What does herbalism mean to you?
What does herbalism mean to you?

There’s still time to make an entry to the June 2012 UK Herbarium Blog Party, write your blog entry and send it to Ali over at Eldrum Musings. If you don’t have a blog then we can host your piece here on the UK Herbarium. The theme is Personal Herbalism and this is what Ali had to say about her chosen theme… “What about herbalism is so personal to you? What do you do that makes your herbalism uniquely yours? This can be an experience, a subject close to your heart, even a herbal ally that you work with more closely than any others – whatever resonates most with you!

So there you have it, what does herbalism mean to you? Enters can be submitted until the 30th June and Ali will add them to the listing of all the other posts entered on an index over on her blog.

College of Medicine Website
Free THR Herbal Info For Everyone

The College of Medicine in the UK has a web page that gives free information on 12 different conditions that can benefit from ‘self-care’ by the patient from Back Pain to Stress & Anxiety. For people new to the world of herbs that are starting with THR (Traditional Herbal Regulation) medicines it contains some useful information for things to try at home  for themselves before they visit a GP, not that the site is a substitute for a GP and if the condition is troubling you or has been going on for a while you should go see your GP to get checked out.

The problem with the website is it isn’t so easy for a patient to navigate, especially if they’re not very good using the web and PC’s, if it was easier to navigate and intuitively clearer then it would make it easier to get at the information by those who need it! So it help those of us that aren’t IT savvy, here’s the UK Herbarium’s guide to getting the info you need!

 College of Medicine Website

1)

Scroll down the page to the “Explore our self-care library” section and click on the “more” link.

College of Medicine Website

2)

Next click on the Browse Condition’s link at the top of the CoM page as highlighted in red in the image above.

College of Medicine Website

3)

Using the drop down menu from the above link, select the condition you want to find out more information on and click it!

College of Medicine Website

4)

A new page will open on the condition selected and there you can find an overview on the problem, a note on when you need to see the doctor, changes you can make to your lifestyle to help alleviate the condition if not sure it, and the buy something to try section shows you herbal remedies that could help along with showing abstracts from studies showing that the given remedy works! There’s also info on other things you can do such as try acupuncture or attend yoga classes to help with back problems.

 College of Medicine Website

5)

Using the information provided the patient can make an informed choice about many alternative treatments and find some of the THR herbal remedies they buy OTC (over the counter) to try  for themselves.

I give the website 10/10 for the information but only 5/10 for user friendliness! Still a valuable resource though, spread the word!

Cats are drawn to herbs that are good for them.

I write a lot about how you and your family can benefit from herbs for health and life in general. For many of us, our families extend to include our furry friends too.  Since we want to do the right thing by them it seems only right that we include herbs into their lives too.

Herbs can be included in their diet, just as we would add to ours for health and wellbeing.  We can make products to entertain, deodorize, clean and pamper our pets and it is not hard to do.

Now I know that Debs likes to dig deeper into herbal knowledge, she doesn’t just want a bit of entertaining fluff.  So before I give you some recipes and ideas, we better cover some of the more serious aspects of herbal pet care.

For instance aromatherapy, this is proving hugely popular in the human world.  However, aromatherapy is not just for people. It can be used successfully for many of our pets’ health complaints. Of course the dosage is not the same as for people. Just imagine your poor dog’s amazing sense of smell going crazy at such concentrated scents. Using the incorrect dosage of these very powerful oils can have dire consequences for your dear friend.

To make matters even more confusing, essential oils you can use for dogs you may not be able to use for cats.  Cats are a whole new ball game.  So, as much as I said that you can treat your pets at home and that it is not hard to do, you first have to know what is right for YOUR pet.  Just as every human individual is different, so is every pet.  Breed, size, age and previous health concerns all matter when considering the right remedy for your friend. The best bet is to first consult a professional who can advise you on the type and dosage before using any essential oils or other herbal remedy on your animal.

Do be careful of the dilution as they may kill the animal when the oils are ingested by grooming and licking. If you are unsure of the rate of dilution use products that have been specifically prepared for animal use as these contain the oils in lower concentration and so are safe for your pet.

One more serious note and then we can have some herbal fun, I promise.  Garlic!  Garlic is a fabulous all rounder. Antibacterial, anti fungal, antibiotic, antiviral, it pretty much covers most the anti’s you’ll ever need.  Now you probably already know (if not…..tsk tsk) that your dog/cat/horse must not eat onions (leeks, chives, etc). Garlic and onions belong to the same family, Allium.

But there are also an awful lot of folk remedies for animals based on garlic.

So, only a couple of days ago my puppies had to have a check up and while there I bailed up our Vet and quizzed him on this dilemma. He explained that Allium species plants contain sulphur compounds that can cause stomach irritation. Allium poisoning can result in damage to red blood cells causing anaemia.  So when I pointed out all of the success stories of garlic he actually agreed that garlic is quite brilliant for many things.  His believe is that garlic contains less of the offending compound; hence small doses are tolerated quite well.  He also pointed out that garlic will NOT keep fleas away.  We fought about that one a bit, because there are heaps of people who swear by garlic as a dietary flea repellent.

The bottom line here, in my opinion, is what should always be the bottom line for all natural remedies, DON’T OVERDO IT!  A little goes a long way, and just because it is natural does not mean it is harmless.

There are so many herbs you can use on animals that it is impossible for me to mention them all. However, dandelion, burdock, neem, yarrow, rosemary, chamomile, echinacea, astralgus, ginger, alfalfa, wormwood, rue, tansy and comfrey are some of the herbs that can make a great herbal difference to your pets’ lives.  Combine them with a natural diet and letting them run and play, and you will have covered all the bases for a happy, healthy animal.

Now that I have scared you out of ever using anything remotely herbal for your animals, I shall move on to the fun stuff of actually making things.

Even the best kept pets will be exposed to fleas at one time or another, which is where a homemade flea remedy comes in handy. If you have some tansy on hand you can directly rub crushed leaves into your pet’s hair. You can wash your dog’s coat with a strong rosemary infusion, which is also good for washing bedding and collars.

Flea Powder

Mix 1 teaspoon each of dried rosemary, crushed fennel seeds, dried wormwood and dried rue. Comb sparingly into your pet’s coat.


Herbs to Soothe the Frightened Beast

There are quite a few animals that suffer from nerves.  Skittish at the thought of travel or jumping at loud noises, it does not matter if it’s a horse, a cat, a dog or a hamster, a nervous animal causes a great deal of anxiety. Herbal treatments to calm frightened pets can be made from the same herbs that work for humans.

Chamomile tea – a few drops for the hamster, a tablespoon for the cat and up to 3 tablespoons for the dog – soothes the nerves, eases digestion, fights intestinal parasites and improves appetite.  Cats are also particularly partial to valerian which works wonders with anxiety. Try a dose of 3 or 4 drops of valerian tea added to food or drink.

Catnip Toy

I am sure that by now everyone who owns a cat knows that they enjoy catnip.  It gives them a serious buzz and a catnip toy entertains them for hours.   You can buy hollow toys made for this purpose, or you can sew up little sachets so all you have to do is stuff it with some dried catnip.

There is much you can do for your furred and feathered friends. You can make your own worming treatments (not under 6 months old), you can keep lice away from birds – many of the human remedies work for animals as well but in much different concentrations.  Always tell your vet if you are using home remedies when treating your pet in case of any interactions with prescribed treatments.

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Raised with herbal traditions passed down by her grandmother in her native country Germany, Anke Bialas has expanded her knowledge and application of herbs in unconventional ways, saying “Even a little bit of nature goes a long way.”

With a firm believe that herbal health can fit into even the most conventional home, she makes all things herbal appeal to everyone.

Anke is known for her practical, everyday approach to herbal health which led to her writing the Herbology At Home series of guides. These guides provide a convenient reference for both the seasoned novice and those new to herbs and natural health.

Visit Anke Bialas at:
Herbology.com.au
HerbologyAtHome.com
Facebook.com/Herbology

Homemade Health

I’m really excited to be taking part in my first ever Virtual Book Tour on the 14th June, over on my blog at Herbal Haven, Anke, the lovely lady who wrote the book I’ll be helping to promote has been a source of ideas and inspiration to me over the past few years and despite the distance apart we live, me in Derby, UK and her all the way across the sea in the wonderful land of Oz we’re becoming firm herbal friends. She’s one of those herbal people who thrives on sharing her(bal) knowledge and she consistently makes me think of a herb in a new light or teaches me something I didn’t already know, check out her website Herbology for details of the book tour, who’s doing, what and when and for lots of wonderful herbal ideas, makes and musings.

Anke says – “When a new book is released upon the unsuspecting public, quite often the author will go on a book tour. Book stores all over the state/country host book signings and readings to help promote new releases. Since my readership is spread so far and wide, across a great many countries, I figured that a virtual book tour gave everyone the chance to attend events hosted by participating blogs from around the globe. It also looks really cool to say that one day I am in Derbyshire (UK) and the next day I am in Melbourne (AU), soon to be in Illinois (US). The frequent flyer miles would be awesome, the air fares would not.

The virtual book tour is to promote Anke’s latest book ‘Homemade Health‘ and on the the 21st June Anke will be contributing a Guest Blog post here on the UK Herbarium on the subject of  Herbs for Pets.

Rosemary, Thyme & Sage, good for aches and pains.

If you’re local to me in the Derby area and you have nothing better to do once a month on a Wednesday evening, why not pencil a visit to the Herbal Haven Herb Group into your diary? I’ve been talking about doing this for a while now, and now it’s time to put things into practice :) I left the Mercian Herb Group in late 2010 and I dearly missed the folk who I used to meet up with once a month, but travelling to Coventry to give talks and demos began to tell on me after a while, so the idea to start a herb group local to me germinated and now it’s time to plant it out and watch it grow. Sarah head who I founded the MHG with has set up Wolf’s Meadow Herb Group in the West Midlands, so if you’re in the West Midlands you can go to her Thursday night meetings more details to follow on her group.

There is no annual membership fee for the group, instead we make a charge per meeting which is £3.50 which goes towards the cost of providing refreshments, paying for guest speakers, printing handouts and for materials for our hands on sessions and later once we’ve acquired enough funds hire a meeting room with suitable facilities. The group will meet once a month, after the first meeting in April we’ll meet on the first Wednesday of the month throughout the year with the exception of August when we’ll meet on either the 25th or 26th for a group visit to a Derbyshire herb garden.

2012 Programme

Wed 2nd May – Back To Basics: Growing The Herbs That Are Best For You Talk & Demo
Wed 6th June – Edible Herbal Flowers Talk & Demo
Wed 4th July – Cleaning The Home With Herbs Talk & Demo
Sun 29th July – Group Visit To Hardwick Hall Herb Garden & Picnic

August – Summer Break [Meetings begin again in September]

Wed 5th September – Using The Herbal Harvest To Make Simple Herbal Remedies
Wed 3rd October – Spice Up Your Life: Looking at using spices in the kitchen and in the many other ways.
Wed 7th November – Herbal Crafts For Christmas: Making Herbal Scented Gifts & Decorations.
Wed 5th December – Christmas Social: Herbal Pot Luck Supper, Quiz and Herbs of Christmas Past Talk

If you’re new to herb groups or herbs and you’re wondering what to expect from a night at the Herbal Haven Herb Group, I aim to give a warm, friendly and informal herbal experience. My talks are given with humour, lots of personal anecdotes and experiences get thrown in to the mix. We’ll vary between herbal talks and demonstrations, where I show you how to make something herbal and provide a handout for you to go home and give it a go yourself, we’ll watch herbal films, discuss the latest herb books on the market, each month we’ll take a brief look at a different herb and it’s uses. They’ll be taster nights, culinary herb demonstrations and lots of recipe swapping. During the spring and early summer its hoped that members will swap their excess herb seeds and plants with others. As a group we can also make savings by buying bulk herbs and essential oils via my wholesale contacts.

There will be occasional weekend workshops held on either a Saturday or Sunday depending which day is most convenient for group members for a small fee. During the workshop you will be able to try your hand at making anything from DIY herbal remedies, herbal cosmetics, herbal soaps, herbal oils and a variety of herbal craft items. We’ll take trips to herb gardens in the East Midlands area, sometimes further afield and generally enjoy learning about the delights of herbs and pooling our collective herbal knowledge. If members are keen and willing we’ll also organise some wild herb forages in the local area where you can learn to identify such herbs as Wild Garlic, Nettles, Garlic Mustard, Chickweed and Cleavers in the spring and a similar walk can be organised in the autumn to gather Elderberries, Blackberries, Hawthorn Berries and other wild herbs for use in making simple home remedies and gifts, a handout of recipes will be provided at the end of the walk. So as I said above, if you’re interested and want to be added to the Herbal Haven Herb Group mailing list or book your place then please get in touch via email debs@herbal-haven dot co dot uk just edit the spaces and dots to look like .co.uk

If you’re a Derby based herbalist who would be interested in joining the group and offering talks on different aspects of medicinal herbs I’d love to hear from you, or if anyone out there has a herbal talent for aromatherapy, gardening or any herb topic and would like to contribute to the group likewise I’d love to hear from you to.

PS. Can fellow herb bloggers spread the word about the new group, you may have some people in the Derby area that read your blog and may be interested in the group but haven’t found my blog yet!

This sweet sign is on one of my apothecary cabinet doors. A friend made it for me a few years ago:) A perfect sign to talk about my hosting the UK Herbarium blog party this month!

This month I have chosen the theme of Remembered Remedies. This can be memories you have of an old family remedy, your village traditional remedy, your ethno groups remedies, just whatever the words Remembered Remedies mean to you!

Please either send me a link or if you don’t blog, your written piece, to comfreycottagesatyahoo.com by March 20th. I will post all of the submissions, plus my own post on the 21st.

Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages. I look forward to reading your remembered remedies!!

ps I hope you all know that in an email the word at should replaced with the sign @  I wrote it like that to fool any spammer robots:)

I look forward to your remembered remedies! xx

I apologise in advance if this is a tad too political for your liking. For the record, it is for mine too, but I just couldnt stand by and let this ridiculous matter go without having brought it to your attention.

You see, here in Australia there is this group that call themselves ‘Friends of Science in Medicine’, a bunch of more than 400 doctors, medical researchers and scientists who have taken it upon themselves to bully our universities into closing down all alternative medicine degrees. The many disciplines that this covers, such as traditional Chinese herbal medicine, chiropractics, homeopathy, naturopathy, reflexology and aromatherapy, have been called “quackery” and the vice chancellors of the universities that teach these courses have been told that their reputations are trashed by failing to support only evidence-based medicine and science.

How nice of these people to be so concerned for the reputation of our universities and how lucky we have them to save us from our ignorant ways….NOT!

The group, which names world-renowned biologist Sir Gustav Nossal and the creator of the cervical cancer vaccine Professor Ian Frazer among its members, is also campaigning for private health insurance providers to stop providing rebates for alternative medical treatments.

A co-founder of the group, Emeritus Professor John Dwyer, of the University of NSW, who is also a government adviser on consumer health fraud, said it was distressing that 19 universities were now offering “degrees in pseudo science”.

“It’s deplorable, but we didn’t realise how much concern there was out there for universities’ reputations until we tapped into it,” Professor Dwyer said. “We’re saying enough is enough. Taxpayers’ money should not be wasted on funding [these courses] … nor should government health insurance rebates be wasted on this nonsense.” Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/tertiary-education/scientists-urge-unis-to-axe-alternative-medicine-courses-20120125-1qhtm.html#ixzz1kdNpBzZW

Demand for courses in complementary medicine continues to grow throughout the country, surely this has to be a sign that the population WANT these studies to continue. I’m not sure where Prof Dwyer thinks his REAL science started out but I think that perhaps his education is not as complete as he might think.

Please people, as much as you can, support this matter. Let your voices be heard. Education is a right and let popularity dictate what is being taught and what is not. It is not a political matter and as such people like ‘Friends of Science in Medicine’ should keep their narrow little minds out of what they do not understand.

There is an entirely non-scientific poll at the bottom of the article – HERE - where you can show how you feel about alternative medicine.
UPDATE: Here is another article where both sides are given the chance to have a say. Unfortunately (maybe that should be fortunately?) Professor Dwyer sounds like he is more interested in a witch hunt than evidence.
Friends of Science in Medicine are…. “actually not that interested in evidence, because the overwhelming evidence is that putting CAM into universities has increased the standards, decreased the fringe element, and improved public safety, so it definitely smacks of dogmatism,” said Dr Wardle” a NHMRC Resaerch Fellow at the University of Queensland’s School of Population Health and co-director of the Network of Researchers in Public Health and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NORPHCAM), an international group promoting clinical research in CAM.
Please do take the time to leave a message below this new article, just as some other people, very ignorant to the ways of complementary medicine, are doing most vocally.

Working With Winter Trees
Working With Winter Wood

There’s been a break in the monthly UK Herbarium blog parties but they’re back as of the 20th February and the call for submissions for the first blog party of 2012 has been announced by Sarah from Tales Of A Kitchen Herbwife

Sarah’s call… “It may be you work with them creatively or educationally – admiring their unencumbered outlines or familiarising yourself or others with their individual bark patterns and markings. Maybe you work with the bark medicinally or create wonderful pictures through bark rubbings. You may work with leaf buds in their dormant forms admiring their different colours and textures or making your own flower essences or infused oils or salves.

Share with us your experiences in words and pictures by creating your blog post and sending it to me before 20th February so that I can publish all those links on that day. I look forward to receiving your contribution.

If you don’t have a blog, but would like to write an article, let me know and we’ll arrange a host blog for your post. I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts.”

Discovering Herbal Medicine Seminar October 2011.

The next Discovering Herbal Medicine Seminar is entitled “Mind, Mood, Mentation.… Herbs for the Brain” will be held on Sunday 17th June 2012 at the ‘Early Day Centre’, 1 Kenton Road, Earley, Reading, Berkshire, RG6 7LE. Seminar programme includes presentations on ‘Anxiety, Depression and Mood Swings.’ by Stuart McLean and ‘Nutrition to Increase Memory and Reduce Anxiety’ and ‘Avoiding Alzheimer’s Disease’ by Dr Ann Walker.

After lunch Freda Miller and Ann Walker will give a guided Herb Walk, followed by talks on learning from case histories, tips and a question and answer session. The cost of the day is £60 which includes lunch and 3 tea/coffee breaks. Further details and booking forms can be obtained from the Discovering Herbal Medicine website.

I’ve been to several of these highly informative and interesting seminars over the past few years, you can read a review of the last one I went to in October 2011 on my Herbal Haven blog.

Rosemary, Thyme & Sage, good for aches and pains.

If you’re local to me in the Derby area and you have nothing better to do once a month on a Wednesday evening, why not pencil a visit to the Herbal Haven Herb Group into your diary? I’ve been talking about doing this for a while now, and now it’s time to put things into practice :) I left the Mercian Herb Group in late 2010 and I dearly missed the folk who I used to meet up with once a month, but travelling to Coventry to give talks and demos began to tell on me after a while, so the idea to start a herb group local to me germinated and now it’s time to plant it out and watch it grow. Sarah head who I founded the MHG with has set up Wolf’s Meadow Herb Group in the West Midlands, so if you’re in the West Midlands you can go to her Thursday night meetings more details to follow on her group.

The Herbal Haven Groups first few meetings will be held at my house in Sinfin, Derby using my garden and kitchen to explore the wonders of herbs, our first meeting with take place at 7pm on Wednesday 4th April, places are limited to 12 initially so if you’d like to attend please let me know to book your place.
There is no annual membership fee for the group, instead we make a charge per meeting which is £3.50 which goes towards the cost of providing refreshments, paying for guest speakers, printing handouts and for materials for our hands on sessions and later once we’ve acquired enough funds hire a meeting room with suitable facilities. The group will meet once a month, after the first meeting in April we’ll meet on the first Wednesday of the month throughout the year with the exception of August when we’ll meet on either the 25th or 26th for a group visit to a Derbyshire herb garden.

2012 Programme

Wed 4thApril – Back To Basics: Growing The Herbs That Are Best For You Talk & Demo
Wed 2nd May – Edible Herbal Flowers Talk & Demo
Wed 6th June – Making Herbal Bath Treats & Cosmetics Talk & Demo
Wed 4th July – Cleaning The Home Using Herbs Talk & Demo
Sat 25th or Sun 26th August – Group Visit To Hardwick Hall Herb Garden & Picnic
Wed 5th September – Using The Herbal Harvest To Make Simple Herbal Remedies
Wed 3rd October – Spice Up Your Life: Looking at using spices in the kitchen and in the many other ways.
Wed 7th November – Herbal Crafts For Christmas: Making Herbal Scented Gifts & Decorations.
Wed 5th December – Christmas Social: Herbal Pot Luck Supper, Quiz and Herbs of Christmas Past Talk

If you’re new to herb groups or herbs and you’re wondering what to expect from a night at the Herbal Haven Herb Group, I aim to give a warm, friendly and informal herbal experience. My talks are given with humour, lots of personal anecdotes and experiences get thrown in to the mix. We’ll vary between herbal talks and demonstrations, where I show you how to make something herbal and provide a handout for you to go home and give it a go yourself, we’ll watch herbal films, discuss the latest herb books on the market, each month we’ll take a brief look at a different herb and it’s uses. They’ll be taster nights, culinary herb demonstrations and lots of recipe swapping. During the spring and early summer its hoped that members will swap their excess herb seeds and plants with others. As a group we can also make savings by buying bulk herbs and essential oils via my wholesale contacts.

There will be occasional weekend workshops held on either a Saturday or Sunday depending which day is most convenient for group members for a small fee. During the workshop you will be able to try your hand at making anything from DIY herbal remedies, herbal cosmetics, herbal soaps, herbal oils and a variety of herbal craft items. We’ll take trips to herb gardens in the East Midlands area, sometimes further afield and generally enjoy learning about the delights of herbs and pooling our collective herbal knowledge. If members are keen and willing we’ll also organise some wild herb forages in the local area where you can learn to identify such herbs as Wild Garlic, Nettles, Garlic Mustard, Chickweed and Cleavers in the spring and a similar walk can be organised in the autumn to gather Elderberries, Blackberries, Hawthorn Berries and other wild herbs for use in making simple home remedies and gifts, a handout of recipes will be provided at the end of the walk. So as I said above, if you’re interested and want to be added to the Herbal Haven Herb Group mailing list or book your place then please get in touch via email debs@herbal-haven dot co dot uk just edit the spaces and dots to look like .co.uk

If you’re a Derby based herbalist who would be interested in joining the group and offering talks on different aspects of medicinal herbs I’d love to hear from you, or if anyone out there has a herbal talent for aromatherapy, gardening or any herb topic and would like to contribute to the group likewise I’d love to hear from you to.

PS. Can fellow herb bloggers spread the word about the new group, you may have some people in the Derby area that read your blog and may be interested in the group but haven’t found my blog yet!

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