Category Archives: Featured

Rosehip fruit and seed infused facial oil

This recipe is absolutely divine and the only thing i like to use on my face.

Wild rosehips; Rosa canina; Dog rose
Wild rosehips; Rosa canina; Dog rose

It must be said that this is NOT the real deal expensive rosehip seed oil where they press the tiny seeds to produce the oil. In my experience of using this oil over the last few years i can vouch for it’s efficacy, nourishment and vitality.

IMG_8632First extract the seeds from the fruit. Wear gloves if you have sensitive skin as those tiny hairs can be an irritant. Leave these seeds laid flat on baking tray over night to dry out, this will avoid a sticky mess in the grinder. Keep the outside fruit flesh to one side, maybe wash and nibble on a few as absolutely delicious. Some of the flesh could also be dried in a dehydrator to be used in tea blends or to eat.

Finely ground rosehip seeds
Finely ground rosehip seedsWhen grinding the seeds i use a coffee grinder. A succession of short bursts to lessen the strain on the grinder as the seeds are very hard.

Place ground seeds and the majority of the fruit flesh in a pan and cover with an organic oil of your choice at least 2inches above the plant matter. I used sunflower but olive, macadamia or hemp are all good options. Stir well.

Turn onto lowest heat and stir continuously without letting it bubble or boil for about 10 minutes. You should be able to smell the sweetness of the fruit once it is ready.

I use my specially carved wooden spoon for such beautiful creations
I use my specially carved wooden spoon for such beautiful creations

Take off the heat and strain through a jelly bag so those fine hairs are all taken out. Make sure all appliances used have been sterilised. Let it cool down and then mix in 1% of Frankincense essential oil. Frankincense is predominantly relaxing yet rejuvenating in it’s properties.

Rosehip oil is full of Vitamin C & Vitamin A and has an antioxidant, anti-aging effect on our skin.

This haul of rosehips from Sacred Earth became a winters supply of rosehip oxymel as well as the facial oil
This haul of rosehips from Sacred Earth became a winters supply of rosehip oxymel as well as the facial oil

Medicinal uses of the common Primrose – Primula vulgaris

The Primrose possesses somewhat similar medicinal properties to those of the Cowslip which is used more often in clinic situations these days.  Be wary to cultivate them yourself at home too close to each other as they cross pollinate, also it is advised against picking wild cowslips due to sustainability issues.IMG_8792

The aerial parts are most commonly used when fresh and in bloom and sometimes the root. In the early days of medicine, the Primrose was considered an important remedy in muscular rheumatism, paralysis and gout. Pliny speaks of it as almost a panacea for these complaints. The whole plant is sedative and too much has been said to cause delirium so use in moderation. I find that it can be a good gentle sedative for children when taken as a tea, flower essence or drops of tincture. 

An infusion of the roots is a good remedy against nervous headaches. The roots are harvested in the autumn when two or three years old and dried for later use. An ointment has been made from the plant and used for treating skin wounds.

IMG_8795
It is used mostly today as an expectorant (due to saponins) and tonic to the respiratory & nervous system. It also contains salicylates which are the main ingredient of aspirin and have anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge effects. This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women, patients who are sensitive to aspirin, or those taking anti-coagulant drugs such as warfarin.

Here is my latest harvest of primrose flowers drying in the dehydrator
Here is my latest harvest of primrose flowers drying in the dehydrator

Community Supported Herbalism – Useful Links

A bird nests in Elder
A bird nests in Elder at our herbal allotment

I’m getting very excited indeed about bringing herbs into people’s lives with our herbal box scheme. Back before I was a herbalist, growing up on a farm and feeling passionate about sustainable food, I went to some meetings about setting up a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) scheme so I feel I have a good grasp of the importance of Slow Food, the opposite of fast food in every way. Imagine a world where all people can access food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet.  Check out the Slow Food website out for inspiration.

I didn’t see myself being part of the Slow Medicine movement back then but this is how I come to see myself now at the beginning of a new phase in my life, a time of empowerment and change. I feel empowered through learning how to make my own medicine and I can’t wait to plant seeds of inspiration and education into the fertile soils of our community.

Check out all the other Community Supported Herbalism projects in the USA and Canada and get as inspired as I am!

Herbal coffee blends – with or without caffeine

15_1kenya_coffee_beanKicking off my first blog with a pretty big topic, one that is close to my heart and also a personal struggle as I know it is for many out there. If you’re not sure if you’re addicted to caffeine I dare you to give it up for 2 days and see how you feel.  Most report cases of headaches, lethargy, disorientation, nausea as well as muscles aches, which are classic drug withdrawal symptoms.  This can occur even if you only normally drink one cup of coffee a day. The higher your consumption the more severe the withdrawal.

In our culture we are constantly surrounded by massive consumption of this powerful and socially acceptable drug. For me coffee comes under the herbal (medicinal) category and should therefore be used respectfully.  Once considered an exotic treasure this hugely addictive substance is steeped in a dark history and blighted by the dirty secrets behind this controversial multi-billion dollar industry that most people choose to ignore.

Long-term use has been linked to high cholesterol, heart disease and osteoporosis.  Occasional organic (it is a pesticide intensive crop) cups of coffee may reduce risk of developing Parkinson’s, gallstones, kidney stones and liver cirrhosis in heavy drinkers.

Drinking coffee on an empty stomach stimulates the production of HCL (hydrochloric acid) which your stomach needs to digest food but with nothing in your tummy this action is wasted and it may find it  difficult to produce enough HCL when you have actually eaten a large meal. Instead try to substitute coffee first thing in the morning with a warm fresh lemon water to wake up your kidneys ready for the day followed by your (healthy) breakfast. If, like me, you have to have a coffee then waiting to mid-morning after all your usual detoxification processes have occurred naturally is the best approach.

If you’ve got IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), acid reflux, ulcers, diarrhoea, insomnia, breathing problems, adrenal fatigue/burn out, any hormonal issue, weight gain around your middle, anxiety or depression I’d strongly urge you to give it up.

Drinking lots of coffee will promote the release of the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These chemicals increase your body’s heart rate, blood pressure and tension levels – the old ‘fight or flight’ response.

We often say we need to drink coffee to give us energy. But has it gone further than just energy and turned into a kind of jittery tension that is always on and makes it difficult to relax? Maybe it pushes you to get through the paperwork, but longer-term the health implications of this kind of ongoing stress are significant.

I don’t want to be the fun police here, but I would like to urge you towards an occasional cup instead of daily. Why not try some of the herbal suggestions below to balance that cup or take it caffeine-free.

Watch the movie Black Gold if you dare – or drink organic Fair Trade coffee and give thanks to all the souls less fortunate than us who are part of the long chain of people who worked hard to bring this coffee before you.  Drink it consciously and bring some of the sacredness back into this wonderful treat.

Here are a few ways to spice up your coffee or try some recommended coffee substitutes.

  • Herbal coffee – try adding 5 cardamon pods to your cafetiere. Cardamon adds a grounding aspect, takes away the jitters but keeps the high.  Alternatively add ginger, cinnamon or a combo for the same effect
  • Medicinal Mushroom Chai
  • Matcha Latte
  • Golden Milk – an ancient drink with turmeric
  • Chicory – not just a coffee substitute
  • Dandelion coffee from this local supplier Lionstooth