Sunday, 28 June 2009

Wild strawberries

Tiny, but with an incredibly intense flavour.

Friday, 29 May 2009


The elderflowers are out early this year. Last year that lead to an exceptionally long season. Just in case that's not so this year, I've frozen a few to make lemonade when I've a bit more time. Will post the recipe then.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

dandelion/skin tag update

I've been meaning to write an update on the effectiveness of dandelions on skin tags, as I had one on my neck. I used the latex for a week as I would for a wart, applying morning and evening. after a few hours the latex oxdises to a black, and you rub it off and re-apply.

After about a week, the rubbing made the tag bleed a little, but there was no sign of it looking any smaller. I would have expected a wart to look like it was getting smaller in this time, so I discontinued.

A week later, I rubbed my neck and thought it had been bleeding again as it felt like dried blood. When I looked, it had dropped off. There is now no sign that it ever existed.

If any one fancies testing it on moles....

Sunday, 12 April 2009

garlic mustard- jack by the hedge

I didn't know that this is a real problem invasive weed in North America, till I started researching a bit for this post. Phyto toxins from the roots inhibit the growth of other plants apparently.

Why you should eat them from Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
Recipes from Steve Brill

Saturday, 28 March 2009


This has got to rank up there as one of my favourite pernicious weeds :)

You can make wine from the petals, or add them to salads. wine recipe here.

Make Coffee from the Roots, dried then slow roasted.

Mix with Burdock Root for traditional Dandelion and Burdock.

Eat the blanched (or plain if you like bitter) greens.

Cure your warts (tested and works) with the milky sap. Also reputed to work on skin tags and moles- will be testing on skin tags this year.

A tea from the leaves is strong diuretic, (pis en lit), but one that spares potassium, of which it is a good source. (That's generally a good thing, but beware if you have certain kidney diseases).

The root is Hepatic i.e. good for the liver - therefore according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, good for Depression.

The root is rich in vitamin A and so useful in skin prepartions. Try using the tea/coffee as a rinse.

Interesting article here lists it as good for Osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, Bladder Infections, and Pneumonia, all accompanied by reasons why. E.g. the petals are rich in lecithin and choline, precursors to acetylcholine.

Im sure that the flowers could work as a pigment, after playing with them the other day I had very yellow hands. The roots make a red or purple dye.

Friday, 27 March 2009

yellow season

Spring flowers seem to come in definite waves of colour. In the very early spring (and my year didn't start that early this year) there is the white of snowdrops (and the sublimely scented winter heliotrope)

But, now from mid february to beyond the equinox is definitely Yellow Season.

Celandines, Dandelions, Primroses (still going strong) Gorse, Daffodils and Forsythia. In the pond Kingcup Marigolds (another of the buttercup family and a wonderful source of fiber for string if you are that way inclined. Just to prove that Mumma Nature knows her colour wheel, if you look carefully you'll see the violets dotted about for contrast.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Equinox- Lesser Celandine

Celandines open and smiling in full sun (they close in dull,wet or windy weather) One of the first to pop up and declare spring is here.

Ranunculus Ficaria- ranunculus ,so related to buttercup. Ficaria means fig-like and refers to the tubers

The leaves are glossy and loveheart shaped forming a rosette at the base of the plant

AKA pilewort. The roots can be used in an ointment for haemorrhoids. They contain saponnins and tannins which are the active ingredient here, stringent and demulcent. Use with hammamelis, plantain and calendula for the pile ointment or suppositories. Wear glove to prepare it - irritant

The plant also contains anemonin and proto-anemonin which are irritant and poisonous. Supposedly used by beggars to create sores. Supposedly these poisons are destroyed by drying and heat and the well roasted tubers have been eaten in times of famine, but it's not recommended. The very young leaves used to be added to salads and the immature flower buds pickled as a caper substitute but there are definately safer alternatives for both of these purposes.

It may have been used as a visionary herb, the young flowerbuds boiled in wine and sweetened with honey were said to bring sweet dreams and a wash made from the flowers used to consecrate divinatory tools.

Not related to greater celandine which is of the poppy family, and whose juice may get rid of warts