March Newsletter 2008

Hi Everyone.

Welcome to 2008 and the first Herbal Haven newsletter of the season.

We have had a couple of additions to the nursery over the winter months. The most exciting was the arrival of Zsuzsa’s baby Kiran in October. I don’t think after that ordeal there will ever be any complaints about anything being hard work again! He has been out on the nursery this spring keeping a watchful eye, from his pushchair, on his mum taking cuttings.

The second addition was another tunnel which went up in November. This has been divided internally into two sections, one side for basils, and the other side for cuttings. This will have a an automatic misting system installed, a bit of a luxury for us since we’ve managed so far with a propagator, with the cuttings misted by hand during the hotter months.

This spring we have Gaultheria Procumbens or wintergreen, as it is more commonly known, for sale. It is a low growing perennial that likes an acid soil with glossy leaves and red berries.
 

Wintergreen

When the berries are crushed they release an aroma that will be familiar with everyone, reminiscent of deep heat type products. This is because wintergreen oil is an anti inflammatory and is used externally in muscular liniments, and to reduce the pain and swelling associated with arthritis. The oil used in excess however is toxic causing liver and kidney damage. For those of you who need it, wintergreen leaves sprinkled around the home, especially when mixed with mint, are said to be good for removing hexes. Leaves placed under a child’s pillow will bring them happiness in life.


Angelica


Sorrel

Looking around the garden I can see there are enough leaves growing to make a decent fresh salad, angelica, chives, sorrel, fennel, sweet cicely, lemon balm, primrose flowers and dandelions. At this time of year dandelions are young, tender and not too bitter. They are used as a liver tonic and are a quite powerful diuretic, meaning they make you wee. The usual outcome of stimulating the kidneys is a loss of potassium from the body. This is why herbs are clever; dandelion has its own rich source of potassium. Dandelion can be made into a decoction using the roots, or as a tincture, or simply eaten fresh.


Sweet Violet

As it is Easter this month I thought I would include a recipe for something sweet which would use some of the flowers that are blooming at the moment, primarily primrose and sweet violets. Frosted these can be used to decorate cakes such as simnel cake traditionally made for Easter.
 

Primrose

You will need egg whites and caster sugar. Lightly whisk the egg whites and brush gently on each side of the flower. Dust the flower all over with the castor sugar, shaking gently to remove the excess. Place on greaseproof paper on a wire rack and leave until completely dry, round 1 to 3 hours. Store in an airtight plastic box.

Although we are selling at the local market, most of our shows begin on the Easter weekend. We will be in Suffolk, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire and London. Don’t forget though that you can buy your herbs on line now, and any problems we had with our payment solution have now been fixed. You are also able to buy a range of other herbal and medicinal products made by our resident herbal practitioner and friends.

That’s all for now, have a great Easter,

Lorraine.