spring workshop 2015 part4

: Some herbs have what we call ‘a doctrine of signatures.’ And a good example of this is seen in lesser celandine (ranunculus ficaria). If you look closely at the photo of lesser celandine you will see the roots. They look just like the area that they treat – piles! Its country name is pilewort and an ointment of the whole plant is used for treating piles. Its properties are anal astringent and demulcent. It can also be applied to hard lumps in the skin, like wens. It can be made into a tea too. Below are some photo’s of lesser celandine being made into an ointment. First its is simmered gently for 30 mins to 1 hour in oil. We used sesame oil. Then it is pressed out through a muslin cloth and beeswax added. Finally it is poured into jars.

Spring workshop 2015 part3

: When we get back to the house we go into the filed to dig up yellow dock (rumex crispus), dandelion (taraxacum officinalis) and burdock (arctium lappa) roots. Between them they have blood cleansing, lymphatic, liver, bitter, laxative and diuretic actions. A great combination for a spring detox. As with all plants, its important to know what the plant you are harvesting looks like and where it grows. When you come to dig up roots, like burdock, its important to know that you have the correct plant as come spring it will be hard to see where the plant is located as nothing of it is showing yet. I always mark out where the plant is in the summer/autumn when it is in full growth. The roots need to be clean and dry. So they need a good wash and then left to dry. Once dry they can be chopped up ready to be put in your fresh spring tincture. Below are some photo’s of nettles, cleavers, dandelion roots and yellow dock roots being prepared and made into a tincture.

Spring 2

#SPRING WORKSHOP 2015 PART2# :START On our way back to my field we find cleavers (gallium aparine) which has fantastic detoxifying and cleansing action on the lymphatic system and nettle tops (urtica dioica) which is a good blood tonic and remineraliser. We shall use the cleavers in our spring detox tincture as well as juice it for a cleansing drink. The nettles too will be added to our spring detox tincture as well as made into a tea. As you can see from the photo’s, cleavers juiced makes a very green drink!


Start: Hurray Spring is here and although it is only early on in the season, with a slight chill still in the air, there’s plenty of life pushing up from the ground as nature’s bounty of plants begin to grow. Its two days after the Spring equinox, a good time to start gathering medicinal herbs. So off to the woods we go to see what offerings spring has for us. Plants are bursting with minerals and vitamins as well as with cleansing and purifying properties at this time of year. Just what’s needed for a good spring clean of the body after our winter diets and lifestyle. On an area of grass land we find sheeps sorrel (rumex acetosella), garden sorrel (rumex acetosa), which have blood cleansing, diuretic and cooling properties, along with land cress & dandelion leaves, these will go great in our spring salad. Down by a bubbling brook wild garlic (allium ursinum) grows. We pick some of the leaves to add to our salad bag. This a great spring tonic & blood purifier, along with its antibacterial, antifungal and balancing to intestinal gut flora properties. We find sweet violet (viola odorata) and daisy’s (bellis perennis) which we will add to our salad bag and also to make a refreshing tea with later. Daisy is a liver restorative, expectorant and sweet violet is also expectorant and anti-inflammatory. Then we have a look at a birch tree (betula alba) that is being tapped as well as look at the tree I tapped earlier, to show how to bung up the hole after tapping. We shall be having a glass of birch sap to drink when we get back from our walk. Birch sap is a cleansing tonic. Below are some photo’s of our results.

Birch tapped

Early this morning I went to check on my birch tree. Wow I had collected about 2.5ltrs. Now it was time to thank the tree for all its wonderful, healing sap that it had shared and remove the tap and plug it up with a bung. I used a great little tapping kit brought from www.touch-wood.co.uk . It comes with a turned oak tap and bung. The bung should be left in until late April, then it can be removed so that you have a bung for next Spring if you wish to tap another tree. Once the tree is bunged up I head home, eager to taste the sap. It is delicious! It is like drinking from a fresh spring but with a hint of sweetness. Even the dog enjoyed some. We all had a glass and the rest I have put in the freezer to save for my Spring herbal medicine day workshop that I am running on 22nd March. After drinking the sap I felt energised and full of the joys of spring for the rest of the day!

FW: filling up

Had a check on the birch tree that I tapped yesterday and it looks like I have got about 400mls so far(see photo). I will check on the tree again tomorrow to see if I can collect a little bit more. I only like to tap the tree for a day or two as I do not want to take too much sap, just enough for me and my family.

Birch tree tapping

Spring is here, time to shake off that Winter slumber. Spring brings renewed energies and vitality. So its off to the woods I go to harness these properties, in search of a Silver Birch tree to tap. Birch sap has many benefits. It is detoxifying, purifying and cleansing. Just what is needed after Winter. It has a diuretic and anti-inflammatory effect, helping to eliminate organic wastes such as uric acid and cholesterol. Birch sap contains minerals, vitamins and sugars as well as lots of vitality. Its important to make sure you have the right tree, so get to know your Silver Birch tree before you tap it. It’s a beautiful sunny spring day. Perfect for tapping as the sap is rising. Here are some photo’s of the tree I tapped.