Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Yule Yew Holly n Ivy

I met with Herb lovers for a walk in the woods at the weekend. Focussing on the Yew and Holly trees and the climbing Ivy.

It was beautifully clear and freezing as I stood beneath the Yew sunshine in my eyes so that the folks listening tro me were shadows in my vision, my hands shook as my adrenaline kicked in hehe I love talking about plants...

 Yews are very special to me, one of the first ones that I connected with was near the Claremont rd Road Protest in a little park/ scrubland that was under attack, I remember crying my eyes out as she got chainsawed down. 

Apparently in the Jurassic age the Yew was far more prolific across our lands and the main tree of our forests. She now protects and provides safe passage for our dead in numerous graveyards often predating the churches.

I love the squishy bright red berries they are super sweet n have a bit of a snotty texture but the only part of the Yew that isn't toxic so a special treat -just make sure you spit out the black pips... Tamoxifen the breast cancer drug is made from the Yew.

The Silver birch was our next stop on the walk -the Queen of the woods, delicate feminine beauty, I recounted my time at a yoga retreat where the whole class had drunk some birch bark tea before a class and then each and every one of us had run out to pee numerous times -strong volumetic diuretic that one. Dieter talked about how he tapped the tree on the beginning of March and over night it yielded over a gallon of sap for his wine.

The Holly laden with berries stood proud above us all as I spoke of His lightening conductive abilities and white wood - we all picked a leaf tore it and placed it in a jar and then covered with Vodka -this tincture will have anti pyretic (lower fevers) and expectorant (dissolves and brings up think mucous) activities but we also spoke of the Hollies magical qualities of protection and uplifting moods.

Nicholas Culpeper in his “The Complete Herbal” (1653) say’s that:  “the bark and leaves are good used as fomentations for broken bones and such members as are out of joint”.  He also considered the berries to be curative of colic. 

For most of us the sight of holly leaves and berries is inextricably linked with Christmas, whether we celebrate this as a secular or a religious festivity. Christmas brings with it many traditions and it is probably the one time when many of us still practice at least a few old folklore customs today

Though holly doubtless was, and still is, brought into the house for its shiny green leaves and berries, which reflect the light and add colour to the dark days of Yule, it has another significance as well. Christian symbolism connected the prickly leaves with Jesus' crown of thorns and the berries with the drops of blood shed for humanity's salvation, as is related, for example, in the Christmas carol, 'The Holly and the Ivy'. 
Yet even here the reference to these two plants refers to a pre-Christian celebration, where a boy would be dressed in a suit of holly leaves and a girl similarly in ivy, to parade around the village, bringing Nature through the darkest part of the year to re-emerge for another year's fertility.

The Ivy with her porous branches and binding ways has been adopted in the past by various cults who believed in Liberation through intoxication - her connection to fidelity and wine made us all smile, whilst shivering slightly..... 

A preparation of the leaves was once used externally to treat conditions affecting the peripheral nerves such as rheumatism and neuralgia, as well as skin conditions such as impetigo and scabies. Taken internally as a tincture it is purported to be effective against whooping cough.

All in all a lush day in da woods

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Angry Witch

I am so bloody angry so here is my morning rant –

woke up to this grey n white clad day, added loads layers of clothing to my body n started my routine;
6am up to making breakfast for Elektra, tidy up last evenings mess, texted at 8 from Harry letting me know that he is planning to leave school if its cold –ring Harry have a few strong words, hung up. Deep breaths

Chopped up the home grown impenetrable, Squash n pumpkin for soup, added the Austrian Speck (cured bacon) that Dieter’s Ma brought over to flavour the soup –all the while feeling weird about the meat, I am a hypocrite the human condition, where is my cave in the mountains, chopping it large, I can simply take it off my plate.

I make a plan in my clustered mind to go do my yoga n follow it by a delicious nutritious juice.

Upstairs whilst making the beds n clearing space to Yogarise I hit play on the HIFI –Hattie Hatstar ( blares out at full volume

–singing about -there should be a law against lifestyles that perfume their bathrooms etc, singing about supermarkets, singing about GM, singing about big agri, singing about all the things that I am so bloody angry about –

I burst into tears in downward dog n snot cruised up my nose, the salutations to the sun weren’t working in this state, I started star jumping instead shouting about how angry I am. Shouting about what I can do. Living by example is what I have come up with but any other ideas are welcome please.

I realised that a lot of the articles I have been writing have been extremely fluffy, I have been cautious of being too political for certain publications and forums and even in our own newsletter, BOLLOX -

I am disguised at the Medics and the Pharmacueticals – of course I am aware that there are ‘good’ folks within these establishments, like there are 'nice' policemen, but how about the blind, deaf and dumb ones that prescribe and circulate SHIT drugs that do Harm; when Herbs, nutrition and yoga/tai chi/acupuncture etc are an option.

A place with free health care -proper health care is my dream -I am in a place to be able to organise and offer that the only thing missing is the money to build and create a Centre, the money to offer HOLISTIC HEALTH CARE. Come on money here we are ready n waiting to spend you on good stuff.

ROACCUTANE now commonly prescribed for acne –but I have seen it prescribed for simple spots – SUICIDES, BIRTH DEFECTS & PYSCOSIS They put children on the birth control pill for acne and some are left on it for years.

STATINS – I see people with severe shakes, tired all the time, headaches – and its been linked to cancers –but the bloody EVIL devils simply pay for research that is totally shite science to cover their backs n sell more –pay doctors commission to put everyone on them

I will not start on Immunisations here leave that for later. But this video is good –

Cancer –

Deep breaths I am feeling slightly better now

Boycott the supermarkets buy from your local shops, farmers markets -give em all your money,

if not try Suma –

and organic veg boxes……

In the midst of writing this I was phoned from 'BEAT THE BURGLAR' ???? Do I want a free alarm system??? Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh

Love n Darkness

K x

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The magic of essential oils...

Essential oils without distilling…
We did an experiment the other evening to gather essential oils from the glands on the outside of peppermint using some special gauzes of Dieter’s. Essential oils are usually acquired through distillation and are part of a plant protection system against disease and insects. It is for this reason that essential oils are usually often antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral or very good at deterring insects.

For the method we lined a bucket with canvass bags which have a fine mesh at the bottom. Each one was increasingly finer as they went deeper into the bucket.

Dieter placed a load of ice in the top bag, a big bunch of frozen peppermint from the garden followed by some more ice. We covered it with water and all took a turn at stirring it vigorously for half an hour. The fresh scent of the mint filled the kitchen.

We then left it all to sit, untouched for another half an hour before removing the sacks from the bucket of sludgy black (and not particularly tasty) iced peppermint tea.

When we looked, amazingly there was a fine minty scented black powder on each mesh. Dieter carefully scraped the powder into a small lump and transferred it to another mesh for drying.

The oils are apparently encapsulated in a small waxy shell so that when warmed they are released.

Karen and me have been considering applications for the crystals…added mint to our smoking mix, mint oil in our next batch of Ache Ease.

It was great to see the results but we are yet to work out if the yield of oil was worth the sacrifice of so much mint. We felt like some of the oils contained in the leaves remained in the mint…still, in the absence of a distillery!!!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Sweet Chestnut Harvest

We were up Northaw Great Woods yesterday in glorious sunshine foraging for autumnal goodies! What joy this time of year always brings – having 4 kids with us was brilliant we all really enjoyed kicking about in the fallen leaves.

We found some spiky treats under the Sweet chestnut Trees (Castanea sativa)I love these majestic trees -their bark often seems to twist themselves around the tree like a spiral, they are in the Fig family or Fagaceae, and the delicious edible seeds are also sometimes called Marron, Maroni in Austria.

During the Christmas period one can see street vendors everywhere in Austria and in some British cities roasting the Chestnuts releasing very pleasant odours. The seed pods are super spiky and we found we had to stamp on them and then roll the whole thing underfoot for the 3 seeds per pod to be freed.

Some of these great trees seemed to be really ancient hard to age exactely but I remember that the oldest Tree at Kew Gardens is a Sweet Chestnut and it is well worth a visit with its amazing spiralling truck reaching up to the sky. Greenwich park in London is another site of ancient Sweet Chestnuts the oldest one planted in 1664.In the UK, the best known ancient sweet chestnut is the Tortworth Chestnut, in Gloucestershire. Written records of this remarkable tree go back to the 12th century. The oldest surviving tree is reckoned to be between 3-4,000 years old and Sicily.

Roasted or ground into flour, sweet chestnuts formed an important part of the Roman diet and it is reported that Alexander the Great and the Romans planted chestnut trees across Europe during their various campaigns. It is said that Roman soldiers were given a porridge made from sweet chestnuts before going into battle.

I like eating the seeds best by simply heated in the oven for 15 mins as a delicious snack but Dieter made chestnut jam -Sweet Chestnut Jam recipe


2 kilos of fresh chestnuts
The zest of a large lemon
9oo grams dark muscavado sugar
I vanilla pod
200 ml water
200 ml brandy


Shell the chestnuts carefully with a small sharp knife avoid breaking the inner skin

Put them in a saucepan with the lemon zest.
Cover with water

Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour until soft.

Remove chestnuts in small batches from the hot water, with a slotted spoon, and peel the inner skin.

The nuts need to be warm to be peeled easily.

Press the soft husks through a sieve and set aside.

In a clean saucepan slowly dissolve the sugar and water over a low heat. Stirring constantly.

Add the vanilla pod and the sieved chestnuts.

Bring to simmering point and simmer for twenty minutes.
Stirring every now and then to stop the mixture burning on the base of the pan.
After twenty minutes add the brandy and simmer for a further ten minutes, string constantly.

Remove the vanilla pod.

Ladle into warm sterilised jars.

Label when cold and store in a cool dry place

Medicinal virtues of Castanea sativa are recorded in Mrs. Grieves –she states -
In some places Chestnut leaves are used as a popular remedy in fever and ague, for their tonic and astringent properties.
Their reputation rests, however, upon their efficacy in paroxysmal and convulsive coughs, such as whooping-cough, and in other irritable and excitable conditions of the respiratory organs. The infusion of 1 OZ. of the dried leaves in a pint of boiling water is administered in tablespoonful to wineglassful doses, three or four times daily.
Culpepper says:
'if you dry the chestnut, both the barks being taken away, beat them into powder and make the powder up into an electuary with honey, it is a first-rate remedy for cough and spitting of blood.

Come the Spring I am going to pick some leaves n try them out!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Hips n Haws

Been out a harvesting today with some lovely folks all keen to learn more about da plants.

We picked lots of rosehips and hawthorns -I was after making some rosehip tincture and as today Friday is ruled by venus -roses planet, it make for good harvesting.

The moon is waxing crossing from practical structured capricorn -great for the creation of my tincture over to the social group loving aquarius, brilliant for our fun discussions after the harbesting and production.

The rose hips are full of nutrients, high in vit c -during the 2nd world war
-During the war it was not possible to import oranges for vitamin C so researchers looked for other sources from which to obtain the vitamin.

Researchers in Bristol and Newcastle-upon-Tyne discovered how to extract vitamin C from rose hips.

Children were then recruited to pick the rose hips and received payment. During the war some children were allowed time off school and were even bussed out to certain areas to undertake picking of the rose hips.

The rose hips were then used to make Rose Hip Syrup - one of the manufacturers being Delrosa. Although Delrosa rosehip syrup is no longer available in the UK it is still going strong in the US and Australia.

LitoZin is a popular new supplement derived from Rose-hip for Joint Care. The active ingredient GOPO (glycoside of mono and diglycerol) was discovered over 20 years ago in Denmark and significant levels can only be obtained if the rose-hips are dried . They have patented the method of drying the Hips but anyone can go and collect these plentiful hips for teas, tincture , syrups and jellys or jams.

We have used our tincture in various cases of artiritic joints with good results in combination with other herbs.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Ache Ease

We had a busy evening preparing the new batch of Ache Ease. Baba in bed gave Oriole and me the perfect opportunity for uninterrupted potion making.
Our Ache Ease has become so popular we made as big a batch as we could manage, Pyrex bowl allowing.

We used last year’s horseradish oil, which me and Karen dug up, from Lea Valley. Its irritant mustard oils are so powerful that goggles were needed in order to chop it. But this is the compound that draws the blood to the area of the body being treated and makes it so affective. Since we added horseradish to the recipe the Ache Ease has become a wonder rub for sore, achy, joints and muscles.

The horseradish is mixed with comfrey oil, which we made a warm infused oil of in a bain-marie. Comfrey needs to be dried in a nice gentle heat to stop it going black and when dry can be made into and oil. This is truly healing and restorative for bone and ligaments alike.

Next was lavender oil, which Karen made from the lavender in the garden, anti-inflammatory and healing.

We mixed them with beeswax and cocoa butter melted in a bain marie added delicious peppermint and rosemary essential oils and poured into the waiting glass jars…mmm

I snapped a ligament in my knee a few years ago and have used the balm ever since, avoiding an operation. Its great!

Fungi Foray

We had a lovely wander through the rapidly changing woods near Rhododendron mile last week. There are no rhododendrons there at the minute though because they’re so invasive they’re cutting them all back and burning them out. They sound like fireworks when they burn fresh, much to the delight of my friend’s kids.

The mushrooms were out in droves and many, already on the way out. Penny buns were the big surprise as well as the fantastically looking, edible bright orange fungi. The major crop, although we were unsure at the time of edibility is the common yellow brittlegill mushroom.

Hidden amongst the silver birch were the magical fly argaric, which I harvested a few of for our new batch of flying ointment. It has been used as an external preparation for nerve pain but can also make you fly if properly dried and administered. It should not be mistaken for the brown version, the Panther Cap, which can apparently make you pretty sick.

The sweet chestnuts and the conkers were well on their way, so they be the next harvest.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Opium Poppies

This plant has been on mind mind for years - a little more so these past few months as I have been making Laudeum and also using them as an ingrediant in the Flying Ointment.

So delicate their paper thin petals and they seem to disappear within a matter of hours. Harry my son was concieved on this beautiful, etheral connective plant, we were living in the South of Spain and driving through a nature reserve near Seville which opened out onto fields and fields of poppies.

Working on the Ointment connected me to the fact that they are an imprisoned, war torn plant - a commodity with a hugh impact on human/global politics.

I send a prayer to the Opium Poppy for freedom and peace.

Sunday, 26 September 2010


For the Full Moon Equinox we had a photo shoot and interview with Spirit and Destiny Magazine about the Elderberries and Moonlight harvesting. It was lovely being out picking as the Moon rose on the crazy Equinox, there was an electrical storm, owls and munjacks about....the issue will not be out for a while so we have to exercise patience… boring!

Yesterday we…

Sorted out the lists of ‘to do’ (the whole shed was full of tincturing, macerating n dried herbs all ready for processing n sorting) out today so have recruited some help. We are all getting stuck in. Sasha, Sam n, Oriole, Fi, Elektra n myself and little ziggy-may all spent the day in the Front room picking leaf n flowers off Yarrow, Mugwort, Calendula, Goldenrod, Hypericum. Tinctures of Poppy n Henbane, Lavender, Goldenrod, Wormwood, Oregano n Thyme & Vervain were strained and bottled, Oils of Hypericum and Lavender also strained and pots of rich red antiviral Hypericum Lip balm made. The Elderberry syrup we’d made got bottled n labelled – altogether a productive chaotic day.

Flying Ointment…
We then had a few folk round to make the witching ointment with. We all added ingredients to the jar with the intentions of growing positive community.

We did a shout-out of words we think are important for community,
We thought of these as we prepared the oil and burnt our words on the fire later sending them up to the moon….

Aconite/ Wolfsbane was added first, I had dug the fresh root up minutes before washed the earth off it and chopped it up on the wooden board the creamy white root turned pink as I sliced it. We all tried a tiny piece of it and noted how it dried out our mouths instantly and how trippy everything suddenly became!

Next to go in the mix was the spiky Henbane picked from one that had self seeded in a pot by my front door, we discussed the Wolf and Hen energies that are inherent in these plants then the Datura from Austria, the foxglove from the garden grown from seeds collected on the Yorkshire moors, the poppy heads from a friends garden here we discussed the war on plants and all spared a moment to think about the heavily guarded poppy fields everywhere and asked for some freedom for this abused imprisoned beautiful, delicate, feminine plant. Fi has seen poky bitter opium juice drunk daily by the men of small mountain tribes in the mountains of southern India to go to work with.

Woody Nightshade berries were then tasted by all to understand and sense the flavour of the Atropine Alkaloids and a generous bunch thrown in the mix. I have found reference to being worn around the necks of people suffering from tinnitus. Fly Argaric fairytale toadstool, was next in our jar I have read an interesting article in The Sacred Hoop about some anthropologists off in Deepest Russia staying with peoples who use this Magical Mushroom regularly some off them everyday as a kind of pick me up. The Eyebright picked from the Alps went in to aid us to see clearly and focus when using this ointment.

We had a really lovely time around the fire into the early hours under the light of the moon chatting about the future and trying to release judgement from our daily lives!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

WOOHOO Article published in The Green Parent Magazine

I am excited because I have had my article about Making Balm with Elektra published in this months 'The Green Parent' Magazine hehehehe So I shall start working on the next one now.........

Thursday, 2 September 2010

The Dark Lady of The Lanes...Sam Black

I had a lovely stroll through the dorset lanes with lily ziggy-may and her nana last full moon to harvest the deep purple elderberries.

Steeped in magic, these amazing berries spark the imagination. If you fall asleep under an elder tree it'll bring dreams if death or you'll be taken by the fairy folk. Her character's name is Sam Black from the Latin for elder, Sambucus nigra. She is dark and wise, always there to answer any question.

Hypocrates called them a 'medicine chest'. We've used them in our Immune boost mix for many years now as their immune boosting properties are well recorded.

There has been research to suggest their use in HIV and the herpes simplex virus (which causes cold sores).

There is so much more besides, we'll be doing a piece on elder with Spirit and Destiny magazine next full moon so will keep you posted for further reading. We'll also be bottling up syrup for sale in the next few weeks.

Here's a basic recipe to make you're own...

Elderberry Syrup

Stuff you need:

Water to cover
Cinnamon sticks or any other spices
Sugar (a pound a pint of liquid)
Sterilised bottles


1. Pick the elderberries off the stem with a fork and place in a pan. Add any cinnamon sticks, clove, ginger or any other warming spices you fancy.

2. Cover with water and warm through gently until just simmering. Cook for 20 minutes or so like this and mash up the berries.

3. Strain through a piece of muslin laid in a sieve over a big pyrex bowl, and rinse out the pan.

4. Measure the amount of liquid as you return it to the pan and add 1lb of sugar per pint of elderberry liquid.

5. Warm the mix through, again until gently simmering, stirring all the time to stop it sticking to the pan.

6. When it looks nice and syrupy, pour into sterilised bottles.

7. Enjoy a splash of syrup with a squeeze of fresh lemon in a cup with hot water.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Austrian Adventures

I am writting this from Austria, where we have come on a family holiday visiting the in-laws n picking Alpine Delights!

We started off in the Salzberg region with my cousin and her wonderful family 5 kids and pregnant with her 6th, they live a healthy happy existance deep in a beautiful valley surrounded by 2-3000 meter peaks.

We walked n climbed a mountain called `Tasty´´ which was totally covered in the gorgeous purple hoods of Aconite, on the way up we passed much red clover, hypericum, bilberry, cranberry and a host of other herbal brilliance....

So far I am spending huge amounts of our holiday fund on vodka hehe to tincture as much as possible of these plants.

We are down on the planes in the East now on the boarders of Hungary and Slovakia where there is an incredible amount of Goldenrod growing - it is often said that what grows around an area is what the people need.

Traditionally it has been used as a kidney and bladder tonic esp. when stones are present, when I tasted the flowers and leaf it reminded me of Echinachea flavour but I am yet to cross ref the exact constituents. So have made this on for our Kidney Cleanse

I have just found out that it contains rubber, how wierd is that, and that the tyres on Henry Fords car where actually made of goldenrod.... wow.

Wormwood also grows plantifully here so I have made a tincture for our Liver Cleanse this herb is an intense bitter and also the ingrediant for the forbidden drink Absinthe.

Bitters stimulate the bitter taste buds on the tongue and thus increase salivation. This stimulates the gastric reflex to cause digestive juices to be secreted.

There is increased flow of digestive juices from the pancreas, duodenum, and liver that results in better assimilation of nutrients and less undigested food being passed through the digestive tract. This is of huge benefit to problems that have their basis in inefficient or allergy distorted digestion. They help stabalise blood sugars and alos reduce stress, we all need bitters and many cultures partake in eating bitter salad leaves before a heavy meal.

Yesterday we visited the site of an old Roman Town Carnuntum now called Petronell with many remains of Ampitheatres, villas and baths and it was full of Vervain, whilst picking it I wondered if the Roman folk had brough it with them there I googled it and found out that the Romans held it sacred and used it in many ceremonies sacred to the Goddess Venus it was also used to sanitise their homes and temples. We put it in our Maximum Chill Potion.

Today has been the datura harvest I found a whole colony of these brilliant white moon flowers on a building site mound, these are truely magical plants as I harvested I found myself feeling quite intoxicated and sang a song ├íll about `letting go of all control´. These special ladies are for this yrs Green Ointment hehehehehehehehe

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Scottish Harvest

We have had an adventure up to the Boarders of Scotland last week when we visited Traquair Festival. Fi and Lily Driving all the way from Dorset, Dieter and Harry took the truck and Elektra and I the train. On arrival in Edinburgh we decided to climb the 257 steps of Scott’s memorial to get superb views of the city sky line.
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet born 1771 was a prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet, popular throughout Europe during his time, the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime. His works are classics and included Ivanhoe n Rob Roy which I have to confess I have never read or even seen the films! To do list……
I had never been to Edinburgh and was very impressed I would like to go back and spend more time there definitely. The people were so kind, warm and friendly and the general vibe, building and green spaces are great.
Traquair is the oldest inhabited house in Scotland and with its grand avenue, amazing Yew tree, confusing maze, hospitably host Catherine Maxwell Stuart and noisy peacock it’s a truly special place to see. The Fair when well and we met loads of lovely folk a lot of whom had come down from Edinburgh but some as far a field as Dresden in Germany!
After the fair we when on a heather hunt an what a joy to see purple covered hills both little Lily and Elektra helped us to collect our harvest the sweet smelling delicate flowered heather is seldom seen in herbal commercial preparations and is lacking from most Materia Medicas. It is a valuable urinary antiseptic with both kidney and liver actions and a needed ingredient of our Piss Ease Tea used for Cystitis symptoms a strong infusion of heather tea can alleviate burning sensations almost immediately.
It is also the other ingredient of our Clear Vision Drops -
Action not Reaction

Heather is all about patience and imparts her wisdom gently. As a herb of the liver and urinary system she helps us to truly understand the self and our part within our community and relationships traditionally used for purification and stimulation.

Bilberry is renowned for its affinity with the blood vessels especially of the eyes, giving us the ability to see clearly. The circulatory aspects push ideas and concepts that may have reached stagnation. It is nourishing and nutritive, as with all of the berries.
Meadowsweet is another prolific herb on the Scottish Boarders everywhere lining the wayside are creamy white, candy floss, almond scented heads of flowering Filipendula when you take some of the tiny individual flowers that make up the heads to taste they are drying and one can make out the aspirin connection clearly.
With very long history of herbal use, it was one of the three most sacred herbs of the Druids. Unlike the extracted aspirin, which can cause gastric ulceration at high doses, the combination of constituents in meadowsweet act to protect the inner lining of the stomach and intestines whilst still providing the anti-inflammatory benefits of aspirin. It is going to go in our Joint Juice Tea and also our Liver Cleanse Digestive Delight mix.

Meadowsweet is a herb of Jupiter and I have used it to help folk recognise the good in themselves. In particular with one gentleman who was very hard on himself and had a distorted sense of self I made him a little amulet of meadowsweet to keep under his pillow with a few words of affirmation it helps to break down rigid barriers and soften tensions.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Home Education Group at the Mimram

We had beautiful weather yesterday for a herb walk around the Mimram river site at Digswell village near Welwyn Garden.

We wandered a circular route tasting the hedgerow delights as we travelled. The nettle seeds are so oily a relative of hemp the seeds are very similar and in plentiful supply at the moment. The Lime blossom have gone and in their place are seed heads looking like little decorative balls, they tasted slightly peppery.

The elder flowers have become small green berries promising a plentiful harvest come September. The Earth is so parched and dry and so many plants are really struggling many of the normally massive leaves of the burdock were tiny in comparison to the last few years. The Ragwort must have severely deep roots as its doing famously blooming away in amongst brown grassland.

The Hemp Agrimony / Eupatorium cannabinumin full flower looked lovely beside the river - we have been using it in our immune boost for some years now and its brilliant as an immunostimulant. We mix it with sage, the elderberries and the ground ivy.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Hertfordshire Herb Society Day out

What a wonderful day out it was yesterday organised by Herts Herb Society. Whom meet every first Wed of the month in Welwyn Garden City.

We started off at Buzzworks a community Bee hive and garden in Hitchin,


We were given a brief talk about the place by Robin Darlington the founder ,a seasoned bee keeper he was very informative explaining that our country really needs more bee keepers to help the bees from becoming irradiated, they are being attacked by a foreign mite, but apparently using something as simple as using thymol crystals can kill off the parasite.

We were then let to wander around the beautiful gardens and displays- they have a glass observation hive where one can watch the bees at work it was fascinating.

I bought some delicious Ivy Honey, which I later sweeten my lavender tea with!

We then went on to Hitchin Lavender farm just up the road to pick as much lavender as we could fill our bags with for £3, bargin. The heady scent of the blooms made for relaxing meanderings in the impressive purple fields; it felt as though we were in France.

We picked enough to make a tincture and some oil with plenty left to dry for tea.
We put the lavender into our Liver Cleanse Drops, as it is an excellent digestive herb as it is anti-microbial and really relaxing to the gut. It is a brilliant anti-stress herb and I will always use it if I am suffering from tension or anxiety.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The Yarrow n da Mugwort

On this blustery day before the rainfall we all went off in search off some herbage and came across artemisia vulgare/ Mugwort n Achillia millefolium/ Yarrow we use both these herbs in our smoke da garden mix which is proving a popular alternative to the evil nicotine addiction of tabac.

I have used the Mugwort for intensifying and connecting with 'The dreaming' and have experienced some intensely exciting dreams. I once wanted to treat a previous boyfriends son but my relationship with his mum was complicated -I was advised by an elder to put some Mugwort under my pillow and treat him in my dreams. He had been suffering with glue ear and had no taste sensation. I dreamed him every day for a week, the elder was also in my dreams walking beside me. After the week his glue ear and taste healed itself.

It helps you to remember your dreams and connect with the meaning they may have in your life.

It is also a herb I would always recommend in labour and for that PMT feeling off extreme heaviness waiting to bleed.

The yarrow herb is gonna be dried and used in our sniffle tea mixed with elder n peppermint –delicious.

Yarrow is brilliant for circulation and lowering temperature during a fever.........its latin name, Achillea is from Achilles. It helps to restore us from any weaknesses or our own achilles heals we might have -it is incredible strengthening and protective. I believe everyone should have a jar of yarrow on their shelves its and essential first aid herb and my alternative Calpol. It is suitable for babies and children too.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Birth story...Lily Ziggy-May

I'm finally back on-line in more ways than one... Here's the wonderful tale of Ziggy-may's birth in some length but there was quite a lot went on in a short space of time!

Lily Ziggy-May Bostock

Born 8th may at 9.45 a.m, 7lb 7oz

Herbs, oils n stuff used during labour
A hot curry
Clary sage e.o
Raspberry leaf tea
Labour of love drops
Artemesia plant
Arnica 200c
Lavender e.o
Bliss in a bottle
Fresh mango squares
Rose tincture
Ground ivy tea
Caulophylum 200c

People there; Benny, Karen, Pete (in the van outside), a spider, a fly and Linda the midwife (just)

The Birth

I woke up on the 7th May prepared in my mind that something might start to shift. We had dowsed a few weeks before and it suggested a 3 day labour starting on Friday the 7th. In some respects, this is exactly what happened.

So Friday morning was the day for doing accounts and getting forms filled in. The last big thing I knew I had to get done before the birth. Friday was also the day that Kelly (our friend and midwife) was to finish her final exam and Karen was due to pick up her new, reliable car…horay, they’d be able to drive down (the 3 hour drive from Herts to Dorset) as soon as the labour started. That was the plan!!!

So my accounts went slowly with long rests on the sheep-skins between flurries of work to breathe through Braxton hicks, the pretendy contractions. I’d been having them for weeks but these seemed a little more intense and came 4 an hour for most of the day.

I spoke to Kelly and we said we’d watch this space and that she was off for a lie down after gruelling weeks of exam nightmares.

Benny arrived home form work, I finished off my accounts and as it was a properly lovely evening we walked down the river path to go for a hot curry. The calves were in the fields, there was loads of gorgeous herbs growing in the hedgerows and along the river and it was the first night out me and Benny had shared together for many weeks.

The curry was hot, tasty and my rushes continued in the restaurant. By the time we headed home I was having to stop sometimes to let them wash over me. As we walked along the edge of the river a big bat followed us all the way, swooping in really close.

I decided that I wasn’t going to let a day of rushes like that amount to nothing and that things felt so good with me and Benny, that I’d have a strong Clary sage and lavender essential oil bath. I soaked and dreamed of the birth relieving me of the all-over body itch that I’d been having for the last few weeks.

We got to bed about 12 o’clock, smooched and drifted off. The rushes let me sleep for 3 really important hours. I woke for a wee and unable to rest again, found myself pacing around the bedroom. There was no denying these rushes! I whispered over to Benny but no response so I left him to sleep on for half an hour.

The intensity had picked up and leaning over my stool really helped. Benny got up with me and by quarter to 4 I was on the phone to Karen. She wasn’t due to pick up her new car until 10 a.m!!! When we called back to say I didn’t think we could wait that long she was already making alternative travel plans in the form of hero Pete and his van. She was in the shed preparing herbs and tinctures. Kelly had been so knackered she’d turned her phone off and crashed out!

So Karen was on her way and it was me and Benny to hold the birth fort for the next few hours. I opted for not burning any more clary sage or using any nipple stimulation techniques so as not to hurry things along too quickly before the others arrived. It was really important that Karen was here with us for the birth. I kept taking squirts of the labour of love drops that Karen and I make which nourished and centered me.

Benny was a champion, he kept me fed on banana and dates, sips of water and raspberry leaf tea, squirts of drops of love and kept the birthing environment clear and organised and the fire stoked.

I roamed about between the toilet and the sheepskins in front of the fire with increasing animalistic noises and positions.  I was wondering where the famous ‘rest and be thankful phase’ of labour was and, with no sign of it I took matters into my own hands and had a bath to try and chill the contractions out. The warmth gave some respite but I kept getting uncomfortably stuck on my back during contractions, so after half an hour Benny hauled me out.

Benny was there to hold my hand when I needed or kiss me or leave me or hold me, he whispered I was beautiful and amazing and doing so well. And we were really in love.

As the rushes increased in intensity I focussed on a few good pearls 1. The contractions are like walking up a mountain, you get to the top then its easier on the way down, 2. Once they’ve gone, the pain is virtually gone so just getting through each one is a massive achievement and there is respite at the other side, 3. Each contraction was bringing me closer to the baby and that was the best thought of all.

I had been puking up green bile after most contractions and a s a result couldn’t keep the bananas and dates down. Spoons of honey and sips of water were the perfect, easy-sugar-access solutions. Benny had kept the tunes playing, chilled and quiet, bar one techno track that slipped thorough the selection net and made for one pretty intense contraction.

Between some of the rushes I would sit on the sheepskins, drift into the music and visualise my cervix opening-up.

It was a good few hours before anything visible happened, then I had a bloody show and shortly after lost the big, red mucous plug. Benny championed me on at that point, ‘well done, hurray, that’s brilliant darling”. It was nice to see progress.

At 7.30 – 8 a.m Karen and Pete arrived. I was on the loo, between rushes and thought they’d probably get a surprise when the next one came in and they saw how intense they’d gotten. Karen came through while Pete made himself a cup of tea after saying hello. She’d brought ‘Bliss in a bottle’, our labour massage oil and after the next contraction rubbed it into my thighs, belly and lower back. Up til then I hadn’t felt like any rubbing during contractions but my mid-back had started to be in such spasm that the pressure from Karen’s hand was a welcome relief. She’d brought mangos and one tiny, perfect square of pure, sweet, exotic, deliciousness between each contraction was just perfect.

I remember Karen asking how my head was and with real clarity thinking it was feeling strong and focussed on the 3 pearls of wisdom.

We went back through to the sheepskins and Pete went out to his van to light a fire and fix the draws. Karen had a look between my legs, no outward signs yet and soon after I heard a big pop, felt a rush and the waters broke…this changed the sound of the contractions.

It was the waters but there was bits of brown so I wasn’t sure if I’d just exploded out of my bottom, it was so hard to distinguish what was going on. It turns out it was Lily’s myconium (poo), but really old, she wasn’t in any stress during the birth. At some point over the past weeks she’d had a poo in the amniotic fluid. I wondered if that was why I’d been so itchy. There was too many hectic times it could have been during the winter and the move to Dorset to say with any clarity when it happened. The important thing was that she remained fine during the labour, we checked her heart beat once but I could feel her reassuringly moving between each contraction.

With the confusion, I wanted to get back to the loo and try to poo. I was a little resistant to push in case it brought the baby down too soon. I has one big contraction and Karen said ‘Fi, you’re pushing”. Me ‘no, I just need a poo’. And as I felt down between my legs there was a downy, soft head on its way out. Oh, I don’t want to have her on the loo and where was Benny?

We sort of squeezed her back in a bit and headed for the sheepskins. Benny took position on the sofa and I squatted between his knees with my arms on his legs. The pain had changed now and I felt a lot more with it, it was more localised, burning, stretching.

There was her head again, moving down and Karen was poised between my legs. Cue midwife from the left. A bold knock and in she came. She spotted the foetal heart monitor (which I hired!) and said ‘what’s going on here then?’ I said ‘hiya, I think we’re having a baby’. Linda was really calm, got her gloves on and peared around my knee to catch sight of the top of the baby’s head.

She asked me to take my time so I held off for another contraction, then pop, her head and in the same push her beautiful, slippery body. Karen held her with the midwife supporting her head and they passed our gorgeous daughter, who’d let out a good cry, into my waiting arms. Benny lent over, kissed me and Lily and I started smothering her in kisses and sucking her hands and fingers. She was bright yellow from where the old myconium had stained the vernex (creamy protective stuff they're born covered in).

She was born at 9.45 a.m, totally content and in need of a nap. Karen gave me a hot cup of ground ivy tea (collected at Ringstead beach the week before) to help with the placenta and some delicious rose tincture.

The midwives (the second one had arrived shortly after the birth) wanted the placenta out so after 20 minutes or so, the babe hadn’t suckled much yet, we cut the cord, passed the baby to Benny and me and Karen headed for the toilet with the homeopathic kit. Benny kept our little Ziggy-May on his bare chest until we returned.

A caulophylum 200c helped bring the placenta down in the end and the lovely Linda fished it out of the toilet.

Ahhh, all totally mind-blowing, hard-core, shortish lasting (7 hours), painful, exstatic bliss with a surprise girly wirly at the end.

Linda said that even for old myconium, hospital transfer is preferred before and after the birth to monitor the baby’s heart rate and breathing. We were pleased to have carried on til the last minute just me, Benny and Karen.

We declined politely to go into hospital post-birth and so Linda popped back in the afternoon to check we were all ok.

We all lay around all day eating dhal with Pete popping in and out between footy matches on the radio. Blissed-out hours passed without us noticing. We washed Ziggy-May so she was less flurescent yellow, dressed her in a knitted blue suit and she enjoyed cuddles all day long.

We had tasty Italian take-away for tea – I enjoyed porchini mushroom rissottto…mmm.

Karen and Pete left after midnight, Pete was due to drive to Brussels on Sunday!

Kelly completed the whole amazing 3 day birth experience by arriving Sunday evening with a hamper of goodies and breast-feeding and baby-care knowledge. It was so great to have her there, she advised positions for feeding and showed Benny how to bath the baba.

Birth bliss welcomed Lily Ziggy-May.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Hypericum perforatum/ St. John's Wort

Been a walking out in the countryside -on the old railway line connecting Welwyn and Hertford, it is a lovely spot. I met up with Tasha, who has just graduated from Lincoln University as Medical Herbalist –woohoo- congratulations you.

She has a brilliant blog – check it out.

She was after some elderflowers for champagne n I had eyes for the Hypericum perforatum or St. John's wort, herb of the sun with his bright yellow flowers that stain ones fingers deep red as you pick it.

So who was St. John???

The Order of St.John of Jerusalem - the monastic community that ran the hospital for the pilgrims in the Holy Land 1048.

"Wort derives from the Old English wyrt, which simply meant plant. The word goes back even further, to the common ancestor of English and German, to the Germanic wurtiz. By the way, wurtiz evolved into the modern German word Wurzel, meaning root."

The Hypericum is Greek for 'over an apparition' I think this is indicative of its anti depressing properties -mental health issues were commonly though of to be a form of possession.

I am using my picked flowers to make some oil -I firstly dried them out for a couple of nights to prevent moulding in the oil and then filled a glass jar and covered with organic almond oil.

It is extra exciting because left for a while out in the sun the pale yellow oil will turn a deep red colour.........

This oil is then used in our hypericum lip balms which are great for cold sores -the antiviral properties of the plant shorten attackes
-and in our healing balm mixed with lavender and calendula oils.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Lime Blossom Harvest

On this lovely chilled Piscean Moon, flower day, we decided to go out a harvesting Tilia or Linden/Lime Blossoms. I have been planning this for a few days and did a reckie mission to find some trees with lower hanging branches hehe.

The trees are so beautiful, often planned around stately homes along the avenues as they grow really straight n tall forming lush walk ways or drives. Apparently Lime trees were planted by royal decree along many roads to ensure that the harvest of its flowers was plentiful, as it was used a lot for its many medicinal properties.

In Celtic time right up to the middle ages, the lime tree was considered sacred and it was common for judicial cases to be heard while the court sat under a lime tree as it was said to inspire fairness and justice.

Whilst we were picking we were enveloped in the light, sweet fragrant and instantly felt refreshed even in the muggy heat. Our fingers became covered in a delicious sweet sticky sap and loads of bugs or different flavours fell onto our heads n bodies, I had to still my nerves as I am not too partial to weird bugs but the calming influence of her Ladyship Lime helped.

Linden helps to lower elevated blood pressure. High blood pressure often causes heart problems. When we live with chronic stress for extended periods, the musculature surrounding the arteries can become permanently contracted. This means that the opening through the artery is narrowed and the heart has to pump harder to get the blood through. Linden has gentle, relaxing properties that make it an excellent remedy for long-term stress, especially when it is affecting the cardiovascular system. We mix it with Lemon Balm, Hawthorn n Rose buds in our Heart n Soul Tea -delicious

Sunday, 13 June 2010

D's Bees

Exciting News

Dieter finished off his 'Top Bar Hives’ and put them out in the fields last weekend with a little lemongrass essential oil in dropped around the entrance, apparently this mimics a scent given off by the bees own homing signal.

Anyhow we have a swarm -it has made itself at home and is happily making comb -we went down yesterday to move it into the bigger hive.

I am getting excited now as to how I am gonna process the wax n propolis etc...

Monday, 7 June 2010


Elektra was up all night running a fever –pyrexia in medical speak, from the Greek pyretos meaning fire

I have never really used thermometers before but Dieter checked her and she was 38.8 she felt so hot. I gave her some yarrow and elderflower,. Specially to help bring down the fever a bit and help her to sleep. I know the fever is a good thing to burn the infection away – it is a sign the bodies own immune system is working well. But as a mum I needed to help make her feel more comfortable and I also needed some sleep!

She complained of a ' hurting tummy' so I also administered strong chamomile tea.

But this morning it became apparent she had very swollen tonsils - Harry my boy had it last week.

The tonsils are lymph nodes in the back of the mouth and top of the throat. They normally help to filter out bacteria and other microorganisms to prevent infection in the body. A particularly virulent bacterial or viral infection causes them to swell and become inflamed, this is called tonsillitis.

So today I have been brewing elderflowers, sage blossoms and leaf, flowering thyme, lemon balm, marjoram and bay teas straight outta da garden with lots of lemons and honey.

She has also been using the Tonsil Tickler throat spray regularly...

There are lots of aromatic (full of antiseptic oils) herbs to help fight off the infection. Powerful lymphatic herbs encourage the immune system by helping to remove the infection from the area so that it can be safely excreted from the body.

It contains: elderberry syrup, tinctures of ginger, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano.

Poor little mite

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Sunny Dayz

Well I definitely enjoyed today’s weather loads more than the wet yesterday - we were out at the Celtic Harmony Camp Brickendon - -which is a lovely place for kids and had a great day despite the rain, hearing tales of Finn MacCoul and the Giant's Causeway, all very interesting!! Harry made me a leather and grass bracelet and Elektra ground grains and made some bread on a fire in a round house.

Today has been a harvesting and production day in the garden with my little girl Elektra -she helped me to cut the delicate Ladies Mantle blooms and the fragrant Sage flowers for drying and also to make a Motherwort tincture. It has been blissful.

We then went around smelling the various fragrancies on all our flowers hehehe

The Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) has grown enormous nearly 1.7m high now, it will flower really soon so I have only taken about half of the leafy stems out. It is my favourite relaxant herb during and just before my period really helping me to properly chill out and alleviate the heavy womb feeling.

Dieter has put his newly built Beehives out into the fields anointed with Lemongrass Essential Oil to attract a swarm -the oil is similar to the bees own homing signal scent.

This evening was spent watching Britains got Talent whilst taking my dried Hawthorn blossoms off spiky branches and into jars.....

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Witches @ Chelsea

We are going to Chelsea on Thurdsday to check out the garden we helped to design with some kids in Herefordshire---

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Solomens Seal

What brilliant weather we are experiencing I have been out in my garden planting and playing with all my plants -one I have been given this year is Solomen's Seal (Polygonatum biflorum)and what a beauty he is.

My daughter Elektra has sat under the flowering leafy shoots introducing one flower head to another and chatting away there for ages. They look not dissimilar to bells or something musical to me.....

So why is it called after the seal of Solomen??? I think that is the Star of David or 6 pointed star.....

'' The origin of the common English name of the plant is variously given. Dr. Prior tells us it comes from 'the flat, round scars on the rootstocks, resembling the impressions of a seal and called Solomon's, because his seal occurs in Oriental tales.'

Another explanation is that these round depressions, or the characters which appear when the root is cut transversely, and which somewhat resemble Hebrew characters, gave rise to the notion that Solomon 'who knew the diversities of plants and the virtues of roots,' has set his seal upon them in testimony of its value to man as a medicinal root.

Gerard maintained that the name Sigillum Solomons was given to the root partly because it bears marks something like the stamp of a seal, but still more because of the virtue the root hath in sealing and healing up green wounds, broken bones and such like, being stamp't and laid thereon.'

taken from Mrs. Gieves.

I also found this really interesting site with loads of info on the lush plant -I cannot wait to start using it ...woohoo exciting found another friend.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The Dream

There is nothing I would like more than to live in a farm house, surrounded by fields of herbs n trees and have the locals come see me for remedies to all their ails. We would swap my medicines for food they've grown, music they make..... No more forms, no more supermarkets, no more capitalist rubbish.

I am feeling really peeved off this week that I am outlawed whatever I do, as a teenager I left home and went on the road -

I moved about in trucks, vans and caravans in Britain, France and Spain mainly. I met many folk who used herbs and didn't go to the Doctors and was inspired to use nature medicine myself. We had a strong sense of community and looked out for one another.The authorities hated travellers and made our lives incredibly hard. The media wrote rubbish about us and many people were frightened and treated us badly.

When I decided to study Herbal Medicine at University, I moved into a flat and got my head down to work hard for the 7 years it took me to get my degree in Complementary health Sciences. So I did it got a profession but now they say I cannot do this profession cause I need a license to sell the herbal creams, lotions and potions……. This license is £40,000 per product. This really pisses me off. The authorities hate witches and are making our lives really bloody difficult.

So back to the farm house –well I got a lush council house n all my friend n family do come round with all their ails……..

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Little Lily Mae

I am buzzing, because I helped to deliver little Lily Mae born to Fi (t'other witch) n Benny on Saturday morning.

Fi had made herself a clary sage bath the night before and gone for a long walk to the local Curry House. Angela Travis from the Herb Society told me that she ate an avocado to bring on her son's birth 29 yr previously, she was recommended it by the GP who'd had his 4 kids born at home all of whom came after their mother ate avocadoes!!!

I was rung at 3am by Fi in labour, I was in Hertfordshire and she in Dorset, so I phone Uncle Pete n he whisked me down there. The whole birth was amazing and the herbs really helped Fi to stay focused and kept her energy levels up.

We make a mix we call 'Labour of Love' -out of the garden, tinctures of Motherwort, Skullcap, Raspberry leaf, Vervain, Peppermint & Nettle syrup and she took a few drops between contraction.

A massage oil made with Geranium, Grapefruit, Clary Sage essential oils and Lavender-infused Almond oil; which we call Bliss in a Bottle, I used it on her back, legs and feet.

She also drunk sips of raspberry leaf tea throughout.

After she birthed Lily Mae she drunk Ground Ivy that she had picked in the week to help to expell the placenta -something reccommended by Susan Weed.

How lovely to have Herbal Birth......

Friday, 7 May 2010

Herbal Health Power

The Currant situation with Herbal Medicine in this country and many other in this crazy western world is totally nutz in my opinion -I have just spent a while reading around the legal bla and what strikes me most is the joke stated everywhere that legislation and licensing regulations is all about protecting the public -protecting the public from what????

They say dangerous herbalists and dangerous herbs hehehe is what I say so I am definatley one of these dangerous herbalists who will not cow down to their bullshite oh and so is Fi and in fact a few others.....

We say educate yourselves, empower yourselves -to at least reckognis the plants in your local area -your gardens, parks and wild spaces -post us your pics of plants you don't know or ones you know and want to learn about.

Making simply home remedies and potions in the way to heal your selves and your families - stay away from the pharmacueticals if you can they are disgusting poluting our whole planet with numerous poisons, polluting our children, most kids have had at least 6 course of antibiotics before they are 3 yrs old what is wrong with garlic???? and loads of vaccines, old peoples -my grandad is on 8 different medications yuk

I see so many patients who are totally imbalanced because of the doctor drugs -numerous ailments are treated with drugs whos side effects mimic symtoms of the ailment they are treating???? So get them detoxing herbs that are prolific everywhere ie nettles, dandelions, red clover, cleavers, chickweed, dock and dry em put em in jars n drink them in place of fancy herbal teas bought in supermarkets....don't get me started on them!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Garlic Mustard aka Jack in da hedge (Alliaria petiolata)

I have notice the tiny delicate four petaled white flowers everywhere this last week, I love this delicious spring green vegtable, tasting like chives and garlic I made a pesto last night by putting lots into the blender with Olive oil, and brazil nuts mmm so nice on my toast this morning!!!

I am adding the flowers to my salad for lunch and have just been eating the heart shaped deeply cerated leaves all day, gonna chop a load up for the mushroom rizotto later. It is part of the wild cabbage or mustard / Brassica family and I am always cautious about this whole family - the garlic mustard has been shown to have measurable amounts of cyanide contained within its structure so I won't be carrying on this feasting just a like blast of it will do me! But saying that I believe it to really healthy and beneficial to me........

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

May Blossoms

This post is part of a party about herbs o Beltane hosted at

Been out a wandering on this Beltane full moon in the fields of North Hertfordshire picking more ground ivy which brough forth much melodic singing from me - wish I could write music notes then I could exactely express the pretty song that the ground ivy evoked.

Then whislt munched on lots of Hawthorn leaves sometimes known as bread n cheese, and the tiny balled up soon to be flowers a really deep chant came outta me, I have heard a recording of the Dali Lama chanting and I felt a bit like that deep firey masculine with big bad balls hehe -

This firey tree rules by Mars is also known as May, because the hedgerows are turned creamy white as it blossoms in this month.

It is celebrated in as a heart herb both berries and blossoms are used to open the coronary arteries, improving blood supply to the heart muscle. This strengthens the heart and helps it to beat more forcefully and efficiently. As a result, the herb boosts the heart's blood-pumping force. We have also used in cases of broken hearts and heart ache from missing loved ones.

On May day it is traditional to make a head garland of May blossom n Elder flowers representing the Lord(Mars Hawthorn) n Lady (Venus Elder)as a fertility n love charm. So any of ya who want to re-produce tonights a good night!!!!

The flowers smell a bit like rotting meat explained by the chemical trimethylamine being present in hawthorn blossom which is one of the first chemicals formed in decaying animal tissue. This is one of the reasons it is thought unlucky to bring it into your homes.

Happy Beltane Moon I am off to have a fire.........

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Lushous Lemon Balm aka Melissa officinalis

Been out harvesting my fruity lemon balm this morning and wondering at how differing each plant is some of them have really large generous vibrant green foliage whilst others are much smaller and darker, tougher I guess depending on how much sun/ shade, water etc they are getting but all have the amazingly uplifting scent of citrus.

I am collecting them for a new patient I had yesterday who has a over active thyroid gland and is also extremely stressed - and I know this herb in amongst others is really gonna help her.

Melissa the latin name for lemon balm is greek for "honey bee" and Melissa was also another name for Artemis the moon goddess the honeybee was considered to be a form the human soul took when descending from the Goddess Artemis herself-

My local beekeeper has told me he plants Lemon balm around the bee’s hives to keep them happy and more apt to stay at the hive and not swarm away

I see lemon balm as a having a water element and Culpepper classes it as a herb of Jupiter. In the body, this planet governs the liver and lungs.Jupiter lets us push far beyond our limits, to stretch and expand our horizons by doing something entirely different, insisting that we don't become rigid or stale.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Health Freedoms Write to the Health Minister RH MIKE o'Brian and the queen -

Fi n I have written to the powers that be to try and effect some kind of sanity up there -anyone who is interested in freedom of choice and health please have alook at the links below and print out the sample letters to send to the powerful.....

Health Minister RH MIKE o'Brian

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Mimram erbs...

We've had a lovely morning out in the sun harvesting some delights for our tea blends. We went to the mimram river to a big patch of the potent ground ivy, nestling inbetween the nettles, thistles and burdock these beautiful tiny purple flowering, pungent delights were found also known as Ale Hoof it was used to clarify beer in the middle ages we also harvested a load of purple stingers.

We use the nettles in our ladies lovelies drops which combine nettles with raspberry leaf and lady's mantle.

They are really balancing, nurturing and protective for any menstrual or ladies problems, centering us and connecting us with the womb.

Lady’s mantle, coming up in so many of our gardens now with its pale shelf like leaves collecting the morning dew is revered for its mystical qualities, has been associated with the wisdom female power. It is ruled by Venus and is used for many imbalances affecting the womb. Science owes its womb toning, astringent properties to the tannin content of the herb. It helps movement out of stuck situations and away from the past.

Raspberry leaf is again toning to the womb and is used successfully during pregnancy to aid in birth. It is extremely protective nourishing.

Nettle is used as a cleansing herb to support the kidneys. Ruled by Mars it empowers the fire element in a person, breaking up excessive or waterlogged emotions.

We went on an self-care abdominal massage course this weekend where we were recommended to massage our tummys every evening before bed to improve circulation to the area. It helps to keep our wombs in place, take a few minutes out each day for us and improve menstrual and digestive symptoms. It's the perfect thing to do whilst taking ladies lovelies drops.

Enjoy your spring forays...

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Wicked Weather

Well what a lovely weekend!

I have been so very productive and happy in my garden, diggin and harvesting got loads of fragrant, lemon balm, sticky, cleavers and pungent, sage today and lots of thorns in my hands and feet from the pruned hawthorn hedge!!The thorns are really nasty so I have dropped lavender on em all to try and prevent infection.

Cleared a space under my south facing window for some cucumbers and soft fruits I had to dig out a bit st.johns wort, a creeping jasmine -I was amazed at how far this plant had travelled with it long thin green stems rerooting and speardin as they hit the ground- and an elder that self seeded from the composting old berries that we had boiled for the Venus Rob(elderberry syrup)how resilient it that -infact I felt a wee bit guilty for digging her up but she chose my front wondow to grow infront of and would soon block out all my light-her roots were truely awesome hugh creeping right up to my front door....I had a fire and burnt her with alot of love and a few wishes of protection.

The Oat Seeds have spourted and are looking healthy and vibrant mmm my own porridge oats one day.

Made up a few bags of Anti-infective tea with Myrtle leaves from the New Forest - and berries from the bush by my gate-this one was a cutting from my Grans bush one that she secretely purloined from Buckingham Place where she was attending a Garden Party - apparentely the bush there was grown from Queen Victoria's wedding boquet(oooer misses)lavender flowers from the front garden ,st.john's wort from an old railway line in Welwyn and thyme from the garden mm delicious
So I have been dosing myself up with about 5 cups of this mix to shift my chest infection and its working a treat.

Spring in dorset...

While Karina is up in herts planning the film I've chipped off down to dorset to check out spring and prepare for the new baba...due canny soon. The film project is really exciting, i'll be doing a bit of potential recruiting down here and we'll see what we can put together.
Spring around the Cerne valley and dorchester comprises of daffodils, which the bulbs have been used for alzheimers and medical research done into it. If anyones has any herbal experience of daffodils use I'd love to here.

There is pilewort (lesser celendine) it trying to tell us something, or is a sign of what might be in order post birth!

Friday, 9 April 2010

nu Plans

Well today I am thinking about a nu project - I would like to make a film about the political history of Herbal medicine and the legislation and regulations surrounding the present and future of herbalism in the uk. -here is a site with loads of info -

I think that creating a charity -The Witch Hunt- to fund this ventureis prob the best way tomake it happen and then finding a teamof folk who'd like to be invovled - but if anyone has other ideas please let me know -this is embryonic but lets make it grow.....

been repotting house plants today mmm how lovley

chesty witch

Unfortunately I am slightely underdaweather with a nasty chesty cough but have had the pleasure of steppin out into my front garden and feeling the warm spring sun on my face, picked some-rosemary,thyme, bay, lemon balm n oregano for my morning tea. I am also taking thyme liquorice and elecampane syrup n loads of ginger and hyssop so fingers crossed it shall go away soon.

I have been on the south coast in Brighton for the past few days and itsbeen a lovely break -there was a chilli festival on the front so I sampled loads of differing chili delights mmmm.

Alot is happening in the Herb world to do with regulation and licensing of products I have been following progress in some confusion as all the legal jargon is dry to read this has led me to want to create a film detailing exactelywhat is going on -if anyone is interested in this project please let us know....

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

What a Satisfying day

We have just got back from our day in Ross on Wye at the SYHPP ( ) We started the day with a walk down to the river with a group of young people who are residents at the project. Collecting nettles and comfrey and discussing the differing medicinal properties of the varied plants along route was made all the more enjoyable for the sun gracing us with his presence.

We returned to the centre and made nettle syrup which was totally delicious and dried the comfrey in the oven then infused it into almond oil for a later date.

mmm tried now gonna go watch Grow your own Drugs.........

Monday, 29 March 2010

A Day of Production

We are off to Hereford today to a Charity Group called The Foyer the one in Ross on Wye houses up to 12 Teens who have become homeless for various reasons. Us Witches are going down this weekend to make some pots of Claendula Lip balm, Daisy Syrup and Comfrey Oil with them. Unfortunately the forecast is for Snow!! We had hoped to go picking the comfrey n Daisy.... oh well will have to play it all by ear....

The Theta Healing evening was interesting but not for us - the one message that came across from the night was that Theta was about INSTANT and Speed and during the evening it didn't gell with our ideas -then going home on the tube I was just saying to Fi -'mmm not sure about the whole instant quick fix stuff, we have learnt to slow it all down to really connect from our yoga practices' we turned a corner and there larger than life was a poster of Ghandi - and a caption "There is more to life than increasing its speed." hehe divine intervention...

enjoy the snow?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Spring Has Sprung

So after the lovely Equinox last weekend we are truely into Spring - yeehar - Dieter has finnished building his top bar hives -so hopefully we shall get some bee to populate them soon.....

I spent Sunday in the garden mainly pruning and tidying, the passionflower got massive and flowered into the late winter but now has mostly died so I had a laugh trying to detangle the dead from the jasmine and holly!!!

I feel a little like each time I actually get a job done I turn around and there are 10 more new ones for me to accomplish, the joys of Spring.

We are going on a Thetha Healing course tonite in Londinium exciting -Theta Healing is a transformational system of healing which gets right to the source of an issue or illness and creates miracle healing. Theta Healing is quantum healing making changes on a DNA level in the cells in the body and can help with emotional, physical and spiritual healing. Sounds good -I'll post about the course later this week......

love love love

Friday, 19 March 2010


This pungent root grew in Greece more than 3,000 years ago. The Delphic Oracle told Apollo that the horseradish was worth its weight in gold. It is thought that Henry J. Heinz was the first man to start producing horseradish commercially in 1869 from a recipe he used to make with his mother. The largest company selling Horseradish sauce today sells 2.5 million jars a year.

Horseradish is in the same family as mustard and shares many of its actions. It’s heat gives rise to its aphrodisiac and circulatory stimulant properties. It is also diuretic (flushing out the urinary system), and diaphoretic (encouraging sweating). It can be used externally to draw blood to an area for healing, as in arthritic conditions but it can cause blistering n the skin. We have kept a lump of the root aside in the fridge to grate into soups and stews over the chilly weeks ahead.

We chose a Tuesday (Mars) last Autumn when the moon was full to harvest alot of Horseradish root from the Lee Valley park near Cheshunt. The root was relatively easy to dig up, in nice loose soil but chopping proved a timely task. The root is tough and as you are chopping it, mustard oil is released which stings the eyes so powerfully, it’s incredible, we used sharp knives and goggles to make the process possible. We got so much that we made 2 litres of tincture and 1 of oil. The oil we use in our Ache Ease Balm.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Hayfever Season - Clarity Pack Herbs

Hay fever, also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, is a very common condition that affects two in every 10 people in the UK. Hay fever usually occurs during the spring and summer months when high concentrations of grass and flower pollens are released into the atmosphere. As the weather gets warmer, the pollen concentration in the air increases. It is good to prepare your body a few weeks before the pollen actually starts rising.

Lots of the herbs have antihistamine action so are suitable for all kinds of reaction to allergens such as dust, pollen, mites, animal hair etc. These allergens stimulate histamine release in the body which manifests as catarrh and nasal congestion, itchiness, streaming eyes and nose, tickly throat and other irritating symptoms.

Some of the Herbal antihistamines inclued – chamomile, nettles, angelica, eyebright, golden rod, elderflowers, valerian....

I have been mixing up several of these into a mucous managment tea today -My Gran, Fi and my Partner are all terrible hayfever/allergy sufferers and they always needs a good pot a day to help ease their symtoms.

The other thing they take are the Clarity Drops made up of tinctures of Elderflowers n Plantain -“Ground, Clear & Centre yourself”

Plantain can help to contain and ground airy thoughts through providing a soothing coating to the digestive tract and other mucous membranes in the body. It grows near to the ground so it helps us to stay in touch with the earth’s energy providing a positive form of restriction, containing runaway thoughts.

Elderflower, in contrast is high acting in the body directed mainly around the head and throat. It has a drying, clearing action on both a physical and emotional level. It is light, airy and expansive, useful for stuck, congested, emotional states.

These drops and herb tea clear up the mucous produced in response to the spring allergens and protects against further irritation, it is also good to have a look at diet for example dairy, citrus and straws can be mucous forming and I personally always try and get folks to stop the caffiene n sugars....

Our delightful Clarity Pack -

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Clear Vision Drops

We have been preparing products for the festival season today and reconnected with some of our fav herbs-

Fi and I formed Sensory Solutions in 2003 originally it was called The Sensory Herb Project and we created a range of 30ml dropper remedies –

Why did we decided to use drops?

Using small doses of plants can have powerful effects by stimulating the subtle energy patterns of the body, mind, and spirit. They affect the innate physiological, neurological and hormonal responses and encourage physical and emotional balance.

Therefore, with our own range of delightful drops small dosages are taken with amazing results. It also makes sense to use less as more people turn to herbs for medicine.

One of our favourite potions it the Clear Vision made up from Heather –Calluna vulgaris and Bilberries – Vaccinium myrtillus we have harvested these tiny herbies on Skidaw in the lakes, the moors around Hebden Bridge-Yorkshire, Allendale –Northumberland, Betwsycoed-Snowdonia and Dartmoor.

The Clear Vision is about “Action not Reaction” viewing a situation from a step away -

Heather is all about patience and imparts her wisdom gently. As a herb of the liver and urinary system she helps us to truly understand the self and our part within our community and relationships. It was traditionally used for purification and stimulation.

Bilberry is renowned for its affinity with the blood vessels especially of the eyes, giving us the ability to see clearly. The circulatory aspects push ideas and concepts that may have reached stagnation. It is nourishing and nutritive, as with all of the berries.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Healing Balm

Just finished making another batch of our healing balm ointment, only this time we managed to get some fantastic beeswax from our local beekeeper Michael Boki (Potters Bar). Beekeeping has been in his bloodline for many years, his grandfather had over 100 hives and he is a lovely generous man giving many free talks on the subject. He filters the beeswax with rainwater to clean it before we can use it in the balms.

The beeswax we got off Michael came as a big round cake of deliciously honey waxy smelling beauty – it was quite tricky cutting bits off to weight for the balm as it’s a sticky consistency but loads nicer than those horrible white pellets of wax than one can buy from wholesalers which can make the balm consistency really bitty!
Beeswax is the natural wax made by honeybees in the hive and its Latin names are Cera alba and Cera flava. A wide variety of cosmetics use beeswax as an emulsifier, emollient, and moisturizer. Many other industries use it too.

After processing, beeswax remains a biologically active product retaining anti-bacterial properties. It also contains vitamin A, which is essential for human cell development. Throughout time, people have used it as an antiseptic and for healing wounds. Hippocrates even recommended and used it himself.

The other ingredients are calendula, lavender and st. johns wort (all grown in our garden) infused in organic almond oil, lavender essential oil and shea butter. We use no chemical preservatives or any nasties and this balm is fabulous for a host of different skin ailments including eczema, psoriasis, cuts, irritation and chapped lips.


‘We have been using the Healing Balm in our house for some time now and have found it to be wonderful! It's great for skin irritations and cuts, and also fantastic as a moisturiser for even very dry skin. My husband has bouts of mild to severe eczema, and discovered that the Balm soothes his sore skin better than anything else he's tried. It also stops his itching immediately and so helps to break the "itch-scratch cycle". He finds too that when he has broken skin, the Healing Balm helps it to heal very quickly. It's a lovely, natural, vital product and I'd recommend it to anyone.’ Kira, Wales

‘My baby had very dry skin and I rubbed a bit of this into his dry patches and it worked brilliantly, the best cream I've found for him. I highly recommend it and you don’t need to use much!’ Imogen, Newcastle

‘The balm is a godsend!! It works on everything.’ Xavi, Liverpool

Monday, 8 March 2010

The Henbane is coming up yipee

Henbane Beer

The colourful, though often tragic history of the medicinal and magical uses of Henbane can be traced a long way back. The oldest surviving record, dating to 4000 BC, stems from an inscription on a Sumerian clay tablet.
It is also mentioned in the famous Ebers Papyrus (Egypt, 1500 BC), along with other important medicinal herbs. The Egyptians knew it as 'Sakran' - 'The Drunken', no doubt referring to the plant's intoxicating properties, but perhaps also as an allusion to the ancient practice of fortifying alcoholic beverages with its seeds. This practice was very common.
Dioscorides mentions a similar potion, a honey-mead prepared with Opium and Henbane seeds. Henbane-spiked mead was particularly popular among the Celts and Germans - accounts of their notorious drinking orgies bear witness to this fact. Henbane seed has also long been used as an additive for brewing beer. In fact, the name of the Czechoslovakian town of Pizen (German: 'Pilsen') is said to be derived from the word 'Bilsen' the German name for Henbane. Apparently the beer brewed there, known as 'Pilsener', was famous for its 'Bilsen'-induced effects. Eventually however, the authorities put an end to this practice by implementing the first 'anti-drug law' in 1516, known as the 'Deutsches Reinheitsgesetz' ('beer purity law). Modern day Pilsener beer no longer contains any trace of Henbane.

International Womens Day

International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900's, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.

We are gonna have a stall at this gig next weekend come and play -

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Ache ease news in -stops coughs if you rub in on your feet!!!

Our lovely friend Angela from Hertfordshire Herb Society sent us this extract from their newsletter…

Whist laid low with a tickly cough that was a menace at night I read that if on retiring, you massaged your feet with a generous dollop of Vick’s Vapour Rub and slipped on a pair of socks, that the coughing would cease within minutes of snuggling into bed. Hah, a likely story, I thought. I didn’t have any Vick’s and instead I used ‘Ache Ease Warmer’ that Karen and Fiona make and it worked! So, please try this at home using whatever you have to hand.

Our Ache Ease is a balm that we make for any aches and pains -it contains comfrey and heather infused almond oil, and rosemary n mint essential oils -in last years batch the comfrey and heather was collected in North Wales, Betws y Coed nr Snowdonia in fact the Heather was from a place called Devils Kitchen or Ceredwins Cauldron hehe....

"Why might it work?"

Some of the ingredients i.e. mint & rosemary essential oils and the horseraddish, act to dilate the blood vessels in the feet, and this triggers a reflex that quiets the cough.

The remedy wouldn't have seemed so strange to doctors a hundred years ago, who often prescribed liniments and poultices containing mild irritants such as mustard, garlic, or camphor to the chest and to the soles of the feet to relieve symptoms of colds and whooping cough, these preparations have had the effect of stimulating blood flow to the skin. Catalogued under the heading of "counter-irritants" in early twentieth-century medical texts, such treatments were based on the principle that "internal morbid processes may at times be relieved by creating external irritations"

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Lung Tonic write up - Sam's story

One of my Neighbours came to see me last year she had been suffering from a serious lung condition, sarcoidosis, for several years. After doing a full case history it transpired that her skin problems were really upsetting her. I explained to her that the lungs are a major organ of elimination in our bodies and if toxins are not getting out by this means they have to come out in other places like the skin and this is a probable cause of her skin troubles.

One of the ways toxic waste material generated by the body is passed out of the system as a gas through the lungs. Carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen during the process of breathing.

Breath is life. We can do without food for weeks, without water for days, but without air for minutes before the body dies. Signs of shallow breathing include shortness of breath, tight, aching chest muscles, weak voice, tension in the shoulders from efforts to overcome insufficient inhalation, gradually there can become a loss of strength, energy and a susceptibility to emotional and mental exhaustion. Improving the exchange of gases results in better oxygenation of the blood and better removal of toxic wastes.

After a few weeks taking our Lung Tonic which contains thyme, liquorice, elecampane, mullein, marshmallow leaf and plantain (these herbs help to tonify, strengthen, protect and clear the lungs), she visited the asthma clinic, after not taking her pump inhalers and her peak flow (which is a measure of lung capacity) had been maintained. Also, this winter she hasn’t had to resort to antibiotics once, where as the last few yrs it has been a continuous struggle fighting bronchitis and other infections. Her doctor however, has told her that she is wasting her money on the herbs!!!???

The delicious, pungent, elecampane root tincture in the lung tonic: Our mate Nihal gave us some of his aromatic elecampane root harvested to make room for the new schoolhouse in his garden. It has such a floral scent for a root and makes a tincture that tastes like palmer violets. It is known best as a respiratory tonic, used as an expectorant to ease breathing and clear the lungs in cases of asthma, bronchitis and pulmonary infections of varying severity. A bitter tonic, elecampane is also a digestive herb, and was used in the manufacture of absinthe in Europe. The active ingredient, helenin has been shown to have antiseptic properties and there has been research in Ireland to show that the flowers are effective against the MRSA hospital ‘superbug’, resistant to most strong antibiotics.

Friday, 5 March 2010

flyin high with da Solanaceae Family

Cackle cackle…

We ran a fun Halloween course last October 31st looking at the history of Witchcraft, Intoxication, Divination and the use of Flying Ointments –hehe. All that attended made a real effort to look the part, we had a huge feast, celebrated Fi’s Halloween birthday and had a really enjoyable day.

A few came back to the den and we lit a beautiful fire and sat under the full moon and sampled the wonderful ointment made of herbal delights all picked fresh from the garden and put in almond oil -foxgloves leaves 6, monkshood root about 2inch square and 3 large leaves, loads of motherwort, 13 hawthorn berries, lavender flowers, a blacken chilli, one calendula flower, one borage flower, one plantain flower, some st. johns wort, and a head of thorn apple and some soot…left to infused for one lunar cycle - we started by applying it on our innner wrists and instantely the vibes became giggly it was so brilliantly sensual connecting, opening and relaxing all at once and incredibly horney too.

Sensory Herbcraft

The birth of Sensory Herbcraft - its too difficul to make a living outta our beautiful herbal products since the boring legislation rubbish -saying we have to pay millions to license each product well 40grand which might as well be millions. – with all these new laws and impending regulations we are being steered toward more energetic medicine as that is still legal (not competing hard enough with pharmaceuticals) and we might just be able to actually make a living!

So we have decided to fully concentrate on healing folks and teaching folks -So this year is all about plotting and planning courses and workshops and also learning more healing techniques....We have been busy continuing our herbal health professional development

We attended a workshop with Elliot Cowan, who has developed a system of energy medicine called Plant Spirit Medicine he has written a book of the same name for all of you who are interested. His workshop was really insightful and during part of it we journeyed Shamanically with drumming to meet the Spirit of Oats and brought back messages from this beautiful plant one of which was to ask all of you to be extra conscious when buying your porridge/flapjacks/museli and always making sure its organically grown with love. It also told us it would like to be planted in your gardens because so many of us enjoy its seed but few actually know what it looks like.

We were giving away free oat seeds last summer, some of you may have planted them in your garden, let us know how it went.

Another workshop we attended was one devised by The Sacred Trust hosted by Simon Buxton. We heard about it after reading his well written extremely enjoyable book –The Shamanic Way of the Bee, I can really recommend this one…and the workshop, its totally excellent. Again we were journeying to meet animal and plant spirits with drums, percussion, dance and song and we both loved it. We have started incorporating these Shamanic practices with our patients and are calling our work ‘Sensory Herbcraft’