Monday, 30 June 2014

Introducing the Herb Garden at the Small Crane Saturday 5th July

I am delighted to be introducing and talking about the Herbs that we have planted with the community at the Small Crane this Saturday, 5th July at 12pm. It will coincide with the Open Day at Health and Herbs in aid of Enable Ireland so please come along if you are in the area.

Don’t pass your local herb garden without valuing nature’s herbal healing 
bounty. Health and Herbs have taken on board the raised flowerbeds in the Small Crane. 

We started in Autumn 2013 and have been delighted to find so many of the 
plants have thrived and nature has sent very helpful wild guests to add to the 
wealth of herbs for healing.

Many of our native weeds and cultivated plants have medicinal properties. 
I will describe some of those you can find in The Small Crane that you might not have thought of or known how to use. 

Thyme and sage are familiar from your cooking, but have you ever wondered why these plants have been used for meat dishes. The reason is that they have strong anti-microbial actions. Before the invention of fridges meat was stored for days wrapped in sage and thyme. They reduced the incidence of food poisoning that caused unpleasant side effects at a time that also predates indoor plumbing nd en-suite bathrooms. This is a good example of knowledge gleaned from experience rather than scientific data. 
Thyme is effective as a medicine for cough and chesty conditions because it is antiseptic and antispasmodic. Sage is particularly helpful as a gargle for sore throats and as a mouthwash. This is because it contains resins, these are large sticky molecules that adhere to the lining of the tonsils and gums and have an antiseptic effect. The traditional knowledge has been validated by scientific research.
Chickweed is an abundant herb and weed, it is cooling and soothing for eczema and other irritating rashes. We make this into a soothing cream.

Feverfew looks like a pretty daisy like flower and is known as the migraine 
plant. Traditional knowledge led to the common practice of eating a feverfew 
leaf in a sandwich as a preventer and treatment for migraine headache. Science has validated this use of the plant because anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic constituents have been identified in the herb. Today we usually use feverfew as a capsule or tincture because it is such a bitter herb. I usually use nervine and adaptogen herbs in conjunction with Feverfew when treating migraine. 
Nervine herbs have a strengthening effect on the nervous system and adaptogens support the action of the adrenal gland hormones, we rely on these when coping with stress.

Horseradish is an example of a pungent herb; it stimulates the same taste receptors as the Japanese paste called wasabi. It stimulates the digestive juices and for this reason it is served with heavy meats. The pungency also stimulates the mucous membrane secretions of the nasal passages and is used for chronic sinus infection, usually in conjunction with Ginger and Cayenne. These herbs improve the blood circulation to the sinuses, which is important in order to deliver any therapeutic intervention to the sinuses. Thyme and Horseradish work well together for sinus problems. Horseradish is best-used fresh, grating the root and add to Sinus Tea, this is a blend of herbs containing Thyme, Elderflower, Peppermint, Plantain and Yarrow. Plantain is a weed that is so common you walk over it and past it on such a regular basis you don’t ever see it. Check it out as Plantago lanceolata or Plantago majora. The both have nourishing effects on the mucous membranes and a cooling effect on any inflammatory digestive condition. It grows around the cobbles inside the walls of the flowerbeds at the Small Crane.

Dandelion Roots and Leaves are used for nutrition and for medicine. Add dandelion leaves from your garden to any salad, they add a bitter tastiness to bland salads. Start with one or two leaves to add ‘bite’ to your salads. Dig up dandelion roots, chop small and simmer until soft. Leaves stimulate elimination through the kidneys and the root stimulates bile secretion. Bile is your laxative and helps eliminate cholesterol and toxins and it aids healthy gut function.

Other herbs include Borage, Fennel, Pineappleweed, Mint, Wild leeks, Mallow, Wild Strawberries, Lemon Balm, Fennel, dock, Shepherd’s Purse, Raspberry leaves and Wild Strawberries.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter to find out about herbs walks, herb of the month features and relevant news events on a regular basis. 
Call into our clinic at Health and Herbs and dispensary anytime or advice regarding any health problems or just for a cup of tea.

Otherwise I hope to see you at the Small Crane (close to the Jes) on Saturday, 5th July at 12pm where I will be delighted to talk you through the herbs in the garden.

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