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Sep 292019
 

After completely selling out of my first batch of Elderberry, Thyme & Liquorice Linctus last week, I set off in search of more elderberries this weekend. And lo, I found random clutches  of even lusher and more succulent berries (wouldn’t have thought possible), tucked away in Godolphin Woods. They were not easy to find, but Mother Nature did, slowly but surely, give them up, until my bags were overflowing.  Just look at these beauties – absolute jewels!

So I will soon have more linctus for those who missed out last week, and hopefully enough to last through most of the winter.

As I said in my previous post… it’s great stuff for coughs, colds, sore throats, and as a general winter tonic. Elderberries are packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants. I add tincture of thyme for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, and tincture of liquorice as it’s a great expectorant for bringing up phlegm, and also a soothing demulcent for sore throats and chests.

It tastes delicious – and it works!

Sep 292019
 

Had a fantastic weekend gathering winter fruits from the garden and beyond.

First and foremost, got a load more elderberries (top right) – even fatter and lusher than the last lot, I think. That’s probably it for this year, as I didn’t see any more still-ripening berries. Gathering helped by husband, hindered by three dogs (in various ways!) Most of tomorrow will now be taken up making more Elderberry, Thyme & Liquorice Linctus.

Then we gathered hawthorn berries (top centre), which I will macerate and add to my hawthorn blossom tincture made in the spring, making a most fulsome blend for healing the heart on a physical and emotional level, among other things.

Also collected and examined the fallen sweet chestnuts (bottom left), but the nuts were not quite ripe, so we left for the squirrels. They usually ‘come to fruition’ after the horse chestnuts. They’re delicious roasted.

And oh the blackberries (top left), still in such abundance. Combined with apples from the garden (bottom right), and drizzled with honey from my neighbour’s bees, they make the most divine apple & blackberry crumble, completely devoid of any refined sugar! Picking of these also hindered by three dogs, who will keep sticking their heads in the bags and eating the blackberries as fast as we can pick them, even though they’re perfectly capable of picking their own!

There were even a few more raspberries (bottom centre) to gather, in the garden, which were quickly scoffed (by husband and self – no dogs!)

The horse chestnuts (centre) came courtesy of my dear friend Lisa and her kids, who have been collecting them for me for the past week. Beautiful shiny, succulent things, already macerating in buckets in my kitchen, to produce the most amazing remedy for the relief of varicose veins, among other uses.

To add to the bounty, husband caught squid and mackerel yesterday – not pictured because we ate those last night. And very yummy they were too.

I love this time of year. Like I love every time of year. There is always something nature has to offer.

Sep 262019
 

Fresh, handpicked elderberries from The Lizard in Cornwall, gathered by medical herbalist Deanne Greenwood, to make elderberry, thyme and liquorice cough linctus. Deanne Greenwood practices in Falmouth, Helston, Penzance and The Lizard in Cornwall.I’ve just finished making this year’s Elderberry, Thyme & Liquorice Linctus – amazing stuff for coughs, colds, sore throats, and as a general winter tonic… Elderberries are packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants, and I add tincture of thyme for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, and tincture of liquorice as it’s a great expectorant for bringing up phlegm, and also a soothing demulcent for sore throats and chests. It tastes delicious – and it works!

This year there were some exceptionally fat and juicy berries for me to pick (alongside masses of similarly lush berries and fruits, including blackberries, hawthorn berries, horse chestnut and sweet chestnut, which I’ve also been collecting). But elderberries are particularly time-consuming to prepare, and I didn’t have time to make as much linctus as I usually do.

First of all, I make sure all my utensils and bottles are sterilised, as this stuff quickly goes off if you get any bacteria in it. Then I pick the elderberries, getting stung by nettles and scratched by brambles along the way, but then I’m used to that in my line of work! Next comes the painstaking separation of the ripe ‘n’ ready berries from the still green ones, and the shrivelled up ones, on each panicle. Then I make the syrup – ensuring I don’t over heat it and lose some of its medicinal properties. Once cool, the tinctures of thyme and liquorice are added, and the resultant elixir bottled and labelled.

This year, I factored in the manpower, i.e. the number of hours it took me to do all this, paying myself £18 an hour, whereas previously it’s been more a labour of love. Although a lot of love has still gone into it, because I love what I do, and herbal medicines prepared with love always have the edge when it comes to healing properties.

elderberry, thyme and liquorice cough linctus made by medical herbalist Deanne Greenwood, who practices in Falmouth, Helston, Penzance and The Lizard in Cornwall.So I’m charging more for my linctus this year: £8.50 for a 200ml bottle.

You can, of course, make your own Elderberry Linctus, using culinary herbs such as ginger root, cinnamon and/or liquorice sticks in place of the thyme and liquorice tinctures I use. You’ll find a recipe for it in a website blog I wrote way back in 2015. Click here.

 

Sep 042019
 

It was heartening to see an article in The Guardian Sports pages this week, revealing that a number of professional sportspeople are taking CBD oil to help them cope with anxiety, pre-competition nerves, winding down after a game, and also for pain management. They include golfers Charley Hoffman and Lucas Gover, and rugby players George Kruis and Dominic Day. “The reason we use it is because it’s natural and organic,” says Day, “and the alternative is prescription medication.”

This is exactly why so many people use herbal medicine in general. It is natural, effective and safe, and does not have the debilitating side effects that many prescription drugs have.

Cannabis is, of course, a medicinal plant, with cannabidiol (CBD) being one of its active constituents. It has long been known to have amazing medicinal, therapeutic properties, and I have had many patients over the years who have told me how much it has helped with a wide range of health problems, from arthritis to multiple sclerosis and cancer. They often use it alongside other medicinal plants to help them achieve and maintain optimum quality of life.

 Posted by at 4:33 pm
Sep 012019
 

The latest news that definitive new research shows that the risk of developing breast cancer from taking HRT is double what women have previously been told, is heartbreaking and terrifying. For all those who have already died, their family and friends, and for those who have and/or are still, taking HRT. For this latest piece of research also reveals that the risks not only increase the longer you take HRT, but also continue long after you stop taking it.

Meanwhile, organisations such as the British Menopause Society, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now appear to be doing their best to downplay the statistics, insisting that “for most women” HRT is helpful and safe, and that this latest research helps women make informed decisions regarding HRT….

I’d like to reiterate my personal view:

  1. Women going through menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, don’t actually need HRT. Our bodies drastically reduce oestrogen production at this time, because we don’t need so much of it any more. Therefore it doesn’t need replacing. This latest research confirms the findings of lots of previous research: that replacing natural hormones that our bodies no longer naturally produce, with synthetic versions, can be harmful. Logically and rationally, that has always made sense to me.
  2. There are natural ‘alternatives’ to helping you through the sometimes difficult menopausal transition. There are many medicinal plants, used by Medical Herbalists such as myself, that can help support the body and re-establish balance so that it gradually adjusts to the next phase of life with minimal trauma. And there are specific plants that can help relieve specific symptoms of the menopause – without causing harm! These are usually most effective when used in combination with other medicinal plants, and are best selected by a qualified medical herbalist for optimal results.
  3. Diet and lifestyle can make a huge difference to a woman’s transition through menopause.
  4. For further info and help, please visit my website, deannegreenwood.com and/or my sister website, www.naturalhelpformenopause.uk

TESTIMONIALS

I have many glowing testimonies from women who have worked with me, and used herbal medicine, to help them through the menopausal transition. I published one last week, as part of my blog response to the HRT shortage ‘crisis’ that was all over the media. Here are a couple more:

“It is amazing how different I feel, my husband keeps commenting how much calmer and nicer I am, more like my old self. I actually feel different, calmer more focussed, happier etc. The hot flushes are getting fewer and fewer, I don’t have any in the evening and just a few overnight. Plus it’s incredibly hot in our house at the moment and I am sleeping!!. I think what you have done is amazing, thank you.”  GS

“I sought Deanne out when I’d had one too many sleepless nights. I’ve always preferred the natural route, so in the early hours of one morning, instead of lying there staring at the ceiling, I googled ‘natural help for menopause’ and up popped Deanne. Thank God! Since I’m in Sussex and she’s in Cornwall, we worked together remotely. Deanne was very thorough in taking my history and asking many questions for clarification and to build a picture of me. Within days I had my first bottle of herbal meds. Deanne was very attentive and always responded to questions or concerns arising, quickly! She made one or two adjustments to the formulation and, honestly, my life has changed! Within a month or two my sleep was greatly improved and hot flashes reduced to very occasional. I am so grateful. There’s little worse than continuous disturbed sleep over the long term. My experience of Deanne is that she’s knowledgeable, professional and efficient – but most importantly, she solved my problem.” VP

 Posted by at 4:39 pm
Aug 242019
 

National media was today proclaiming the shocking news that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is being rationed in the UK until 2020, due to short supply!

For many women taking HRT, this news is likely to send the number of hot flushes, and any other symptoms they are experiencing, sky rocketing, as stress and anxiety are major exacerbators of symptoms associated with menopause. And that’s before they are forced to curtail their dosage.

Medical professionals are ‘demanding that the government take action’, and the British Menopause Society are providing updates on stock supplies of the various brands of HRT….

Yet among all the scaremongering, I have seen scant reassurance for women that this isn’t the end of the world, and that there are alternatives.

So I’d like to point out that:

  1. Women going through menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, don’t actually need HRT. Our bodies drastically reduce oestrogen production at this time, because we don’t need so much of it any more. Therefore it doesn’t need replacing. In fact, much research and opinion indicates that replacing natural hormones that our bodies no longer naturally produce, with synthetic versions, can be harmful. Logically and rationally, that makes sense to me.
  2. There are natural ‘alternatives’ to helping you through the sometimes difficult menopausal transition. There are many medicinal plants, used by Medical Herbalists such as myself, that can help support the body and re-establish balance so that it gradually adjusts to the next phase of life with minimal trauma. And there are specific plants which can help relieve specific symptoms of the menopause, without causing harm. These are usually most effective when used in combination with other medicinal plants/herbs. The choice of herbs should be based on the individual, and is best made by a qualified Medical Herbalist for optimal results.
  3. Diet and lifestyle can make a huge difference to a woman’s transition through menopause.
  4. For further info and help, please visit my website, deannegreenwood.com and/or my sister website, www.naturalhelpformenopause.uk

Here’s my latest testimony from a patient I helped through menopause. I have many others, some of which appear on my website:

I was referred to Deanne after feeling generally exhausted, anxious and depressed. I was amazed how thorough our first appointment was. I realised that the hot flushes, night sweats resulting in poor sleep and anxiety, which I’d been trying to cope with for several years, were all part of the menopause – and that there is a herbal solution. I didn’t want to take HRT or similar drugs, so the symptoms had been gradually exhausting me. It took several weeks, but the herbal medicine reduced my anxiety and hot flushes, helping me to have a better night’s sleep. After a year of taking the herbal medicine, I’ve now been off it 6 months, my menopause symptoms have gone. I only wish I’d gone to see Deanne years before, when the symptoms first started. It would have saved years of exhaustion.”

Tracey, 58 years

 

 

Jul 092019
 
So just for a change, I thought I’d write about an extremely poisonous plant growing in my garden.

Monkshood

This deceptively beautiful plant is called monkshood (Aconitum napellus). Also known as wolfsbane, devil’s helmet, queen of poisons – and aconite. The poison is concentrated in the root. It’s a potent and fast-acting neurotoxin and cardiotoxin, so symptoms (prior to death!) include blurred vision, tremors and seizures, cardiac arrest – that sort of thing. It’s said to have been used by many ancient civilisations and tribes, from the Romans to tribes in China, Japan and India, often to poison the tips of spears and arrows. The name wolfsbane is said to originate from it being used to kill wolves.  

Murder!

There are many tales of it poisoning people. However, according to The Poison Garden website, the only well-established case of murder with aconite was in 1881 when a doctor poisoned his brother-in-law. But there have been a few documented cases of accidental death and murder from ingesting it in the 21st century!

Aconite cream

Aconite, as it is best known to herbalists and homeopaths, does have therapeutic properties. It may be used externally, in a cream or ointment, for painful conditions such as rheumatism, sciatica and neuralgia. It’s safe to take orally in homeopathic form (homeopathic tinctures and tablets contain only a ‘memory’ of a substance).  When using it as a cream, certain precautions need to be taken, like not using it on broken skin.

Wildflower garden

I only cultivate monkshood because it is such a stunning plant, you’ll be pleased to know – as you can see in the photo. This year, I have planted wildflower seed all around it, and can’t wait to see what other colours are going to pop up around it. (I’ll post photos when they do!)
Apr 222019
 

Hi! I have been a bit off grid, due to moving house – to somewhere wild and beautiful, and bursting with medicinal plants – hence no herbals posts for a while. But today I gathered my first crop of the season from the garden – loads of lush cleavers (Galium aparine) that literally wrapped itself around me. (It’s very sticky – aka ‘sticky willy’; also goosegrass!)

Oh how I love this plant for its detoxifying and immune-boosting properties. Perfect for a herbal spring detox.

 Posted by at 9:06 pm