The Mevagissey Soapery's Makers Blog

Understanding Hedgerows...

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How many of us have gone outside and looked, i mean really looked at the flowers growing in our hedgerows, i can quite easily say i havent, i have always looked and appreciated the beauty of nature and even though i have always had an interest in herbalism, as i have mentioned previously, but it wasnt until recently when i started my course, that i actually looked and realised that most of the delicate little blooms that we now take for granted have been used since medieval times if not before, in medicine, in one form or another.

Its almost like someone has removed the blinkers from my eyes and I can quite easily say that going on a walk or a drive has now taken on a new role, i cant go anywhere without noticing different flowers and there's nothing more frustrating than driving down the A30 or the M5 knowing i cant stop, to see what that flower is. I have noticed the most beautiful wild orchids, just sat there at the side of the road, and i cannot stop to appreciate them or take a quick photo so i can research and record them. Herbalism has taken over the rest of my life, and i only had a small amount left, what with running a full time business and a family. Its all consuming, i have found a hunger i never thought i had, something thats deep routed in my history, i know that sounds strange but its how i feel right now.

For example lets take the humble Bramble, we all recognise it for its invasive and strangling hold on our garden and spend half our lives cutting it back & killing it off, but yet we love it for its luscious fruits, which we use in puddings, deserts and alcohol, yet did you know: The leaves, root bark and roots contain relatively large amounts of tannins with astringent properties and have been used internally as herbal remedies to treat digestive ailments such as diarrhoea, dysentery and gastroenteritis. Traditional uses also include the treatment of illnesses and ailments such as bleeding, slow healing wounds, fever, inflammation, cystitis, gout, infertility, vaginal discharge, flu, colds and cough. Externally the blackberry leaves have been used to treat eczema and other rashes, acne, oily skin, injuries, haemorrhoids, fungal infections and pain and itch of insect bites and stings. 

Also the other persecuted flower the Dandelion, again the bain of many gardeners lives, yet this little ray of sunshine offers the first spring food for all bees and other nectar drinking insects, but for us it has so many other properties, herbal remedies can be made from the leaves of the dandelion which can used as a diuretic, it is also used in the treatment of high blood pressure which it accomplishes by reducing the total volume of fluid present in the body at any time. As a detoxification agent, the root of the dandelion herb is considered to be one of the most effective and beneficial herbal remedies. The waste products accumulated in the liver and the gall bladder are removed by this herbal remedy and it principally affects the functioning of the liver and the gallbladder. The kidneys are also stimulated by the dandelion at the same time and it enables the rapid removal toxins through the urine produced. 

I have to admit, as you can probably tell, i am blown away by what i have learned, and my drive to learn more has quadrupled, i will post the full monographs later, plus many more as i learn about them. Our hedgerows are so valuable not just for supporting life for all the birds and animals but in teaching us about the history we have forgotten, when i was researching courses, and where was best to study, i asked a group on facebook, about the best herbalism course, and i was shocked by the reply, they said they didnt deal with the hockey pokey they dealt with the scientific, that spoke volumes to me.

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