Wow. What a tremendous day. Walked to the Bridge Centre and chatted with two ladies about making nettle tea before the class began, where I saw Anna again. We’ve met a few times at the druid group I go to and she helped us to learn a song at the White Night Festival of Learning at Hollingbury Hillfort in October: She’s a stunning woman.
First we had a cup of tea (a common thing for these all-women retreats/courses I notice… I tried elderflower tea. Quite mild and not really my cup of tea (pardon the pun). We then went for a walk. Plants found and discussed included:
Pine, elderflower, daisy, yarrow, plantain, goosegrass, pignut, selfheal (prunella), rosehip, ground ivy, wood violet, hypericum (st johns wort), marjoram, and comfrey wild parsnip. That’s not a complete list but it gives you an idea. All plants were found on one hill of the Sussex downs. Not all were edible but those that were we tasted; smelt, touched and took pictures of. I’m planning to compile a little Plant Idenification document with photographs and notes about taste/texture. I might even make it available for download/send it to people. My email address is under the Contact Me tab, if you’re interested.
Note: Some of these plants are poisonous, some can be ingested while others are for external use only. Some have berries which are edible but the seeds inside the berries are DEADLY. Please do not use this list as a safe-list, because it is NOT. Thanks. =)
We gathered these plants, including digging up three wild parsnips. Just the SMELL of them is AMAZING. To hold that tiny itty parsnip root in my hand and be able to smell the parsnip smell from a foot away.. I think the smell is even more pungent that the taste of our common parsnip we get in shops.
While they were being dug up, some of us tasted two types of tea that had literally left the centre as flasks of boiling water and the plants added as we walked along/found them. The first, nettle and elderflower tea, I liked the first, despite my dislike of elderflower tea alone. The pine smell is so.. it was really familiar. Smelt like an English winter’s day to me. As to the liquorice tea we had after; I’ve made my own tea from the root before and I drink fennel tea, which smells a lot like liquorice; however, this tea was a little strong for me personally.
We returned to make lunch. The stew included carrot, butternut squash, onion, potato, marjoram, fresh acorn flour, sweet chestnut, wood violet and plantain; among other things. All was served with locally baked bread.
As we finished our lunches, we were invited to pull a card from A Druid’s Oracle. My plant for the day was Chamomile; a plant relating to rest. I’ve not been sleeping terribly well (and I mean less well than usual) so I felt this was apt.
Then came the creation of ointment/balm/salve. We were shown how to make this with some of our herbs. Basically the one we made contains plants know for:
anti-inflammatory, stops bleeding, antiseptic, antistringent, heals nerve pains and bruises, gum abscesses, insect bites, puss-oozing wounds and helps knit skin cells together. Damn, I want me some more of this. I’m paranoid I’ll run out and I think when that happens I may just cry.
One of the most diverse plants we looked at is Yarrow. Blimey! Just looking at this Wikipedia article makes me want to go out and grab every yarrow plant I see! (Don’t do that by the way; we don’t want you picking the wrong stuff and dying, nor taking so much it can’t reproduce and grow successfully). And it’s in my ointment. Score. ❤
Just skim reading this makes me dizzy. And it’s in our ointment. Hurrah! If I suddenly get uber healthy; I can point you in the direction of the lady who made it with us so she can make a living.
“Amenorrhea, anti-inflammatory, bowels, bleeding, blood clots, blood pressure, blood purifier, blood vessels, catarrh, colds, chicken pox, circulation, contraceptive (unproven), cystitis, diabetes treatment, digestion, dyspepsia, eczema, fevers, flu’s, gastritis, glandular system, gum ailments, heartbeat, influenza, insect repellent, internal bleeding, liver, lungs, measles, menses, menorrhagia, menstruation, nipples, nosebleeds, piles, smallpox, stomach sickness, toothache, thrombosis, ulcers, urinary antiseptic, uterus, varicose veins, vision.”
Contraception made me laugh. But I mean LOOK AT THAT! It’s amazing!
Okay.. awe over. For now. 😛
To end our four hours together, one of the ladies who helped organise the day read us a story about a mouse.
I’ve found a copy of the story; it made us all smile.
Today was a taster session. If Anna and the organisers receive funding from the centre; there will be a course or two running for a longer period on various outdoor crafts including ointments, food, making fire, making string, voice and medicine workshops.
When I got home, I made a smoothie out of grapes, banana, berries and apple. Yum!
What new skills could you try out? What would you love to learn?