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Su B

On the eve of the shortest day in the year, facing a long winter ahead, we need to bring light and warmth into our lives. That’s why Christmas comes now, overlying the older solstice celebrations.

The first herb that comes to mind is, of course, St Johns Wort. Its clear yellow flowers appear at midsummer, and the whole plant brings some of that midsummer clarity, and the blessing of sunshine, to darker times. It’s been used – and much tested – for decades for its ability to lift mild to moderate depression, and it’s a true friend at this time of year. Take it with Yarrow, Rosemary or Limeflowers to gladden your heart.

Su B Marigolds

Marsh marigolds

A close second would be Marigolds, or Calendula, still blooming in some sheltered gardens.

Not only does it bring light into the shadows, it also discourages infections of all sorts, aids digestion and helps heal inflammation

Underlying these would be the earthier herbs that help feed and sustain us through the winter: Liquorice, Vervain, Chinese Angelica and many others. Taking them now will help you through the troughs of January and February, and leave you ready to face the new challenges of springtime.

There will be no blog next week. Happy Christmas!

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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