This has been such a busy month, starting off with a weekend in Cornwall for the annual dinner of The Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table of King Arthur. We met up with old friends and made new ones and are looking forward to meeting up again in August for a garden party. The only “herb” thing I can claim to have done is to have tried the very inviting Lovage Alcoholic Cordial that I noticed in the hotel bar. It is good for settling your stomach and according to the barman is usually mixed with brandy, I can recommend it.
I had an interesting study day in London looking at the legalities of creating skin care products, it all boils down to traceability by keeping records and batch numbers of ingredients. I had thought that due to this I could not use my own herbs but it is apparently acceptable to use herbs from your garden if you can get photographic evidence to prove this, so if I take a photo of a herb with my house in the background I have proved where it came from. The same can’t be used for wild crafting as it is not known whether the land is contaminated etc.
On the 18th June I attended Sarah’s workshop in the Cotswolds with the theme of the menopause and found it very interesting. The day kicked off with an Ox-eye daisy flower essence which is used to help come to terms with the menopause.
|Ox-eye daisy flower essence|
We looked at herbs growing around the Sanctuary which could be useful. Agnus Castus or Vitex is an important peri-menopausal plant and a tincture can be made from its berries. It regulates cycles by acting on the pituitary gland which controls the release of FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and is balancing at times of change such as early pregnancy and the menopause when oestrogen levels fall.
Hops can be used for sleeping problems as well as being a digestive bitter and an antiseptic. A tincture is made of the flower like bits but this is not suitable for people prone to clinical depression or men with hormone insufficiency.
Motherwort is a gentle nervine for times of stress and night palpitations, it regulates heat and is good for period pains. It can be taken as a tea but is very bitter, the whole plant is used. Motherwort can be made into a tincture or a vinegar, I made myself a tincture.
Lady’s Mantle is used for heavy periods and is a digestive tonic. Its energetic properties deal with maternal issues such as how you feel about yourself as a mother and on entering the menopause.
Lemon balm and rose are great for stress and we tried some elixirs including rose which were very soothing. Minerals for this time of life can be harvested from Red Clover, Mugwort (Crone wort) and young Nettle. Red Clover contains a phyto-oestrogen so care needs to be taken with breast cancer as it is not suitable with some.
I made myself a Ladies Tonic from Motherwort, young Nettles and Lady’s Mantle which I put in vinegar.
Last week my husband and I were in Rome and as we walked through the forum I realised I was surrounded by Chamomile flowers, proper “Roman” Chamomile! The ground was very dry but the herb was very aromatic when I picked it, more so than in my garden at home, it must enjoy these arid conditions.
Yesterday we were invited to an Eisteddfod on Cannock Chase where those present could tell tales, recite poems, play music and sing. My husband has been roped into a little folk band with our fellow allotment boys Iain and Barry and they did their first public performance of with just one song but I was very proud of them. The group has been put together for a charity fund raising day at the allotments where there will be music all day, real ale, a hog roast and other activities. I shall have to get some weeding done before the event! In the meantime we are having a good harvest of cabbage, beans, peas, salad and new potatoes which makes it all worthwhile.