25 Oct Herbal walk and harvesting at Walthamstow marshes (:
My dear herbies & nature lovers,
I was walking at the Walthamstow marshes and just went for a walk. It’s a good thing my intuition dropped me a hint to take some bags with me. A regular walk turned into a wonderful harvesting of the many healing plants and herbs and you get to see what I harvested, how will I use it, what good does it do to your health and how to prepare a winter syrup. If you find herbal medicine, herbal remedies and herbs interesting, you don’t want to miss this read. Happy reading 🙂
I was swiped away with all the natural goodies when taking a walk at Walthamstow marshes. I had a wonderful walk and ended up with many lovely and healthy herbs. This is what I managed to harvest in an hour or so. Can you name all four of them? 🙂
Let’s start with the left corner. Yes, it is stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica). How did I manage to harvest them? Well, usually I wear gloves, just in case. This time I wasn’t planning on harvesting these lovely plants, however, I did put a couple of bags in my pockets, just in case. I’m so glad I did that! 🙂 I used on of the plastic bags as a DIY glove and that’s how I managed to harvest them without being stung. If this does occur to you or your children, funny enough the tea of the stinging nettles is the best as it helps to soothe the irritated skin. If that doesn’t help you or it just isn’t your cup of tea, you can always use my “Yummy honey balm” which is a handmade skin balm with home grown lavender and honey. It helped one of my friends once when they got stung with the nettles. If interested, you have my contact details below 🙂
So how and for what do you use the nettle tea? Besides the soothing action for irritated skin, they are great as a diuretic in cases of bladder infection and provide a support for kidneys and have a detoxifying effect. A diuretic properties mean that they increase and encourage the urine flow which is of vital importance in all UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) conditions.
The lovely white flower tops on your right is Yarrow. Have you hear of it? It is an amazing and versatile herb which has been even used by Achillias for the treatment of his soldiers’ wounds, after which the herb got its latin name, Achillea millefolium. It is mainly recognised by its properties of stopping the bleeding and as such is used as a tea for women during the period or just fresh in cases of nose bleed. Besides that, it encourages the blood flow and is welcome by anyone who has poor circulation of experiences cold hands and feet (I know, it is one of my favourites, just because of that). And as if that wasn’t enough, it helps you to sweat when you have flu and fever. I always make a hot mug of it and combine it with elderflowers, take a shower (or a hot bath) and drink this healing tea while taking a shower and afterwards lay in my bed with a hot water bottle next to me. Trust me, if you have any bacteria or viruses you will be boiling underneath those blankets in no time! And that’s great news. It also helps to drink a tea while under the blankets. Happy healing 🙂
In this picture we can see Plantain (Plantago lanceolata). Have you ever thought of using it? Maybe you haven’t even noticed it until now, but I’m telling you that it’s everywhere, you just need to pay more attention to it. I remember when I was just a child and whenever we would fall and have a wound, we would always tear up one of the leaves and out it on the open wound: it would stop the bleeding. At this time I harvested the round leaves, but in the UK you can mainly find the one with the long, narrow leaves. You can see the difference in this photos: on your left is the Plantaint with narrow leaves and on the right is the round leaf Plantain. Both are claimed to have more or less the same healing properties: good for skin conditions, healing wounds and as a tea, the plantain is good for sore throats and catarrhal conditions.
And last, but definitely not least, do you recognise this one? 🙂Yes, this is Rosehip (Rosa canina). I love it’s strong, powerful red colour, letting us know it will empower us with its content. It is widely known for its immune support properties due to Rosehip being very rich in Vitamin C and often consumed as a tea, syrup or even as a jam – why not make healing yummy? 🙂 I did harvest quite a lot of it since there were so many bushes that it was in fact difficult to stop. You can easily recognise it by its red heads with black ends. Rosehip is rich in Vitamin C and as such a very welcome herbal remedy when ingested as a tea or a syrup. In addition, it is great for bladder and kidney infections and helps to eliminate urine. As such, it helps to cleanse the blood. Later on I have learnt that it is better to harvest it in the October or November, after the first frost; it has something to do with the fact that they get softer afterwards. I will, however, try this first harvesting further below as a tea. 🙂
That’s how the bushes and the flower look like. 🙂
And that’s how they look like on the inside. Why should you cut them and get rid of the insides? Well, some people, even in traditional herbal medicine, just dried them and crushed them later on. However, the insides are very irritating to your skin and since I have a history of a sensitive stomach, I didn’t want to risk it. When doing the cutting, make sure you wear gloves, because the content of the rosehip is very itchy and irritating to the skin; they represent the most of this wonderful herb, as visible from the photo. Even though I had gloves, I must have accidentally scratched my neck and afterwards, everything was irritating my skin. That is until I took a shower 🙂 Also, they are quite hard to chop, so take that into account. For this small amount (photo is further below), it took me two hours. So with my next harvesting I may try to make just syrup. Why? Because if you boil them, you only need their liquid and there is no need to cut them open. As such, they are very easy make and a great cold and flue remedy, full of Vitamin C 🙂
This is the tiny amount after 2 – 3 hours of work and some irritated patches of my skin. I suppose it’ll go faster after a while when I got a hold of it or find an easier way 🙂 it is still so amazing to be a witness to this process: seeing a healing plant in nature, harvesting its healing parts, properly prepare them for usage (which often involves the right process of drying of the herb and berries) and lastly use them to help you get better. I love being a part of this wonderful process, walking with nature, hand to hand and not just buying the products in the tea bags. I know exactly what I’m consuming and where I found it 🙂
Doesn’t it look yummy? 🙂 Here’s my very first and very own Rosehip tea 🙂 Now I can understand why you how to wait the first frost: the rosehips are very hard and dry and tea is not the same colour as I am used to. The colour was supposed to be more orange like. However, the smell is the same and taste is slightly more subtle than the one I had in mind. It has a significant lemony and a slightly sour taste. The last time I drank that time was at the herbal workshop a month ago and before that about 10 – 15 years ago with my grandmothers home made rosehip tea 🙂
There it is my dear herbies. Hope you found it useful and I look forward to hearing some of the tips for easier preparation of the rosehips 🙂 Have fun and till next time, make sure to drink some herbal teas (:
“Tea is liquid wisdom” – Author unknown.
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Willfort, R. (1978). Zdravilne rastline in njih uporaba [Healing plants and their application] (original tittle; Gesundheit durch Heilkräuter : Erkennung, Wirkung und Anwendung der wichtigsten einheimischen Heilpflanzen). Maribor: Založba Obzorje Maribor.