pine medicine and mystery

Pine Medicine and Mystery

Pine Medicine and Mystery

Pine trees are one of the oldest plant species on earth with fossils found dating back 140 million years.

This ancient tree is sacred to so many cultures and is so generous with its gifts to us.

Let's start with the pine cone, which resembles our own pineal gland so much that we named it so!

The pineal gland is considered to be our third eye, the gateway to illumination and enlightenment and so it is interesting to note pine cones have been part of religious symbolism in many cultures whether its the Egyptian Staff of Osiris or the courtyard of the Pinecone found in the Vatican.

The Pine is evergreen which represents immortality and in Celtic mythology, it would bring back the light on December 22nd following the Winter Solstice drawing us into a new year 🌲.

𝗣𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗹𝗲𝘀 can be enjoyed as a tea to stimulate digestion & relieve coughs and colds.

𝗣𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗯𝗮𝗿𝗸 is rich in antioxidants & the source of the supplement Pycnogenol which has been used to lower blood pressure, improve arthritis, reduce ageing & many other benefits.

𝗣𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗻 can be used on wounds to prevent infections & remove splinters.

𝗔𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿, the fossilised pine resin is used as pain relief & burned as incense, can release suppressed memories.

𝗣𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗣𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻 is used to restore vitality as an adaptogen and improve testosterone levels.


folklore of holly mythology and magic

The Folklore of Holly Mythology and Magic

𝗛𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗳𝗼𝗹𝗶𝗮𝗴𝗲!⁣

It is rich in mythology and magic and so I wanted to explore the tradition and folklore behind this evergreen queen.⁣

Holly has always been a symbol of 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗹𝘂𝗰𝗸 and 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻. In Ancient Rome, gifts were decorated with holly sprigs. A wreath made of holly represents the 𝗰𝗶𝗿𝗰𝗹𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 with the faith that the sun will come back following a dark winter.⁣

In the highlands, people would be 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗱 with prickly holly with each drop of blood bringing 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗲 to the lucky recipient 😳!⁣

Holly in hedgerows prevents witches running along them and it would be planted near homes to protect them from fire, lightening and of course 𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗹 𝗵𝗲𝘅𝗲𝘀.⁣

𝗧𝗼𝗽 𝘁𝗶𝗽: any red berries tend to be a charm against evil!⁣

Amazingly though the use to protect against lightening may have some science behind it as the holly leaves can act as miniature lightning conductors, thereby protecting the tree and other nearby objects.⁣

The Druids said holly is a place of rest for 𝘄𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗶𝘁𝘀 so it would be bad luck to cut down a holly tree. ⁣

In the Wiccan tradition there is an eternal battle between the oak king and the holly king. The oak king is defeated by the holly king at summer solstice and at winter solstice the oak king reclaims his throne.⁣

However, holly is not just for pagans - it is also symbolic of Christ with the thorns and berries representing the 𝗯𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗿𝗻𝘀 and so a fitting decoration for Christmas.⁣

For the animals, holly not only would make a great nutritious feed during the winter but could be used to control horses so much so whips made of holly were used by coachmen ⁣

Finally, on Christmas Eve holly could be used to bring dreams of a future lover 😍! ⁣

The berries are slightly toxic so not the best to nibble on but the leaves have been used in teas for coughs, colds and flus.


where to buy herbs in the uk

Where to Buy Herbs in the UK

Where to Buy Herbs in the UK

I get asked where to buy herbs in the UK a lot. I always encourage people to get to know their local plants so that they can make their own medicine. However, that is a long term game as we might need to wait for the plant to be in season, for the medicine to be ready and also we have to have the time and inclination to make our own medicine in the first place!

The good news is there are lots of lovely suppliers that can provide us with the benefits of herbal medicine without us having to make our own!

Plus herbal suppliers may be making medicines using different techniques so we have more ways of working with the plants such as aromatic waters!

Why we should shop local

The quality of our herbal medicine is really important. Most negative interactions that people have with herbs is due to some suppliers adulterating expensive herbs with cheaper bulk material. We also want to ensure that the herbs are harvested in a sustainable way. Either by growing the herbs specifically for medicinal purposes or wildcrafting in a manner that does impact the biodiversity of the region.
Finally, we also want to ensure that the herbs are grown in the right environment so they do not become contaminated with heavy metals or pesticides. This can be a problem particularly sourcing from places with lower manufacturing standards to the UK such as China.

Therefore, I always recommend people buying directly from a herbal supplier rather than a faceless product off Amazon!

This also means we can support small businesses too!

Herb Suppliers:

Avicenna

One of my favourite herb suppliers, the founder Joe Nasr is a chemist and an artist and is able to capture the essence of herbs for his products including tinctures, aromatic waters and spiritous waters.  However, you do have to be a registered herbalist to buy.

Baldwins

Bristol Botanicals

Granary Herbs

Health Embassy

Herbal Apothecary

Herbs, Hands, Healing

A great place to find amazing blends for specific needs such as a detox and also stocks Dr Schulze products.

Herbs in A Bottle

HerbalVeda

Indigo Herbs

Organic Herb Trading Company 

These have an incredible range of dried organic herbs for teas and powders.

Napiers

One of our oldest herbal suppliers based in Scotland, founded in 1860 by herbalist Duncan Napier. It sells a wide range of herbs including tincture blends and teas.

Neal's Yard Remedies

Rutland Biodynamic

Rutland Biodynamic, as you can tell by the name, focus on selling biodynamic tinctures made of the fresh plant. I often prefer to use the fresh plant where possible and the quality of the herbs are incredible.

Panacea Health

Planta Medica

A plant medicine co-operative where you can join as a member and access reduced prices and input into the business. Even if you don't join, you can still buy an amazing range of plant medicines, a lot of them organic too.

Shanbally

Specialist Herbal Supplies

Star Child Glastonbury

A gorgeous shop selling dried herbs, aromatic waters and oils, they also have a beautiful range of candles, teas and incense. A must for those that are witchy minded!

Tree Harvest

A lovely, family run company based in Devon that not only sells some amazing botanicals but an incredible range of other products and foods. Great if you want to make skin care products or buy excellent quality of spices,  nuts and powders.

The UK Loose Leaf Tea Company

I hope this helps you get started with herbal medicine and please let me know if I have missed any off this list!

If you are also looking for blended herbal teas, then you can check out my own range here!


Mood boosting herbs

Mood Boosting Herbs

Mood Boosting Herbs 😍🌿

Just as I started writing this post the sky turned grey and the rain started pouring down 🌧 and I thought what better time to write about mood boosting herbs!

I’ve even just heard a dramatic thunderclap ⚡️!

So here are my favourite herbs to cheer us up on a miserable day 🙂!

Whether you are feeling a bit sorry for yourself or it is just a rainy day, here are my go-to herbal allies.

mood boosting herbs

  • Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
    • This is the most beautiful flower and is named after the Passion of the Christ! It is often used as to calm the nervous system and aid with sleep 💤. It is very soothing! I’m taking passionflower to stop my circulating thoughts (I am a typical Vata) and have found it to be highly therapeutic. I’ve even become more productive 👩‍💻  as it seems to be helping with procrastination which is a great side effect! It is also an anti-spasmodic and relaxes the muscles which can be helpful f
      or those with asthma or even something like Parkinsons. A very lovely remedy that can help a lot of people even procrastinators like me!

mood boosting herbs

  • St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

I always talk about St John’s Wort because it is the ultimate flower to bring in the sunshine ☀️. It can really help someone get through a dark winter with seasonal affective disorder. However, the best and most effective way to take this is as a fresh flowering tincture. The way to tell if it is made with the fresh flower is that the tincture will be a bright red colour! If you have previously just tried St John’s wort in capsules and not found success, then this might be why. One of those quirks of herbal medicine! Quick FYI St John's Wort it does speed up liver detoxification which is good unless you are on medication so so not one to take if you are! Something like the contraceptive pill might get eliminated too quickly and then you definitely won't feel cheered up 😳!

 

  • Oat straw (Avena sativa)
    • This is another herb I also recommend this to everyone. The tincture made with the milky oat seed restores strength to tmood boosting herbshe nervous system and is wonderful to use if people are just feeling completely exhausted. However, my favourite way is to make a nourishing herbal infusion with the dried oat straw. It is so nourishing, so sweet and delicious. Drinking it hot with a little biscuit brings me so much comfort and warmth!☕️

 

  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
    • This is such a beautiful mint and so easy to grow that everyone can access its power! The intoxicating lemon 🍋 scent lifts the spirit and I have a little pot on my windowsill just so I can rub the leaves and pop it fresh into teas! The great Arabic herbalist Avicenna said lemolemon balm for delightn balm caused ‘the mind and the heart to be merry’. It can also promote concentration, calm the nerves and relieve anxiety. It has even been used to give to children before bed to prevent nightmares!

 

 

 

  • Vervain (Verbena officinalis)
    • Many herbs that lift our mood also support the liver which was traditionally associated with melancholy. By getting the liver going we can often work through our dark moods too! Vervain is a greatexample of this as it is a wVervain for love happiness and healthy liveronder for the liver and for lifting the moods. It has always been held sacred in many traditions. The Ancient Egyptians held that it represented the tears shed by Isis at the loss of Osiris, to druids would crown their High Priestesses in Vervain and Christians would use it to sprinkle holy water. Vervain brings 💕 love and prosperity and I think we all need a bit of that right now!

 

So next time you feel like you need a mood pep then hope you find some herbal allies that might work for you.


what is herbal medicine

What is Herbal Medicine?

What is Herbal Medicine?

As a human race we are reliant on plants for everything!

For our food, clothing, shelter and of course…medicine.

Herbal medicine is the oldest form of healing known to humanity.

Many of us do not realise it but that coffee you drink in the morning to help you face the day is herbal medicine!

75% of the world’s population rely on plants as their primary healthcare.

This is no bad thing considering many pharmaceutical drugs are just synthesised plant compounds such as aspirin, the contraceptive pill or digoxin.

Plant medicine tends to come without the side effects associated with pharmaceutical drugs.

We have evolved with plants so our bodies understand how to work with them.

So much so that many medicinal plants are in fact foods!

Nettle is so rich in vitamins, minerals and protein that it should be sold as a superfood alongside expensive acai berries or chlorella!

Burdock a common ‘weed’ used for liver support and skin conditions can be bought in Asian food shops under the name gobo.

Our diets have become limited by what supermarkets sell us but there is an abundance of plants out there that we can use for nourishment and healing!

So how else is herbal medicine practised?

As well as eating plants, there are so many other ways that we can use herbs for healing.

This makes herbalism so exciting and inclusive because you will be able to find a way that works for you!

Medical Herbalism

Many people will dismiss herbal medicine as ineffective. However, as a I mentioned before, if you drink coffee then you know it works!

However, we now have so much research coming out on different herbs that it is quite possible to use herbs as a doctor would and prescribe them for different conditions.

For example; we have plenty of evidence and have analysed the compounds in hawthorn to know that it is a heart tonic and has been used successfully for hundreds of thousands of people to treat blood pressure.

Therefore, combining the Western scientific tradition and herbal medicine might appeal to you.

Quick note:

Although we do have scientific research on certain herbs, unfortunately, science cannot quite keep up with the vast amount of ways herbs have been used in different schools of healing.

This is due to funding of research and also the fact that herbs have too many variables to work well in a clinical trial.

A key problem is that every plant according to where, how, when it has grown and how it has been harvested and prepared will have varying amounts of medicinal compounds.

On top of this, most herbalist prescribe based on the person not the disease. Therefore, if five people see a herbalist with the same symptoms of a cold, they would all get five different prescriptions! This is because the herbalists takes into account the individual qualities of the person which cannot be replicated in a clinical trial!

Finally, most herbal traditions use more than one herb in fact some will combine over 50 different herbs in a formula! As you can imagine this is a nightmare to then consider the interactions between the herbs themselves!

Ayurveda, TCM, Unani Tibb, Western Herbalism (and many more)

We have some incredible traditions of medicine using herbal medicine. Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are the two biggest herbal traditions in the world and their medical texts date back thousands of years.

Both are extremely advanced in their treatment of disease.

I went to an Ayurvedic museum in Kerala and saw surgical instruments for rhinoplasty – the technique was documented in the Vedas by Sushruta c.600BC using herbs like liquorice to support the healing!

What these traditions have in common is a concept called energetics to treat disease. This involves matching the herbs with the person through understanding how the disease has manifested.

A person might be hot, cold, dry or damp and we would use herbs with the opposite energetics to treat the condition. So a hot person might need cooling herbs such as yarrow or a dry person may need moist herbs such as marshmallow.

In TCM they would use tongue or pulse diagnosis to understand the energetics of the organs or in Western Herbalism they might use astrology too.

All traditions though have an understanding of the five elements that govern plants, people (and the planets) which are fire, water, earth, air and ether and the energetic principles that correspond to the elements to use herbs successfully.

Spiritual Herbalism

If you are more right brain inclined, then the Shaman’s playground might be the solution! This usually involves connecting with the plants on more of an energetic or spiritual level. For example; using herbs in rituals, smoking them, smudging them, wearing them as protective amulets or casting spells!

As you can imagine this does not fit well with the scientific tradition but this does not mean it is any less effective.

There are many schools of thought with herbal medicine ranging from using herbs in capsules to fermenting herbal beers, to making flower essences or consuming large amounts, to working with only local plants or instead just exploring herbal delights for further afield.

For me this feels like a testimony to the power of plants that they can be effective for so many people in so many ways.

One barrier though is that some fear that herbal medicine is unsafe. There are certainly plants that can cause harm. You cannot buy these in general commerce though and if you want to harvest your own herbs then you quickly learn to identify these!

However, to put this in perspective, it is estimated that in the US alone there are 100,000 deaths annually caused as a result of taking prescription drugs in the correct way they have been prescribed. This means that taking properly prescribed drugs the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.I cannot find any data on annual deaths through herbal medicine….(I have tried!)

Of course, there is plenty of life-saving medication out there but luckily we don’t need to make a choice between just using pharmaceuticals or herbal medicine.

We can integrate what works for us in our healing journey!


how to make cbd suppositories

How to Make CBD Suppositories

How to Make CBD Suppositories, Pessaries and Generally Sticking Things In Your Bits!

I have teamed up with Yūgenial which is an incredible wellness brand specialising in CBD products. We are creating an e-book on how to use CBD in different ways beyond just supplementing with it. This included how to make CBD suppositories!

The founder of Yūgenial, Nia and I have already collaborated on events combining her knowledge of CBD and science with our passion for plant medicine!

Nia and I come from very different backgrounds as she has studied medicine at Imperial College whereas my training has been purely in naturopathy!However, I love that Nia’s scientific background meets perfectly with my witchy inclinations as there is actually a lot of scientific evidence and rationale for ancient traditions of healing!

So why is this relevant to suppositories?

Suppositories are basically a form of prescribing medicine through the vagina or rectum. So rather than taking a pill or a capsule, you can pop a suppository up there instead!

A lot of people are hesitant when learning about taking herbs vaginally or anally. It does sound quite GOOP!

However, they are actually recognised forms of drug delivery in the Western scientific tradition because there are so many blood vessels in the anus which means the drug can enter directly into your blood stream without first being processed by your gut and liver which would happen when you take a drug by mouth.

This means it works quicker and you can get more of the drug in your body.

Therefore, it makes sense why herbalists also use suppositories as a mode of application and particularly relevant if you have problems in that area.

I have used vaginal herbal pessaries (pessaries are the same concept to suppositories but there are types of pessaries that can be used to prevent vaginal prolapse or act as contraception) for clients with chronic candida or bacterial vaginosis.

Homemade herbal suppositories or pessaries are usually made with coconut oil which allows for symptom relief and also will contain herbs that can address the infection such as calendula or thyme.

However, what Nia and I realised was we could share with people how to get the benefits of CBD using a similar route!

What is CBD?

This is probably the first question when it comes to how to make CBD suppositories!

So CBD (or cannabidiol) is a compound found in the cannabis plant.

Cannabis is unfortunately associated with the compound THC which can get you high. But the CBD compound has many medicinal benefits that science has previously ignored due to the stigma around cannabis.

Many of you would have heard of hemp. This is a species of cannabis that is rich in CBD and extremely low in THC (you would not get high smoking it!).

how to make CBD suppositories

Hemp has been used medicinally and also for food, clothing, fishing nets, rope- in fact it is a highly sustainable alternative to plastic!

However, I will focus on the medicinal benefits of hemp and CBD!

Benefits of CBD

Hemp has been used as medicine for 1000s of years. In fact, it was noted by a 1stcentury Roman historian Pliny the Elder that “a decoction of the root in water relaxes contractions of the joints and cures gout and similar maladies.”

It has been used by physicians to treat fever, inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain, skin burns, tumours and even STDs!

However, it was made illegal to grow in the thirties in the US and our knowledge of this plant was suppressed.  Fortunately, due to a recent increase in scientific research that is showing overwhelming benefits from CBD we are slowely seeing progress being made to reintroduce this as a curative plant into our culture.

Some of the scientific research has shown CBD to:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Relieve pain
  • Regenerate the nervous system
  • Promote sleep
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Alleviate depression

The list goes on and if you are interested in the studies behind this- I would recommend this blog post on CBD science byYūgenial.

Benefits of CBD Suppositories

So lets combine what we know about CBD and what we know about suppositories- we now have an excellent way to get the benefits of CBD that will be highly bioavailable!

Not only this but we get the benefits of CBD locally to this area. Therefore, some can use CBD as a way to relax or relieve anxiety before sex.

It is also incredibly powerful for women that might suffer from painful periods.

If you are suffering from menstrual cramps  a CBD suppository could be a great way to relieve the tension and pain.

A study showed that CBD inserted vaginally relieved extreme cramps in 20 minutes.

Herbal Suppositories

CBD can be combined with other herbs to make a vaginal pessary or suppository for specific actions. Calendula and thyme are powerful anti-fungals so you can add these to protect and work against candida infections.

St John’s Wort relaxes the nerves and has anti-viral properties so may help with HPV.

I love to use rose as it is anti-inflammatory, cooling and of course connects the womb to the heart.

How to CBD Suppositories

It is really simple! You can flex this recipe according to the amount you want to make so I’ve just provided the ratios!

  • 1 part coconut oil
  • 2 parts cocoa butter
  • 1 part Yūgenial CBD Elixir
  • Optional:
    • Herbal infused oils of your choice (this is when a herb has been infused in an oil such as almond or olive so you can make this yourself!)

All you do is melt the cocoa butter with the coconut oil and the Yūgenial CBD elixir. You can also add in your herbs at this stage and once melted you can pour into moulds and they will harden in the fridge or freezer.

Once you are ready to use you can insert them in your private parts and they will gently melt providing soothing relief.

Please note; you will get oily thighs when it melts!!

how to make CBD suppositories

I will be providing more detail on how to make a CBD suppository and other recipes in an ebook that I'm creating with Yūgenial and you can subscribe to their mailing list to be the first to hear about it when it gets launched.

CBD Suppository Controversy!

Many of you will be thinking- NO WAY- I do not want to put something up my bottom!

This is totally fine! But I do want to help allay any concerns around safety.

There is a slight paradox that anything natural promoting vaginal health such as herbal suppositories or yoni steaming is automatically side-lined and condemned to hippy, witchy nonsense.

When we have plenty of products that millions of people use on a daily basis  such as hygiene products, wet wipes etc… that contain synthetic chemicals and other things that generally do not have a good impact on our health!

Tampons are a big annoyance for me because they are so unsustainable, produced using so many pesticides, bleaching chemicals and contain dioxins that have clearly been linked with endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease!

So I know what I would rather be putting up my faffaloo and that is definitely a calming, uplifting CBD suppository made with my own hands using ingredients I trust and know where they have been!

However, I will leave it with you to make up your own mind :)!

 

 


rosemary meaning

Rosemary Meaning and Symbolism

5 Benefits Traditional Benefits Rosemary

Today I have got blissfully lost in ancient Rosemary folklore. Rosemary has so much meaning and symbolism throughout many cultures, I love how we can connect with this plant in the same way that our forebearers did.

My voyage of discovery reminded me what I love most about studying herbalism: It’s not just about learning biochemical actions of plants. It’s also about exploring the traditions, history, rituals, culture and the subconscious memory of herbs.

Rosemary has been offering us protection and comfort throughout the ages and we are still learning about all the incredible properties it has.

Here’s a rundown of just 5 of Rosemary’s benefits with a fascinating glimpse into the history of this aromatic herb.

Rosemary boosts our brainpower

A 2012 study showing the smell of Rosemary can increase your memory by 75% prompted the media to proclaim Rosemary as a latest hack to boost intelligence.

However, this is nothing new. In fact it’s something we’ve known for millennia.

As far back as Ancient Greece, students wore garlands of rosemary around their necks, or plaited in their hair to improve their memory during exams.

Rosemary connects us to those who have passed away

Rosemary doesn’t just help us remembering facts for exams. It is also saidthat it helps us remember those who have passed away.

From Ancient Egyptians to the early Europeans, rosemary would be placed on coffins or outside tombs during burial rites a tradition spanning many cultures and countries.

Rosemary reveals our true love 

On a more positive note, Rosemary is also associated with fidelity and love.It is traditional to give a sprig of rosemary to newlyweds to inspire faithfulness. In English folklore if a girl placed a plate of flour under a rosemary bush on midsummer's eve, her future husband's initials would be written in it.

In France if a man could not smell the fragrance of rosemary then he would be an inadequate lover!

You can try it yourself by putting rosemary under your pillow then your dreams may reveal you'retrue love!

Rosemary heals

Of course, Rosemary is also a medicinal herb and was used traditionally to sterilise and prevent infections.

Burning rosemary purifies the air so was used both in hospitals and churches to this effect.

The Romans used rosemary not just to protect against infections but evil spirits.

Rosemary has beauty benefits

Rosemary is also famous for its cosmetic uses and washing your face with it preserves youth and beauty.

A great illustration of this is when Queen Elizabeth of Hungary (1305-1381) used Rosemary Water to ease her rheumatism and gout. At the age of 73 it did not only cure her of these ailments but completely rejuvenated her entire self. She became so beautiful that the King of Poland then proposed to her when he was just 26!

Rosemary has been offering us protection and comfort throughout the ages and we are still learning about all the incredible properties it has.

Now you know more about rosemary meaning and symbolism, I’m going to put some under my pillow and start dreaming of my true love 💕

rosemary meaning


ashwagandha for sleep and stress

Ashwagandha for Stress

How can you use ashwagandha for stress and sleep?

Ashwagandha falls into the category of an adaptogen. Adaptogens are plants (such as ginseng) that have been researched extensively on how they can help us cope with stressful times.

Adaptogenic plants support our immune system to keep us healthy and reduce the impacts of stress on our bodies.

Ashwagandha is one of my favourite adaptogens. This herb is calming (without being sedating) and rebuilds our vital energy to help us cope with our crazy lives!

Ashwagandha's botanical name is Withania somnifera. Somnifera comes from the Latin meaning sleep inducing. So from the name we know it will be good for sleep and it is! I love Ashwagandha to help promote a dreamy, deep, unbroken sleep.

It is particularly helpful if you cannot sleep because of anxiety. Ashwagandha calms the mind and is highly restorative so I find it very effective for depleted or anxious people.

Other benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has many other therapeutic uses such as:

  • Ashwagandha is high in iron. Traditionally it was mixed with molasses and milk to relieve iron-deficient anaemia.
  • Studies have also shown its ability to stimulate the thyroid so it's often used for hypothyroidism.
  • Ashwagandha can support the muscles and joints. It can be helpful for arthritis, restless legs, neck and back pain.
  • It is a traditional rasayana or tonic in Ayurvedic medicine which means it has life prolonging properties. The name Ashwagndha means 'Smell of a horse' and is reputed to give the strength and stamina of a stallion!

How to use Ashwagandha for Stress and Sleep

The root is traditionally used in medicine and I love buying the powdered form of the root so I can add it to smoothies, soups and drinks as well.

My favourite way to enjoy Ashwagandha is in a hot drink called Moon Milk.

This drink is wonderfully relaxing, warming and comforting especially at night time. Nutmeg also promotes sleep so combines well with Ashwagandha. The powder is slightly bitter so would recommend adding a little honey or dates to sweeten!

You can try this recipe to make your own Moon Milk before bedtime to promote a deep sleep.

Recipe:

  • 250ml milk of your choice
  • 1 tbsp. of cashew nuts
  • 2 teaspoons of Ashwagandha root powder
  • Small pinch of ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and nutmeg powder
  • Honey or dates (sweeten to taste)

Method:

  • Blend all the ingredients until creamy then heat gently and enjoy.

You can adapt this using the spices or nuts that you love to create your own version!

 


medicinal uses of lady's mantle

Medicinal Uses of Lady's Mantle

Medicinal Uses of Lady's Mantle

Lady's mantle is a traditional Western herb that has many medicinal uses particularly for female reproductive issues including strenghtening the uterus post-partum and relieving heavy menses.

It could be a great ally to many women, however, it is important to remember that it is not exclusively a female remedy and its astringent actions can be used like yarrow for diarrhoea, in hernias, cuts or wounds.

History and folklore

Lady’s mantle leaves are said to resemble the Virgin Mary’s cloak and it also has an affinity for the female reproductive tract so it is aptly named.

The Latin name Alchemilla is a derivative of the Arab word Alkemelych, which means alchemy, and was named for the plant's magical powers (Grieve, 1973). Alchemists at one time made use of the dew droplets that collect in the plant’s leaves for preparing elixirs (Holmes, 2006).

In Germanic tradition, Lady’s Mantle is an herb of Freya, used in fertility magic and for protection. (Wood, 1997)I. t is also associated with Fairy lore - it is said that the Fairies too (as well as alchemists) appreciate the sacred dew, which they collect and drink as a magical elixir. This dew can be used to cleanse the third eye to perceive visions and other dimensions.

Main therapeutic uses of lady's mantle

Lady’s mantle astringent action is due to its high tannin content and is used to allay excessive menstruation but the astringency also has actions for wound healing and digestionparticularly diarrhoea and ulceration. (Bartram, 1998).

It has been used as a uterine stimulant but perhaps is best for used for toning the uterus after childbirth. (Wood, 1997). It can be used to relieve period pains and to regulate periods, and was a traditional remedy for inducing sleep. It is also high in salicylic acid reduces inflammation in the digestive and reproductive systems.

Lady’s mantle can be used externally for vaginal discharge, irritation and infection. It also makes a good skin lotion for rashes such as eczema, cuts and wounds, sores and insect bites (McIntyre, 1994, p. 110).  It can be used as a mouthwash for bleeding gums, mouth ulcers and sore throats. This has been evidenced in the below study where topical application of 3% extract in glycerine (Aptarine) to minor mouth ulcers relieved discomfort and produced complete healing in the majority of patients (60.4%) within 2 days and in 75% within 3 days. (Shrivastava & John, 2006).

Monograph for Lady's mantle

Latin name:Alchemilla vulgaris, Alchemilla mollis (identical to vulgaris but generally has larger leaves and so used interchangeably)

Common names:Lady’s mantle, lion’s foot, bear’s foot, nine hooks, great sanicle

Plant family:Rosaceae

Parts used:  The leaves and flowering shoots collected between mid-summer and late summer when in flower. (Hoffman, 1996)

Habitat:Lady’s mantle is found throughout Britain and Europe. Predominantly found in pastures, banks, mountain slopes, roadsides and wood sides, it is also grown as an ornamental garden plant across the world.

Botanical Characteristics

Lady’s mantle grows to around a foot high, it largely green until it flowers around June to August a yellow inflorescence. It is a perennial and the plant is entirely covered with soft hairs. The lower, radical leaves are 6 to 8 inches in diameter kidney-shaped in general outline, ‘with their margins cut into seven or mostly nine broad, but shallow lobes, finely toothed at the edges from which it has obtained one of its local names ‘Nine Hooks’. The upper leaves are similar and either stalkless, or on quite short footstalks and are all actually notched and toothed. A noticeable feature is the leaf-like stipules, also toothed, which embrace the stem.’ (Gökçe, Selen, & Müberra, 2018)

Herbal actions

Lady’s mantle has numerous actions such as: astringent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, emmenagogue, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory (Grieve, 1973)and it’s energetics are bitter, cold, dry (Holmes, 2006).

Dosage ranges

  • 2-4ml tincture 3 times a day
  • 2-4g thrice daily
  • Vaginal douche: 60 grams in 1 litre of boiling water. Infuse 30 minutes. Inject warm for leucorrhoea, candida, inflammation; or as a lotion for pruritus.
  • Decoction (roots) offer a powerful deterrent to passive. bleeding. (Bartram, 1998)

Safety issues

There are no known safety issues but it is recommended to avoid during pregnancy. As an energetically cold, astringent plant it is also contraindicated for cold spleen conditions. (Holmes, 2006)

Ecological and conservation issues

A paper published in 2009 stated that five Alchemilla species should be considered threated and in urgent need of conservation action. A survey conducted since early 1950’s showed a loss in species ranging from 20-100% in locations in Teasdale and Weardale. They posit this is due to loss of meadows, intensive farm management and increase in motorised traffic. (Bradshaw, 2009)  Fortunately, Lady’s mantle is easy to grow domestically so one would advise cultivating the plant over foraging.

Bibliography

Bartram, T. (1998). Bartram's Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine.London: Constable & Robinson.

Bradshaw, M. (2009). The decline of Lady's mantles (Alchemilla vulgaris L. agg.) and other hay-meadow species in Northern England since the 1950s. Watsonia(27), 315-321.

Culpeper, N. (1645). The Complete Herbal(Reprint 1995 ed.). Ware: Wordsworth Reference.

Gökçe, Ş. K., Selen, İ., & Müberra, K. (2018). Antiradical, antimicrobial and cytotoxic activity evaluations of Alchemilla mollis (Buser) Rothm. International Journal of Herbal Medicine , 6(2): 33-38.

Grieve, M. (1973). A Modern Herbal.West Molesey, Surrey: Merchant Book Company.

Hallmann, C. A., Sorg, M., Jongejans, E., Siepel, H., Hofland, N., Schwan, H., . . . de Kroon, H. (2017, October 18). More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas. PLoS ONE , 12(10).

Hoffman, D. (1996). The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal.Shaftesbury: Element Books Limited.

Holmes, P. (2006). The Energetics of Western Herbs(Vol. 2). (F. Edition, Ed.) Boulder, Colorado: Snow Lotus Press Inc.

Jonadet, M., Meunier, M., Villie, F., Bastide, J., & Lamaison, J. (1989, Jan). [Flavonoids extracted from Ribes nigrum L. and Alchemilla vulgaris L.: 1. In vitro inhibitory activities on elastase, trypsin and chymotrypsin. 2. Angioprotective activities compared in vivo]. J Pharmacol, Jan-Mar; 17 (1): 21-7.

McIntyre, A. (1994). The Complete Woman's Herbal.New York City: Henry Holt.

Ozbek, H., Acikara, O., Keskin, I., Kirmizi, N., Ozbilgin, S., Oz, B., . . . Saltan, G. (2017). Evaluation of hepatoprotective and antidiabetic activity of Alchemilla mollis. Biomed Pharmacother., Feb; 86: 172-176.

Plonikov, M., Aliev, O., Andreeva, V., Vasil'ev, A., & Kalinkina, G. (2006). Effect of Alchemilla vulgaris extract on the structure and function of erythrocyte membranes during experimental arterial hypertension. Bull Exp Biol Med., 708-11.

Shrivastava, R., & John, G. (2006). Treatment of Aphthous Stomatitis with topical Alchemilla vulgaris in glycerine. Clin Drug Investig, 25 (10): 567-73.

Wood, M. (1997). The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines.Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.