Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘st johns wort’

Neighbours, Herbal Lore and Wisdom…on country lanes.

In Folklore, herbal remedies on February 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Walking each day on the lane is great. It exercises myself and the dogs, it gives me a chance to observe the hedgerows and sometimes take pics for the blog, but best of all one has chance encounters with the neighbours. This I really enjoy as you never know where the conversation will lead. Yesterday , Joe, who farms sheep further up the lane was in a great mood for chatting. After the usual pleasantries about the weather and such Joe’s topic of the day was health, so many people taking tablets now and still in ill health. Joe is quiet elderly, one would’nt dare ask his age, but other neighbours say he is near 80. Anyway he is old enough to remember when folk did’nt take so many tablets and relied on herbal cures.

Joe has a great memory and he was happy to tell me of a few cures he remembers. One was for gout: in the Spring when nettles have some nice new growth, take a handful, boil with a couple of cabbage leaves. Strain and retain the juice. Keep the juice in a cool place and drink half a small glass  first thing each morning on an empty stomach. This has to be done for 9 days. The nettle and cabbage can be eaten as a vegetable.

The next cure was for an infected foot resulting from a thorn or walking on a rusty nail. Cut an onion in half and apply the cut side to the affected area. Bandage to keep in place overnight. Next morning the onion will have drawn the poison from the infected foot.

All this talk on herbal lore reminded me of a book given to me by years ago by an old lady when I lived in Tipperary. It is called Mrs Lavenders Herbal Book and as you can see isn’t in great shape. It does have all it’s pages and is an interesting read. Published in 1930 and sold at a cost of 6 old pence it talks of garden and wild plants as cures for all ailments.

On Beetroot Mrs Lavender says: “All who suffer from jaundice or similar liver troubles should eat the ordinary red beetroot freely. Also it is excellent for growing girls and women of all ages, doing much to strenghten them and to cure weakening diseases to which they are liable.”

St. John’s Wort is mentioned as “useful in all lung troubles, particularly if there is any tendency to phythisis. If the flower and leaves are chopped fine and added to melted clarified lard they form an ointment that will heal almost any wound.”

Burdock is recommended for kidney troubles. “Two ounces of burdock root boiled in half a gallon of water till the latter is reduced to a quart makes an excellent medicine for many kidney troubles such as gravel or stone, and also for those who are suffering from dropsy.”

So between Joe and Mrs. lavender’s guidance we should be able to cope with all eventualities in the health department!!

In future chats with Joe I hope to draw more of this wisdom from him. I have started writing it down as this is part of our folklore which needs to be held on to. As with Mrs. Lavender the turns of phrase are different to those used nowadays. I would however be a bit suspicious of some of her cures…especially the use of snails as a cure for consumption!!!!

 

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Sweet William, Burdock and St. John’s Wort.

In Folklore, Foraging., Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on August 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Sweet William is one of the oldest known garden flowers. I love its range of colours, the fact it is scented and that it is long lasting even when picked. Plants grow between 1 – 2 ft high and are topped with rounded clusters of flowers.

Flowers come in every shade from pink to white, they can be fringed, single or double. I prefer the single flowered ones as they are more suitable for bees.

Plants can be easily grown from seed planted in June or July, they will flower the following Summer. They can be overwintered in a cold frame or polytunnel. They do best in full sun in a well drained soil.

Along the lane wild plants with herbal uses continue to draw my attention. This one is Burdock (Arctium lappa), a biennial herb with a large taproot. It is an excellent blood purifier and promotes healthy kidney function. It expels uric acid from the body so it is helpful for gout and rheumatism. The fresh root can be used like carrots in soups and other dishes. In Japan Burdock is considered a premium vegetable, it is know as gobo root. Burdock can be made into a tea and used to bathe wounds, ulcers and ezcema.

St John’s Wort is also a perennial herb which grows wild here. In medieval times it was hung in windows and doorways to keep evil spirits at bay. An oil can be made from the flowers and leaves, 70 percent flowers to 30 percent leaves. Collect from the plant just as the blossoms are opening. Pinch a bud and a squirt of bloodlike oil will squirt out. If ready, the buds will stain your fingers bright red. It is desirable to pick on a dry day. To make the oil place the plant material in a wide mouthed jar. Pour in enough olive oil to come 2-3 inches above the herb. Cover tightly and leave on a sunny windowsill for 4-6 weeks. The oil will slowly turn a deep red colour. Strain the oil through a fine mesh strainer and bottle. Apply to sprains, bruises and burns. Some people can have a skin reaction which is aggravated by exposure to the sun so test it out on a small area first.

Use of Herbs being sanctioned by EU. Not at Prospect Cottage!

In Cooking, Foraging., Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on March 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Lemon Verbena and Nasturtiums.

Herbs have been grown at my various gardens since I started gardening, both culinary and medicinal. For me the difference between herbs for cooking and herbs for treating ailments is not totally separate. For instance nasturtiums which we use for their spicy flavour also have antiseptic properties and contain vitamin C and iron. Lemon Verbena which makes the most delicious tea has mild sedative properties and is good for bronchial and digestion problems.

Feverfew, a traditional remedy for headaches.

On April 30tht the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive comes into force in all EU countries. This directive is set to remove access to the vast majority of herbal medicinal products. Herbalists will be restricted in what they can prescribe. Under the new rules, herbs, many of which have been in common use for thousands of years, will have to undergo the same testing procedures as pharmecutical drugs. As this costs between 80,ooo to 120,000 euros for each herb the outcome is already known, the road is clear for Big Pharma. The lobbyists have won the day, or have they?  I for one will increase my stock of herbs and the remedies I make with them.

St. John's Wort.

St.John’s Wort grows and spreads very easily. A tincture can be made from it which is known to be very effective for depression. Natural and without the side-effects of Prozac, but of course that does’nt create income streams for Big Pharma. Does’nt disempower people and turn them into addicts. The flowers and leaves covered with olive oil and left in a sunny spot for 4-6 weeks will turn a lovely red colour, that is good for burns, swellings and other skin traumas.

Pot Marigold.

Pot Marigold which self-seeds here each year is a visual delight sprinkled on a salad. It also has soothing, healing and antiseptic properties. Do empower yourself if not already doing so, grow some herbs, eat some herbs, make tinctures and ointments. It is an enjoyable process and liberates you from Big Pharma.