Tag: yarrow

Herbal remedies for children – new distance learning course

Would you like to know more about treating children with herbs?

If you enjoyed my blog on herbs for children, you might be interested to know I have now written a herbal remedies for children distance learning course!

As with all of my distance learning courses you will be emailed the course material to work through (although in this particular module there is no quiz or test at the end).

You will also receive a herbal goody box containing herbs specific for children, as well as jars, bottles and sundries needed to make the herbal remedies in the module.

What does the course cover?

  • Safety – when to give herbs and when not to
  • Dosages and how they are different for children
  • Herbal preparations for children – from sweets to ice lollies
  • A developing immune system – when to boost immunity
  • Herbs for babies – colic to nappy rash
  • Herbs for toddlers – coughs and colds
  • Herbs for infants – eczema and ear infections
  • Herbs for primary age – conjunctivitis and diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Herbs at 11+ – tonsillitis and acne
  • Plus lots of tips and recipes to use at home

How much does the course cost?


Who can complete the course?

Anyone with an interest in herbs and health. There is no prerequisite for this course.

For more information please get in touch.

To book click here.

Urinary tract infections (also known as cystitis) – What is it? What can be done? Are herbs useful?

What is a urinary tract infection?

A urinary tract infection, or UTI (also known as cystitis), is when bacteria enter the urethra and cause an infection (although in some cases there are other causes). Due to the female urethra being shorter and more exposed, it is much easier for women to get UTIs then men.

Changes in pH that often occur before menstruation can often mimic the symptoms of a UTI .

What are the symptoms?
  • pain or a burning sensation when urinating
  • a need to urinate more often
  • pain in the lower abdomen

The conventional medical treatment of UTIs is antibiotics and in some cases antibiotics are needed to ensure the infection does not become a kidney infection.

The NHS recommendation is to visit your GP on day 5 of a urinary tract infection and that is important because as stated above antibiotics may be needed.

If you would like to try alternative treatments before you reach the day 5 point, here are some things that you can do.

If you fall into any of the following categories it is important that you see a GP or medical herbalist before proceeding with any treatment.

  • you develop a high temperature
  • your symptoms suddenly get worse
  • you are pregnant
  • you have diabetes
  • you have blood in your urine

Alternative treatment plan for UTIs


Dietary changes

Reducing the pH of your urine by making the following changes can reduce the irritation/pain of passing urine while having a UTI.

  • Avoid meat and protein
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid sugar
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Avoid tea and coffee

Increasing your water intake will dilute your urine avoiding further irritation.

Herbal medicine

There are strong urinary antiseptics available that can be taken as either tinctures or teas to kill off the bacteria, change the pH of the urine and dilute the urine. This multi action approach has made them the go to choice for alternative UTI treatments.

Herbal medicines are not necessarily safe because they are natural (a common misconception), it is important to get the correct dose and correct prescription for your needs. If you want to treat your UTIs with this type of herbal medicine then I recommend seeing a medical herbalist (visit www.nimh.org.uk to find your local medical herbalist).

A simple herbal remedy that can be used is yarrow tea, yarrow is a urinary antiseptic.

Use 1 tablespoon of herb per cup of hot water, steep for at least 20 minutes and drink as hot as you can stand and drink the tea constantly for at least three days.

Please note: Do not use in pregnancy or if you have any form of kidney disease.

Remember, if you have tried this alternative method and your symptoms remain at day 5, or worsen before day 5, you must visit your GP.


Prevention is better than cure and the following are recommended by the NHS to prevent UTIs. I would also add a healthy diet to the list because without that your immune system will not be able to function correctly and more infections will occur.

  • Ensuring you remain hydrated
  • Emptying your bladder after sex
  • Wiping from front to back after going to the toilet
  • Avoiding constipation
  • Drinking cranberry juice

Recurring infections

If you suffer from recurrent UTIs and are requiring several courses of antibiotics, herbal medicine may be able to help you. The cells of the urinary tract can become damaged after recurrent infections, and the damage can mimic the symptoms of a UTI but there is often no infection. Herbal medicine can often be used to repair the damage and break this cycle.

For more information visit the NHS website.

If you are unsure if you have a UTI or if an alternative treatment plan is right for you, it is important to speak to either you GP or your local medical herbalist.

A fantastic cream making workshop

I have learnt to make all manner of herbal products and remedies over the years, from lip balm to arthritis liniment, to immune boosting sweets and cough syrups. But the one thing that has always eluded me is the herbal cream. To be able to perfectly blend the water and oil together to form a cream that absorbs into the skin well is an art, and one that I have tried in vain to perfect. Many a rainy day has been spent in my kitchen trying to mix herbal waters into beeswax, and no amount of whisking will make the two gel together!

I recently attended a fantastic cream making workshop, by Dawn Ireland, a fellow UEL graduate and a fantastic herbalist. Dawn makes her own products through her website www.greenwyse.co.uk, and also practices as a medical herbalist at the herbs and honey health food shop in Torbay, Devon.

When I heard that Dawn was running a course on herbal cream making I was thrilled, but slightly nervous due to my earlier failed attempts and my allergy to nuts which often excludes me from making herbal creams due to the nut oils that are often used.

Ollie enjoying being by the sea.
Ollie enjoying being by the sea.

Dawn was fantastic and organised the event to be completely nut free so that I could attend. So off I went to Torbay, with my husband and dog in tow, and a fantastic time was had by all.

The course started with Dawn explaining the basic science behind herbal creams and how herbal constituents are absorbed into the skin. The high point of the morning was seeing Dawn make a hydrosol from her still from yarrow leaves.

After a delightful (nut free) vegetarian lunch we moved on to tailor making our creams, one lady made a hand cream specifically for her dry skin, with wheat germ oil and chamomile,  another lady made a pain relieving cream from rosehip oil, St John’s wort and chilli, for her swollen knee, and I decided to make an eczema cream with marshmallow and liquorice.

We were all slightly nervous as the cream making process is part science part art and I don’t think any of us were particular comfortable with either part! Dawn was extremely supportive throughout the process but did test us on our knowledge by setting us the task of coming up with a recipe for another cream we would make.

The creams we made came our perfectly and we were all thrilled with the results, unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of my cream but here is a picture of similar creams that Dawn makes so you can get the idea. As I was travelling back from Torbay I met my Mum and my sister, both eczema sufferers so the two jars of cream I’d just made went straight to them before I could take a photo!

I was filled with such inspiration after visiting Dawn that I planned the workshops and courses for 2014, including a winter remedy workshop in January, an evening course in February and March, as well as several others.

As a group we also came up with a fantastic chocolate orange lip balm recipe and that will be one of the lip balms I will be teaching at my natural cosmetics workshop in November.

King Arthur, long walks and herb gathering

Tintagel castle
Tintagel castle

In the last couple of weeks I have been enjoying the last of summer on long walks with my puppy (and husband).

On our holiday in Cornwall we visited several lovely dog friendly beaches. We also visited Tintagel castle which was a first for me even though I’ve been to Tintagel many times before.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

I was surprised to find some of my favourite herbs growing on the cliff tops, which made me wonder if they were the same plants that were used by King Arthur!

Whitchurch Farmers' market stall
Whitchurch Farmers’ market stall

When I arrived home from my holiday I was excited to have a stall at the Whitchurch farmers’ market with Andrea and Karen from The Whitchurch Clinic. We spent a slightly chilly morning talking to people about all things health related, giving out herbal tea samples and free goodie bags. We also managed to buy some fantastic food.

We are hoping that we will be able to have a guest stall at some of the other farmers’ markets around Cardiff.

Gathering hawthorn berries
Gathering hawthorn berries

My recent forays into foraging have been of mixed success, at Cosmeston lakes I found a vast amount of rose hips, which are a fantastic source

of vitamin C, that will make a wonderful rose hip syrup ready for the winter cold and flu season. While foraging for hawthorn berries in a field near Radyr however, I was stung by bees! (My puppy was too). So it was herbal antihistamines to the rescue and a plantain poultice to reduce the swelling (on me at least, my puppy was not so happy about it).

I am looking forward to the Forest Farm herb walk on Saturday, hopefully the showers will only be light (if at all)!