Weeds as Medicine
I’m really looking forward to spring this year and making some herbal remedies from foraged goodies. This past year I’ve had a bit of cabin fever so I can’t wait to explore the countryside and forage weeds to be used as medicine for my family. It’s my mission this year to explore our native weeds in the UK more deeply. It’s interesting to see how herbs that are not indigenous to the UK get a lot more attention and have been the subject of more research than our native weeds.
For example, turmeric is well known for it’s anti-inflammatory benefits and has starred in numerous research papers. It’s a celebrity among our weedy plebs.
Nettles. They’re not very glamorous are they? Viewed as a bit of a nuisance.
Ouch! The stinging pain as they catch you on the legs while walking along overgrown footpaths. Where’s a dock leaf when you need one?
Herbalists use a variety of plants – I’ve got about 130 different herbal tinctures and quite a few dried herbs. Sometimes I find myself having a study day on one individual herb to refresh my memory of all the amazing uses it has. I look at research papers too to back up it’s traditional uses.
Now I know all herbalists work by treating the individual and not the condition but we do include herbs in a prescription because it’s good for blah blah. For example, if a patient suffers with hay fever I will look at everything about that person, stress, diet, food they could include everyday to improve gut bacteria, that kind of thing. Symptoms differ from person to person – some experience mainly nasal congestion and others have a real problem with itchy eyes. The herbs I choose and their proportions in the prescription will reflect this.
Weeds that Heal
Nettle is good for hayfever and can feature in everyone’s hay fever prescription. And if you have mild hayfever symptoms you can probably get away with nettle alone. Herbal medicine doesn’t have to be complicated or mysterious. Sometimes one herb is enough.
Some research has been performed on nettle so we know a little more about the reason why it works and its effects on the immune system. I think nettle could be the new superfood!
Nettle is going to be sprouting new leaves soon so watch this space for news on nettle and how you can use it at home.