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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.

And it's no accident that so many of the traditional cleansing herbs – nettles, goosegrass, purslane, dandelions and wild garlic, to name a few – are springing up everywhere in hedgerows and woodlands, and probably in your garden too, whether you want them or not.

Make use of these uninvited guests

They are rich in vitamins and minerals, so as well as waking up your liver and digestive system, they provide valuable nourishment; and in the days before imported vegetables, that could mean the difference between life and death.

You don’t have to think of them as medicine

Put some into soups and stews, add them to smoothies, or combine them with some of the more aromatic herbs like limeflowers or chamomile for a pleasant-tasting tea. Use them in just the same way as you might use parsley, thyme or coriander.

And be generous with them, just as they are generous with their gifts to us.

EDITOR: Sue has an excellent Herb Handbook which can be purchased from Amazon or directly from her website.

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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