I want to write a little post to celebrate the wonderful herbalists out there, who are busy beavering away making vinegars, wild crafting and growing, making herbal honeys and tinctures and creams and all manner of exciting things.

When I say traditional, I mean those resisting regulation and the onslaught of science, which is doing its level best to turn whole herbs into a sum of constituents and add this and take away that and basically, like mainstream medication, pharmaceuticalise them! I don’t think there is such a word as pharmaceuticalise, but it sounds like something suitably nasty and poisonous, so it serves my purpose.

This blog celebrates all those lovely herbalists that have a passion for what they do and do it well. If you are wondering what I am talking about, please take a quick squiz at the The Herbarium blog for Traditional Herbalists in Times of Transition and also, my personal favorite, Whispering Earth, which is just fabulous.

Nettle has been on my mind for just over a week. The beautiful young nettles are poking their heads out of the soil now, despite the recent snow and ice and I intend to take a walk to harvest some. I love nettle tea but really would like to make it with some fresh nettle leaves.

I was reading through some of the wonderful recipes that the Whispering Earth has for nettle and will be making at least two of the suggested nettle soups. She also suggests a lovely, wild, garlic leaf oil which I will also be trying out. I am keeping my eye out for the wild garlic, which grows in a couple of places nearby.

wild violets

One of the saddest things about a university degree in western herbalism is the divorce from the herbs themselves. It would be so lovely, to have as part of the curriculum, herb walks, wild herb identification and gathering, along with making such up as teas, creams, vinegars and the like. Fortunately we have had the great fortune, to have two particular people who have fed our  starvation. One, whose passion for her plants and her subject, made her lectures/lessons the most relaxed and enjoyable of the whole year. A second person, whose passion for herbs and all the wonderful medicinal healing they provide made learning easy. Her quirky ways and down to earth sensibilities, as well as a fabulous talk on the treatment of fevers with herbs all make medicine for people craving the outdoors and real life herbal medicine. She has many golden nuggets of information that are like jewels in a world of bereaucracy and bullshit!  She is also, a keen follower of  Christopher Hedley (also, amazing herbalist, working with the four humours). Without these two wonderful people, I think I would have given up the will, as far as my degree is concerned.

Thank goodness that there are many workshops and camps outside of university where one can feast their hungry hearts on real herbs and discuss real herbs and make real herbal tinctures, creams and the like. Thank goodness, also for herbal blogs that bring me back to earth and ground me in their wholesome, mother earth type wisdom.

So tomorrow, despite a busy day, I intend to begin some foraging for my fresh nettles and also for some cleavers.

Don’t just make nettles into wonderful liquid fertiliser for your plants, eat them yourself, in your food or drink them juiced or as a tea – cheers and good health!