The New Year has been welcomed in with plenty of new herb tasks for my apprenticeship.
My first task was to choose an herbal ally for the year; meet, observe, use, study, meditate with, respect and open ones heart to it. Every time I thought of this task dandelion sprang to mind, so it seems to have chosen me. I have a new friend for 2011!
I need to gather twigs for bark from horse chestnut for a cell strengthening salve and wild cherry to make a cough preparation. I don’t know of any wild cherry trees near me but have managed to scrounge some Morello cherry twigs from a friends back garden so I will try them. I have lots of sweet chestnuts near my home but not horse chestnuts and have been having a dilemma about where I could go gathering from without getting myself into trouble. Sarah has come to the rescue and identified a place near her house where I can go. She has given me some great advice “The secret to wild crafting, even with secateurs is to look confident at all times, even if your friends disown you!”
My theory work is to research the structure of human blood cells and how horse chestnut helps to strengthen them and to research different types of cough, the herbs I would use for each one and why.
Our seasonal task is to source and make a Seville orange bitter. http://kitchenherbwife.blogspot.com/2010/01/citric-bitters.html
This month’s herbal terminology:
Bitters, as the name suggests have a bitter taste which stimulates the production of gastric enzymes and bile production, improving digestion and the appetite. Many bitter herbs have other actions as well; White Horehound helps with respiratory problems.
Popular bitters are dandelion, gentian and cleavers.
A drug that enhances the secretion of sputum by the air passages so that it is easier to cough up. Expectorants are used in cough mixtures; they act by increasing the bronchial secretion or make it less viscous (Oxford Mini Dictionary For Nurses, 1991)
My List of Herbs Being Studied
· Lady’s Mantle
· Lemon Balm
· St John’s Wort
· White Horehound