Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Nature deficit disorder and the inner child

I spend far too much time on the internet. It has pretty much replaced watching the TV (which actually, I never did much of) to the extent that if you took my TV away, it would probably take me a week to notice! I know I need to curb some of my online time, but occasionally I come across something wonderful which makes it worthwhile.

Not sure how I found this, I think it was via a Twitter 'tweet' from someone I follow. It's a wonderful audio interview and gorgeous slideshow with writer and bushcraft enthusiast Karen Wilde. She talks in such a compelling way about about the essentials of bushcraft, nature deficit disorder, sustainability, and listening to our inner child when it tells us to play outdoors more.

Image from

I think it's worth 30 minutes of your time. Point and click to

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

More on nettles

I love nettles! I guess some of the attraction is that most people hate them because all they can think of them is that they sting and they're a pesky weed.

Image from Wikipedia

But they can do so much more. They are a sign that the ground is fertile, they can add fertility back to the soil, you can compost them, you can make a fabric from them (not tried that yet), you can eat them, you can drink nettle tea, you can make a nettle tonic and so on.

I've blogged about nettles here, but I also came across this blog post today which has some nice pictures and information that might get you interested in nettles too!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Gentian Flower Remedy

Are you dispondant? Give up too easily?  Maybe Gentian flower remedy will help!  Nice little video...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Agrimony flower essence

Last Saturday I spent a fantastic day Springfield Sanctuary where I made, amongst other things, Agrimony Flower Essence (Flower Remedy). I'll write up more about that shortly, but this evening I came across this short YouTube video about Agrimony and it's qualities which I thought I'd share.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Dandelion Flower Oil

Back in May, I was at a friends place just outside Warwick and noticed the profusion of Dandelions. Being a good year for Dandelions, they were clearly calling out for me to do something with them, so after a bit of research, I decided to make some 'double-infused' Dandelion flower oil.

As with a lot of internet-based research, you can often end up with more questions than answers! Looking up Dandelion flower oil, there were the people who made it using the 'cold' sun-infused method and those who said heat or warm-infused was better! I asked my herbal mentor, Sarah Head for advice and she said try both - well that was the decisive answer I wanted!

There was more than one site that suggested that unless the flowers were dry, there was a strong chance of the oil going rancid before the flowers had infused properly if you used the sun method, so I took the cautious approach and just did the regular 'warm' double-infused method that I have previously used. The other advantage of this method is that it's all done and dusted in a few hours and can be used immediately - no waiting for weeks if you're the impatient type!

Preparing the flower heads.

Heating the flowers in oil.

Oops - nice colour though!

In a nutshell, the method is as follows:
  • Take your harvest (in this case, Dandelion flower heads) and divide it into two equal piles.
  • Put one pile into a bain-marie or double-boiler (I used a glass bowl inside a pan of boiling water) and pour on enough oil (I used Olive oil in this instance) to cover the plant material.
  • Heat for 2 hours, keeping an eye on the water level in the bain-marie or base pan, to ensure it doesn't boil dry (the reason for the bain-marie is to ensure the oil does not get too hot and burn which would ruin the infusion).
  • Pour the oil/plant material through a sieve and discard the plant material.
  • Put the remaining plant material back into the bain-marie and pour the single-infused oil over it, topping up if necessary with fresh oil.
  • Heat again for 2 hours.
  • Again, pour the contents through a sieve and discard the plant material (onto your compost pile?).
  • You can then bottle the oil, but be aware that there is likely to be some water/moisture at the bottom of the oil which will reduce the lifespan of the oil if not decanted.
  • Once cool, label your container and enjoy your oil!
What's it good for?

Dandelion flowers are said to contain a mild pain reliever, so the oil has been used as a folk remedy for painful, swollen joints, as a healthy breast massage oil (it is said to be excellent at softening breast tissue), and as an all-around gentle and soothing massage oil. Being male, it's use as a breast massage oil is of limited use to me, but my wife knows it's there if needed, but I do sometimes get a little bit of joint pain. It's also an excellent general massage oil and is said to increase your self-worth - something I could do with. 

Greenwoman's blog commented, "Dandelion oil is also a lovely pain reliever, helpful in soothing arthritic joints, back tension, sinus headaches, stiff necks, and weepy swollen skin sores. I personally can attest to the way it soothes sore muscles, especially in the neck, as I just used it last night after a day of carrying around heavy potted plants. It doesn’t have a numbing effect–rather, it helps the body relax a bit, easing that tightness that can be so painful."

I've used it on my skin were I have some eczema and it's been helpful, although in fairness, other herbal treatments have been more effective for me, but using it does help tremendously with relaxation. It's a very luxurious oil to use - sort of 'heavy' aroma (that's not a bad thing), rich in colour and readily absorbed into the skin.

Links & Further Reading:

Greenwoman's Blog.
Herbal oils for breast massage -
Gardeners path - fun with dandelions
Ener-Cycle - dandelion infused oil and salve

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Drying herbs with Susan Weed

Here's a nice YouTube video filmed by one of the participants at a Susan Weed herb workshop. Specifically, she talks about harvesting, drying and storing herbs. I didn't realise that complete plants, when dry and stored in brown paper bags, would keep so long!
The interesting stuff starts around 1:35.


Related Posts with Thumbnails