Plant & Tree

On herbal medicine

It has been a naive assumption of mine that when we talk of herbs to heal ourselves on this website, those reading will have some knowledge of what herbalism is and its relevance in health, healing and a closer integration with our natural environment. Thinking about it, this is unrealistic with the voices of pharmaceutical giants resounding loud, and oft drowning the soft whispers that beckon as we pass the humble hedgerow. So here i will attempt to remedy this ommission of ours with an outline of herbal medicine within a modern context,  if thats possible.

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St. John's Wort. A great healing herb.

Read on to find out more………

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Plantain

Ribwort Plantain and Greater Plantain

Plantago lanceolata and Plantago major

Folk names: Way bread, Lord of the ways, Wodan’s Herb, Slan-lus (plant of healing)

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Ribwort Plantain

The flower heads of ribwort are used as ammunition by children and adults alike.
A very common wild plant, it likes to grow on compacted soil and is always found around human habitation. It grows abundantly on tracks and by foot paths hence it’s title of “Lord of the Ways” and “Way Bread”.
It is resilient and resistant in its character.

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Petersfield Physic Garden

Just after parting from Ginger we went to take solace in the Petersfield Physic Garden.

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It is set out in the traditional geometric garden patterns of the 17th century, and the plants grown there were all also growing in physic gardens 300 years ago. The old lady who was looking after the place told us of the terrible trouble they had in keeping all these “new plants” from moving in.

It was thrilling to see all the plants labelled and separated in their new spring growth.

Ed got over excited and took hundreds of identification pictures. Here are some of the plants we found. The plants here are all in their early spring stages, without flowers and summer growth. To look at pictures of these plants in flower, try typing the name into google images.

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Butterbur

Petasites hybridus

Other names:  Sweet Coltsfoot, butter dock, dog rhubarb, exwort

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I sow, I sow,

Then come, my own dear,

Come here, come here,

And mow, and mow.

To find her husband, a young maid sows Butturbur before the sunrise upon a Friday morn.

Her man will appear with a scythe in his hand, yet if her nerve should fail she may say ‘have mercy on me’ and so the vision departs.

do read on….

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Midsummer’s herb

St.John’s Wort

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St. John’s Wort flowers around midsummer. If you rub the leaves between your fingers you can smell a back-of-the-nose heat. It is sunshine in plant form, bringing calmness to the nerves and yielding a bright red colour, both in dyeing and when soaked in oil.
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It is of the oil that we wish to speak.

This bright red liquid will help to heal bruises, sprains, burns, skin irritations, or any wound that involves nerve damage.

Gather the top 6 inches of the plant when in flower. Do this as close to midsummer as possible for optimum potency (ie.now).
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Get yourself some good oil that you wouldn’t mind smearing on your skin. Almond oil is good and other nut oils will do well. If you want to splash out use hemp oil.

We will assume you want to make a half pint of the healing unction, but it is your choice, depending on how much you or those around you get injured.

Lightly pound the  flowering heads, leaves included, in a mortar and pestle to release the juices. Put the plant into the half pint glass container of oil until there is hardly any more space, making sure that all plant material is covered by the oil.

Put a cork or lid on the bottle and leave it in the sunlight for 40 days (and 40 nights). Give it as much sun as possible.

Every few days give the bottle a slight jiggle around. Watch it go more and more red.
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When the month is up and the oil is a deep bright red colour, strain the plant matter from the oil and you are left with a healing ointment for applying to burns and bruises and cuts and inflammations.

If you feel it is the type of injury that needs treatment with sunshine, such as a nerve rending cut or a burn on a kettle, apply this oil, coating the injured area.

We were told in a comment below that the oil on skin can cause photosensitivity so when applied it is best to avoid direct sunlight on the injured part.

Make sure you clean the container before you start and you and the injury are clean before applying the oil.

There is much more information in the St.John’s Wort Profile. Please have a look to find out more.

delicious wild strawberries

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They are here right now gracing our hedgerows and rocky ground.

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A summer treat for the sharp of eye.

Leave enough for the birds to spread the seeds around.

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We like them with oats in the morning.

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Honesty

Honesty

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Honesty, known for it’s translucent, paperlike seed  discs in autumntime and it’s enchanting pink flowers in the spring.

It is said that it’s presence in gardens reflects the integrity of the gardener.

It likes to grow on banksides, in gardens and on meadow fringes.

Burdock

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The Burdocks  are now transforming into  hedgerow giants.  They’ve been raising their heads since March and seemingly growing a few inches every day.

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Hairy Bittercress

Hairy Bittercress

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This tasty nibble grows in walls and moist banksides. Good in sandwiches.

Ground Ivy

Ground Ivy

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With purple/pink little flowers, this plant covers the ground in hedgerows and meadows. The leaves smell mint like. It likes loamy and heavy clay soil.