*Please note I am in no way trained in this field. The following are based on local knowledge, my own sampling, experience and interest. This article is designed to inspire you to get out in nature, observe the beautiful plants and hedgerows around you, and to empower you to try natural remedies versus pharmaceutical drugs for home remedies, if so inclined.
Most of you have probably foraged at some point in your life whether blackberry or strawberry picking as a child. Some of my fondest memories growing up in Devon are of filling pots with the brightly coloured fruits and coming home to make jam with the delicious smells of the hot, fresh fruit permeating the house.
Aside from those delicious common berries, there are 9,000 edible plants in the UK alone! There’s so much to learn but I hope my new favourites below can serve as a first taste of your own delicious and nourishing foraging journey.
First things first…
They key rules of foraging:
- Be careful – be careful be careful BE CAREFUL please!!! There are a handful of devastating cases in the UK of mistaken plants being eaten with fatal consequences. When foraging, go with an expert and/or use a plant key to distinguish plants.
- With care and respect, take only what you need – this is a true challenge in mindfulness. It’s easy to take what you need plus a little extra just in case. Don’t be greedy – leave the ‘just incase’ behind, out of respect for others and/or nature to get on with it’s wonderful growth.
Ancient Healing mythical plant used for cuts, sores, infections
The Romans gifted us with yarrow and soon learned that by walking with yarrow in their sandals, it helped prevent against infections whilst clearing up cuts and sores. Hence its nick names, Soldier’s Woundwort and Herbal Militaris.
This ancient mythical healing plant is used as the key ingredient for the “Green Balm” by Magic Organic Apothecary – one of my wonderful supporters and sponsors. With it’s antiseptic and anti- inflammatory dual ability to rapidly staunch blood flow whilst also circulating oxygen around the wound, it’s a miracle for cuts, sores, fevers and even nose bleeds!
In Cornwall, we found Yarrow of both the pink and white variety growing abundantly in the hedgerows. The leaves can be picked, rolled in the hands and the juices applied where needed or added to some pure organic coconut oil for a healing salve or body rub. You can also try yarrow in a tea to cool a fever.
I just love the name and the fact it grows abundantly in the stone wall outside of my home! It’s named derives from the ‘navel’ within the leaves that looks like a belly button. Anything ending with ‘wort’ signifies a plant of medicinal value.
If without water on a walk, these leaves provide an instant refresh a bit like a cool slice of cucumber. They tent to grow out of damper parts of stone walls and make a lovely addition to any salad. If you know Rock Samphire, sea spinach or regular spinach it goes very nicely with those.
By ingesting it, it is said to cool heart burn, tummy aches, pimples, heal sore kidneys, ease sciatic pain, and cool minor burns and grazes.
Natural Anxiety Remedy
As if the name wasn’t enough, it’s beautiful silvery shimmering hues makes this plant truly stand out. Mugwort is a weed with protential! It’s beauty literally shines among the hedgerows and even in Ayyurveda, this plant is said to relieve symptoms of anxiety (something I and members of my family suffer with**), unease, unwellness and general malaise. As anxiety is something I am members of my family suffer with, this plant really captured my attention.
Mugwort can be washed and steeped in boiling water for a few minutes to make a calming, relaxing brew. It’s been said to induce lucid dreams, not trippy but lucid. See for yourself…
**For further help with anxiety, please refer to my Anxiety Self-Help Toolkit.
With HUGE thanks to Este, the wonderful marine biologist plant based chef and foraging extraordinaire (what a job!) of the BREEZE mini-retreats. This has been a drop in the ocean of the number of plants Este covered on the foraging workshops. Her knowledge is second to none and I’m so grateful to have learned this snippet of ancient wisdom to pass on to you.
All 2019 BREEZE mini-retreats are fully booked but If you’d like to learn more you can join us next summer 2020 either for a BREEZE weekend mini-retreat or a HARMONY day retreat in the stunning pocket of North Cornwall.
Este also sells vegan soaps, candles and crafts through @cornish.vegan.soap if you’d like to know more.
Now, if you’re so inspired… get outside and explore more this summer!