Snowdrops and chives by my front door which make me smile every time I see them.
Even though it is still bitterly cold, the days are getting longer and there are signs of Spring everywhere. We’ve been working hard on the plot, finishing off the path, creating a workstation and planting loads more beautiful plants. Smudging (using smoke from fragrant herbs) to clear infections as well as unwanted energy is piquing our interest at the moment and we’ve been sourcing plants to create a new bed. We’re rapidly running out of room as we’re exploring dye plants too!
Spring is a great time for starting new things but if you’re feeling a bit depleted by what has felt like a long, hard winter, then maybe you need a bit of revitalisation. Wonderful herbalist Susun Weed recommends her nourishing herbal brews so we’ve been trying them. She suggests several plants, including nettle, red clover and oat straw. These herbs are a great tonic:
Nettle: a good source of iron, calcium and vitamins A, C and D as well as chlorophyll. They are excellent cleansers due to their diuretic action but, unlike conventional diuretics, they do not deplete the minerals in the body as they are so rich in them themselves. As a tonic, they strengthen and support the whole body.
Red Clover: contains a range of minerals including calcium, chromium, potassium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus and vitamin C. They also contain isoflavones which act in a similar way to oestrogen in the body. The plant is often used as an expectorant and can also help clear skin conditions due to its detoxifying action.
Oat Straw: nourishing and soothing due to good levels of the B vitamins. Oats are used to ‘feed’ the nervous system especially when it is under stress. Anxiety and tension deplete B vitamins in our bodies so this plant helps to relax but also strengthen us. It is useful in cases of general debility (that February feeling…)
I remember reading a book set in the pioneer days of America in which the narrator, a young girl, describes the vibrant taste of the first fiddlehead ferns that she and her sisters collected. After a hard winter of dried and preserved food, those first greens must have been so welcome – both for their fresh, minerally taste and for the vital nutrients they provided. The nettle infusion reminds me of this. It comes out a wonderful dark green colour and even tastes green – a real treat at this time of the year. You can almost feel it doing you good.
We are pleased to give you two dates for your diaries. Check out our courses page for details:
24th March: Foraging for Families – Come and find out what is edible and interesting at this time of year and learn how to turn them into something useful.
25th March: Spring Greens Cleanse – join us to find out why it is useful to cleanse at this time of year and what nature provides us to help us do just that. You will learn a range of techniques and make yourself some cleansing concoctions.