The clocks go back next week and finally, after all the dark months, spring is ready to bring us back to life!
Its a great time to get outside, top up your Vitamin D levels, and find yourself some young plants full of vitamin C. Yesterday I went outside and took some deep breaths, inhaling the spring air. I went foraging and within a few minutes I had found some lesser celandine (Ficaria verna), cleavers (Galium aparine) and some young nettles (urtica dioica) in a marshy patch of wasteland near a river.
You can juice the sticking grass and young celandine straight away and young nettle (just the tops) can be used as a spinach replacement. Cook and add butter to the young nettle tops and add to your meal of the day!
A word of warning – make sure you identify your plants correctly with a little foraging book.. you don’t want to make mistakes!
Some of you will no doubt be suffering from the effects of lockdown. You may be feeling lonely, not being able to see you family or usual support network.
You could be feeling frustrated and irritated. And one of these reasons may be because you are not able to get outside, spend time with your friends, even meet more than a couple of your friends.
Or it might be that you are fighting an illness or have loved ones around you fighting battles that I know nothing about.
I just wanted to say I am here for you.
I am here, writing this blog, wondering if anyone sees it. I, too, am trying to pull myself out of all of the feelings that I have described. I share the same concerns. Asking myself how did we get here – how can we get out of this place and wondering if things will ever be the same.
So I have some ideas for you. Some new things for you to try.
My top tips.
Get outside. Walk in your own neighbourhood. Explore the parks. Find your nearest river or pond and explore it. Try and find frogs or frog spawn (in the UK), there are millions of new buds and flowers coming up now. Check for new plants, see if the little song birds are making their way back to your bird table.
Try something new! Find a new hobby – it could be photographing tiny things – using your camera or your phone. You could make something out of a material or fabric you know nothing about. You could dry drawing or painting – try Bob Ross on youtube. You could try and make or fix something – clothes, a pair of socks, an old chair seat or something that you know needs fixing but you haven’t got around to. Try and knit a pair of socks! You could even try and make cheese!
Above all, try and stay positive. The power of positivity is what will put you on the right path.
I was clearing through my medicinal herb patch when some motherwort that I had planted last year caught my eye. I collected and replanted the seeds, knowing that they need some cold weather the stratify them.
Medicinally, motherwort has many uses. It belongs to the mint family but has long history of medicinal use. We Herbalists consider it to be a ‘female’ plant, as it is particularly useful to use with female complaints.
As a plant, it has many actions. It is a highly regarded anti-spasmodic, reducing muscle spasms as well as promotes healthy blood circulation. Its an emmenagogue, regulating the female cycle and restoring normality. Motherwort benefits by cooling down the body with its anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, it is miraculous for women since it heals the reproductive system.
It is known to help relieve Menstrual Cramps. Motherwort can ease menstruation as well as menopause. It can help to regulate menstrual cycle irregularities and eases cramps. The herb increases the blood flow to the pelvic area. Menopause symptoms like hot flashes, anxiety and mood swings can also be eased with this herb.
Motherwort acts as a natural relaxant and can help with sleep problems. Healers have been using motherwort for treating anxiety for centuries. People with insomnia benefit from leonurus cardiaca as it is a natural sedative. Therefore, it works to calm your nerves and relax the senses.
It’s highly regarded as a Cardiovascular Tonic. As mentioned above, motherwort benefits by increasing blood flow in the body. A lot of heart diseases are a result of inadequate blood circulation. Studies have shown the effects of this herb on soothing heart palpitations as well as slowing down heartbeats. Therefore, motherwort is a potent cardiovascular tonic. By the same token, this herb can be of help for people that suffer from emotional heartache or a broken heart.
I’m going to start talking about ways to make yourself feel better and a little less anxious. Where being busy is the norm, I want you to understand that building in some downtime is equally important.
Let us talk about trying to unwind in the evening. Firstly, ensure you are getting enough sleep. Most people need between 6 and 8 hours of restful sleep a night. That means without interruption.
Try and start this by creating a relaxing bedtime ritual. Have a shower, do some meditation and move into a more relaxed state of mind. If you have children, try and put them to bed and have a little time to yourself before you go to bed.
Try not to look at your phone or a computer either in bed or in your bedroom before sleep. Make a conscious effort to remove electrical devices from near your head. If you charge your phone in your bedroom overnight, ensure it is charged at the other end of the room.
Make yourself a cup of relaxing tea; made from a collection of herbs that you may have grown yourself or bought from a shop. There are some lovely fragrant varieties available now.
My favourite at the moment is lavender and chamomile – both soporific and relaxing. I really like aromatic herbs in the evening to help me relax. Other herbal teas that help with sleep are lemon balm, rose petal and passionflower.