There are so many herbs out at the moment, it is absolutely insane! The heat wave of the last couple of days has really brought a lot of plants out, and there are just so many herbs ready to harvest now (the next lot will be after midsummer).
I am a firm believer in making one’s own medicines and medicinal products – tincture making is pretty easy to do, and if you like fresh herb tinctures like I do, now is definitely the time. I think more herbalists need to make tinctures, even if it’s just one or two herbs a year – it keeps your tincture making skills current, and more importantly, gives you a connection to the medicine you’ve made and thus, a better appreciation of its qualities and the context in which the plant has lived/grown.
So, going out in the sun is a great way to relax from exam revision (Finals coming up towards the end of the week!!!). It is also a great way of building up stock for my practice now. I won’t need it yet, but I won’t be able to go out and harvest hawthorn blossom then – the time will have passed. So today is time to strike while the iron is hot, and get out there and collect some. I’ve made a 1:5 30% fresh herb extract of Crataegus laevigata – AKA hawthorne.
I must admit, I have misgivings about bringing hawthorn blossoms into the house though. In Wales, it was always a tradition that the blossom must never be brought into the house, or death of a family member would result. Though it was conversely used for protection: boughs were placed above doorways and windows on Beltaine eve to ward off nuisance spirits.
Most evenings, and some mornings, I walk up the Foss Dyke here in Lincoln, and see what I can see growing, what’s ready and what’s doing well/not doing well this year. It’s almost a ritual – I need that half hour of green in my life. I often take pictures, or scribble in my note book. The residents of Lincoln must be really concerned as to who this strange chap is creeping around along by the river at dusk, camera and notebook in hand. Either way, that river bank has given me herbs to make at least 5 tinctures this year, and that is without denuding any plant populations.
It is interesting to see what pops up in unexpected places – like these wild pansies growing out of a bank of rubble by a building site: