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.

 

Oct 032016
 

There are lots of herbs and spices that you’ll find growing in the wild, or in your kitchens, that make fast and effective remedies for coughs, colds and flu. They all, variously, have potent antibiotic, antiviral and antiseptic properties, and promote sweating (which is the body’s way of reducing temperature and fever). They’re soothing, comforting and taste good, too!

Ginger, lemon and honeylemons are placed with vitamin C

The classic herbal cold and flu remedy. It’s best to use fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale), chopped or grated (you don’t have to peel) and freshly squeezed lemon juice (Citrus limon). Make a tea with the ginger and leave to infuse for at least ten minutes before straining and adding honey and lemon juice. The stronger the better, but make to taste – the idea is to enjoy it!

liquorice, cloves and cinnamon add warmth to herbal teasCinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.), clove (Syzgium aromaticum) and cayenne (Capsicum frutescens)

Lovely warming spices that are so comforting when you are feeling cold and shivery. They stimulate circulation, warming you right down to the tips of your fingers and toes. Add to your infusion, as above.

Thyme and lemon balm

These are my favourite herbal teas to help relieve the muscular aches and pains you can get with colds and flu. I grow them in the garden, harvesting and drying in the summer. Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) helps too, and blends well with thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis).

Inhaling the vapours of aromatic herbal infusions is part of the healing and comforting process, by the way!

You can also add strong infusions (use about 25g dried herb) of thyme and rosemary to a bath to help relieve aching muscles and soothe the senses.

Sage (Salvia officinalis) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

The antiseptic and astringent properties of these garden herbs make them ideal for sore throats and infections. Use the cooled teas as a gargle. Thyme works well, too.

GarlicGarlic is a potent antimicrobial remedy

If you can bear it, garlic (Allium sativum) is one of the best herbal remedies for colds and flu. Its antimicrobial properties are unsurpassed. The best way to take it is to squeeze through a garlic press, or pound in a pestle and mortar, mix with honey (ideally local and organic), and eat it. Smelling it on your breath indicates that it has passed through your lungs, confirming its deep, penetrative action.

And finally, look after yourself…

Drink plenty of fluids such as herbal teas, and juices and smoothies made with antioxidant-packed berries. Cut out dairy products, as they are so mucous-forming. Keep warm. Rest as much as possible. And trust in the healing powers of nature and the body’s innate ability to heal itself, given the right support!

For more advice, take a look at the following blogs, which you can find by scrolling down the side panel entitled Herbal Ramblings Posts.

  •  ‘A soothing herbal remedy for coughs and sore throats’ : Make your own cough ‘n’ cold linctus using fresh elderberries and kitchen spices.
  • ‘Echinacea and the immune system’: Does it really work?
Sep 142014
 

elderberry, thyme and liquorice cough linctus made by medical herbalist Deanne Greenwood, who practices in Falmouth, Helston, Penzance and The Lizard in Cornwall.This weekend I’ve been gathering lush fat, juicy elderberries from around The Lizard here in Cornwall, to make Elderberry, Thyme & Liquorice cough linctus. Works wonders for sore throats, too, and as a general winter pick-me-up. Elderberries are packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants, and I’ve added 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’s utterly delicious, and it works! You can make your own elderberry linctus at home, adding in herbs such as ginger root, cinnamon or liquorice sticks to taste and for added medicinal purposes.

Here’s how to do it: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.

1. Place 500g elderberries in a saucepan. If you’re adding additional herbs such as chopped ginger root (no need to peel), cinnamon or liquorice sticks, tie these up firmly in a piece of muslin, on a long piece of string, and dunk them in with the berries.

2. Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and, when cool, remove the bag of herbs.

4. Squeeze the juice out of the berries through a jelly bag, or a sieve lined with a piece of muslin.

5. Add enough water to make the liquid up to 500ml.

6. Return to the pan, add 500g of granulated sugar and heat gently, stirring continuously, until all the sugar has dissolved.

7. Cover, allow to cool, stir in 2tbs of lemon juice and then pour into sterilised bottles. (You’ll have up to 750ml of linctus depending on how well you squeezed the berries.)

I find this keeps very well in the fridge for 2-3 months, providing you are rigorous with sterilisation.