part One

http://theforagingherbalist.com/alternative-tips-for-mental-health-wellbeing-and-balance-part-one/

Alternative Tips for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Balance – Part Two

http://theforagingherbalist.com/alternative-tips-for-mental-health-wellbeing-and-balance-part-two/

Alternative Tips for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Balance – Part Three

http://theforagingherbalist.com/alternative-tips-for-mental-health-wellbeing-and-balance-part-three/

Supportive St John’s Wort (Hypercium Perforatum)

http://theforagingherbalist.com/supportive-st-johns-wort-hypercium-perforatum-depression-fuga-daemonum-goat-weed-hardhay-klamath-weed-st-johns-wort-tincture-st-johns-wort-tea-magical-st-johns-wort/

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Finally

Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. Therefore only try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.

 

If you have enjoyed this post please feel free to share, comment or subscribe for future posts.

Furthermore if reading my posts are making you feel like you want to start your own blog then give it a try. I describe myself as a technophobe but here I am having a go and enjoying it too. There is also a lot of help out there on the internet.

I use SiteGround because they have a good start up deal and they are there to help when you need them. Furthermore I like their system and if a technophobe like me can navigate it then I feel anyone can.

Take a look for yourself at their start up package using this link;

 

Web Hosting

 

This post contains affiliate links

 

49408total sites visits.

 

Supportive St Johns Wort (Hypercium Perforatum)

This post is about amazing St John’s Wort. I love this herb because it has been very supportive to myself and my friends.

My first forage for St John’s Wort this year was on the 21st June because summer solstice is said to be the best time to do this. Summer solstice occurs on the longest day of the year and is also known as midsummer. Some even wear the flower on this day because its said to attract God’s favour.

Three days later its St John’s Day on the 24th June. This is where St John’s Wort gets its name from because it usually flowers around this date. Also the “Wort” part of the name is an old Anglo Saxon name for medicinal herb.

Being a perennial this herb lives for many years and grows wild throughout Europe.  I forage for mine beside hedgerows but they also grow on rough grassland, meadows and open woodland. Another place they grow is on road verges but these are best left alone because of vehicle emissions.

 

Identifying St John’s Wort

St John’s Wort flowers from June to September and its leaves appears from April through to October. It can grow up to three feet high and its yellow blooms are stunning and peppered with tiny black dots.  In fact you cannot fail to see these star-shaped eye catching beauties on a forage.

Further help to identify this herb comes from looking at its leaves because they are covered with translucent dots. When held to the light these dots look like holes but are actually colourless oil glands.

If your new to foraging check out my “Foraging Tips for Beginners” post;

http://theforagingherbalist.com/foraging-tips-for-beginners/

Other Names for St John’s Wort

This herb is known by many names which include;

  • Fuga daemonum (scare devil) because of a thirteenth century drugs list which shows it as a herb that chases away the devil and evil spirits.
  • Goat weed because it may cause poisoning to livestock, and sheep readily graze this when food is scarce.
  • Hardhay because of its hard and tough stems.
  • Klamath weed because Klamath County is a county in the U.S. state of Oregon and the herb is considered a pest in some places in the U.S. Therefore this name makes sense because St Johns Wort is particularly widespread in Northern California and Southern Oregon.

St John’s Wort Tincture

I love my St John’s Wort tincture because it works remarkably well for me. When I have a particularly trying day where I get easily upset over the tiniest things I reach for this beauty. Personally half a  teaspoonful (2.5ml) in a lovely cold glass of bottled water brings practically instant relief. In fact I start to feel much better and calmer after only a few sips.

This is the brilliant thing about tinctures a small dose can be very effective.

Making St John’s Wort Tincture

I make this supportive tincture with fresh herb as follows;

  1. Wash the fresh flowers, buds and top leaves in a colander and leave them on the kitchen drainer until the water evaporates. This will remove any insects still lurking around.
  2. Weigh the flowers, buds and leaves on a electronic scale for accuracy.
  3. Place them into a clean glass jar or bottle.
  4. Cover them with vodka –  1oz of fresh herb would require 300ml of vodka whereas 1/2oz of dry herb also requires 300ml.
  5. Screw on the jar or bottle’s lid and label with preparation name, date of preparation, alcohol content, and date when ready to strain ( in one month’s time).
  6. Shake the mixture every few days and watch how the vodka turns into a beautiful red colour.
  7. After a month strain the liquid into a fresh jar or bottle using a conical funnel and cheesecloth.
  8. Discard the herb.
  9. Label with tincture name, alcohol content, uses and dosages. Tinctures may last years but I like to put an expiry date of two years time on mine.
Clearly showing the amazing difference in colour.

 

Uses for St Johns Wort Tincture

Main Use of St John’s Wort:

Mild depression

Some say that St John’s Wort is a better anti-depressant than some pharmaceutical drugs. This is shown by repeated double-blind studies of St John’s Wort, where information is held from the participants until the studies are complete. St Johns Wort also has the added benefits of being gentle and non-addictive.

The reason for its success as an anti-depressant is because it contains hypericin which is an anti-depressant as well as being antiviral.

Even the Greeks called it the “sunshine herb” because it brought light back into the lives of depressed people.

Other ways that St Johns Wort tincture may support the body include;

  • Promoting a healthy immune system because its an immune stimulant.
  • Assisting digestion because it strengthens the stomach’s functions and may also restore appetite.
  • Helping to balance stomach acid levels and assist in the absorption of nutrients.
  • Acting as a diuretic to drive out worms and reduce fever.
  • Easing Jet lag.
  • Being cardiotonic because it promotes coronary flow and strengthens the heart.
  • Supporting the liver by breaking down and getting rid of toxins.
  • Easing menopausal moods.
  • Acting as a tonic for the nervous system (nervous exhaustion) and addressing its longer term needs rather than providing a short-term lift in mood.
  • Easing the winter blues – Also known as SAD and this is the abbreviation for Seasonal Affective Disorder.
  • Acting as a sedative and as a result of this also ease insomnia.
  • Using for shingles because its antiviral.
Dosage

Take 2-4ml a maximum of 3 times per day. I mix my tincture into a cold glass of water.

With tinctures it is important to start off with the lowest dose possible and increase slowly if required. Take a look at my “Herbal Preparation Dosages” post for more information about why its so important to get this right;

http://theforagingherbalist.com/herbal-preparation-dosages-hsp-highly-sensitive-person/

St John’s Wort Tea

Tea is made from the dry flowers, buds and top leaves of St John’s Wort. To prepare my dry herbs I firstly wash them to remove any lurking insects.  When the water has evaporated I lay them onto kitchen roll for a week or two to dry.

When dry the tea is made as follows;

  1. Boil a cup of bottled water.
  2. Add one heaped teaspoonful of dry herb.
  3. Cover the cup with a plate and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain into a fresh cup and throw away the herb.
Dosage

1/2 a cup up to 3 times per day.

Uses for St John’s Wort Tea

Taken as a tea St John’s Wort may assist the body with regards to;

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Fever
  • Clearing the liver and stomach

Other Uses

Furthermore because its powerfully anti-viral St John’s Worts uses also include being a treatment for HIV, aids and herpes simplex. Discussing such treatments and options with your doctors first is extremely important.

Also St John’s Wort soothing and relaxing essential oil may support the healing of burns.

Moreover being an alternative means that St John’s Wort is a herb that may gradually restore the proper function of the body and increase health and vitality.

CAUTIONS

  • Taking St John’s Wort can cause sensitivity to the sun. Therefore if you burn easily or spend time out in the sun be especially careful.
  • Do not take alongside antidepressant medication unless you have spoken to a medical professional first.
  • It may reduce the effectiveness of other medical drugs therefore speak to your doctor before taking it with any other medications.

Magical St John’s Wort

St John’s Wort magical uses include;

  • Protecting a house by passing the herb through the smoke of a Midsummer Eve’s fire and then hanging it up in the house.
  • Inclusion in purification incense.
  • Exorcising and banishing spirits by burning the herb.

 

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Finally

Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. Therefore only try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.

 

If you have enjoyed this post please feel free to share, comment or subscribe for future posts.

Furthermore if reading my posts are making you feel like you want to start your own blog then give it a try. I describe myself as a technophobe but here I am having a go and enjoying it too. There is also a lot of help out there on the internet.

I use SiteGround because they have a good start up deal and they are there to help when you need them. Furthermore I like their system and if a technophobe like me can navigate it then I feel anyone can.

Take a look for yourself at their start up package using this link;

 

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This post contains affiliate links

 

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Widespread Water Mint (Mentha Aquatica)

 

Recently I was lucky to forage water mint beside a beautiful lake. It also grows alongside ponds, streams, rivers, in damp meadows, marshes, fens and woods.

Water mint is a perennial herb and therefore its a plant that lives for several years. Its also one of the commonest forms of mint in Britain.

Taking a few top leaves from different plants I took them home to make mint tea because its fantastic to ease stomach discomfort. I often have this issue due to digestive problems.

Its best to pick the top leaves of the water mint just before it comes into flower because the older leaves taste more bitter. Mint is fresh and perfect to pick in June and July. So are other summer herbs like basil, chives and dill.

If you are new to foraging take a look at my “Foraging Tips for Beginners” post;

http://theforagingherbalist.com/foraging-tips-for-beginners/

 

Identifying Water Mint

Apart from where water mint grows, here are some other ways to tell it apart from other mints;

  • Flowers July to September and the flowers are blueish-lilac.
  • Grows in clumps up to 2 feet high.
  • Dark green leaves often have a purple tinge and grow in opposite pairs. The leaves are also hairy and rough.
  • They are square stemmed.

I now use a pocket book to identify wild foods because I can easily take this foraging with me. Its called “Food for Free” by Richard Mabey and its very useful because it includes descriptions, pictures, recipes and a little history.

If you would like to take a look at this book for yourself here is a link;

How to Make Fresh Mint Tea

After my forage I put my “goodies” onto my garden table for a couple of hours to let any insects still lurking around disappear. This did the trick with the herbs but it may not have been necessary with the mint. This is because its smell tends to repels many insects anyway. These insects include aphids, cabbage looper, flea beetles, squash bugs, whiteflies, and the Small White butterflies.

Next I wash the leaves and lay them on kitchen roll to dry for a week or two. When they crumble in my hands I know that they are ready.

How I make a mint tea;

  1. Boil a cup of bottled water.
  2. Add 1-2 teaspoons of dried mint depending on taste.
  3. Place a plate over the cup and infuse for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Strain and serve.

Mint tea can be drank as often as required. When I run out of dried leaves from foraging I use peppermint tea that I buy from the store instead.

The fresh tea is a pale green in colour as opposed to the much darker peppermint shop bought variety. Furthermore although the tea has a “peppermint” taste and smell its much milder. I like to add 3 drops of stevia to mine and this certainly enhances the flavour.

Take a look at my “Drinking Peppermint Tea under the Full Worm Moon” post to see the difference in the colour;

http://theforagingherbalist.com/drinking-peppermint-tea-under-the-full-worm-moon-spirituality-peppermint-essential-oil-spring-equinox/

If you prefer use a couple of sprigs of fresh mint instead of the dry and maybe add a slice of lemon or honey.

Uses  of the Tea

Water mint tea may support the body in much the same way as peppermint tea with regards to;

  • Digestion and problems of the gut
  • Easing wind, gastric discomfort and bloating
  • Involuntary muscle spasms
  • Inducing sweating
  • Nausea and motion sickness
  • Mildly sedative effects
  • Lowering blood pressure

Other ways mint may support the body includes;

  • Easing headaches by rubbing fresh mint leaves onto your temples.
  • Some say chewing fresh mint can ease coughs and hiccups.

 

A Persion Oxymel of Mint and Vinegar

I thank Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal for their “Hedgerow Medicine” for this oxymel. I use it to help with digestion before a meal due to my weak stomach. It makes a nice change from my usual teaspoon of cider vinegar in a glass of water.

How I make the oxymel;

  1. Boil one cup of bottled water in a pan.
  2. Add four teaspoons of white granulated sugar and stir until it completely dissolves.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of cider vinegar.
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes and stir occasionally.
  5. Remove from the heat and add a few sprigs of water mint.
  6. Leave to cool while the mint flavour is infusing into the mixture.
  7. Remove the sprigs and pour into bottles and / or ice cube trays for the freezer. I like to do both and use old cider vinegar bottles which I then store in the fridge.
  8. Serve with ice cold water and use the bottle of oxymel like a cordial.

I love this pre-dinner drink which I try to consume at least half an hour before I eat.

Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal’s books are great. They have lovely illustrations for identification, brilliant recipes to try and loads of useful information about the herbs themselves. Here is a link to “Hedgerow Medicine” if you wish to take a look for yourself;

 

Other Ways to Consume the Mint

Water mint has a taste similar to peppermint but is slightly more bitter. As a result its uses are the same as those for peppermint and include;

  • Making sauces and chutneys
  • Add to cooked egg and cheese dishes
  • Cook with new potatoes

Magical Mint

Mint is used in prosperity spells and to anoint wallets by rubbing them with mint oil.

Peppermint in particular has the following magical uses;

  • Adding to healing incenses and charms.
  • Burning to cleanse a house in winter.
  • Inhaling crushed leaves when having difficulty falling asleep.
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Finally

Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. Therefore only try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.

 

If you have enjoyed this post please feel free to share, comment or subscribe for future posts.

Furthermore if reading my posts are making you feel like you want to start your own blog then give it a try. I describe myself as a technophobe but here I am having a go and enjoying it too. There is also a lot of help out there on the internet.

I use SiteGround because they have a good start up deal and they are there to help when you need them. Furthermore I like their system and if a technophobe like me can navigate it then I feel anyone can.

Take a look for yourself at their start up package using this link;

 

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This post contains affiliate links

 

49408total sites visits.

Charming Centaury (Centaurium Erythraea)

Spotting a patch of tiny beautiful pink blooms while walking I took a closer look. Using my PlantNet app on my mobile phone it was easy to see that they were centaury flowers. I always double check when I get home to ensure that the PlantNet app is correct and this time it certainly was.

These low growing beauties are easy to miss because they grow so near to the ground. In fact they only grow up to 24 cm in height. Centaury is in bloom and ready for harvest in the summer and can be seen from July to September. Look for them in grassy areas, sand dunes, heaths and woodland.

If you don’t have a plant app identify centaury by looking for 5 petals of pink flowers growing in clusters, and a basal rosette of oval leaves. Basal leaves grow on the lowest part of the stem and rosette refers to a tight cluster of these leaves forming a circle.

Interestingly the beautiful pink flowers close during the afternoon because they are a member of the genitan family.

If your new to foraging take a look at my “Foraging Tips for Beginners” post;

http://theforagingherbalist.com/foraging-tips-for-beginners/

 

 Centaury Names and Folklore

The name centaury comes from Chiron who was a centaur in Greek mythology. Centaurs are mythical creatures with an upper human body and the lower body of a horse.

Apparently Chiron discovered the healing powers of centaury when using it to cure a fatal wound. This wound was made by an arrow poisoned with the blood of Hydra, and in Greek mythology Hydra was a many-headed serpent . Chiron was famous for his wisdom and knowledge of herbal medicine.

Other names that centaury is also known by include;

  • Christ’s Ladder or Christi Scali because of its resemblance to an old style ladder which tapers at the top. This is because centaury’s leaves decrease in size up the stem.
  • European Centaury because it is native to Europe.
  • Feverwort because it was traditionally used to treat fevers.

Centaury Tea

There are various herbal preparations for centaury but because I only have a few of the flowers, this time I dry them for tea.

To do this I wash the flowers using a strainer and leave them on my draining board until the water evaporates. Next I lay and spread the leaves onto kitchen roll. I also cover them over with further kitchen roll because I do not like them to get dusty. Finally I place them somewhere where they will not be disturbed while they dry.  This should take a week or two.

Once the flowers are dry I make a tea by;

  1. Boiling a cup of bottled water.
  2. Adding 1/2 a teaspoon of dried herb to the cup of boiling water.
  3. Cover the cup with a tea plate and leave it to infuse for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain and serve.

Dosage

Drink 1/2 a cup.

Once dry I store my herbs in brown paper bags or jars with lids. The jars are put in a cupboard away from direct sunlight. These are labelled with herb name, storing date, expiry date, uses, and dosages. Its also helpful to add instructions on how to make the tea. I put an expiry date of one year on my dry herbs.

Uses for Centaury Tea

Centaury tea may support the body in the following ways;

  • As a mild sedative.
  • Strengthen digestive function and in particular a weak stomach.
  • Increase stomach secretions and this quickens the breakdown of food.
  • Increase bile production.
  • Stimulate the appetite.
  • Ease heartburn, indigestion,  nausea and vomiting.
  • Take the tea daily for 2-3 months for tapeworms.
  • As a liver tonic.
  • Use for kidney stones.
  • Take for high blood pressure.

Centaury Tincture

Alternatively a tincture can be made by;

  1. Placing one part centuary herb and two parts vodka into a clean bottle or jar. Use dry or fresh herb but wash them first.
  2. Macerate for 8 days in a dark cupboard. This is the process of softening the herb while soaking it in liquid.
  3. Label with name, alcohol content and ratio, date of preparation, and date when ready to strain.
  4. Strain into a fresh jar using a conical funnel and cheesecloth.
  5. Throw the herb away.
  6. Label the new jar with name, type of alcohol content and ratio, straining date, expiry date, uses and dosages. I put on an expiry date of two years.
Dosage

Take 1 wineglass full for liver and gall bladder problems.

NOTE

Need to take centaury over several weeks.

 

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Finally

Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. Therefore only try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.

 

If you have enjoyed this post please feel free to share, comment or subscribe for future posts.

Furthermore if reading my posts are making you feel like you want to start your own blog then give it a try. I describe myself as a technophobe but here I am having a go and enjoying it too. There is still a long way to go with my blog but there is a lot of help out there on the internet.

I use SiteGround because they have a good start up deal and they are there to help when you need them. Furthermore I like their system and if a technophobe like me can navigate it then I feel anyone can.

Take a look for yourself and have a look at their start up deal using this link;

 

Web Hosting

 

This post contains affiliate links

 

49408total sites visits.

 

Honeyed Honeysuckle (Lonicera Periclymenum)

Seeing wild honeysuckle on a recent walk in early summer was a delightful surprise. It smells amazing and the flowers bloom between June and September.

Wild honeysuckle grows in hedgerows, woodland, scrubland and on verges.

Their flowers are edible and their uses include making sorbets, jams, jellies, vinaigrettes or to add a sweet flavour to other dishes. They can also be used in drinks such as cordials or added to fizzy water, champagne and cocktails.

Caution

Do not eat the berries because they are toxic.

 

Herbal Uses for Honeysuckle

Flowers, leaves and bark of the honeysuckle all have herbal uses.

The leaves are astringent which means that they cause contracting of skin cells and other body tissues. Their uses include making a gargle or a mouthwash.

Honeysuckle bark on the other hand is diuretic and its uses include supporting the body with regards to gout, kidney stones and liver problems.

I forage the flowers and buds and infuse them in honey. The flowers antiseptic qualities also make them supportive for asthma.

Infusing Honeysuckle Flowers in Honey

A big thank you once again to Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal’s “Hedgerow Medicine” for their honeysuckle flowers in honey suggestion. In fact their books are always a huge help with ideas for my foraging hauls.

If your new to foraging have a look at my “Foraging Tips for Beginners” post;

http://theforagingherbalist.com/foraging-tips-for-beginners/

To make the honeysuckle flowers in honey I do the following;

  1. Place the honeysuckle flowers and buds into a clean jar. Label with the concoction’s name, date of when it will be ready to strain, and its ingredients.
  2. Pour over runny honey and ensure that the flowers are well covered. Then put on the jar’s lid. I use supermarkets own runny honey because its inexpensive and works well.
  3. Place the jar in my sunny kitchen windowsill. Its left there for two weeks but every couple of days I push the flowers down to ensure that they remain under the honey.
  4. After the two weeks use cheesecloth and a conical funnel to strain the honey into a clean jar. I press the flowers down with the back of a teaspoon because I want to ensure that I squeeze out as much of the precious honey as possible.
  5. Discard the flowers.
  6. Finally label the fresh jar with concoction name, straining date, expiry date, ingredients, uses and dosages. I put on an expiry date which is in one years time.

This honey may support the body with regards to;

  • Bronchitis and coughs
  • Colds and flu
  • Hot flushes
  • Sore throats
  • Tonsilitis
Dosages

1 teaspoon for sore throats or 3 times per day.

Comparing the taste of the standard runny honey and the honeysuckle honey is surprisingly distinctly different. The honeysuckle honey is a lot sweeter and also has a deeper colour.

Take a look at “Hedgerow Medicine” and its useful suggestions for yourself;

Honey is great to use in concoctions because its easily digested and gives quick energy. In fact honey infusions are also great for children and the elderly because they coat digestive passages resulting in slow and gentle absorption.

 

Honeysuckle Bach Remedy

Bach flower remedies are complementary medicine preparations which are made from flowers. These remedies may help to balance the emotions and  allow peace and happiness to return so that a sufferer’s body is free to heal itself.

Honeysuckle is for those who dwell on the past rather than living in the present. Sometimes they yearn to be back in the past because the past was the “good days”, or they are full of regrets.

Using the honeysuckle Back Remedy supports renewing interest in life and encourages learning to live in the present. Its said to allow you to learn from your past experiences and let them go. Being able to do this is very important for mental health. In fact this is one of the things that I talk about in my “Alternative Tips for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Balance” mini series posts. Take a look at part three to find out more;

http://theforagingherbalist.com/alternative-tips-for-mental-health-wellbeing-and-balance-part-three/

 Honeysuckle Magic and Folklore

A few interesting finds about honeysuckle include;

  • Magically honeysuckle is used for clairvoyance and  prosperity rituals.
  • Its folk name is woodbine because of its appearance in woods and its twining ways.
  • In some cultures the honeysuckle vines are a symbol of love because they twine together like lovers.
  • Carrying honeysuckle which is often done to forget a lover.
  • Putting a dab of honeysuckle oil onto the temples to promote memory.
  • Crushing fresh flowers and rubbing them onto your forehead to increase clairvoyance powers.

 

Finally

Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. Therefore only try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.

 

If you have enjoyed this post please feel free to share, comment or subscribe for future posts.

Furthermore if reading my posts are making you feel like you want to start your own blog then give it a try. I describe myself as a technophobe but here I am having a go and enjoying it too. There is still a long way to go with my blog but there is a lot of help out there on the internet.

I use SiteGround because they have a good start up deal and they are there to help when you need them. Furthermore I like their system and if a technophobe like me can navigate it then I feel anyone can.

Take a look for yourself and have a look at their start up deal using this link;

 

Web Hosting

 

This post contains affiliate links

 

49408total sites visits.

Glorious Globe Artichoke (Cynara Cardunculus Var. Scolymus)

 

Here I am tackling my first ever globe artichoke. Knowing it has herbal uses it was time to give it a go.

They are best eaten from June to November but baby artichokes can be eaten in May.  Baby artichokes are tiny and tender at this stage and have not developed their choke yet, which otherwise needs removing. The choke is a crown of hairy fibres and sits right above the artichoke’s heart.

Some confuse the globe artichoke with the Jerusalem artichoke because of the artichoke name. In fact the globe artichoke is an unopened flower bud of the thistle family. Whereas the Jerusalem artichoke is actually from the same family as the sunflower and you eat their tubers. Looking at the Jerusalem artichoke tubers they remind me of root ginger in appearance.

Not only do globe artichoke’s taste great but eating them may also support the body.

 

How Globe Artichokes Support the Body

Eating globe artichokes may help to support the body with regards to;

  • Arthritic disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Gout
  • Hepatitis
  • Jaundice
  • Liver and gall bladder problems
  • Assisting the digestion of fats because the plant is bitter and stimulates digestive secretions such as bile.
  • Lowering blood cholesterol levels
  • Nurturing convalescence

Preparing an Artichoke

It feels a little daunting when you first look at an artichoke and think “how on earth do I cook this?” Firstly I must warn you to be careful while preparing because those leave tips are very prickly. I can’t believe how many times I uttered “ouch” during my first attempt.

After looking at different ideas I prepare mine like this;

  1. Wash the artichoke to remove any dirt which may be hiding in between the leaves.
  2. Remove the bottom few leaves near the stalk.
  3. Cut off the top third of the artichoke and throw it away. I use a serrated knife because this makes the process much easier.
  4. Using a pair of scissors cut off the top of the remaining leaves because this removes their prickly parts.
  5. Rub the cut edges with a slice of lemon to stop them turning brown.
  6. Cut the stem only leaving a half an inch and remove the outer layer of the remaining stalk with a knife.
  7. Bring two inches of water to a boil in a pan and then add the artichoke with the stem pointing upwards.
  8. Turn the heat down low and simmer for 35-40 minutes.
  9.  Remove the artichoke carefully using kitchen tweezers because its very hot.

 

Eating an Artichoke

Once cooked the outer leaves can be eaten by dipping their fleshy ends into a sauce or dip. Throw away the stringy lower leaves shown on the left side of the above picture. Then all you eat is the tiny whitish part of the leaves from where they connect to its base. This is done by dipping the bottom of the leaf in the dip of your choice then dragging off the white fleshy part with your lower teeth. It is only a tiny morsel but I think a tasty one.

Making a Dairy Free Garlic Sauce

Dips can be simple butter garlic ones and I like to dip them in humus too. My personal favourite is red pepper humus.

I also make a dairy free dip because I’m dairy intolerant. I do this by;

  1. Melting a tablespoon of dairy free spread in a small microwavable bowl for thirty seconds. I like to use Flora Dairy Free or Pure dairy free enriched with olive oil. If using the Flora Dairy Free I also add a splash of extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Add a grated clove of garlic.
  3. Add a teaspoonful of chopped fresh chives, but dry will do it you don’t have fresh.
  4. Stir and dip away!

Very tasty!

Getting at the Artichoke Heart

Once all the dipping leaves have gone I remove the remaining leaves which don’t have the whitish fleshy ends. I throw these away and they  look like this;

After removing these leaves I’m left with a very hairy centre and this looks like this;

The hairy part, also known as the choke, is cut away to get to the heart and people say that this is the tastiest part. I understand why artichoke hearts are so expensive to buy now because reaching them does take time and effort.

Reaching the heart I think it has a meaty look and texture. I also dipped the heart into the dips but personally I prefer dipping the leaves. Its just feels much more fun!

The heart can also be used fresh in salads and I sometimes buy artichoke hearts from the supermarket for this very purpose.

My Conclusion

Its surprising how little of the artichoke can actually be eaten and how much is  thrown away. This is because you can only eat the heart and the tender ends of the leaves where they attach themselves to the artichoke.

Despite this I will definitely be eating them again because they taste great and are worth the effort. Its also a fantastic idea for parties where guests pull off their own leaves and dip them into the sauce of their choice.

 

Finally

Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. Therefore only try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.

 

If you have enjoyed this post please feel free to share, comment or subscribe for future posts.

Furthermore if reading my posts are making you feel like you want to start your own blog then give it a try. I describe myself as a technophobe but here I am having a go and enjoying it too. There is still a long way to go with my blog but there is a lot of help out there on the internet.

I use SiteGround because they have a good start up deal and they are there to help when you need them. Furthermore I like their system and if a technophobe like me can navigate it then I feel anyone can.

Take a look for yourself;

 

Web Hosting

 

This post contains affiliate links

 

49408total sites visits.

 

 

Ravishing Red Clover (Trifolium Patense)

Seeing red clover on a patch of grassland looks really pretty because of their beautiful dark pink colouring. While foraging a little from different patches I was feeling excited about how to use it.

Red Clover can also be found in fields, lawns and on roadsides. I’m careful to avoid the roadside clover due to the toxic emissions from passing traffic. Red clover prefers to grow in deep, rich, dry or moist soils.

If your new to foraging take a look at my “Foraging Tips for Beginners” post;

http://theforagingherbalist.com/foraging-tips-for-beginners/

Red clover flowers between May and October and the bees love them! It also has agricultural uses which include;

  • Fodder crop for livestock.
  • Crop rotation because of its ability to enrich soils due to it being nitrogen-fixing.

 

Preparing the Red Clover

For foraging purposes I just pick the flower heads. When I get home I put them outside to allow any insects still lurking inside to escape. Next I wash them and place them onto sheets of kitchen roll to dry out for a week or two. I like to cover mine with further kitchen roll to avoid them getting dusty.

After drying I store some of them for tea and use the rest to make a tincture. I store the dry flower heads in a glass jar with a lid and label the jar with the herb’s name, expiry date, uses and instructions on how to prepare the tea. Then I place the jar in a cupboard away from direct sunlight so that the red clover does not lose its potency. The expiry date for the dry flowers is one year from the date of storing.

Making Red Clover Tea

I make a tea with the dried red clover heads as follows;

  1. Boil 650mls of bottled water. I prefer bottled water to avoid the chemicals in tap water.
  2. Put 25g of dried flower heads into a teapot and pour over the boiling water.
  3. Place the lid on the teapot and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
  4. Sieve and drink a cupful.

For just one cup half the ingredients. This tea can also be taken by children for whooping cough and bronchitis.

Dosage

3-4 cups per day.

Red Clover Tincture

How to make red clover tincture;

  1. Using an electronic scale, because it is very accurate, I measure some of the flower heads in ounces.
  2. Place the flower heads into a clean jar with a lid.
  3. Also weigh the vodka in ounces to the amount of five times the weight of the flower heads.
  4. Cover the flower heads with the vodka and screw on the lid.
  5. Label with name, ingredients  and preparation date.
  6. Place in a dark cupboard to macerate (soften in liquid) for 8 days.
  7. After 8 days strain the liquid into a clean jar using a sieve.
  8. Label with name, expiry date, ingredients, dosages and uses.
  9. Store in a dark cupboard until required.
Dosage

5-10 ml or 30-60 drops of tincture daily.

Alcohol tinctures can last a long time but I like to put on an expiry date which is  2 years from when I prepare them.

Uses of Red Clover Tea and Tincture

Both the tea and the tincture may be able to support the body in many ways including the following;

  • Bad coughs including whooping cough and bronchitis.
  • Skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis  and even acne.
  • Scrofula which is a lymphadenopathy of the neck and is usually as a result of an infection in the lymph nodes called lymphadenitis.
  • Some even say that it is widely known to support the reduction of tumours and hard swellings, particularly of the ovaries and breast. This is because they say that it acts like a natural oestrogen. It increases oestrogen levels in the body because it is rich in isoflavones and in particular genistein.
  • Traditional uses include drinking to cleanse the lymphatic vessels.
  • Chronic constipation
  • As an emetic to cause vomiting and forceful emptying of the stomach.
  • Ease menopausal symptoms including hot flushes.

Cautions

  • Due to its oestrogenic properties avoid use during pregnancy or breast-feeding.
  • Red clover may have blood thinning properties and therefore its best not to use in any quantity if you are taking blood-thinning medication.

Magical Clover and Folklore

Folk names for clover include;

  • Honeystalks because bees seek clover out for their nectar.
  • Three-leaved grass perhaps because they are regularly seen growing on lawns. Maybe also because their nitrogen fixing properties help the soil and as a result they can often appear greener than the grass itself.
  • Trefoil because this comes from the latin word trifolium meaning three-leaved plant.

Of course we all know about finding a four leaf clover to bring us luck. This is because its a traditional superstition that we are made aware of as children.

There are also magical uses for clover which include;

  • Protection and this is done by carrying a three leaf clover around with you.
  • Repelling snakes by growing clover in your garden because this keeps snakes away from your home. The magical saying is “snakes will not go where clover grows”.
  • Preventing madness by carrying around a four leafed clover.
  • To avoid military service in the past because men carried around a four leafed clover as a good luck charm to avoid this.

 

Finally

Be aware that you never know if you’re intolerant to something new until you try it for the first time. Therefore only try a tiny amount first and wait a day or two to check that there is no adverse reaction. 

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications, always check with your doctor to ensure that using any of these suggestions don’t contradict them.

 

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