Qualification: Diploma in Herbalism, School of Natural Health Sciences
Herbalism has been used for healing for longer than man has been writing things down. It’s not very long since the village wise woman (or cunning man) risked being denounced as a witch for helping people heal using the plants that grew in the neighbourhood. Luckily that’s all changed now! Now that few of us grow our own food, we are no longer restricted to the plants we can find within walking distance of our homes, or even in our kitchen gardens or on our window sills. But the old remedies that have been handed down the generations are often the ones we turn to first, even if we don’t quite know why.
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia gives Hamlet a sprig of rosemary, saying, ‘There’s rosemary … for remembrance’. This herb is useful for many things, including enhancing the memory, as a compress for wounds, and to relieve congestion. It is a powerful antioxidant, and was a symbol of fidelity in Medieval Europe
Back when man and nature lived in perfect harmony (or at least much closer than today), it is probable that the finding of the perfect herb to cure any malady or injury was an intuitive act. Now we are much less closely connected to nature, and we often have to learn the properties of each plant, although intuition can still play a part. But we can still harness their wonderful abilities to heal and enhance our health and wellbeing.
- Have you ever craved liquorice when you had a cold? Liquorice root has expectorant qualities, that is, it helps to shift phlegm and mucus, especially in the throat.
- Did you know that garlic is antibiotic and antioxidant, and that its properties do not diminish with use? Unlike modern antibiotics, bacteria do not seem to become resistant to it over time, so you can use it as much as you like (or take the odourless capsules if you don’t like the taste), and it will still do the same amount of good.
- Lavender is not only good for helping you relax or sleep, but the oil can be applied undiluted directly to the skin (it’s the only aromatherapy oil that is safe to use undiluted, unless you have exceptionally good quality oils), and is great for easing the pain and speeding the healing of burns and scalds.
Plants and their oils can be useful in so many ways, for physical and mental wellbeing. Perhaps there is one or a combination or several that can help with your niggling issues?