Category: Blog

Elderberry ‘Rob’

This autumn booster is the second of our seasonal recipes for the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ and is taken from ‘Healing Drinks’.

The autumn is a great time to make use of the glut of fruit that might otherwise go to waste and drinks made from apples, pears, plums, blackberries and elderberries are packed with vitamins and minerals and provide vital nutrients for the immune system, preparing us well for the onslaught of winter and the ills it may bring.  Spices added to enhance the flavour of the fruit have the extra benefit of stimulating the circulation, keeping us warm as the weather turns colder.  This recipe also works well with other fruit such as blackberries and blackcurrants.

Ingredients:

450g (1lb) fresh elderberries
450g (1lb) brown sugar

How to make:

Strip the berries from their stems, wash and then crush them.  Place in a pan with the sugar.  Bring slowly to the boil and simmer until a syrupy consistency is reached.  Pass through a sieve and bottle in clean, airtight bottles.

How to use:

Take 1-2 tablespoons in a cup of hot water regularly as a preventative or at the onset of cold symptoms.

How to make herbal teas

Quite often we suggest that patients take teas of a particular herb or spice – but just how do you make herbal tea without a tea bag?

To prepare herbal tea you need either a teapot, or a small pan and a sieve.  In general use about 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb (or 4 teaspoonfuls of fresh) to 600ml (1 pint) of water, but you can vary the amount according to taste.

For ‘soft’ herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme and lemon balm

When using the soft parts of a herb, such as the flower, stems or leaves, place the herb in a warm teapot and pour over the boiling water.  Cover and leave to stand for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the hot water to extract the medicinal components from the plant.

For ‘hard’ herbs such as cinnamon bark, coriander seeds or ginger root

When using the hard parts of the herb or spice – the seeds, bark or roots – greater heat is required to extract the constituents.  You will need to place them in a pan with cold water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  Strain and sweeten with honey, if needed.

Taken from ‘Healing Drinks’ by Anne McIntyre

English Blackberry Cordial

English Blackberry Cordial (from Healing Drinks)

The hedgerows are bursting with ripening blackberries and elderberries so we will be sharing a few seasonal recipes to harness these (free!) wonder berries.

This sweet spicy cordial is delicious enough to be loved by children and helps the body to fight infection and to throw off fevers at the same time.  Blackberries are packed with vitamin C and bioflavonoids, they have a decongestant action and clear toxins from the body through their laxative and diuretic effects.  The spices increase sweating by stimulating the circulation and have powerful anti-microbial properties.

Ingredients:

900g (2lb) ripe blackberries (or enough to produce 600ml/1 pint of juice)
6 tablespoons of runny honey
10 cloves
5 slices fresh root ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

How to make:

Press the ripe, raw blackberries through a sieve to obtain the juice.  Place the juice in a pan and add the honey and spices.

Bring to a boil over a low heat, stirring until the honey has dissolved.   Simmer for 5 minutes.

Leave to cool and store in a cool place away from light.

How to use:

Drink diluted to taste with hot water.  Drink a cupful every 2 hours as needed.

Valldemossa itinerary

We are so excited with all the interest in our inaugural Valldemossa long weekend (hopefully this will be the first of many!) and are now pleased to be able to share the itinerary with you:

Thursday 5th November:

Arrive at Palma airport, transfer from airport to Valldemossa where you will have a chance to settle in before our welcome meeting, drinks and dinner at the Food Lab.

Friday 6th November:

Each morning students will be collected from Sa Torres before we have breakfast together at the Food Lab.  After this we plan to walk to the ponds at Son Moragues for quiet meditation and to set the intent of the day.  Ana and I will share a brief introduction to herbalism and how herbs mesh with a sustainable life.  We will then all walk to Sa Torres to see the herbal garden, identify and collect plants and discuss their uses.  After a delicious lunch at Sa Torres we will explore herbs and the senses, concentrating on a few herbs and their tastes and constituents.  We will then have a practical session making herb teas and an introduction to making tinctures.

After tea there is the chance to rest and reflect before the evening meal at the Food Lab.

Saturday 7th November:

After breakfast we will take a walk through the kitchen garden at Son Moragues to Sa Torres where we will have a short tea break.  Before lunch we will focus on how to make hydrosols; which plants to use, how the distilling process works and the medicinal properties of the plants being used.  After lunch at Sa Torres the group will walk to El Mirador collecting Mediterranean herbs along the way, the properties of which we can discuss while sitting in the amphitheatre there.

After tea there is once again the chance to rest and reflect before the evening meal at the Food Lab, which will be followed by a film.

Sunday 8th November:

On the last day we will once again have breakfast together before a meditation session.  This will be followed by a final discussion about herbs and our place in nature.  We will have lunch at the Food Lab followed by a final practical workshop making a calendula or ‘heal all salve’ and enjoying herbal facial steams, face masks and hand and foot baths.

Following this there will be a final rest and reflection period before the last dinner and a party at La Residencia in Valldemossa during which people are encouraged to share poems, songs or recitations!

Monday 9th November:

Transfer to airport and fly home to continue our herbal journey.

NB If you have any dietary requests, please could you let us know either on booking or by the final booking date of 1st October 2015.  Thank you.

Trill Farm – in tune with the seasons

At the beginning of September I will be going back to Trill Farm to teach my seasonal foraging and herbal medicine course, this time focussing on Autumnal plants. For those of you who have not yet visited Trill Farm and would like to know what makes it such a special place to run these courses from, let me tell you a little more about it…

Trill is a 300 acre mixed organic farm in east Devon which has been owned by Romy Fraser and her family since 2008.  Romy moved here after selling her previous business, Neal’s Yard Remedies, which she built up from a small shop in 1981 to the multi national company it is today.  As you may imagine, someone like Romy wouldn’t own just any ordinary farm! Trill is a collection of small businesses and educators who are all working together with the same ethos, following the highest standards of organic practice and protecting and conserving the environment and wildlife of the farm.  There is the strong belief that food is at the heart of life and their stated aim is ‘to celebrate and reaffirm the connection between humanity, the animal kingdom and the nature which sustains us all.‘  There are courses running at Trill Farm throughout the year, with the option of staying at the luxurious, ecologically renovated B&B or in the summer at the peaceful campsite (with open air showers and composting loos!).

I will be hosting two more foraging weekends at Trill this year; 5th/6th September and 17th/18th October when we will be looking at which wild herbs are available in the last two seasons of Autumn and Winter.  These are practical, hands-on weekends but for residential students we will be starting with a meal on the Friday night which I will be hosting.  We will be finding, identifying and preparing wild and cultivated medicinal plants and I will help you to understand more about the major systems of the body and how to promote their health by matching the right herbs to ailments of each system.  You will also learn how to prepare the herbs as infusions, decoctions, creams, lotions, ointments, glycerites and tinctures.

The price is £125 for the weekend for non-residents (or £265 for residential students) this includes all teaching plus a delicious organic lunch each day. Bookings can be made by calling Zoe at Trill Farm on 01297 631 113 or by clicking the link on their website.

I hope you can join me!

Probiotic breakfast yoghurt

Probiotic Breakfast Yoghurt from Drugs in Pots

This herby yoghurt can be eaten daily as a great way to support beneficial gut bacteria and to combat yeasts and ‘bad’ bacteria that may have taken hold after e.g. taking antibiotics – although if you are working closely with others you may want to leave the garlic for weekends only!  All the herbs are easy to grow in pots or in your garden at home making this a great breakfast that you can pick, prepare and eat within minutes!

Ingredients:

1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon each of fresh dill leaves and marigold (calendula) petals, torn into small pieces
20ml (1 fl oz) aloe vera juice
2 teaspoons each of fresh marjoram and thyme, leaves only chopped
500ml (17 fl oz) carton of live yoghurt

How to Make:

Add the torn/chopped herbs and the minced garlic to a bowl of live yoghurt, then stir in the aloe vera juice.

How to Use:

You can enjoy this yoghurt daily and for as long as you would like to take it.  The herbs are all aromatic and pleasant tasting – although as mentioned above, the garlic can be a little antisocial!

How does it work?

The garlic, calendula, dill, basil and marjoram are excellent for combating pathogenic micro-organisms and are also good digestive herbs, clearing toxins from the digestive tract.  Aloe vera is soothing, immune-enhancing and helps to combat dysbiosis.

Magma Earth Ovens – a workshop

Magma Earth Ovens – a one day workshop; 11th July at Puckham Valley, Gloucestershire:

Earth Ovens are authentic, handmade clay ovens crafted in a traditional way that draws upon ancient techniques dating back more than 2000 years.  Now,  they offer a totally natural way of cooking that allows you to reconnect with nature while creating delicious food and flavours.  The Earth Oven Project offers practical workshops to teach people how to sculpt their own earth oven, beginning with weaving the basket that creates the framework and shape of the oven, then on to mixing the clay and ends with the completed earth oven.   Earth ovens are completely individual and their size can range from large, community ovens to small family or individual-use ovens which will easily fit in the corner of a garden – you can even make a portable oven that can be moved around wherever you wish! These well-built ovens are strong, resilient and can last for many years with very little maintenance.

This course is the brainchild of Danny Shmulevitch who for many years worked closely with the indigenous Bedouin people in their homeland, a place of wild beauty and traditional wisdom.  Danny’s unique experiences and his ability to capture the essence and significance of the simple and yet practical activities of the tribes people, ensure that the events he facilitates have a magical and often profound quality with elements both of the theatre and ritual.

I have a personal interest in this workshop as Danny has built me my very own earth oven at the bottom of my garden – it’s between the vegetable beds, my log cabin and the outdoor classroom.  I know from experience that using an earth oven is totally different to conventional food preparation, it’s not a question of nipping into the kitchen to boil a kettle or turn on the stove, this is a much more absorbing and sociable experience. Cooking on an open fire sees a return to age-old techniques and family and friends can enjoy getting involved in the process while the aromatic wood smoke infuses the food with its unique taste; perfect for everything from roast chicken and vegetables to homemade pizza – or maybe even bread.  After the meal is cooked the oven will still generate plenty of heat to keep you warm – we can sit outside for hours even in the cool English summer!

For more information about this and other workshops, please email dannyshmulevitch@gmail.com or phone 07866 625787.

Antihistamine Mix

Antihistamine Mix – for hay fever (from ‘Drugs in Pots’ )

Hopefully last week’s brain mix started some synapses firing!  This week’s recipe helps with hay fever symptoms.  No one enjoys having their summer ruined by hay fever – itchy eyes,  runny nose and feeling generally grotty.  This mix contains echinacea, chamomile and lemon balm to soothe the allergic response that sparks off symptoms, while agrimony and ground ivy calm any inflammation, drying up secretions.

Ingredients (makes enough to fill a 500ml (17 fl oz) jar)

400ml (14 fl oz) plant glycerol
100ml (3.5 fl oz) alcohol (vodka or brandy)
250g (9 oz) each fresh or 100g (3.5 oz) dried agrimony, chamomile, Echinacea, lemon balm and ground ivy

How to make

First mix the glycerol and alcohol together, then place the herbs in a wide-necked jar and pour the mixture over the herbs.

Leave to macerate for at least 2-3 weeks, stirring daily, and then strain through a fine mesh sieve or muslin, or press using a wine press, making sure that you squeeze as much liquid from the herbs as possible.

Pour into dark, sterilized bottles, label carefully and store in a cool, dark place.

How to use

Take a teaspoon 3-6 times daily in a little water, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Brilliant Brain Tonic

Brilliant Brain Tonic – for poor memory and concentration (from ‘Drugs in Pots’)

Exam season is upon us and the slog of revising all those facts and figures can leave even the most able of students feeling a little foggy in the head.  Don’t rely on caffeine filled energy drinks and over processed snacks to keep you going, instead brew up this fabulous herbal tonic and enjoy your natural boost!

This refreshing drink has rosemary, thyme and peppermint to enliven the mind and wood betony to send blood to the brain. Gotu kola stimulates blood flow to the head, clearing the mind, enhancing concentration and increasing creativity.

Ingredients (makes 650ml (21 fl oz) tonic):

60g (2.5 oz) each fresh or 30g (1 oz) each dried rosemary, thyme, gotu kola, peppermint, wood betony
600ml (1 pint) water
500g (1 lb) sugar
30ml (1 fl oz) brandy (optional)

How to make:

1. Pour the boiling water over the herbs

2. Leave to infuse overnight, then strain into a jug through a fine mesh sieve or piece of muslin, press as much residual water from the herb mixture as you can before discarding it.

3. Mix the sugar into the infusion in a pan and heat it until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has started to thicken, stirring frequently.  If desired, add 5 per cent brandy to preserve the syrup.

4. Store in sterilized dark bottles, clearly labelled, and keep in a cool place, preferably the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

How to use:

Take 2 teaspoons 3 -4 times daily, over several weeks, for the best results.

Enjoy!

Larli’s Luscious Lemon Balm Libation

Larli’s Luscious Lemon Balm Libation:

We have been all hands on deck in the garden this week, rebalancing areas of the garden where plants have become a little too confident and nurturing areas that need a little love.  The glorious spring sun managed to break through the drizzle and Larli made this delicious cooling drink with mint and lemon balm from the garden.  (NB All quantities are approximate as this recipe has been retro-engineered!).

1. Take the juice and grated rind of 1 large lemon, along with approx 4 mint leaves and 5 lemon balm (Melissa) leaves, roughly chopped and whizz up in a Vitamix/blender.

2. Add 4 teaspoons coconut sugar (or 2 teaspoons honey or sweetener of choice) to this mix along with 100ml hot water to dissolve the sugar/sweetener.

3. Make up to 750ml with cold water, then refrigerate to cool and serve with ice cubes and a garnish of mint.

Enjoy!

Summer Workshops

Summer Workshop fliers:

I love sharing the knowledge I have gained over the years with others on courses and lectures.  It’s wonderful imaging where a student’s personal path will take them from when I meet them onwards through their herbal life.

But sometimes the business side of organising these courses is a real drag!

Something that has helped recently is that we’ve been looking at some more eye catching promotional material for the summer courses and have come up with the fliers below.  They are making me really happy!

Foraging course

Wild foraging and herb garden walks:

The sun is shining, the blossoms are blooming and summer seems to just be around the corner, so here at Artemis House we have decided to get out our baskets and start foraging! While we have an abundance of wild garlic and nettle coming into our kitchen, we would love to invite you to join us in identifying and collecting herbs to make your own culinary delights and herbal remedies. Come to our Wild Medicines Foraging Day or let Anne guide you through the inspiring world of her herbal garden in one of her July Garden Walks.

Come away feeling healed and happy, rich with the ancient knowledge of how the earth can provide us with all the vitality we need!

Wild Medicines Foraging Day

Put on your walking boots and join us for an inspirational day foraging for wild herbal medicines in the beautiful Cotswolds. Learn to safely identify the medicinal and edible plants growing in your garden and hedgerows nearby, then discover how easy it is to make your own medicines and nutritious foods, all collected from the wild. With lots of recipes to try at home and plenty of hands on experience, this day will give you the confidence you need to collect your own herbs and make your own medicines.

Date: Saturday 13th June, 10am-4pm
Cost: £75 per person, including an organic and wild crafted lunch!

Artemis House Garden Walks

As we embrace the warm July evenings, do not miss out on the chance to have a tour of Anne’s exquisite herb garden, representing the cycle of a Woman’s life expressed through herbs and flowers. Anne will impart her insight into Western and Ayurvedic medicine, explaining the traditional and current uses of the herbs you will meet. So join us for a cup of herbal tea, while we take a walk around Anne’s garden in the long shadows of the setting sun!

Dates: Thursday 9th July, 7pm-9pm &  Thursday 23rd July, 7pm-9pm

Cost: £18 per person