I have started over the last few months a new YouTube project to do Podcasts and Conversations under the title of the The Good HerbWife. I do hope people will take a listen and find then useful. In the video introduction I explain that some are a culmination of mine and Dr Kevin’s many years of clinical experience on all things do with our all round health, and the conversations have begun with Polly Senter a friend and End of Life Doula, where we want to explore the many ‘unspoken’ subjects in the polished main stream media that make up lifes well lived – from the craddle to the grave. The ancient every day wisdoms that need a voice. Here is a selection of vlogs, but best to go and subscribe to my Youtube channel the LewesHerbalist and Storyteller.
Hippocrates is credited with saying something along the line of “let medicine be your food, and food be your medicine”.
In these days of ‘too busy’ I have been concerned to watch over my twenties years of practice the erosion of what would have been basic home grown knowledge of how to treat everyday common ailments. The explosion of over medicalising what can be short self-limiting health issues has seen us become de-skilled and pray to not trusting to what we can do for ourselves when needed, often with simple things found in our kitchen and with the benefit of preventing conditions becoming worse and avoiding the need to seek out more expensive options.
Often it is a matter of confidence and being taught well. I appreciate more and more what it meant to be raised by parents who grew up as children in the second world war, and themselves children of parents who went through both world wars. While there may be embedded generational trauma, these people were endowed with a resilience and robust attitudes that valued taking responsibility for one’s self and household. Such qualities and confidence I have met also in other ‘can do’ characters, with maybe one of the most colourful was a sculptor-come-herbalist in New Zealand. Once when he was living hours away from any modern amenities he sustained a bad injury while carving, undeterred he set to make up a remedy with knowledge and diligence. He recounted in detail to me the plant he made, the ‘rolling boil’ needed to make the concoction and the days he spent treating himself; finally showing me his arm where there was the most negligible of scar tissue left visible from what was originally a very deep wound. While I am not advocating we have to encounter such a heroes journey I recall last year a neighbour’s child falling off her scouter on the way to school and badly grazing her knee. The person who was with the mother wanted to immediately call an ambulance, however, the mother being more pragmatic and resources assessed the knee in question; seeing it needed cleaning up and a dressing applied. This she did with the inclusion of some calendula ointment from her friendly Lewes herbalist along the road….with in 24 hours the wound was sealed and healing fast, so much so that the first by-standing friend was amazed…..and began to ponder maybe there was something she needed to learn more about.
So where does one start when you want to learn more? Well this is why I have planned some Kitchen Medicine workshops, to inspire, inform and give people practical working knowledge. The first date is set for 30th March 2019. There something to said about learning in a group and being shown directly how to do something rather than the distanced internet viewing.
One of the first areas to be covered will be what do for the immune system with regard to cough, colds, sore throats. One of the best things we can do at the first signs of an infection (sore throat, runny nose, sneezing etc) is to make a preparation from things we can find easily in our kitchen. Hot lemon, honey, ginger and garlic being a great combo – whether you have all or just a few. Why? Well elements of heat say from the ginger will raise your body temperature so that your immune system can ‘burn’ off the toxic invasion. The lemon will provide Vitamin C , antibacterial and germicidal properties. While garlic is a whole medicine chest in itself (indeed whole can and are devoted to it), crushed fresh into a hot drink it will provide antibiotic properties (able to combat gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Honey is nutritive, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory – thereby soothing to inflamed tissues in the respiratory and digestive tract and a mild sedative. Go to bed with this hot drink and rest! If taken regularly – two to three times daily over the coming day you will find that you will be dealing with the acute infection – working in harmony with your bodies innate healing mechanisms.
All the four ingredients have many more applications – and I will explore these more in future articles and in my workshops – why not come book in and come along? Go to my Events page https://kymmurden.com/events/to book your place.
The months of April and May have seen the growing season take off and the bees get busy, even with an unusually dry April and now at last rain in May. All of this I am thankful for as I continue to create my new medical herb garden in Lewes.
In the Herbalist’s garden many of the plants others consider a nuisance are known to be invaluable to the dispensing shelves for making up remedies for my patients. Two herbs that I use in large quantities Nettle and Dandelion Leaf have both begun to be harvested. Nettle leave being used in a myriad of prescriptions such as Hay-fever, Eczema, Menstrual & Menopausal symptoms and much more. While Dandelion leaf is potassium rich and is used alongside other herbs in conditions such as hypertension and fluid retention.
As for the structurally magnificent Angelica, it is now at it’s flowering height attracting many honey bees to the garden, which is a relief as I didn’t see many at all last year. I will wait until later in the season to harvest the root for it’s medicinal properties, which range from being a digestive stimulant beneficial to the elderly as well being used in respiratory, arthritic and menopausal conditions.