Saturday, 5 February 2011

Starting February Tasks

We have had our February tasks for our apprenticeship and another busy month is ahead of us!
This month my theory work is to look at Acne Rosacea and Psoriasis, I need to research why people develop them, which herbs can be used to support these conditions and why are they helpful.
My seasonal task is to collect an amount of horse chestnut/sticky buds and make a flower essence using the heating method; I have only used the sun method before so this will be something new. I now know several places from which I can gather the horse chestnut.

Horse Chestnut sticky buds
Here is the practical bit:
Within your harvesting space, look for burdock and mullein rosettes and dig up roots. You may find it easier to dig burdock root with a sharp stick rather than a fork, mullein roots are very shallow. Both should come from a second season plant i.e. it grew from seed last year and is entering its second year. If you are able to find these roots, make a tincture or vinegar and research what you would use these for. Also try stir-frying peeled burdock root and chew a small piece and note what happens. You also need to gather a good bowlful of dandelion roots and create your own bitter tonic using Jim Macdonald’s recipe for guidance and working on the principle that bitters are cold and need to be balanced with something warming.
 There is a slight problem here in that I have never seen burdock or mullein growing anywhere near my home and I haven’t a clue where to look. The bitter will be using my herbal ally for this year, dandelion, and I shall continue to get to know my ally this month. I read a nice quote this week which I thought could relate to our herbal allies.
 “Informed relationship with a plant requires botanical understanding, as well as awakened senses and a feeling heart…”
                                      (Jesse Wolf Hardin)

There are also two new words for the herbal glossary, astringent and carminative, the definitions are below.
An astringent is a local anti-inflammatory. You can use astringents for all inflammations of the skin - topically. You can also use astringents for all inflammations in the mouth and through the whole digestive tract: they act locally, they can't get beyond the mucous membranes or skin. They are anti-inflammatory because they tan both skin and mucous membranes; they dry them up, leaving no growing space for possible unfriendly neighborhood microbes. They'll also shrink any inflamed tissues, because as tanning agents, they remove moisture from tissues. Astringents are very straightforward. (Henrietta’s Herbal)
Promotes digestion and peristalsis; assists in expulsion of intestinal gas ( )

1 comment:

  1. Just had a thought regarding your herbal ally. Brigitte Mars has an excellent book called "Dandelion Medicine" which you may wish to get hold of. It's out of print, but I picked up a copy on a site through Amazon. Burdock usually turns up when you're not looking for it. See if you can find some of last year's stalks and seedpods, there will probably be a few rosette's hiding somewhere close.