I’ve been asked if I will post some advice on the herbs I use and I’ve hesitated to do this. Let me start off by saying very loudly I AM NOT AN EXPERT. I have not been trained and I use only remedies that I have found to work which were given to me by other people who know.
There is a terrible tendency these days to equate the word “natural” with inoffensive and healthy. Well, I’m sorry but Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade), Monkshood (pictured above- a real killer) and the most fatal fungi are all “good ole natural products”.
My first suggestion if you are interested in using herbs to help your ills, is to do your research. There are a staggering number of internet sites and books available and I can’t say often enough, look at photographs of the plants if you intend to pick them. Just as some of the most poisonous fungi look like truly nommy ones, hemlock (remember Socrates?) is easily mistaken for other less deadly ones.
Start off with herbs you can buy in the supermarket – look in your store cupboard. You probably already have a few that can be used without any specialist foraging. Rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric, garlic, ginger… count ’em up. See? Got a pharmacy in your kitchen already! Well done!
Don’t go out foraging unless you know what you are doing and for the sake of all that is holy please leave fungi alone – I’ve been doing this stuff for years and I won’t touch the damn things. If you know someone who really is an expert – go out with them. I believe “mushroom walks” are organised in some places – go along, it would be fun!
OK class – here is your first test – go away and google some answers for me. Both sage and thyme are very good astringent and antiseptics. With which one should you be careful and why? To whom would you not advise sage?
Easy enough – off you go and if you get that right, I’ll do yarrow next time.