365 Fraendael day 27

Today, a lovely walk through the park with Lucile and the little ones. We each went home with a few leaves of Ground Elder and a little Ground Ivy. Plenty of other herbs in season though…

Here’s the foliage from a Wild Carrot! Not one to be dug up, though it would probably taste great. I hope to revisit it later in the year to double check it’s identity when it is in full bloom. Wild carrot has been used in folk medicine for centuries and has recently been researched by Robin Rose Bennett. It is often found to be quite a useful contraceptive. For more information on the research take a look at Robin’s website.

Here is Comfrey, still in full bloom and looking stately throughout the park and city.

Garlic Mustard leaves continue to grace many of my meals. The plants here are nearing the end of their flowering season but the foliage still tastes wonderful and only a leaf or two is needed to add a garlicky kick to regular meals.

Greater Celandine continues to flower. It’s stems remain loaded with bright orange sap which is freely released when a stem is broken. This sap, containing a substance which is acrid and highly irritant but has been used medicinally since at least the middle ages. Historically it was used, in preparations such as lard and milk, to cure piles, cataracts, severe scurvy and some forms of cancer. These days it is still a popular remedy, amongst those who know it, for warts, corns and ringworm. To use for these three ailments, simply break a stem and apply the fresh sap to only affected skin. It will irritate healthy skin. The Latin name of this plant means swallow (the bird) and this is said to be because the plant’s flowering season coincides with the arrival and departure of swallows. So hopefully there should be some time to go before the flowers of Greater Celandine disappear from Amsterdam again.

Cleavers are looking particularly lush and juicy at the moment, about 50 cm long on average. Perfect for harvesting a clean handful and juicing for a cleansing tonic.

Wild Geranium is also looking striking, producing a mass of small purple flowers in the woodland, at present.

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