Botanicals

Bay

Just like the other aromatic herbs that we have covered in our herb explorations so far, Bay (Laurus nobilis) not only enhances the flavour of our dishes but helps us to digest them. Culinary herbs, such as Sage, Rosemary, Thyme and Bay all have properties that help stimulate our digestion and helps calm the stomach, easing gas and cramps. These herbs, including Bay also help to ease symptoms of coughs and colds.

Bay leaves have been used therapeutically for thousands of years. Like Lavender, Bay leaves contain Linalool a compound with relaxing properties when inhaled. Bay is also an antirheumatic and can help ease arthritic aches and pains.

Bay is associated with the Sun. Symbolically it represents triumph and victory. Thought to arise from Greek mythology, the laurel wreath, made of Bay leaves has long been used to crown successors from sports events to graduates. The term ‘laureato’ in Italian, referring to a student that has graduated. The evergreen is also thought to protect the home.


Ways to enjoy Bay

  1. Like the other culinary herbs, fresh or dried Bay leaves can be added to many dishes to enhance the flavour and help improve digestion.
  2. Steep a couple of Bay leaves in boiling water to enjoy its soothing properties. Leave for 10 minutes and enjoy as a tea.
  3. Burning dried Bay leaves can help calm the mind and body.
  4. Make a decoction of Bay leaves by gently boiling a handful in water for around 30 minutes and then add the water into a bath to help arthritic pain. Alternatively heat leaves gently in an oil such as sunflower to infuse and once cool enough, rub into sore muscles.

We always love to hear your favourite uses for herbs too, please feel free to leave us a comment.

When working with any plants it is important to do your own research to ensure they work for you. Bay is not recommended during pregnancy.

Botanicals

Rosemary

As another warming evergreen, Rosemary is a wonderful Winter ally and complements Thyme extremely well. Both of these herbs bring great benefits to our health, as well as attracting wildlife to our garden during Spring and Summer months.

The name Rosemary is derived from the Latin – Ros marinus meaning ‘dew of the sea‘ as it tends to grow in close proximity to the sea in its native area of the Mediterranean.

Rosemary is a circulatory stimulant that increases blood flow to the brain. It has long been recognised for its positive impact on memory and cognition. Various research has demonstrated that smelling Rosemary improves memory and performance in mental arithmetic.

The stimulating qualities also benefit the hair and scalp, increasing hair growth and shine and its wealth of antioxidants support skin, heart and joint health.

As a nervine, Rosemary can help ease tension in the stomach and stress related headaches, as well as supporting mental fatigue, stress and depression. In one study, workers who began drinking Rosemary tea regularly, reported feeling significantly less burned out compared with colleagues who didn’t drink the tea.


Ways to enjoy Rosemary

  • Rosemary adds a delicious touch to meals – we especially love it with roasted potatoes and a vegetable stew.
  • Rosemary tea is a simple way to enjoy its benefits. Steep a few stems in boiling water. It can be drunk alone or combined with Thyme for extra uplifting support especially for colds and respiratory illnesses.
  • Inhaling the steam of Rosemary can be both uplifting and energising and help soothe tension headaches.
  • Rosemary makes a wonderful hair rinse. You can either steep the Rosemary in boiling water and use cooled for a final rinse or infuse the Rosemary in apple cider vinegar for a few weeks, strain and dilute for an extra nourishing hair rinse.
  • Rosemary makes a warming joint rub, when infused in a nourishing oil and rubbed into aching joints and muscles.
  • Rosemary has long been used as an incense, it has a beautiful aroma and can be burned for protection, cleansing a space or in remembrance of a loved one.

When working with any plants it is important to do your own research to ensure they work for you. Rosemary is not recommended during pregnancy above culinary use and is not recommended for use when taking certain medications.

Botanicals

Thyme for tea

The Winter months can be a good time to really reconnect with some of our evergreen aromatic garden herbs. This month I have found myself particularly drawn to using Thyme, so thought it would be nice to begin a herbal journey focusing on it.

Thyme is thought to derive its name from the Greek words ‘thymos’ meaning strong and ‘thyein’ meaning to make a burnt offering, highlighting its ancient use as an incense.

Thyme is rich in the active ingredient ‘thymol’ which has powerful antiseptic properties. So much so, the compound has been isolated and used in high doses in a range of commercial products including medical disinfectants.

Thyme is a warming and dry herb that has long been used to help respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis, asthma and mouth conditions such as gum disease. Its astringent and decongestant properties support the clearing of excess mucous from the body.

It is also celebrated for its support of the digestive system, helping with indigestion, diarrhoea, gas and calming the stomach, particularly symptoms of nervous tension in the gut.

As a nervine, Thyme has been used to help support physical and mental exhaustion, relieve tension, anxiety and depression and externally this warming herb can offer relief for joint and muscle pain, cleaning and wound healing.

How I like to enjoy Thyme currently:


  1. My favourite way to enjoy Thyme is simply in a tea. Steeping a few stems in boiling water for around 10 minutes, I enjoy drinking thyme solo, or mixed with other herbs or a spoon of honey. You can also gargle with this tea when you have a sore throat.
  2. Thyme can also be effective when used for steam inhalation to clear airways and uplift our senses. Add thyme either solo or with other herbs to a bowl of boiling water. Allow to steep under a towel for 10 minutes. Then begin to gently breath in the steam with your head under the towel for up to 10 minutes.
  3. I love adding Thyme to a range of dishes including tomato sauces, to roasted vegetables and soups and stews.
  4. One of Thyme’s oldest uses is as an incense. It can be thrown into a fire, popped on top of a wood burner or left to dry and then burned to obtain the healing smoke. I like to add it in to smoulder sticks. My recent Winter Allies Smoulder Stick was woven with thyme and other evergreens.
  5. The other way I have used Thyme recently is in a multipurpose cleaner, which is simply a selection of evergreens infused in white vinegar, left for 2 weeks and then strained and diluted 1:1 with distilled water.


We would love to hear the ways in which you enjoy using Thyme. As with all plants it is always important to do your own research. Thyme and certain other herbs are not recommended for use in pregnancy.

Foraging, Wheel of the Year

Lammas Tea Blend

We hope that you have been able to find some time and space to connect with the new season of Lammas – also thought of as high Summer or the birth of Autumn.

One of the ways I like to connect to a new season is by creating a tea blend that seems to hold the energy of the season in the plants that I blend.

In celebration of Lammas and the abundance of edible & medicinal plants available at this time of year, we created this vibrant and flower filled mix that we enjoyed drinking in our garden around a fire last night. It was not only visually pleasing but delicious too!

Botanicals

Yarrow and Rose bud Smudge Sticks

Yarrow feels especially abundant this year. This delicate yet mighty wildflower has been used extensively in herbal medicine due to its wealth of therapeutic properties. Ruled by Venus, Yarrow has also long been entwined with myth and magic. Perhaps most notably, the belief that if a handful of the plant was placed under a pillow, it would reveal a person’s future love mate within a dream.

Burning Yarrow is thought to bring courage, dispel fear and heal deep wounds. These qualities seemed to lend themselves to the creation on a Smudge Stick to encourage feelings of self love, connection and heart healing. Teamed with a whole rose bud to offer gentle nurturing and healing, Mallow flowers to protect and Lavender and wild Chamomile to ground, relax and help us to open our hearts.

This was a wonderful team of plants to work with. There are just two of these beauties now available in our Etsy shop.

*As of 20/08/20 we have changed the name of our sticks to ‘Smoulder sticks.’ You can read more about our decision regarding this here.