We had a lovely long walk in the park today so lots of photos, lots of plants and lots of harvesting for tinctures, drying food and more.
The plants shown below are:
Here is Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), a powerful herb which is immediately apparent if you pick and smell a leaf. I harvested some pre-flowing tops today, to make a simple moth repellant for my wardrobe and a tincture in case of use through the year. Tansy is very strong and not to be used casually. It has many modern and historical uses including being a potent insecticide, anti worm medicine and more. It can cause contact dermatitis so it is not one for the cut flower vase. I like this herb a lot but treat it with lots of respect.
Meadowsweet, Filipendula ulmaria is another herb I gratefully harvested today. It makes a good stomach medicine, as a tea or tincture. It can help with stomach ulcers, general stomach upsets such as gas and can help calm excess stomach acid. It contains salicyclic acid, the derivative of Asprin and should be used with caution by those taking Asprin as it will increase the dose present in the body. It is interesting to note that unlike Asprin, which can cause gastric bleeding, Meadowsweet has a soothing effect on that area of the body. Another example of how taking a chemical out of its natural plant environment changes it’s affect on the body. Meadowsweet is traditionally harvested now, just before the flowers open. Finally I found some that had just bloomed in the Frankendael ponds. I harvested some pre-flowering tops, have tinctured a couple and am drying the rest. By harvesting very gently and not to low down the stem I get stronger tinctures/ tea and also allow the plants to have another go at flowering this season.
Next is Feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium, a traditional remedy for migraine. I tried it several years ago, hated the taste and didn’t really notice much effect but I simply ate a few leaves between bread. I don’t suffer from migraines these days but if they return ill try a tincture of this pretty little plant and keep trying for a while. The taste of herbs is important in their effectiveness. Taste is the first part of digestion. It primes the internal organs for the food or medicine that is to come. Bear this in mind if you like to take your herbs packed up tastelessly in capsules. Feverfew is currently adorning many pavement cracks, untended planters and road verges in Amsterdam.
Next is the spectacular flower spire of a Mullein plant. I collect individual flowers throughout the flowering season and add them to a small pot of olive oil. It makes a handy ear treatment.
Next are the delightful edible not-strawberries of Potentilla indica, sometimes called Mock Strawberry. I picked a handful with my little girl and we will cook them up with some fallen apples from the public mixed fruit orchard in Park Frankendael. On the recent Greenpeace walk one of the participants told me that her Dutch mother-in-law likes to harvest these almost tasteless fruits and preserve them in vodka. She likes the taste it makes as a drink. Maybe I’ll try adding them to a Rum Pot this year.