A little herbal forage
Updated: May 13
Springtime is the time to clean out, not just in the home, but also the body. Which is why Nature provides us with Dandelions; Nature’s full body detox. Every part of the plant can be used. It cleanses the liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, urinary tract, brightens eyes, stimulates flow of bile, improves digestion and is used to treat a range of disorders including eating/wasting disorders, rheumatism and hypoglycaemia. It’s a very hardy herb; almost impossible to kill. A good rule of thumb with herbs is, the hardier they are, the more potent their healing properties. Lavender and St. John’s Wort are classic examples. They will grow anywhere, even a crack in a wall.
I have been busying myself, as you know, and laxly, didn’t pick any Dandelions, etc. before they were past their best. Once it was too late, I had kidney pains! Serves my right. I decided to go have a look around to see if there was anything else that I could have.
Here’s what I found in the field that was so ignorantly mown last year:*
Big patches of Red Dead Nettles and White Dead Nettles. They are great for women’s health. Add boiling water to a handful of fresh Nettles, infuse, then when warm, use as a vaginal douche. The dried herb makes an excellent ‘general health’ tea. It can also be made into a lotion to treat eczema and other skin disorders.
A tiny patch of Dove’s-foot, aka Cranesbill. Ideal for my kidneys. They help break down stones and pass gravel. Also great for internal bruising and bleeding. It stops the bleeding and then dissolves the congealed blood. There are a number of disorders this tiny little herb is good for, including joint pains and diarrhoea.
Scattered patches of Red Clover, aka Trefoil and Meadow Honeysuckle. It purifies blood and is excellent for irritable coughs, including whooping cough and bronchitis, as well as sore throats and mouth ulcers. It also cleanses the lymphatic vessels and is especially helpful against cancers of the breast and ovaries. It can be used to treat a number of skin disorders, to heal sores and snake bites. The ideal herb to make into a cream or ointment.
A few bunches of Alexanders, a Parsley, aka Horse or Wild Parsley. Flatulence is the main use. But also to expel afterbirth.
Besides the Alexanders, loads of Cow Parsley. It doesn’t have any real medicinal value. The leaves taste like mild aniseed. It’s best left alone, anyway, as it looks very much like Hemlock. You don’t want to be ingesting that, as it’s very poisonous!
Plenty of Tormentil everywhere. A really important herb. Besides healing every bowel disorder known, it also expels poisons, fevers, plague and other contagious diseases, including potentially COVID-19. It’s also great for mouth ulcers, etc. Chewing the leaves hardens gums and promotes a healthy mouth.
Little Daisy is everywhere. It is also known as Bruisewort, for obvious reasons! Either make a tea with the flower heads and drink or allow to cool and use as a lotion or make a compress.
And one I use every month leading up to and on the full Moon, Cleavers. I feed them to the cats to keep worms at bay. Why at the full Moon? Like everything else on Earth, worms are drawn to the Moon. It is also an amazing aid to dieting. To quote Culpepper, “It is familiarly taken in broth, to keep them lean and lank that they are apt to grow fat”. It is a lymphatic detoxifier.
Across the road, I found more Dead Nettles, purple this time...
and a swathe of Sheep’s Sorrel. Mix it in with a Summer salad for fresh breath. It allays thirst, cools the liver and strengthens the heart.
Sadly, a couple of days later the whole lot was destroyed by order of Hastings Borough Council
*see entry Wanton destruction and planetary movements
NB. Amendment: above photo under Tormentil is of Meadow Buttercup. Much apologies! Tormentil is low-lying and has four petals. Do NOT consume Meadow Buttercup! The oils contained within can cause abdominal pains.