The Life of an Urban Herbalist
A collection of musings and some articles with a more scientific approach.
Today a small group of us met at Riverside Natural Health Centre on Trent Bridge and went for a wander around the area in search of medicinal herbs growing in our local environment.
As you probably know it's still disgustingly warm for the end of October and any number of herbs which would normally be blackened stumps were still showing signs of life albeit towards the end of the useful scale. Having missed the bus stop I walked back to Riverside and passed a large brick raised bed. I think originally it had been intended for municipal planting but years of neglect during the recession had resulted in a desultory bush and a few gifts from the birds. However herbalists like a bird gift and in this case we found marshmallow and borage (starflower), wild oats, dandelion and feverfew.
Marshmallow with its delicate almost frilly leaves will soothe a cough, calm a digestive upset and reduce the pain of a urinary tract infection. The leaves can be made into a tea, the root can be decocted (boiled down into a stronger infusion) and both leaves and root can be dried and taken as a powder in capsules or made into a tincture with alcohol to keep for later in the season.
Dandelion is an electrolyte sparing diuretic, a comforting presence for the kidneys and a support for the liver. The roasted root makes an excellent, nutritious alternative to coffee and is never in short supply. Feverfew is a wonderful plant to fight off the effects of the dreaded migraine headache. It gently unfurls the constricted vessels in the brain and relieves the sickening headache.
It's easy to walk past this messy patch of weeds shared around by the birds but when you look closely you can find the most incredible wealth of natural healing plants.