I tend to think of herbs as slow medicines. As a gradual shift back into health and wellness. As a re-education. But, sometimes, they are just as powerful as pharmaceuticals. And, they can surprise me at how little can have such a positive impact on someone!
I gave a talk for a local WI this week. After a few days, I got an email. It went like this:
I was at the W I on Tuesday evening,and I had the best nights sleep I have had for months
WOW! What an amazing testimonial. I am so thrilled that herbs have had this effect for her (I don’t think it was the effect of my talk as I am far too bouncy for that!)
One of the actions of Rosemary is sedative but I had always assumed it was only mild because it has such a perky smell and is stimulant in some of its actions! A great lesson for me.
I gave each person in attendance a fingerful of tea in a cup. To my mind, it was enough to truly get a taste of it and that was about all.
It seems I was wrong.
And, I am delighted to have been wrong. It shows me that there are other ways to think about what I do and reminds me that there are other outcomes from those which I might expect. It’s good to be pushed out of our zone of comfort.
It also reminds me not to underestimate the power of the herbs. After all, our most potent anodynes come from plants, as do our most addictive substances.
I now welcome Rosemary with open arms to my sleep herb armoury. I have used it in many ways prior to now but never considered it for a sleep mix. This also has a poweful potential in symbiosis with the other actions of Rosemary. There are many situations in which I would now add this herb to a blend for someone. How very exciting.
Thank you for showing me your other side, little green one.
The diagnosis of high blood pressure (primary hypertension) can be a difficult thing to receive. If you have received this diagnosis, you’re not alone. It’s pretty common; 1/3 of adult-folk in the UK have hypertension but may not even know. Hypertension brings with it so many comorbidities and due to side effects, pharmaceutical medication doesn’t always seem the right answer even if it reduces risk of the resultant complications.
The risks of untreated hypertension:
Dementia and more
So, what do you do?
As a herbalist, you won’t be suprised to hear that I think that the introduction of herbs into your daily routine is a good plan. There are many herbs which will help to reduce blood pressure and I won’t list them here are the sheer number would seem overwhelming and not lead you to a way of making choices about those herbs for yourself. And, if I only suggested herbs, it would be a bit like putting you on BP meds for the rest of your life. They may not have the same negative side effects but you would likely take them in an on-going manner.
What other interventions would also be required? As you might expect with personalised medicine, there is no one size fits all. This might sound like a bit of a downer if you were hoping for a quick win, but really, it’s brilliant as it gives so many more options of things to try.
The majority of factors, as with so many chronic conditions, can be attributed to lifestyle.
Stress. We all know that lowering stress can be easier said than done. There are herbs to assist with that, foods which assist with that and, in my experience, EFT-tapping helps with that as well. All tools which you would receive guidance on in an appointment with me.
A missing nutrient for many is magnesium and dosing with magnesium can reduce anxiety, body tension and lower blood pressure.
Insulin resistance is a contributing factor as well and tackling that will improve many other areas of your health as well
Do you snore? If you do, then sleep apnoea (another, perhaps surprising, factor which can influence blood pressure) is likely featuring in your life and could do with some attention.
Inflammation is a root cause factor in many, many diseases and conditions. Reduce inflammation with dietary changes, herbs, improving sleep and lowering stress
But what can I do about all this?
Does reading this make you feel more stressed and anxious? Do you feel stuck, overwhelmed and unable to help yourself?
First things first. Take a deep breath and allow yourself a moment or two to settle. Then, try this tapping sequence to support your blood pressure health: Tapping for High Blood Pressure
Hypertension is known as the silent killer. It is a serious health condition which you can be empowered to manage through dietary, lifestyle and other factors such as herbal medicines. If you would like support in lowering your blood pressure, get in touch so that we can discuss an appointment for your health journey to begin.
A tapping and herbal well-being defense plan for you this Autumn-Winter.
My wonderful plan is designed to see you through 20 weeks of Autumn and Winter being as well as you can be! What’s included?
3 sessions 1-2-1 with me;
A brilliant blend of herbs;
Emergency herbal tincture
Plus an EARLY BIRD gift if you sign up by September 18th!
Individual 1-2-1 sessions with me
3 sessions of 30m where we discuss your wellness needs, your progress and the bits you struggle with. These can be in-person in my Hertfordshire clinic or on Zoom.
Tailor-made herbal tea blend
Keeping yourself well with immune supporting herbs with a long-held tradition for wellness. Preparing your daily tea, drinking your daily tea and investing in your health has limitless value.
A series of weekly short tap-along videos for you to view and tap with at a time which suits you. Each one is designed to address an aspect of winter health and wellness by boosting the areas of your immune system. A great way to give to yourself the healthy help you need.
Need support and help with new things? My weekly emails are designed to get you fired up, engaged and ready to be the best you throughout the calmer, darker days of Winter.
Emergency tincture blend
So, something snuck through, despite all your efforts? Keep this tailor-made blend to hand just in case you begin to feel those tell-tale signs of something ‘coming on’. Knock it on the head with strong blend of tinctures created and blended just for you.
Early bird special gift – pay by 18/9/21
Sign up by September 18th and receive a 25g pack of 3 super-special herbs specifically chosen for assisting in the prevention of colds and ‘flu. A wonderfully tasty tea blend used by herbalists all over the world. This great tea is yours if you sign up by September 18th.
The cost to you?
Just £350 per person for 20 weeks of high-quality medicines and great health support. The value of this plan is immense as you will be focussed on keeping yourself in the best of health throughout Autumn and Winter.
If you have hayfever, you’re probably right in the middle of feeling sniffly, snotty, itching eyes and generally rather groggy. It’s miserable.
And, anti-histamines can make you feel terrible too.
Well, help is at hand. During May & June I am your ‘Hayfever Hero’ and I am offering mini consultations for just £45! That includes your first 2 weeks of tea.
During that consulation, I will ask you about about your symptoms, how they affect you and about any medications you take. We will also discuss foods which you can reduce and foods to increase.
At the end of the consultation, I will write a prescription for a hayfever tea. The tea will include herbs which get really focussed on reducing your symptoms as much as possible.
So, whether you have runny eyes, itchy eyes, bunged up sinuses, can’t stop sneezing or have a river of snot, there are herbs to suit you. Herbs which have traditionally been used for symptoms like those for millenia.
Vinegar cuts through grease and mucous giving things a good clean out. Sage does the same at the back of your throat by clearing the mucous which the nasties causing your sore throat live and thrive in.
Using pastilles and other sore throat lozenges are usually full of sugar and whilst that feels soothing and lovely, it provides lots of juicy food for those bugs to thrive in.
So, using a vinegar to cut through the mucous, with the reputed anti microbial properties of sage is a double winner. Add into that the traditional use of rowan berries for sore throats and tonsillitis and we have a trio of triumph in your throat!
To make this joyful medicinal vinegar, alive with complex flavours, I cooked the berries and sage in vinegar before steeping it for a few weeks. Cooking the berries renders the toxic components harmless. After straining, I bottled ready for use.
Use in conjunction with the soothing sage and rowan syrup I have also made and keep your tonsils singing with joy.
As far as I know, this medicine is entirely unique to me. The joy of creativity and experiments. Join my journey of discovery.
Foraging for making has become a prfound new joy of mine. I had had some lurking doubts about the pillaging of nature and whether I had the right to do this. But, they are now gone and I am loving that connection, the creativity of making things and the new recipes to trial.
What’s on the go right now?
I’ve made rowan berry and sage syrups and vinegars.
Research showed me that raw berries are really not a good plan due to potentially toxic components. So, I stewed a few berries with some sage in water. Then I let it sit for a few weeks (the hot liquid sealed the jar keeping it good) before straining and re-heating, dissolving sugar into it, turning it into a syrup.
And, what does it taste like?
The flavour is frankly AWESOME! I haven’t ever tasted anything else like it. It’s sharp, it’s sweet and fruity but there’s something else which I am yet to put a word to.
Well, the traditional medicine from rowan berries is for sore throats and tonsillitis. Sage also has a great reputation for healing throats because it has the power to cut through the mucousy substrate keeping all the gremlins alive causing your symptoms. So, it seemed like a match made in heaven.
Fancy a go?
Do you get recurrent sore throats and/or tonsillitis? If you do, you might like to give these beauties a go.
Nettle root has a reputation amongst herbalists for use as part of treatment for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. For most men, their prostate is very likely to enlarge as they age and, beyond the symptoms it causes, is not something to be worried about. As the saying goes, ‘most men die with prostate enlargement, but very few die of a (benign) prostate enlargement’.
However, the symptoms can be life changing, causing increased frequency, urgency and incomplete emptying, dribbling, not to mention the increased nocturia.
Reference to the use of plants for BPH symptoms dates back to Egyptian papyrus in the 15th Century.
A study reported by Mohammad Reza Safarinejad, MD, showed that nettle root extractions performed in a statistically significant way better than placebo in all areas which were monitored. Their IPSS (International Prostate Symptom Score) improved such that the mean scores dropped from 19.8 to 11.8 with nettle root and 19.2 to 17.7 with placebo! Flow rate improved by 77% in those taking nettle and by 31% in the placebo group. Residual bladder contents volume in the nettle group improved whereas the placebo group has no significant change. The prostate size decreased in the treatment group and remained the same in the placebo group. Importantly, testosterone levels remained unchanged.
The trial participants were monitored and placebo group was switched to nettle root after the trial period ended and continued to be monitored. The positive effects of nettle root seen during the trial period were maintained for the rest of the 18 months of monitoring and the placebo group also demonstrated similar improvements after switching to nettle root treatment.
I absolutely LOVE that something as ubiquitous as nettle root could be a significant and life altering treatment for so many people. It makes my heart sing to think that a medicine without negative side effects could safely and effectively help in this way. What a joy!
This weekend I was determined to get a heap of stuff done in the garden. Did it pan out that way? Did it heck!
However, what I did manage to do was pull up the pesky nettle which insists on joining my culinary herb garden. Whilst not entirely misplaced, it makes a fine risotto ingredient, I know it’ll just take over and that’s exactly what I don’t want it to do!
The benefit of allowing it to grow during the summer season before pulling it up (knowing that it’ll come back next year for sure) is that I get a good chunk of root.
Working with nettle root
After pulling it up, it needs a good scrub in water to get rid of the soil. Once it is scrubbed, allow the water to dry and then chop it up. This is harder than it sounds and needs secateurs to get through it as it has a rubberiness to its woody fibres which prevent knives getting through.
Once chopped, leave it to dry somewhere warm-ish and with good air flow. Once completely dried, store it in a clean, labelled jar with a well fitting lid and keep out of the light.
2. LITERARY: an exceptional or wonderful person or thing
Thinking about the rowan’s auspicious and protective properties, I decided to make a decoration for my consultation room. As I stuck the needle through them, finding that the seeds are soft, and that the juice is both sharp and sweet, it got me thinking.
Sharp and sweet. Hmmmm, sharp and sweet? Is that a contradiction? Not really, in fact, it’s much like the journey of healing.
The pain of the issue, emotional or physical, which keeps us stuck usually has a sharpness to it else we wouldn’t seek out help.
And the sweetness? Well, to me that reflects how we feel as we emerge out the other side, newly emerged and fully fledged.
Rowan berry decoration fun
What do you think of my little creation? They’re all plump and juicy here but they’ll wither as they dry out.
Metamorphosis of healing
But what struck me the most – even more than the wonderful colour combinations – is the idea of combining protection with metamorphosis. These two simple things represent what happens in this space, my consultation room. My sacred space of healing and transformation.
You come to me with problems to solve, entrusting yourself to me and between us, we find our way to your metamorphosis, your emerging from the coccoon of safe stuckness into the spreading of your newly painted, fablous wings which enable you to move forward in your best image.
Buy the little wooden butterfly buttons here on eBay
Those glorious clusters of richly orangey-red berries light up the gloomy skies and this year I am mightily drawn to them! This tree with its attractive berries carry folklore from many countries particularly as a protective plant. They are most effective against all forms of witchcraft. Carrying twigs in your pocket, using canes and making ships from the wood and many, many more notions will ward off the evil.
Sometimes, it is possible to find a root of the phantastical in something which science has uncovered to be surprisingly valid such as with elder and its potentially toxic constituents but with Rowan it is hard to see why it should be considered quite so auspicious. The hawthorn with a similar reputation is more obvious – it’s a heart drug of fine order and its protection of your house as well as your body? Well, that just makes sense.
The Rowan? For now, I cannot find the answer and the medicine appears not to be especially radical either. Peter Conway in his Tree Medicine book mentions sore throats and tonsillitis for the berries, leucorrhoea douches and sore throats for the bark. The fruits are reputedly nutritive as well as astringent and the bark simply astringent. Are we missing something here?
Culpeper makes no mention (unless I have failed to find the name by which he called it!) and Mrs Grieve suggests that the berries make great jellies for cold game or wild fowl but that their medicine is for haemorrhoids – the astringency – and as gargles for ailments of the throat.
A favourite resource, the PFAF website reminds us that the seeds of the rowan contain cyanogenic glycosides and that these become prussic acid (cyanide) when in contact with water. Hence Mrs Grieve’s suggestion of jelly not a jam. Strain out the seeds should you decide to make anything with them.
Perhaps the secret to these berries lies in the now-lost Welsh recipe for rowan-berry Ale?
To sate my curiosity, I shall dry a few berries and keep them for the fluey season and when the telltale warning of a prickly throat comes my way, as surely it will, I can brew them up and gargle away and find out whether that’s where their magic lies.
Make an appointment to see Lucy Blunden, Medical Herbalist by visiting the contact page