1 Jul 2011

Harvesting Madness

We went off on a wander around the lush fields of Northaw yesterday with Angie and our little girls -I packed 5 baskets n bags, Angie packed picnic stuff. An adventure, what would find? First we came across the wonderfully fragrant Tilia trees on the village green in front of the church. Accessibly a low branched tree so no aching arms! We collected 2 big bags full and on sticking our heads in the bags decided that it smelt of watermelon, fresh and clean.

I had it in my head that I needed yarrow so we headed on the footpath toward Cuffley, where I was sure I had seen some yarrow before. What alot of Plantain we found mostly major but lots of lanceolata too. The Major has much rounder leaves but both varieties have similar medicinal properties of amazing mucous membrane restorative powers, a number one in my hay fever repertoire. I have used it for cuts and grazes whilst out n about, once my son came off his bike and grazed his palms up pretty badly -I chewed up a few plantain leaves and used them as a poultice on his hurting hands -the anti microbial action preventing infection, the anti inflamatory action helping the wound to heal all in all a fab remedy. Our next exciting find was the wood betony, with her distinct square mint stems covered in fine hairs and bursting with purple blooms her botanical name is Stachys betonica, and I think she tastes like porcini mushrooms, a flavour I find common to a few plants with nervine actions.

The Wood Betony was held in high repute not only in the Middle Ages, but also by the Greeks who extolled its qualities. An old Italian proverb, ' Sell your coat and buy Betony, ' and 'He has as many virtues as Betony,' a saying of the Spaniards, show what value was placed on its remedial properties. Antonius Musa, chief physician to the Emperor Augustus, wrote a long treatise, showing it was a certain cure for no less than fortyseven diseases.

Throughout the centuries, faith in its virtues as a panacea for all ills was thoroughly ingrained in the popular estimation. It was largely cultivated in the physic gardens, both of the apothecaries and the monasteries, and may still be found growing about the sites of these ancient buildings.

I use it alot with folks who suffer from nervous headaches, or thoughts that go round in circles causing high stress.

The tiny bright yellow agrimony flowers caught our attention next – it struck me as to how similar the foliage was to meadowsweet –but they are both in the rose family and must be closely related.

I have not used Agrimony much but –Bach says of Agrimony -Agrimony is a specific in any condition where the person holds the breath to stop the pain. This causes the release of endorphins – the body’s own opiates – which suppress pain. Agrimony people need to learn to ‘breath through’ the pain. As a consequence, the respiratory apparatus is affected. Agrimony is suited to conditions where the person is ‘tortured to capture the breath,’

And from Matthew Woods I got that Agrimony is a specific kidney pain remedy so I shall be trying it out on my next fitting patient…….

Finally found the yarrow but much of it wasn’t quite ready another day or two of sunshine to cokes the heads into fully opening.

I am drying all our precious treasures for teas.

18 Sep 2009

Nu Moon

Went to the Lee Valley to pick some rosehips for syrup mmm delicious n dug up some horseraddish to make oil - broke da blender on the horsechestnuts - oh well

13 Sep 2009

Reseaching Witching Green ointments

Had a research day today reading about the history of the flying ointments and learnt a few really interesting facts -like the word buggery dervives from Bulgarus which means Bulgaria where a group of peoples called the Bogomils who were a religious sect that inserted hallucigenic herbs rectally.

We have been sourcing lots of info for our Halloween/Samhain workshop where we shall be making our infused oil into the notorious green ointment and looking into the myth and magic that surrounds it all......

We planted up hanbane, foxglove,hemlock, datura, mandrake and aconite but unfortunately our hectic summer tour moving around weekly killed alot of them.
Gonna try and grow some of them now under lights in the shed hehe

12 Sep 2009

The witches have no plan B...

The regulation of herbs and herbalists is pushing forward under the guise of protecting the public. We believe that the best way to protect people is to provide them with the information they need and let them make informed choices.
Anyway, one positive of regulation is that it will force herbalism back into the home which is what me (da fifi) and karen have been working towards with sensory solutions.
As the witches, we are not subject to the modern day witch hunt of herbalists freedom, we are free to follow our path and stick to plan A...

The State of Herbal Medicine from where I am standing

After a night to 'sleep on it' I feel better about the whole issue with the Ach Ease Balm -I know that it's a brilliant ointment that helps people and I have no fear of it harming anyone -so I shall continue to make and give it to people for use.

The whole thing about State regulation of herbalists I feel is a load of tosh - I have a degree in Complimentry Health Sciences because I chose not to finnish the last few hrs of my clinical practice -in the basement of a hospital on a rounderbout in north london -it was disgusting there and I was getting iller and iller just being there. I have been practising as a Green Witch Herbalist since me and Fifi la belle set up Sensory Solutions as an educational organisation and we have gone out picking, growing, making remedies and playing with the plants together for the last 9yrs.
We teaching Sensory Herbalism produce newsletter to inform people about the wonder of Herbs.

Our main aim is to empower people to treat their own health issues as much as possible as far as I can see this is in direct oppersition with what the goverment seems to want -a mass of sheep who -do what they are told medicinally- often pushed by fear into taking horrible drugs with long lists of know side effects.

I don't hate doctors or modern medicine but I do feel like the pharama bussiness is corrupt and not looking after peoples best interests -my son had meningitus at 3months old and needed intravenous antibiotics -these saved his life, but during my stay in the hospital I was continuously bullied about my disision not to immunise??? Surely informed choice is freedom.

11 Sep 2009

Autumn Happenings

So we are back from the hectically brilliant summer tour of this land-well we stayed mainly west this yr -its been fun but incredibly tiring.

We decided to try and launch our Deep tissue healing balm Ache Ease- that we make from heather picked in July in Wales at Ceredwins Cauldran north in the glorious welsh mountains -so very beautiful there -it was a grey day and really blustery but the heather seemed ultra violet so clear -we picked loads and steeped it staright into the organic almond oil that we'd ordered from Rutland -( a herb farm ) - also in the balm is Horseraddish -we are waiting for the next nu moon to harvest it from the Lee Valley it grows so prolifically there nr the water -and the last herbage we get in is the dark, hairy comfrey that we normal get in spring from the canal side at Ware.

Anyways I went and research the whole issue of licensing the product to make it comply with regulations and laws -We would need to spend £40,000 on lab tests to prove it works -we know it works???

Feeling a bit wierd about it all