Rosebay Willow Herb

Rosebay willow herb  Chamaenerion angustifolium This plant loves to thrive on newly turned soil and is often found in large patches. One of it’s other common names is fireweed which is partly due to it’s stalk and leaves turning a reddish colour after flowering but is also attributed to the fact it was one of the first plants to return to an area after an the area is burned.  This often overlooked but delicious plant …

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Pine Pollen

I’m lucky enough to be in a small village in Scotland surrounded by wild natural areas. One common tree here is Scots Pine so an abundance of pollen is released every year. Every year there is a dusting of yellow on our cars and in the streets in the village. This year it has been dry as the pollen is released and you can see swathes of pollen being released. It is really is amazing …

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Upsurge in Foraging

Usually with an upsurge in foraging comes a sting in the tail. An increase in the number of poisoning. Delighted that so many folk are getting out and finding the plants local to them that are edible and the nutritional and medicinal aspects makes me happy. With lockdown there has been a spike of interest and with that an increase in poisonings. So I feel the need to reiterate one simple rule of foraging. Do …

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Dandelion

Dandelion – Taraxacum officinale Dandelion leaves are a delicious addition to a salad and are used in many parts of the world. I like using them as part of a Spring pesto. They have a mild bitterness and sweetness when they are young as the dandelion plant matures and comes into flower the leaves the bitterness increases. So this is the perfect time to get outside and find the leaves to add to your food. …

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Fire Cider

It sounds like a brand of fermented apple juice but it’s not it’s a mix of potent kitchen ingredients that you add to cider vinegar. You can also add a few foraged plants in there too.This is said to be an immune boosting tonic that is easily taken and can be added to your food. I like to sprinkle it on my chips instead of malt vinegar and to a salad dressing. It’s delicious and …

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Winter Connection

This time of year is colder and darker. The plants are returning their energy into their roots and getting ready for Winter. How do we still connect to nature and the plants in the Winter months? Walking in Winter is still a great way to connect to Nature and allow ourselves time outside. Nature has changed so we change to accommodate those changes. The leaves have fallen from the trees but we can still see …

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Sweet Cicely

Myrrhis Odora A plant that is often found near rivers and burns as it likes running water. When it does grow, as it only grows in certain areas of the UK, it grows very well indeed and is often seen in large patches. It smells and tastes strongly of aniseed. The leaves, stems, seeds and roots are all edible. It is sweet and was used instead of sugar before sugar arrived in Britain. It goes …

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Nettles

Urtica dioica Nettles appear in early spring and continue through into summer. We are often wary of this plant due to it being able to sting us. There are tiny hairs on the entire plant that when touched give us a irritable somewhat painful sting leaving us with a sensitive area of skin afterwards. These hairs contain acetylcholine, histamine, formic acid and serotonin. Acetylcholine opens up the cell wall, histamine gives us the reaction and …

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How to learn foraging plus books and websites

Recently a few folk have asked for book and website recommendations about foraging and herbal medicine. This brings up the subject of the best way to learn the art of foraging and herbal medicine. Foraging cannot be done purely through books and reading on the internet. You need to be guided and shown by someone that knows what they are doing. Find your local forager and attend walks and workshops when you can, at different …

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Birch Sap

One of the first ‘fruits’ of Spring is tree sap. In this part of the world it is mainly birch that can be tapped for it’s nutritious sap. It is slightly sweet due to the levels of natural zylitol in it. There is a noticeable amount of vitamins and mineral in the sap. So you can see why many cultures including, in the past, Scotland folk tapped trees for the sap at the start of …

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