I met with my Willow Apprenticeship Group this afternoon and as usual had a wonderful and enriching time with them.
I took a few photos whilst we were out and about…
Skullcap (Sculletaria sp.) in the woods. It is best to harness the powers of this bitter labiate, actually at the plant. So take your tincture materials to the woods, harvest just enough, sparsely from across all of the Skullcap plants, in areas where it is abundant and set up your small tincture there and then. Otherwise the active constituents tend to change or evaporate. Either way, Skullcap loses potency hugely if you harvest, take it home then tincture.
Above is Plantain (Plantago major). Absolutely the best time to forage this healing and nutritious plant. It is easier to eat them if the ribs have been removed first. The leaves make a wonderfully soothing skin ointment. It combines well with leaves of Elder and Comfrey in such an ointment.
Above is a Verbascum sp. plant. Probably Mullien but we’ll check on it again when the flowers appear. A very useful plant. One traditional use for Mullein is to gradually fill a small jar with individual flowers and olive oil. Harvest only a tiny amount of what is available, leave lots of flowers for the bees and other pollinators! The oil is used by some to soothe earache. Another widely used application is infusing the whole flowering plant to treat allergies and chronic asthma.
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). Not the most productive year for bushy Mugwort plants in Amsterdam. They are far more slender than usual but still taste great and are very potent at the moment.
Searching for Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) amongst Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) and Jerusalem artichoke (above).
Elderflower. A superb year and so many uses!
Hedge woundwort (Stachys sylvatica). We found it full of bees. This has also been planted next to the bee hives of de Hortus Botanicus. Strongly scented, bristly, slightly sticky leaves which seem to ooze potency. This Woundwort had many historical uses and remains very useful today.
White deadnettle (Lamium album) amongst Ground Elder (Aegopodium podograria). Both are edible, delicious and useful for several conditions. Lamium album being especially useful for helping normalise females flows.
Lots more wonderful plants were spotted today and the time went by so quickly!
And some kitchen inspiration.