Finally, after years of studying, planning and dreaming of becoming a voice for the herbs and plants we share our planet with, my first herbal health course went ahead on Saturday. It was lovely for me to see how eager the participants were to learn how herbs and plants can help prevent sickness and help us to recover from sickness. Plants have been on this planet for 700 million years with flowering plants arriving about 140 million years ago and it is this group “...on which all terrestrial ecosystems today depend including the existence of humanity.” Peter Hochukin University of Zurich, Paleontological Institute. Furthermore, in the journal SCIENCE Blair Hedges, evolutionary biologist claims “…that plants paved the way for the evolution of land animals by simultaneously increasing the percentage of oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere and decreasing the percentage of carbon dioxide” So it is very reasonable to accept the latest science, that plants are intelligent and communicative. Mother Earth provides all that we need via plants – food, medicine, clothing, shelter and tools; and according to W.H.O, (World Health Organisation) 80% of the world’s population relies on herbal medicine as its primary form of health care.
I believe that Mother Earth lovingly provides all the plants we need to stay healthy and consequently to keep the environment healthy.
Everything was ready before the participants arrived, all the ingredients and utensils I needed, with some remedies I had already made to show them what to expect.
I’ve got Thyme, lemons, ginger, onions, garlic, honey, various essential oils, organic apple cider vinegar, beeswax, fennel seeds and other vital necessities.
We began by tasting some Dragon Fire Vinegar which is a folk remedy shared by American herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar. Equal amounts of organic onions, garlic, chilli peppers, horseradish and ginger are chopped and grated and placed in a large jar. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is then poured over these ingredients and left to infuse for a month. This is a very potent, warming, anti-viral and comforting medicine and can be taken by the spoonful each day as a preventative or added to hot drinks should the virus take a hold. It can also be added to casseroles and stews as well as to salad dressings. After trying this I took the participants outside for a walk around the garden to identify some kitchen herbs and some wild herbs that are very useful for combatting colds and ‘flu. One person said he was very glad to have taken the vinegar before going out as it was a cold day and yet he felt warm from the inside.
I talked about the properties of Thyme. This is a kitchen herb with powerful healing qualities. It is an anti–viral, anti-microbial, anti-septic, anti-bacterial and is also an expectorant and anti-spasmodic.
All herbs have many qualities and can be utilised for different health issues.Thyme is no exception as the above qualities also make it useful in other kinds of infections.
We drank some Thyme tea, which is a very pleasant drink with that comforting, medicinal taste before going on to try some Yarrow tea which I had picked in the polytunnel. Yarrow helps colds and ‘flu sufferers because it diaphoretic and astringent. That means it helps you to sweat out toxins, which brings down high temperature, and as an astringent dries up the mucous membranes when there is a copious amount of mucous or phlegm.
What an opportunity for me to demonstrate the power of herbs; and so especially fulfilling because people were interested. After a tasty organic lunch, we went on to make a honey throat soother, a cough syrup and a chest rub and I also shared with the group how to make tinctures and tea tinctures. I have a selection of herbal tinctures already made for my own use and as one of the participants was sneezing and sniffling, I gave him some Elderberry and Thyme tincture.
Garlic had already been used in the Dragon Fire Vinegar and could have been used in the cough syrup and throat soother as well as it so powerful and healing. It helps with all kinds of infection as well as supporting various body systems such as the cardiovascular system. A clove cut in two and rubbed over the feet is one way of getting garlic into a child.
I had a wonderful day and was glad to receive very positive feedback as well as some useful suggestions for the next workshop. I wish I had remembered to tell them all about Raspberry Vinegar which I had sitting on the countertop but forgot to mention. Raspberries infused into organic white wine vinegar and left to stand in a warm place for two weeks before straining, makes a tasty throat soother and brings a little sunshine during the dark days of winter. It can of course, be used in any salad dressing or even drizzled over desserts.
Doesn’t it look lovely?
At this time of year there is not a lot growing. The Lemon Balm, Oregano and Chamomile have barely resurfaced although it was possible for people to taste some young fresh leaves of Lemon Balm and Oregano. During the growing year ahead of us, there is plenty of time to grow and harvest your own herbs in preparation for next winter’s viral attacks. If you suffer with chest infections or have respiratory problems such as asthma, maybe you will enjoy the next workshop!