Tag Archives: Depression

Consultations

Walking & Talking or Online Consultations in Amsterdam Oost and Beatrixpark.
Combining a variety of natural therapies to help you to achieve an optimal state of health and well being.

Learning to gather nettle seeds and flowers Green mindfulness

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 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 2004, 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 Monday mornings, 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 therapies, India 2004 and ITEC, UK 2003
Social and Therapeutic Horticultural, Coventry University / Thrive, UK 2016

Lynn is fully registered with the Complementary Therapies Association (CMA), Association of Reflexologists (AoR), 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, 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.

Lungwort in flower – Appreciating spring

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. 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 usually happen outside, in urban green spaces and last approximately 1.5 hours. During this time, you will walk and observe nature with Lynn whilst she 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 leave the consultation 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.

Bee hives in Amsterdam – Hidden gems – Far from the crowd

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. Examples of areas which are most likely to be assisted by this approach:

Stress reduction
Emotional support
Anxiety and depression
Pain reduction
Circulation improvement
Enhancing overall well-being
Tension headaches
Arthritis and rheumatism
Digestion and nutrition issues
Insomnia
Menstrual problems 
Back pain and muscle issues
Immune system support
Skin disorders
Hormone health

Dog rose hips under a hoary frost.
Dog rose hips (Rosa canina) under a hoary frost.

Costs
Intake Walking & Talking consultation: €75 (approximately 1.5 hours)
Follow up Walking & Talking consultations: €50 (approximately 45 minutes)
Follow up online or telephone consultations: €40 (approximately 30 minutes)

Mini online or telephone consultations are available. They last around 10-15 minutes and cost €20. 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.  

Walking & Talking consultations generally take place in Amsterdam Oost (e.g. Oosterpark, Park Frankendael), Beatrixpark or Schellingwoude.

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. 

Prescriptions for herbs – When I am able to fulfill herbal needs, I will send you home with a bag of the appropriate herbs or tinctures. Other-times, these will not be in stock so I will advise on where to find or purchase the herbal supplies locally.

winter jasmine in flower, under snow
Winter jasmine in flower under Amsterdam snow.

To book an appointment for your Urban Herbology consultation, with Lynn Shore, please email urban.herbology.lynn@gmail.com or telephone 06 275 969 30.

Midsummer Schnapps

There is just enough time remaining to make a simple Midsummer Schnapps, to help celebrate the summer solstice on 21st June.  In Scandinavian countries, where the midnight sun arrives to delight at midsummer, Schnapps is a key ingredient of many celebrations. There are several recipes available for Midsummer Schnapps, here’s one which I like.  Ideally it is made a month or so before midsummer, allowing time for the properties of star anise and juniper berries to infuse into the vodka, but St John’s wort will infuse far quicker. Just a few days are required to get a reasonable colour, pleasant flavour and sunny properties from this herb, into the liquor.

St. John’s wort is renowned for helping people through periods of depression.  Capsules of the herb can have unpleasant side effects and may interact with some drugs so beware if you are taking any medication. The tincture (and the Schnapps is a weak tincture) is more likely to leave you feeling sunny and calm.  St John’s wort blooms on midsummer’s day, it is full of sunshine in so many respects, making it perfect for this drink.  I have not tried it but apparently the flower buds may be frozen for later use.  This recipe calls for buds which are fully developed but not yet opened, thus pick them before midsummer’s day.  The plant is full of a red oil, particularly at midsummer so use a good field guide to check you have the real thing and tear a petal to see if it “bleeds” red oil, showing it to be ripe for picking.

Recipe for Midsummer Schnapps

Pick St John’s wort flower buds before noon or before the sun becomes too hot, leave sepals on the plant or strip them from harvested flowers.  They do not add a good flavour to the schnapps.

Pick only black, fully ripened Juniper berries (or buy them dried and crush before use).  Blue and green Juniper berries do not taste pleasant. If necessary wash and carefully dry the flower buds and berries with paper towels before use.

Use wholes, fresh or dried star anise pods.

  1. Add about 3/4 cup of St John’s Wort flower buds, 45 – 55 Juniper berries and 10 Star anise pods to a clean glass jar with tighly fitting lid (preferably sterilised in dishwasher or low oven).
  2. Add enough unflavoured vodka (40% alcohol / 80 proof ) to cover the berries, pods and flowers.
  3. Secure the lid and leave in a room temperature, dark place for anywhere between 3 days and a month.  (As mentioned above, the St John’s wort will impart it’s properties in just a few days, the berries and pods require much longer but you should get a pleasant Schnapps after a few days).
  4. Shake the jar gently every few days.
  5. When you are ready, strain and filter your infusion into a clean (preferably sterile) glass bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid.

So, get your flower garlands and schnapps ready and enjoy the summer solstice!

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare, NL:Venkel)

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a Mediterranean hardy perennial herb which is easy to grow, particularly in relatively dry soil. It has been used since ancient times, being found amongst the burial effects of Pharaohs and being highly prized by ancient Romans.  Anglo Saxons revered it as one of the nine sacred herbs and believed it could ward off evil. The Ayurvedic health system sees Fennel as being perfectly balanced in terms of pitta, vata and kapha doshas. There are many different varieties and in many countries such as Greece it grows wild as a very successful “weed”.  Fennel makes a very unusual pot plant, if you have the vertical space. It can quickly grow up to 1.5m high with delicate feathery leaves, a bulbous base and large umbeliferous flower heads.  All parts of this herb are aromatic, tasting of anise, and can be very useful.  The “seeds” are actually fruit.  Fennel is often useful during breastfeeding but shouldn’t be used in quantity during pregnancy.

Uses of Fennel

  • Obesity – Pliny, herbalist of ancient Rome was very enthusiastic about Fennel’s ability to ease hunger during times of fasting and encouraged his contemporaries to eat Fennel and to drink Fennel tea in order to cure obesity.  Apparently chewing Fennel seeds to help weight loss is quite popular in modern day Greece.
  • Breast health – Fennel can help to increase milk production in nursing mothers and to soothe painful pre-menstrual breasts, due to its diuretic properties.
  • Menopausal symptoms – a useful tea for fluid retention and anxiety.  It has been found to have an oestrogen effect. If taken in excess it can cause the return of periods.
  • Digestion – Fennel may help when digestive problems are caused by anxiety or some form of tension. It helps relax the system, to gently release trapped gas and to make rich foods easier to digest. Colicy babies are often given a little cooled fennel tea to help with trapped gas, or the mother can pass on it’s helpful properties via her milk.  Infants should only be given a couple of teaspoons of cooled tea.
  • Cough – Inhalation of honey cured Fennel smoke may help to cure persistent coughs.  Crushed Fennel seeds can be gently heated on a hot plate or charcoal incense brickette, the fumes can help to loosen the chest and lungs.  It is quite easy to crush them with a pestle and mortar.  Alternatively a herbal smoking mix, containing honey cured Sage and Fennel can be burned to release the healing vapours of Fennel.  More details to follow.
  • Eyes – Some people find that fennel lotion, made from cool water as described below, makes is effective remedy for sore, tired eyes. It may be used to saturate cotton pads to use as a compress or as eye drops or an eye wash.  If you try this ensure that the tea is extremely fresh and contains no bits which could irritate the eye.  Drinking fennel tea is also thought to strengthen eyesight.
  • Breath freshener – Chewing fennel seeds, particularly after a rich meal, is a useful way to aid digestion.
  • Joint pain –  Massage with Fennel infused oil often helps to ease the pains of arthritis and rheumatism.
  • Anxiety or mild depression – Massage with Fennel infused oil or gently inhaling the smoke of burning crushed fennel seeds can lift the spirits and relax tension.

Fennel tea
This can be prepared using either chopped dry or fresh leaves or crushed seeds. Use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of crushed seeds per cup of boiling water.  Crushing the seeds makes a much more potent tea. This can be done with a pestle and mortar, a manual coffee grinder or by gently bashing the seeds with something such as a rolling pin.  Allow to infuse for 15 minutes. If using leaves, infuse 2 – 3 teaspoons in a teapot of boiling water for 5 minutes.

Eye lotion
Boil a cup of water and allow to cool before infusing half a teaspoon of crushed seeds for one hour.  Strain carefully.  Can be used in an eye bath, as drops or to soak cotton pads.

Honey Cured Herbal Smoke Mix
Mix 1 tsp honey with 4 tsp water and add gradually to a 15g dried copped sage and 2 tsp of powdered fennel seeds.  Rub the liquid into the herbs until they are all slightly damp.  Lay out in a shallow dish and leave for a few days, turning occasionally, until the water has mostly evaporated and the herbs feel dry enough to burn.  Store the mix in an airtight container.

Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm, NL:Citroenmelisse)

I love the uplifting citrus scent of fresh Lemon Balm (Melissa). In the spring and summer it smells and tastes magical; I eat leaves straight from the plant whilst gardening on the roof, add them to salads and ice cubes and frequently drink it as a tea. Lemon balm tastes great alone or in combination with other herbs, particularly mints. In the autumn and winter I use it dried, it smells good but quite different and has several really useful applications. I made a lip balm containing Melissa this weekend, to help fight off cold sores. I find it works a treat and thought it was time to share a few of this herb’s properties and uses.

The Latin name Melissa means honeybee and this herb is very attractive to bees. It has been planted near beehives since the time of ancient Greece as it encourages bees to return home.  The herb is a member of the mint family and has long been associated with love, friendship, health, healing, success and good cheer. It was the main ingredient in Carmelite water and has a reputation for relieving symptoms of mild depression.

Lemon Balm grows very well in almost any soil, does well in pots and can be divided to make extra plants throughout spring, summer and early autumn.  It is a hardy herbaceous perennial, a pretty variagated variety is available and it makes a great urban herb.

Melissa can be used to:

  • Cool. It can induce a mild perspiration so is sometimes useful taken as a tea when feverish with colds or flu.  In hot weather its cooling properties are also welcomed.
  • Scent. The fresh lemon odour makes Melissa valuable dried in potpourri, as a breath freshener and when the leaves are bruised it can really lift spirits.
  • Flavour. The lemony fresh leaves can be chopped into salads, ice cubes, mayonnaise, white sauces, sauerkraut, custards, jellies, fruit drinks and wine cups.
    Lemon balm can also be used to create wonderfully aromatic vinegars, alone or in combination with herbs such as Tarragon.  They can be used in delicious salad dressings, marinades and sauces.
  • Relieve cold sores.  Some commercial cold sore preparations contain lemon balm but it is easy and cheap to make your own balm.  Recent scientific research has also found that preparations containing Melissa can reduce recurrence of cold sores and can shorten the duration of attacks.
  • Calm and soothe. Lemon balm may be helpful to those suffering from grief, mild depression, anxiety, tension and sleeplessness. It can help digestive problems caused by these issues and many find it works as a relaxing tonic.  Recent scientific research has also found it to be useful in managing agitation in Alzheimer’s patients.
  • Relieve headaches. A tasty remedy for simple tension headaches it to soak a handful of freshly picked leaves in a glass of wine for an hour, or drink a tea made from the dried leaves.
  • Relieve chronic bronchial catarrh. Lemon balm tea can help to ease symptoms.

How to make Cold Sore fighting lip balm

  • Follow my instructions about How To Make Salves, Ointments and Lip Balms using a 50:50 mix of Calendula and Melissa heat infused oils.
  • Warm very gently as you dissolve the grated beeswax, I stir with a clean finger to check that the temperature remains really low.
  • Ensure you test the consistency and adjust it accordingly, with more wax or more oil, before pouring into small pots.  Lip balm for cold sores shouldn’t be too firm as application may be painful.
  • When I use a pot of balm to treat a cold sore, I tend to throw away any remainder when the sore is healed. This reduces the risk of using contaminated balm once the skin is healed.