Saturday, 28 November 2009

The Journey Starts Here

I've been accepted by Sarah Head onto her herbal 'simpler apprenticeship' for 2010.

Right now, I've to choose 10-20 herbs to study in greater depth, keep a detailed diary of my herbal journey along with studies of human physiology and much more.


The apprenticeship will take me from a casual observer to someone who will undertake an intimate observation and relationship with these plants. I will hopefully not only be able to recognise them at their peak, but at every stage of their development. I will help nurture some into life (many of course, need no help) and experience their profound gifts of healing, insight and nourishment that they bestow upon those who choose to look.

Whilst this is a new journey for me, I feel like it's a journey of rediscovery, of unearthing the knowledge, feelings and sensations that my ancestors would have simply had to know in order to survive and thrive.

I look forward to everything this coming year will bring. It feels like this is the right place and the right time for me - the synchronicity of the events and happenings of the past few years have brought me to this place so I may honour my ancestors and understand the awesome power of nature.

My chosen herbs are:
  1. Nettle
  2. Plantain
  3. Dandelion
  4. Rosemary
  5. Hawthorn
  6. Elder
  7. St John’s Wort
  8. Valerian
  9. Agrimony
  10. Cleavers
  11. Lemon Balm
  12. Comfrey
  13. Wood Betony
  14. Mullein
  15. Meadowsweet
  16. Calendula

Sunday, 15 November 2009

A herbal Aladdin's Cave

When like me, you are at the beginning of your journey into herbalism, one of the biggest problems is having the herbs you want to use to hand. Even if you do have that herb, you've probably got it dried when you need a tincture, or in an oil when you need a vinegar!

Of course you can go and buy dried herbs from a variety of places, but can you really trust your source - do you know what sort of quality the herb is? The answer of course is to harvest yourself and build up your own collection so you have good herbs to hand at all times, but this isn't going to happen overnight.

My friend/teacher and general herbal goddess, Sarah Head has her own collection built up over the years with hard work and dedication. At a course I attended on Saturday, I took the opportunity to take a few photographs of her collection to aspire to...


From Earth Gazer

From Earth Gazer

Monday, 9 November 2009

Nettle as a wild food

The nettle (urtica dioica) is a fantastic healing herb and food. Although most people regard it as a weed, it is possibly one of the most useful plants available to us. I hope, over time, to write a whole lot more about nettle and my experiences of using it.

Young nettle tops are incredibly rich in the minerals which are sadly lacking in a lot of other foods. They have an antihistamine effect and can be used to treat allergies and hayfever. Nettles also enhance natural immunity.

Delicious Nettle Soup

Nettle tea is really simple to make – just grab and handful of fresh nettle tops (wearing suitable gloves of course!) and stuff them into a teapot. Pour on freshly boiled water and leave to infuse for 15 – 20 minutes. Pour the tea and drink it. The tea is reported to be good for the following; spring tonic, anaemia, bleeding, diarrhoea, gout, fluid retention, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, coughs, allergies, regulates breast milk production, skin problems and high blood sugar. Nettle tea can also be used externally for cuts and wounds, and as a hair tonic.


Have a watch of this excellent video about nettles by Frank Cook. Frank says that nettles should become the national food of england!


Frank Cook on Nettle as Wild Food from Robin Harford on Vimeo.


Nettle Nutritional Profile
(calculated on a zero moisture basis per 100gm)
Aluminium: 13.8 mg
Ash (total): 8.4%
Calcium: 2900 mg
Calories: 0.60 /gm
Chromium: 0.39 mg
Cobalt: 1.32 mg
Crude Fibre: 11.0%
Dietary Fibre: 43.0%
Fat: 2.3%
Iron: 4.2 mg
Magnesium: 860 mg
Manganese: 0.78 mg
Niacin: 5.20 mg
Phosphorous: 447 mg
Potassium: 1750 mg
Protein: 25.2%
Riboflavin: 0.43 mg
Selenium: 0.22 mg
Silicon: 1.03 mg
Sodium: 4.90 mg
Thiamine: 0.54 mg
Tin: 2.7 mg
Vitamin A: 15,700 IU
Vitamin C: 83.0 mg
Zinc: 0.47 mg
Source: Nutritional Herbology: Mark Pedersen

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