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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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

 

49365total 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

 

49365total 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

 

49365total sites visits.