Here we are again, we are back in the late AD600 – when the wise-woman, or the monastery-trained, were the go-to people when you were ailing. Why? Mainly because they still held the knowledge honed by the druids about which herbs had which effects on the body.
So it is that I found myself signing up to a herbalist-led course here in the Tamar Valley. My Dominica will have to use the plants that grow here if she is to be a healer (which – in my telling of the tale – she will be)
Here I am going to give a first glimpse of what I learned but how this will be used in the story I have yet to discover (that’s the way my writing works – fill up the brain with lots of information and then let the sub-conscious sift through and weave it’s own patterns).
Hands-up those who have dandelions in their garden? *sees a forest of hands* Really? LOL 🙂 … well it seems that a Dandelion is a medicine chest all on its own.
Leaves: Make a ‘tea’ from them to drink. (A ‘tea’ basically is as it sounds, pour boiling water over them and allow to steep for a few minutes – remove herb bits – drink)
Many of you will know this is a diuretic (we all remember the warning as children not to pick dandelions as they will make you wet the bed!) Diuretics are used in many conditions today: – for reducing blood-pressure; congestive heart-failure and oedema (swelling due to water-retention) *This is not to say you should treat yourself for these conditions willy-nilly with dandelion tea!*
But did you know that dandelion tea is also a anti-lithic (a stone-breaker) that breaks gall or kidney stones to allow them to be passed?
Roots: Wash, cut and make a tea – this provides a liver-detox.
Then there’s the sap – that white milky fluid that comes from the broken stem. This can be used to treat warts. It is actually a form of latex and seals the wart off from the air. It needs to be reapplied frequently but eventually the wart will drop off leaving a wet pit on the skin that then heals up. (this make total sense – if you recall my experiment with the duct-tape method of wart removal (here) this works in the same way)
! Not only that – but apparently dandelion sap was even used during the war as a latex (rubber) supply (Not one of us on the course had ever heard of that before!) but as things go – in a serendipitous manner – within a day an advert popped up on FB for Continental tyres – saying they are experimenting with dandelion rubber (due the disease attacking rubber plants worldwide) as well as for other things that use latex.
That’s dandelions for you – amazing and fascinating – now I need to check with Dulcie of Dumnonika, the Iron Age re-enactment group, who has an careful list of truly native plants, whether they were here in this part of the UK back in those times.
I’ll share some of the other medicinal-weeds I learnt about with you another time 🙂
What are your favourite herbal remedies?
Do you remember the warnings about picking Dandelions?
Do Share – you know I love to hear from you!