September Newsletter 2008

Hi and welcome to Herbal Haven's September Newsletter.

 

Some new arrivals are imminent at Herbal Haven this month. Jade’s cat, Trinity, who is only a little thing, looks as if she has swallowed a football. The general consensus seems to be that she will probably have three kittens but we will have to wait and see.

 

This month also sees the departure of Ellie who looks after the stalls at all our local markets. She has got herself a place at drama school and so we must say goodbye and wish her all the best. Maybe we’ll see her on TV one of these days……..

 

It really feels as though autumn is upon us, there is that definite chill in the air early in the morning now. It is about now that basils need to be brought into the warmth. Make sure you put them on a sunny windowsill and keep pinching out any flowers that grow. These can be eaten too. Too late for the ones I had outside in a pot, they have already rotted away due to all the wet weather we’ve had during August.

 

Thymes that have been flowering over the summer need to be cut back now if they haven’t already been done. Any green leaf and flowers can be dried and stored. Made into a tea with honey is excellent for colds over the winter months. You can also make a strong tea from fresh or dried thyme and then add it to a warm footbath to help with fungal diseases such as athlete’s foot.

 

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Silves Market Herb Stall, Portugal

 

I went away to stay with a friend in Portugal just recently. She lives near a town called Silves, in the Algarve. Whilst I was visiting there was a week long medieval fair taking place filling the narrow cobbled streets around the castle. It was great to see a Portuguese herb stall. The herbs were all ones that we are familiar with. There was definitely no fennel as this grows like a weed on the sides of all the roads. There was a herbalist stall too. All the dried herbs and tea mixtures were home grown and prepared, including a big bunch of dried soapwort which I mentioned in last months newsletter. My friend suggested I could come with the herbs, have the daytimes free to lounge on the beach and then work in the evenings when the fair is open. Very tempting but I’m not sure how much the herbs would like sitting in the van for two and a half days, especially when the temperature is in the high twenties. Actually, I think they would have the shock of their lives even feeling temperatures that high!!

 

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Toadflax

 

The weekend before last I was at a show near Thame in Oxfordshire. I tend to do a fair bit of walking outside show hours with the dogs and there I found the Pheonix trail which runs along the course of the old railway line that used to link Thame with Princes Risborough now shared by walkers, cyclists and horse riders http://www.phoenixtrail.ontheinter.net/ . Growing all along the trail was Toadflax (linaria vulgaris). This is a beautiful little plant with yellow snapdragon flowers. It has quite a long history though it isn’t used as much now. It was employed for its action on the liver, for reducing inflammation by causing tissue to contract, for cleansing boils, sores and wounds, secretion of bile and as a blood cleanser. It is a good laxative causing severe evacuation. Nice! It is recommended that this herb is only used by a qualified practitioner as the plant is thought to be slightly toxic and therefore dose is critical. The flowers yield a yellow dye and a tea made from the flowers has insecticidal properties. Even if you don’t use toadflax, it is worth having just for the flowers, it will spread but doesn’t grow very tall and, as it is perennial, will be there every year.

 

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Phoenix Trail

 

Think that’s about it for this month. Let’s hope we don’t get too much rain.

 

As always feel free to email with any comments, recipes or suggestions.

 

Lorraine.