Tag: burdock

Autumn herb walks and delicious autumn recipes

Forest Farm herb walk

At the Forest farm herb walk we were lucky with the weather but unfortunately not so lucky with the plants. We did manage to see a lot of blood cleanser herbs, like dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, red clover and nettle.

Forest Farm herb walk
Forest Farm herb walk

The herbal tea tasting went down well, with elderflower and honey the firm favourite, and the hawthorn and apple fruit leather was preferred to the carrot cake!

 

Unfortunately a slight mix up with the times of the walk meant that several people missed out, but another Forest Farm herb walk is planned for Spring 2014.

 

 

 

Taff trail October herb walk

This herb walk was slightly sad as it was the last one until April next year, but it made up for it by being prolific in herbs.

Hedgerow jelly
Hedgerow jelly

 

As well as gathering blackberries and rowanberries for hedgerow jelly and fruit leather, we gathered hawthorn berries for hawthorn brandy.

 

There was some new growth of mugwort along the river Taff which we gathered to use as herbal tea. Not one to use before bed however as traditional it was used for prophetic dreams.

 

We also gathered comfrey leaves to be made into comfrey ointment for sprains, as well plantain for wound healing.

 

Comfrey leaves
Comfrey leaves

I learnt about the joy of popping Himalayan balsam seeds, and how delicious they are!

The pulp in fruit leather was a big hit, as was the hawthorn brandy we sampled (for educational purposes obviously!).

 

I am already looking forward to the herb walks next year as we look at the spring greens and using herbs for nutrition as well as medicines.

For some autumn recipes to try yourself, see my free download section.

 

The September Taff trail Herb Walk

On Sunday 1st September I set out for the monthly herb walk on a lovely warm but breezy afternoon. The Taff trail was busy with cyclists enjoying the good weather but luckily the route I had chosen was quieter.

 

Melingriffith Water pump
Melingriffith Water pump

At 2pm, alongside the Melingriffith water pump, I met up with three lovely ladies from Radyr who were keen to know more about the local medicinal plants and how they could make use of them.

 

There were lots of different species that we talked about during the walk but one of my favourites was mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris), which has a long historical use as a wound healer and treatment for bruises. It’s also been used traditionally to help women in labour.

 

Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris)
Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris)

During the herb walk I suggested plants that would be useful in an infused oil to use to treat bruises, as many of the plants we saw had that medicinal effect. The infused oil would have contained, St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris), daisy (Bellis perennis), nettle (Urtica dioica), and plantain (Plantago lanceolata).

 

Another favourite of mine and an easily identified plant is burdock (Arctium lappa), it’s used in modern herbal medicine to stimulate bile flow and improve digestion, but it has a long use in the traditional drink dandelion and burdock.

 

Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum)
Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum)

There was one plant that I was particularly keen to identify, as it was not one I was familiar with. After some research I found that it was Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum), which is a cultivated variety of St John’s wort. It has slightly different medicinal properties to St John’s wort, as its leaves are more antiseptic and it has a diurectic effect.

The next herb walk is on 28th September through Forest Farm nature reserve, Whitchurch, Cardiff, 2pm til 4pm.