wild & medicinal
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  • “ So plant your own gardens and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. ”

    —    Jorge Luis Borges 

    (via infjadvice)

    Hare’s skull in the strangest Natural History museum I’ve been to, in Nimes. Like stepping into a 19th century wunderkammer…

    {I will have more photographs from there that I shot on film to show soon}

    I’ve gathered bunches of lungwort from down by the river this morning to dry, to prepare winter medicines.

    Lungwort/Pulmonaire - Pulmonaria Officinalis

    Flowering evergreen plant from the same family as borage. Unusual white spotted leaves and flowers that start red and become purple when fully bloomed.

    Astringent, demulcent, expectorant and anti-inflammatory, lungwort contains vitamin C + flavonoids and is useful in treating coughs, bronchitis and loosening catarrh. Take either as a tea or as a tincture.

    Lungwort can be used externally to stem bleeding and heal wounds.

    Nettle, violet and thyme spring tonic

    • 400-500g/1lb fresh nettles
    • 4 whole fresh violet plants - flowers, leaves and roots
    • handful of fresh thyme

    Clean them thoroughly, chop roughly in a food processor or by hand and put in a pan with a 1½ litres/3 pts of water. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 mins. Turn off heat and leave to steep for several hours. Strain the liquid, squeezing out all the plants thoroughly. return to the boil and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Then dissolve slowly in the liquid

    • 200g/7oz organic rapadura sugar or organic honey
    • 2 tsps powdered cinnamon

    Allow to cool, add a good splash of brandy or dark rum to preserve, pour into sterilised bottles and store in the fridge. Its delicious, but if you are making the tonic for children increase the sugar to 300g/10oz and omit the alcohol. You can take 3 tbsps of the tonic every morning, or pour over pancakes, oatmeal, add to drinks… 

    Health benefits of nettles

    Nettle and Walnut Pesto

    • Blanch 4 large handfuls of nettle tops in boiling water for 1 min. Plunge into cold water and wring out all the water {I use a salad spinner}
    • Grind 3 tbsps walnuts in a food processor with a fat garlic clove
    • Add the nettles, ¼ litre of blended walnut oil and extra virgin olive oil, or just olive oil, add herbamare or salt and pepper to taste. Blend till the consistency you like.

    I love mine spread on rustic, chunky bread but it’s great on pasta, veggies or as a salad dressing too. Packed with vitamins, iron, calcium and silica. Flavonoid rich and the walnuts provide a good source of omega 3 too.

    Stinging Nettles/Ortie - Urtica dioica
    Nettles are an incredibly nourishing and supportive plant. Mineral and vitamin dense, high in Vitamin A, B complex and C, flavonoids, calcium, potassium, magnesium, silica, iodine and iron. Used medicinally or as a food, the sting disappears when the leaves are cooked or dried.

    Anti-histamine, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, astringent and vulnerary,  nettles can treat many complaints such as allergies, arthritis, oedema, chronic fatigue, bleeding, worms and eczema. Nettle helps build healthy blood cells due to it’s high chlorophyll levels, cleansing the blood and provides a supporting tonic for the kidneys, lymphatic system, gall bladder and liver. They reduce high cholesterol, speed the healing of broken bones, broken capillaries, bruises and weak joints, and nettles are very safe to use, even to treat children and animals.

    Nettles are also a great green manure. with the ability to mine nutrients (such as N, K, P, Ca) from deep in the soil. These nutrients are concentrated in their leaves and then released into the soil when the plants die or lose their leaves. Nettles can be added to compost or used as mulch. French gardeners have traditionally made a rich fertilising purin out of nettles by soaking the leaves in a bucket for at least two weeks, strain and use it to water plants.
    The most nutritious nettle shoots emerge in the earliest spring and spread prolifically. They aren’t fussy whether they are in shade or full sun and you can continually harvest the tender new growth throughout the growing season.

    The first of my apple pips to sprout. They came from a french variety called Dalinette. An ecological variety with high resistance and tolerance to most pathogenic fungi. Dalinette is used and reserved for organic farmers and producers selling their fruit locally in markets or at the farm.

    I think this might be woad sprouting at the bottom of my garden. Last year I sowed some seeds but I believed all the seedlings had got munched by snails. But I’ve checked and double checked all the photographs I can find of young woad plants and I’m pretty sure this is it. Can anyone confirm or deny?

    *Update* Thanks to plantsiveidentified.tumblr.com for assuring me that it is indeed woad/Isatis tinctoria!

    Wild mirabelle plum blossoms distilled into a hydrosol. Purifying, calming and moisturising, some say wild plum blossom works with a woman’s hormones creating a powerful aphrodisiac! According to chinese medicine, plum blossom give an unyielding spirit and fortitude. all I know is it smells beautiful.

    Chopped wild lavender, rosemary, thyme and sage to make four thieves oil. I infuse the herbs in olive oil in a double boiler for several hours before leaving in a warm place for a week.

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