Today I was on a first aid course so not much time in daylight for photos but I saw this beautiful first aid herb on the way to the course – Ribwort (Plantago lanceolata).
This evergreen herb will draw poison from wound, will soothe and heal the body within and without.
Some common “weed” plants have the most subtely beautiful flowers and I think that Ribwort (Plantago lanceolata) is one such plant. Many of you already know of the merits of this wonderful first aid herb and I hope that more appreciate how pretty the flowers are. I think they ar quite incredible creations and couldn’t resist another Ribwort photo today on an outer edge of the park. There are many Plantago species growing here. Another notable one which has settled in my roof pots is Plantago major. It has broad leaves and it not as highly prized for it’s medicinal qualities but it none the useful. Douzens of seedlings have taken root in my pots and they are very useful for first aid. Yesterday I was harvesting rooftop Gooseberries and Blackcurrants with my daughter and we chewed on and a leaf or two before gently rubbing the sap onto her berry bush scratches. It worked a treat and was much quicker to apply and work physically (and mentally) than any remedy I have inside of the house.
If Ribwort and making remedies at home interests, you may like to join me for a small workshop near the next New Moon.
Here is Greater celandine, a wonderful plant with poisonous/potent orange sap, which can often help with unwelcome skin growths, such as warts and corns. Today I noticed lots of Greater Celandine setting seed and I look forward to collecting some when the time comes. Below is a lovely picture of the plant drawn and painted by Elodie some time ago. Sometimes paintings tell more about the spirit of a plant than photos ever can. I need to make more time to sit and draw plants, maybe it’s something you would like to try too? Drawing a plant requires that you sit with it for a while, that you and it breathe each other in and out and from that you can learn a lot.
Lastly today, a mixed salad in scrub-land beside the park. I love this untended patch and I’m pleased it gets little maintenance as the wild edibles love it! Here you may be able to see Chickweed and Ground ivy growing together with some Shepherd’s Purse. All three, tasty and nutritious. The main thing that worries me about harvesting from such locations is not really knowing what is in the soil. You can never really know for sure but some scrub-land such as this may be used for tipping unwelcome materials. I keep that in mind when I choose to harvest or not.
It has rained all day and it although I got soaked through, it was a real pleasure to be out photographing and foraging this Full Moon morning when hardly anyone else was about in Park Frankendael. I managed to harvest some gorgeous Elderflowers, Ribwort, Red Clover and Mugwort, without anyone casting me a glance of suspicion or sympathy!
Here are today’s photos:
Firstly, Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), it is abundant on in some parts of the park. Here is a lovely patch with a dozen or so plants.
Next is Foxglove (Digitalis). What a beauty and so useful in times gone by particularly. This is a poisonous plant and I think too rare in Amsterdam to harvest even if you knew what to do with it.
Now for my favourite of the day, Willow. In fact two copiced Willows, one containing a lovely Garlic Mustard plant and the other just looking stunning, with light shining through a gnarled old trunk. Perhaps it’s because Willow is such a water lover, or perhaps it’s the full moon energy, or perhaps neither but all the Willows in the park looked quite strikingly beautiful today.
Here’s the gnarly one:
Next is Elderflower. Most flowers are in full bloom right now but some of the earlier bloomers are already going over and setting seeds within tiny berries. Remember that Elderberries always need to be cooked to be safe and palatable. The flowers are different and can be eaten raw, although most prefer them cooked or infused, for various purposes.
Here is an Elderflower well on the way to making berries.
Lastly, beautiful rain filled Teasel (Dipsacus sp.). This plant is well known to Chinese herbalists but less so to those in the West. It has traditional applications in the treatment of muscle, tendon and join injuries and disease.
Once a month a chance to learn in detail about a different common urban herb from either Jennie (who I run the meetup group with) or me, Lynn.
Part two is about Ribwort (Plantago lanceolata). An amazingly simple looking plant, found right under your feet, with a multitude of uses. It’s a great herb to cut your teeth on, regarding how to make an infusion, poultice, infused oil and ointment. I will take this session in Park Frankendael near the New Moon in July 2012. 12.00 – 13.30.
In this short and sweet field workshop, you will make all of those things and learn about the properties, habitat, folk and medicinal history and up to date uses of the plant. You will take home a bag full of little herbal preparations and knowledge of how to do it time and time again with everyday materials.
We will try to run each monthly Herb by Herb workshop near the New Moon and the days of the week will vary. You are welcome to attend all, some or none of the series! Most materials will be provided. You’ll need to bring along a small pair of scissors, perhaps a flask of hot water and 2 small and clean glass jars (such as 90ml pesto jars).
Cost of the workshop is €10.
Please contact me by email (email@example.com) or through the meetup group if you are interested in joining this workshop.