Thursday 21st April Herbalists Without Borders – Gardening & Harvesting Morning 09.30 – 11.00 At the River of Herbs Orchards, in Park Frankendael (Behind Huize Frankendael – Middenweg 72, 1097 BS Amsterdam) We will be pruning the Elder shrubs, first harvest of the stinging nettle and more wild garlic harvesting. Loads of other herbs looking great at the moment so we will see what we have time for. Herbalists Without Borders remedies are the destination for the nettle tops today and the wild garlic. Donations in effort, money or oil/vodka/jenever etc welcome but just bring yourself to join in, if possible. Come join me if you would like to – bring gardening gloves (not essential but handy) and a pair of secateurs if you have them (again not essential) and maybe a mug and flask of warm drink. Call or Whatsapp me if you can’t find it – 0627596930
Thursday 14th April 2022 Ethical Spring Foraging Walk 10.30 – 12.00 Park Frankendael
Join me for a walk around parts of the best park in Amsterdam! We will look at many different edible and medicinal plants, which grow in and around Amsterdam. Learn how to identify, ethically harvest and safely use the plants for health, connection to place and to increase urban self-reliance, whilst caring for the environment. €15 per person Booking and details on Meetup
Learn heaps about incredible local herbs, how to find them, ethically forage, craft, eat and preserve them. Full details and booking on Meetup [Apprentices free – please contact me directly to let me know you are joining the walk rather than booking via meetup]
Lynn is a professional foraging teacher and forager. Also a qualified herbalist. She is a member of the Association of Foragers.
The next organized gardening morning at the herb orchards, in Park Frankendael will be this coming Thursday 10th March (10.00 – 12.00).
Light gardening, tidying up, some pruning to be done, and fallen twigs. No experience necessary!
The intention is to spruce it all up a little and may be able to begin some light-harvesting for Herbalists Without Borders remedies. We need to leave the major tree work to the gemeente so will stay away from the area where the tall tree fell during the storm (nettle orchard).
Come join me if you would like to – bring gardening gloves (not essential but handy) and a pair of secateurs if you have them (again not essential) and maybe a mug and flask of warm drink. If you need more information, email me or send a what’s app (0627596930).
Here’s a short Urban Herbology post from 9 years ago, about how to make a little harvest of wild garlic go a long way. Click on View Original Post, to open up and see some of the benefits of this herb and a simple way to use it over several weeks. I hope it helps you. If you want to learn lots more about wild garlic, I run workshops about the plant, throughout the season. The next one is on Sunday 6th March 2022. Details are on the events page.
The woodland floor in Frankendael Park is carpeted with flowering snowdrops and the emerging leaves of Ramsons (wild garlic, Allium ursinum). I’m sure snowdrops have their uses but when you find them, Ramsons are an urban herb forager’s dream. All parts of the plant are edible and very useful, though the leaves and flowers are all you should use. The bulbs should be left alone and only pick a leaf or two from any plant. They taste truly delicious – if you like the taste of garlic! They taste best, by far, before the pretty white flowers open and can be eaten from early spring, when the first leaves emerge from the soil.
Ramsons have similar properties to Garlic but are milder in all respects. They are also more tolerable to those you have difficulty digesting other members of the onions family.
It was such a pleasure to take a group of 9 people around the woods for a herbology walk recently. We found a lot of beautiful plants and some delicious fungi. Unfortunately, the second planned walk had to be cancelled as the latest Dutch lockdown restrictions came into effect overnight. I hope that we can schedule some more group walks together very soon. In the meantime, I am able to offer 1:1 herb walks, as during the previous restrictions. The cost for a one hour 1:1 walk is €60. If you would like this, please email me so that we can schedule a time. If you would like to be alerted when the next group walks are set, please sign up to my Meetup group.
The shortest day in Amsterdam this year, was relatively cold, bright and delightfully crisp. The drop in temperature showed that Yuletide had arrived and made it easy to identify with the time of natural darkness, inner reflection and allowing things to brew within the inner cauldron. I took a walk through the park, bathed in the sunbeams and enjoyed the shortest day. I also ate rather a lot of this year’s Yule log. Holly and it’s berries (on our cake) are not edible but they certainly belong to Yuletide festivities though. The berries were returned to the local birds when the cake was eaten and the holly leaves are now around our Yuletide candle.
Aside eating chocolate cake, it also felt good to make some incense, so I crafted some from a handful of dried roots, bark, berries, resin and leaves. Incense making is a real multi-sensory pleasure. After grinding the ingredients finely enough, and balancing the scents and colour, I combined the mix with some secret sauce before forming my Yuletide incense and allowing it to prove for a while before use.
Gelatinous fungi have been quite a foraging feature recently. The weather must have been just right for them. Here is a photo of a bright orange Witches Butter (aside another gelatinous snot-like fungus) and the other two photos are of a fungus, which I am currently trying to identify. It is quite beautiful, with rings, a sort of shag pile velvet atop a sturdy jelly bracket type of body. It is growing along my favourite Wood Ear fungus Elder tree, in Park Frankendael. If you happen to know the name of the fungus, I would also love to know it and share it here. Witches butter (Tremella mesenterica) is (in principle) edible although I find it rather watery and best left on the tree. It apparently feeds on other fungi. I much prefer eating Wood Ears or Jelly Ears (Auricularia auricula-judae). They grow on several tree species, the most reliable being Elder. These are closely related to the mushrooms of Chinese Hot and Sour Soup fame. They are fairly bland, but have substance to them; bound gelatinous substance. With a heavenly velvet outer membrane. They smell of the woods, dry well for storage (in a paper bag) and give a very pleasant crackle sort of experience when bitten into. They also explode (a little) when cooked for long enough. Not to everyone’s taste, but I like them a lot. They also have cardiovascular health benefits.
The Wood Ear tree gives me the feeling that it has not too long left to stand. We have been very fortunate to have such a generous tree close by for the past years. My feeling is also that the mystery fruiting fungi is indicating the beginning of the next phase for this tree.
I do hope that you can get out in the fresh air and enjoy Yuletide and I would love to know what kinds of plants, animals and fungi you have been noticing in your area. There is so much to see even in the middle of winter and always something to help us connect with nature. Journey well and see you soon!
Saturday 18th December 2021 13.00 – 14.30 Park Frankendael, Amsterdam €15 per person (my apprentices – free) Booking through Meetup
As we approach the shortest day of the year, I invite you to join me for a wander around the woody parts of Park Frankendael. We will be looking at the edible and medicinal plants which can be found at this quiet time of the year. Park Frankendael is a great place to learn about ethical foraging, to find out what’s “in season”, how and where to find it and how to use it.
The walk will go ahead come rain or shine so please be prepared for that when you book – a great opportunity to get your wellies or boots out if there’s a bit of rain – we will stick mostly to the paths though. I forage in all weather’s but the walk will not happen if we have a storm, because we’ll be in the woods and falling branches are not fun – so keep an eye on your messages after booking, just in case.
[I am a druid, herbalist, teacher, mother and have been teaching ethical foraging in Amsterdam for the past eleven years. Living in harmony with local nature, and helping others to do so, is my purpose. The aim of these walks is to pass on that enthusiasm and some degree of self-sufficiency to you. If you would like to know about my foraging and herbalism experience and the courses that I offer, please take a look at the about page.
Herbalists Without Borders now has an Amsterdam group (they call it a Chapter, rather than a group). I will arrange a first meeting soon for anyone interested to come along to, and find out possibilities of how to get involved, in a manageable way. Herbalists without Borders is not just for herbalists. It is a collective of complementary therapists, herbalists, herb growers, herb lovers etc. The thread is that they all want to increase equity of access for herbal medicine and herbal products and complementary therapies. Some offer a discount on their prices for therapy (like me), some take part in actions (like helping refugees grow a herb garden or have access to safe herbal products), some organise regular events to raise awareness of herbalism in places where it doesn’t usually reach, others deliver free street herbalism, have a mass of other ways to help.
Would you like to get involved? You don’t need to join HWB global to get involved but that is a very good thing to do, if you want to. First thing that I would like to arrange for HWB Amsterdam is a date for a small group (4-5) to do a half day food prep, cooking and serving at De Stoelen Project, the homeless shelter/soup kitchen on Marnixstraat. It costs about 100 Euro to feed the clients for one evening, so those joining that small group would need to help raise that money and be happy to do the shopping and cook it and help to serve it (they really want meat and filling items but not too fibre-rich foods in the meals generally, btw). The session is from about midday to about 9pm. Here’s a post from a session I led there previously.
I would really like to deliver some fresh herbs also, possibly from local suppliers, and start to have that long awaited fresh herb bar, which the clients there can take from, to improve their meals. Also to speak to the team who runs the project, to see if we could start to offer some form of herbal/organic/wholesome self-care kit, for them to keep behind the counter to hand out as needed. At present those kits contain items such as new pairs of socks and underpants, a toothbrush and paste. I would also like to speak to them about the most common ailments that we could actually offer support for – skin sores, athlete’s foot etc. Clearly doctors and other health professionals are needed for most issues these people encounter (and psychiatric issues are common) but some issues are about self care and perhaps a simple homemade salve – which some of us could periodically get free tins for, make a batch of salve using local herbs and take over to the centre, could help.
If you are interested in helping somehow, perhaps really locally, perhaps further away, then it is certainly possible and being part of a group helps. HWB global offers members trauma training, and training in many areas such as how to run street clinics etc. Clearly what each person offers has to match their qualifications and their comfort zone.
One thing that is always welcome, fresh herbs from growers – homegrowers and commercial growers. So if you have fresh culinary herbs spare (for Marnixstraat Stoelen Project or similar places), or if you grow medicinal herbs and would like to see some of those incorporated into the local community, somehow, please have a think about how it could be possible. I want to start this slowly, steadily and that the group builds and finds its feet comfortably, but if you already have ideas of what to do, how to do it, who to contact etc, let me know
Would you like to get involved? If so, please get in touch.
About the therapist Lynn is British (born 1972) and has lived in Amsterdam since 2004. She began working as a complementary therapist in 2000, teaching Yoga to groups and running a private natural therapies clinic in her Somerset cottage. Since moving to Amsterdam, Lynn has been helping urban people to connect with nature as a way to enhance their health and well being. She runs popular herbology walks, workshops and courses about ethical herbal foraging, crafting and living in harmony with urban nature. Lynn has a special interest in facilitating mutually beneficial connection between city residents with urban nature. River of Herbs is a local volunteer group which she launched in 2012, to enable city people to learn more about herbs through gardening and foraging. She can be found tending the herbal foraging gardens with that group, some Thursday mornings or at weekends, in Park Frankendael just behind Huize Frankendael.
Lynn holds qualifications in the following: Herbalism / Kruidengeneeskunde, Netherlands 2020, USA 2012 and UK 2003 Precision Reflexology (working on hands or feet), Association of Reflexologists MAR, UK 2001 Yoga Teacher, British Wheel of Yoga, UK 2002 Holistic Massage (Indian Head Massage, Ayurvedic Massage), India 2004 and ITEC, UK 2003 Social and Therapeutic Horticultural, Coventry University / Thrive, UK 2016 Special Educational Needs (PGdip. SEND, current Learning Support Coordinator (SENCO) at a local international school)
Lynn is fully registered with the Complementary Medical Association (CMA), Association of Reflexologists (MAR), the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Association of Foragers. These professional bodies provide quality assurance to clients and support to members who uphold rigorous standards. These professional standards include high levels of qualification, Continuing Professional Development, upholding codes of conduct and being suitably insured. Lynn is also a corporate member of the Herb Society and has vast expertise in the field of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). She holds a Master of Public Health degree (MPH), Post Graduate Diploma in SEND and BSc(hons) in Genetics and is a member of the Permaculture Association. As a complementary therapist, Lynn is not allowed to diagnose medical disorders but actively encourages collaboration with each client’s medical team, to help reach their goals more effectively and to ensure safety.
What to expect The aim of Urban Herbology consultations are to set you on a path to address the root causes of imbalances in the body and mind. Also to address your current issues. Lynn takes a Holistic and Functional approach to health. This involves considering how the body and mind functions as a whole, within the situation that you are currently in, rather than simply offering a quick fix to temporarily calm symptoms.
Intake consultations can be at Lynn’s Gardenhouse (a Dutch volkstuin in woodland at Schellingwoude) or outside, in urban green spaces and last approximately 70 minutes.
During this time, Lynn gathers a detailed personal history from you and then discusses a natural treatment strategy which will address lifestyle factors, exercise needs, possible herbal and nutritional advice and possible physical therapy. Depending upon your personal needs, you may receive some reflexology and yoga coaching during the consultation and may leave with a yoga-based home exercise plan, a simple home reflex points plan, along with herbal, diet and lifestyle advice. Due to Lynn’s extensive experience with wild local plants and therapeutic horticulture, you may also be directed towards some local “weeds” and nature-based activities, as part of your treatment plan.
Whatever the outcome, you will leave the consultation as an active participant in your path to optimal health and vitality.
If you are currently taking any medications, supplements or herbs, you should bring these along to the consult. If you are receiving treatment for any persistent or serious condition, Lynn will need to know about that, and your conventional medical team will need to be in agreement with your consulting her.
Who can benefit? This personalized therapeutic approach is suited to individuals who want to improve their health and vitality. It is most suited to individuals with non-life threatening conditions which are not responding as well as hoped to other approaches. Lynn works with both adults and children.
Examples of areas which are most likely to be assisted by this approach:
Stress reduction Pain reduction Emotional support Anxiety and depression
Follow up consultations: approximately 45 minutes €40 (**Walk & Talk, Amsterdam Oost/Oud Zuid) €45 (*Reflexology/Yoga/Herbalism at Garden House, Schellingwoude – Thursdays)
Follow up online or telephone consultations: approximately 20 minutes €20
Mini online or telephone consultations are available: Approximately 10-15 minutes €10 These are only appropriate for minor issues and symptomatic relief/advice e.g. cold and flu. Please note that full (intake or follow up) consultations are default and mini consultations are only offered after explicit discussion.
*Gardenhouse consults take place at Paterslaan, Schellingwoude, generally on Thursdays. **Walking & Talking consultations take place in Amsterdam Oost (e.g. Oosterpark, Park Frankendael), Oud Zuid (Beatrixpark) or Schellingwoude.
Prescriptions for herbs When Lynn is able to fulfill herbal needs, she will send you home with a bag of the appropriate herbs or tinctures. Other-times, these will not be in stock so will advise on where to find or purchase the herbal supplies locally.
Note: The consultation cost does not include the price of any herbal preparations that are recommended following a consultation. These are charged separately or are purchased independently by the client.
To book an appointment for your Urban Herbology consultation, with Lynn Shore, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 06 275 969 30.
Urban Herbology is a proud member of Herbalists Without Borders, working together for health justice and holistic health access for all. As such, sliding scale payments for consultations are possible, to enable more people to access treatment. Please ask Lynn if you require details.
This has been a busy year and yet I see that I have not updated the Urban-Herbology blog for a long time. Rather than give a summary of the summer, I would like to share with you a potted version of the Welsh legend of the Lady of the Lake at Llyn y Fan Fach, it’s intimate connection to the famous Physicians of Myddfai and my decision to join Herbalists Without Borders.
I read about Llyn y Fan Fach (a lake of about 6 acres, in the Black Mountain region of the Brecon Beacons National Park) quite some time ago, whilst busy with Druidry studies. I was captivated by the tale and found that the lake is a comfortable drive from my parents home on the Wales-England border. So whilst visiting them last week, my parents, my daughter and I went to Llyn y Fan Fach, I swam in the lake and then we visited Myddfai. It was a wonderful experience. We walked the mile and a half track up to the lake from the nearest car park, enjoyed breathtaking views of the clouds and sunlight playing across the Welsh hills, and I enjoyed spotting sheep-grazed herbs all the way. The Myddfai visitor centre closed at 4pm, 15 minutes before we arrived so my wander around the tiny village was self-guided and didn’t lead me to the graves of the last known members of the Physician’s family. Or if it did, I didn’t realise it, so that will have to wait until next time.
The Lady of Llyn y Fan Fach A poor sheep herder called Gwyn, who lived with his widow mother, would visit Llyn y Fan Fach regularly, as he tended his flock. One day he saw the most enchanting woman he had ever gazed upon, sitting on the smooth surface of the lake. She was all he had dreamed of and he longed to marry her. Gwyn offered her the only thing that he had to hand, his bread. She refused it, saying that he would have to try harder than that, and that the bread was too dry. He returned the next day with a less dry bread, duly provided by his mother. The Lady of the Lake reappeared and told him this time the bread was too moist, it was like dough, and that he should try harder if he wished to deserve her. So he returned a third time with bread that was just right and indeed to his utter delight, she agreed to marry him. She brought her beautiful prime farm animals out of the lake to join them in their union. However, she told him that when he had struck her three times without cause, during the course of their marriage, that she would leave him directly and return with her animals to the depths of Llyn y Fan Fach.
Time went on, they lived happily on the land and prospered. They had three sons who the Lady of the Lake taught the healing virtues of plants and water. Gwyn was always watchful not to give the Lady of the Lake any cause to leave him but over time three fateful events indeed caused him to touch her without kindness.
Firstly, upon attending a christening, she foretold misfortune for the child and her husband chastised her as he tapped her on the shoulder. Secondly, attending a wedding, she foretold sadness for the newly wedded couple and sobbed pitifully during the event. Her husband again urged her to conform with convention as he touched her on the shoulder. Thirdly, at the funeral of a friend, she laughed heartily among the sad mourners and told her husband this was because the dead have no more worries and are free from pain. He touched her again on the shoulder as he urged her to stop laughing and she replied that this was the third fateful blow. She would then leave him and return to the lake with her animals. And so she did. She returned the way she came, her animals followed and her plough dragging ox, carved a deep everlasting furrow into the mountain that drops to the depths of the lake.
The Lady of the Lake left her husband completely devastated and her sons distraught. It is said that as she left, she commanded her sons to hone the skills and knowledge that she had given them. She told them to heal the ills of all who sought them out and so they did. They lived just six miles from the lake, in the village of Myddfai and became known as the Physicians of Myddfai. For generations to come, they passed on their herbal knowledge, recording it in now famous texts and healed all who needed them. However, there was one person who they could never heal, their mother, the Lady of the Lake, for actually there was nothing wrong with her.
Many wonderful Celtic themes and learnings can be taken from this legend. The tale at first glance can seen irrelevant to us today but I feel that it has a great deal to teach. For a detailed version of the legend (including some direct translation from the Welsh), I recommend a blog post by Rambling Man’s Adventures.
Herbalists Without Borders After my cleansing swim in the waters of Llyn y Fan Fach, I decided to join Herbalists Without Borders. This is an excellent organisation, striving for health justice and holistic health access for all, around the globe. I look forward to getting involved in HWBs existing activities and developing ways to enable more people to access herbal medicine and knowledge here in Amsterdam or wherever I happen to be As part of this, I am offering payment for consultations on a sliding scale, to those who need this facility.
I hope that you can take something useful from the story of the Lady of Llyn y Fan Fach and that it will not be so long until my next blog post.
Just want to reblog this – I first wrote about Magnolia in 2012 and updated the post in 2019 with the video and some extra info. A lot of people are reaching out to me about the tree this year. I am worried it is being over harvested! Please read about how little you need, to make really great foraged treats from this tree. It is so sad when I see photos of people encouraging whole flowers to be picked – there is no need. Anyway, enjoy the post (click at the end, ther’s a lot hidden including the recipes) and let me know your thoughts…
Magnolia is a tree which I fall in love with again, every year. Everything about it enthralls me. From the graceful angles of the branches, the bark, exotic blooms to the glossy evergreen leaves. A huge magnolia in bloom is a show stopper. One such tree arches quietly over the terrace behind Huize Frankendael, in Amsterdam east. Hundreds of visitors must walk beneath it without giving the tree much thought, until in March or April it explodes into bloom. There is no other tree that I would rather sit beneath and gaze up through than that magnificent magnolia in spring!
Edible and Medicinal Magnolia Petals The flowers of Magnolia trees are edible and medicinal. In traditional chinese medicine, Magnolia flowers are known as Xin yi hua and are associated with the lung and stomach meridians. I enjoy eating them fresh plucked each year and happily report that they taste fragrant and spicy…