Gorse – Ulex europeaus – Herb for January 2017

Thank Heavens for this prickly but cheery plant!  It provides welcome colour to the countryside in an otherwise bleak and drab January.  On a sunny day, its little flowers can briefly transport me to a warmer climate with their sweet exotic coconut scent. Medicinally...

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Angelica archangelica – Angelica – Herb for October 2016

October’s herb is a beautiful giant plant: sweet-smelling and standing like a guardian angel in gardens across the world. Native to Syria, this plant has spread and naturalized in cooler countries such as Denmark, Germany, Belgium, France and occasionally Britain. It...

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Silybum marianum – Milk Thistle – Herb for September 2016

Try as I may, this pretty thistle has eluded me! It is our only thistle which has the milk white veins running along its dark green leaves. It is native to southwest Europe and introduced to Belgium, Holland, Denmark and the lowlands of Britain but as hard as I have...

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Rosa spp. – Rose – Herb of the month for August 2015

I could not let a British summer pass without giving a mention to the Rose.  Its sweet uplifting fragrance and delicate beauty has long held this plant close to our hearts. The phrase English Rose is still used today to describe the typical beauty of an English girl....

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Melissa officinalis – Lemon Balm – Herb for July 2015

Lemon balm is not one of our most beautiful herbs to look at, but what it lacks in appearance it certainly makes up for with its most wonderful sent. Its refreshing, light lemony fragrance encapsulates the warm summer days in which it flourishes, it makes a most...

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Viola odorata – Sweet Violet – Herb for April 2015

The translation of Viola odorata, the Latin name for the herb of the month, is "scented violet"; to me it is sweet, sweet violet. This shy little plant brings back beautiful childhood memories, picking a posey for my mum at Easter - indulging in the heady, sweet smell...

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Salix spp. – Willow – Herb for March 2015

There are 400 willow species in all, white willow being the most common, but herbalists prefer to use species such as purple osier, crack willow and violet willow, for they contain more salicin - the active compound found in all willows. This is one of our beautiful...

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Mahonia aquifolium – Herb for January 2015

Looking out across the bleak, sleepy, wintry Devon countryside, I was looking for some inspiration for this month’s herb and the first for 2015; nothing came to me, since all the berries are gone, as are most leaves and flowers, and roots won’t be collected until...

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Mistletoe (Viscum album) – Herb for December 2014

Welcome to my first herbal blog. Each month, I plan to introduce a different medical plant which can be gathered in that particular month. I will share with you its medical value and - where appropriate - its folklore history, culinary uses and any other useful...

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