So you’ve come home with a basket full of berries, or roots, or fungi. What do you do with them? Unless you’re going to use them straight away (see ‘Making herb teas’), you’ll need to preserve them somehow.
I love Gerona Airport. It is small and perfectly formed with decent eating options, and direct flights from Glasgow, even if the last shuttle bus into the city centre sneaked away twenty minutes before the aforementioned flight from Glasgow landed.
There are a few charismatic megaherbs that most people have heard of: Korean ginseng, St.John’s Wort and Echinacea might well be the top three in the current herbal hit parade.
Image copyright Pukka Herbs
‘If it tastes bad it must be good for you.’ I never hear that from younger patients, but older ones remember being dosed with all sorts of unpleasant concoctions, back in the days before medicines came in capsules, or disguised with colours and flavourings.
If you’re planning a trip to somewhere mountainous, it’s worth thinking ahead.
One of the latest studies has found that migraine sufferers have low levels of vitamin D, vitamin B2 and co-enzyme Q10.
Foxgloves are everywhere just now, along hedgerows and field margins, on disturbed ground and wood banks.
Optimistic, the nice lady said. Pro-active, she added. Oh I couldn't resist that.
Elderflowers are coming into full bloom now, almost the last of the trees to blossom before midsummer.
So it’s official: GPs are now being paid not to prescribe antibiotics.
It’s hayfever time again. You can have allergic reactions at any time of year, but grass and other pollens are definitely one of the most common things to set us off. Anything from itchy eyes and a runny nose to a full-blown asthma attack can result.
Photo copyright Twinings
You might think that one herb tea is very much like another, but you could be missing out on their potential to improve your wellbeing.
A friend walking along a high ridge. Photo copyright Cathie Hartigan
Walking on high ground, as I did this week, takes you back in time. There were sweet violets, newly sprouting nettles in the shelter of walls, brave low-growing dandelions and wind-sculpted hawthorn trees just coming into leaf.
Photo copyright D & S Books
The cool wet spring has given us a bumper crop of goosegrass this year. You might know it as cleavers, or sticky willie, from its habit of sticking to clothes or animal fur.
The sap is rising at last, and the Easter feasting is over. Now is the time to do a bit of spring cleaning, or detox, or simply to freshen up your diet.
February was a bad time for me health-wise. I was already suffering from a tight chest and a virus that wouldn’t surrender; giving me the lung capacity of a punctured bicycle tyre.
Herbs are not much good at pain relief. That’s to say, really powerful analgesic herbs, like the Opium Poppy, are not legally available in the UK.
Magnolia, in its many forms from the low-growing stars of Magnolia stellata to the delicate goblets of Magnolia liliflora, is gracing our gardens right now.
Yes, I may have mentioned sugar once or twice before. No apologies for that; it’s taken centre stage in the last few years as the pantomime villain in the greathealth drama. Like the witch in Hansel and Gretel, it seduces you with sweetness, fattens you up and then, suddenly, you’re the one being devoured.
‘I’m a bit sceptical about this sort of stuff,’ said my new patient, leaning back in his chair. His wife had persuaded him to come, and it was obvious that winning points in the marital game was going to be far more powerful than anything the herbs could do.
Patients sometimes ring me up to say, ‘I had to take antibiotics for my bronchitis/cystitis/infection of some sort, so I stopped taking the herbs for a while.’
Entering your fifties marks the beginning of the stage in your life when you are likely to have more free time for hobbies, travel, family and friends.
The latest in the Mature Guide series the Mature Guide to relationships, love and sex is supported by Relate, the relationship people and written with Barbara Bloomfield, who is a Relate couples counsellor with 15 years of experience in the counselling field.
I’ve had a succession of patients recently – including myself – asking for remedies for the flu/sore throat/cold that’s been going the rounds. Quite often they say, ‘But I take Echinacea regularly,’ or ‘I’ve been taking vitamin C for months,’ as though that should make them immune to infections.