Plant news for Spring

ladybird

The following are some of the many herbs appearing this Spring that have a long history of use in herbal medicine.

Lesser celandine: Ranunculus ficaria- Also known as pilewort and is one of the earliest Spring wild flowers emerging in March. It has been a popular treatment for piles and Haemmoroids. The flowers are similar to buttercups being bright yellow and have an appearance of little stars.
This plant is known to herbalists as a perfect example of doctrine of signatures from its roots when lifted resemble the disease , in this case piles.

Gorse- Ulex europaeus – Gorse in old English means prickly and was often used for lighting bread ovens as the wood burns easily. On the Firehills near Hastings the coast line is covered in gorse and was known for being alight with Gorse fires hence the name fire hills.
Luckily now we are blessed with rescue operations and today you will see fabulous arrays of yellow flowers lighting the hills.
There are many recipes for gorse wine and a tea is made from the shoot tips.
The flower buds can be pickled in vinegar and then used like capers in salads.

Sweet violet- Viola oderata -named after its colour and smell also the name could have arised from Cuckoos heel or Stocking a likeness to a miniature bird. Blooming between February and March. It has a cooling action on the system and has been used in medicine for skin disorders, cancers, throat and mouth infections. The scent has been the fragrance of Love throughout the ages and was dedicated to Aphrodite.

Cleavers, – Galium aparine-Also known as goose grass is one of the herbalists favourite blood purifiers as it works cleansing the lymphatic system. You will find it often growing close to nettles and appearing in Spring up until summer. A simple recipe would be to soak the Cleavers in cold water over night and drink the water in the morning. Be sure to sieve well there are little hooks on the stems.

Coltsfoot- Tussilago farfara- The leaves known to look like a horses foot. Flowering from February to April The flower comes before the leaves and are similar to a dandelion but its stem is thicker and has woolly scales. When the flower dies then appears the leaves. In France it was a valued herb and the leaf was the symbol used over herbalists shops. It has long been used for treating coughs and for ridding bronchial system of excess.

Recipe of the Month – A Spring Tonic – and a Spring clean !
Nettle and Cleavers – a blood purifier and lymphatic cleanser. Nettles being so cleansing and nutritious will cleanse your blood. Pick young leaves ( away from the dogs leg !) make a tea or steam them they are delicious! Cleavers will help to drain impurities and therefore aid the action of nettles. For Cleavers follow the recipe above.

If in any doubt what to look for ask someone who knows!

Herbal courses and green aprons are now running from the Coach house in Kemptown

Categories News | Tags: , , | Posted on March 16, 2010

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