Wild Weed Wisdom

Nurture Your 'Inner Wild' with Foraged Edible and Medicinal Plants

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Make Your Own Herbal Remedy: Workshop – Friday, May 17

Want to learn how to make an herbal tincture? This Friday morning join me in some hands-on tincture-making. I’ll provide a selection of dried herbs (some herbs work better dried, others fresh – we’ll talk about this on Friday), and you bring a number of small jars and your own alcohol of choice – or buy some from me if that’s more convenient. Possible herbs include: Arnica, Vitex Berry, Cramp Bark, Gotu Kola, Pau d’Arco, Rhodiola, Shatavari, Tumeric, Yarrow.

We’ll also process a number of my own herbs that are ready to be poured-off. This is a great way to learn what to do when your own tincture has ‘matured’, as well as being a fine introduction to many medicinal herbs and their healing properties. You’ll get a chance to sample each tincture as well.

This workshop will take place at my home, and my apprentices will also be there for additional assistance. Spaces are limited, and reserved for those who have pre-paid.

Please RSVP by bank transfer to L J Akse Kelly, INGB 0755 5451 33

Date: Friday, May 17
Time: 10:00 to 12:00
Fee: €15 to reserve your space . Please fill out the contact form. At the workshop, you’ll buy your chosen herbs to tincture. After you RSVP, I’ll send details with my address and phone number.Image



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Coming Up: Weed Walks (June dates to be announced)

Young Horsetail

What’s growing right now? What special properties do these plants offer us? When is the best time to gather? What parts can I eat or use for medicine? We’ll explore all this and more – come on out! This is an informal introduction to the many useful plants that surround us.

We’ll meet by the children’s pool, where there are plenty of benches to relax until it’s time to head out. Feel free to bring your camera and notebook to record your discoveries. We’ll explore the park and finish in the Artsensijhof – a traditional formal herb garden – where if you wish to stay longer, you can continue learning about our herbal allies.

Cost: 8

The Walk is about 1.5 hours and will be rescheduled in case of rain. (the May 17 walk has been rescheduled as rain is forecast)


Coltsfoot Again

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Coltsfoot Again

Just had to show you what a joyful face this little flower has.

The leaves will appear when the flower fades… meaning, at the moment, there is just an asparagus-like stalk under the flower head – so any other leaf you see in this photo is NOT part of the Coltsfoot flower!


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Coltsfoot in Flower

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Coltsfoot in Flower

Today was a warm and sunny day and everywhere the little Coltfoot faces looked up to shine back.

And, what a good year for Coltsfoot! I’ve never seen them so profuse as this year…

The herbalist Maria Treben has suggested making a cold-infusion with Coltsfoot flowers for use against coughs and sore throats. Only pick a few flower-heads at a time, from unsullied locations, and not all from one spot… I take just one flower from each bunch I see, and usually not more than 5-7 flowers in a day.

Coltsfoot Infusion/Tea:  Let the fresh-or-dried flowers soak overnight in a pot of cold water. A small handful (7 flowers or so) should be enough. Next morning, heat the water until it is just past lukewarm, never to boiling. Pour into a thermos to sip throughout the day… honey optional.


Herbal Sleep and Dream Pillows

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Herbal Sleep and Dream Pillows

By using certain blends of herbs and flowers, kids can easily make their own customized dream pillow, which, in theory, enhances sleep, creates vivid and meaningful dreams, or gives relief from nightmares. Research has shown that herbs, flowers, and essential oils can indeed have a positive effect on our ability to relax, and even on our very dreams.
In many cultures, little pillows filled with relaxing herbs were tucked-in along with children at bedtime to calm and comfort them during the night. Of course, for safety reasons, these pillows should be very small, and kept away from a baby’s face. The herbs used here are subtler than in a potpourri. If traditions hold true, these little sleep pillows will promote a deeper, more restful sleep, and keep bad dreams at bay.
Instructions for Herbal Sweet-Dreams Pillow:
A quick and easy way to make pretty dream pillows is to buy 100% cotton, pocket-style baby wash cloths. If you wish, decorate with water-proof paint or marker, or embroider them with a monogram, add a felt patch, or whatever suits your fancy. Fill them with dried herbs, and sew the edge closed.
Herbs for Dream Pillows
Anise: Use against nightmares – in small quantities.
Calendula: For restful sleep.
Catnip: Restful sleep. Perfect for babies and children.
Cedar: Shields bad dreams.
Chamomile: Relaxing and sweet dreams.
Hops: Deep sleep and healing.
Lavender: To de-stress, relax and rejuvenate. Lavender is good in an herbal blend or on its own.
Lemon Balm: Well known to  banish anxiety and insomnia, as well as headaches and stress.
Mugwort: Energy-field protection.
Mullein: Guards against nightmares.
Rose petals: For loving, peaceful dreams.
Rosemary: Protection against bad dreams; use just a bit, as it has a strong aroma.




Always a good idea to give resident critters a chance to flee your harvest!

Wildcrafting – gathering plant material from it’s native “wild” environment – is becoming much more popular as an alternative source of food and medicine.

While in many ways nature-based herbal medicines and wild food foraging is ecologically sound – reducing carbon output, reducing chemical use, and, especially, reducing the immense drug-burden (from excreted pharmaceuticals) on soil and water-tables – there is still an impact, especially when there are simply more foragers at large, or if harvesting is done in a non-sensitive manner (trampling plants, pulling then up by the roots, over-harvesting, using endangered plants, simply – not being aware).

Responsible wildcrafting means to ethically harvest those plants which are most prolific and regenerative (dandelion, burdock, cleavers, for example) with the least amount of negative environmental impact.

Many wildcrafters have, or develop, a deep sense of kinship with the plants and surroundings, and make an effort for the protection and sustainability of natural areas. Equally important is an awareness of the ecological and personal relationship between individuals and our sacred Mother, Earth.

If I may, here are few suggestions:

Take the time you need to closely observe your surroundings over the course of days, months and years. That way you’ll know which plants are readily abundant, when they are in harvesting season, and which plants to protect. You’ll also form a respectful, friendly – even loving, relationship with the plants. Allow them to enter into your heart.

Be discreet. Others who witness you plucking plants may go ahead and do the same, but without your awareness and knowledge – especially children, who so love plants but also need some guidance on which are safe to eat, which flowers are abundant for picking, etc.

Know which plants are on the endangered list.

Harvest plants with a sense of respect and gratitude. Do so when in a calm emotional state, so you can stay aware.

Give back to nature in some way, and share your knowledge with other like-minded people. Try to join herbal walks with an experienced guide. Go out on your own, with not one, but two identification books, and look up one or two (or more) selected plants carefully. Touch the plants, smell them, talk to them, listen. If you know the plant is safe to eat, have a nibble. The greater the hands-on experience, the more you’ll remember.

A well-trained wildcrafter will avoid damage or depletion of our natural heritage, and she or he is integral in passing on the herbal knowledge of those who have come before them. If this is you, we need you, and our children need you.