Grass Roots Remedies - November Update

As the nights get longer and colder, our community herbal work changes to a more inward looking time. We stop running so many workshops, less patients attend the clinic as they are focused on Christmas and the darkness makes it harder to leave the house or commit to appointments.

For us now, we are focusing on planning for 2019, making a film about our work, on developing a robust evaluation system for the clinic, and on medicine making for the coming year. The autumn and winter, when the ground isn’t frozen, is a great time to make herbal tinctures from the roots of plants. We have been growing a few species of herbs in our Blackford Glen Medicine Garden which require digging up for their roots to be made into medicines. For a perennial plant this is usually best done after about three years so the plant can establish itself well into the soil and the roots can develop themselves into healthy storage organs and also good medicines. This year we decided it was finally time to harvest our Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) and Elecampane (Inula helenium) plants which had grown so large they were looming over all the other plants. Both are very tall plants and were struggling in the high winds we’ve had on a few occasions over the past few years. It was really exciting to dig them up after waiting for three years to do it. We are now in the process of making herbal tinctures out of both of them, which is a lengthy process given the amount of scrubbing & chopping that has to go on before they can be boiled up and then tinctured. It is all worth it though to be able to produce our own organically grown, local medicines.