The lovely Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) is a very underestimated herb. It may be well know in tea bag form for calming you for sleep but it has SO MANY more uses. This makes it an absolute winner to grow in your garden to have to hand for making simple remedies, to dry or to use fresh throughout summer months in your own tea blends. I had some time yesterday between seeing patients to harvest some fresh Chamomile blossoms to make a litre of glycerite. I usually only make a few litres of this per year from fresh flowers. We also make tincture from it and dry it for tea mixes for clinic.

A condition that is likely to occur in every woman over the course of their life is bacterial vaginosis. Many women have never even heard of this condition but live with the symptoms for years unaware of the simple things they can do to help themselves.  We have a very delicately balanced mix of bacteria living in the vaginal area. These can easily be disturbed creating an overgrowth of one or two types of the bacteria giving you very uncomfortable symptoms and leaving you open to more systemic imbalance and reproductive issues.  An overgrowth of bacteria can contribute to many PMT symptoms like cramps and clots and also plays a role in  more serious conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease which may lead to ectopic pregnancy and infertility.

We all need a bit of calm from mental stress at some point in our lives! Some people live with an unsettling constant chatter in their mind. Whether it's making to do lists or rehashing past conversations and events over and over it is all creating stress and mental anguish. This often manifests in physical ways. I treat various conditions in clinic from irritable bowel syndrome to palpitations which are a direct result of stress.

Why we all should be doing it!

If poor circulation, dry skin, cellulite, fluid retention, low immunity or recurring swollen glands are an issue lymphatic skin brushing is for you!
Our lymphatic system is like our drainage system. It runs alongside the circulatory arteries and veins and carries lymph fluid. It drains interstitial fluid and returns it to the blood, transports our dietary lipids and fat soluble vitamins A,D, E and K and is key to immune response and function. 

Recently I was chatting to a lovely Mammy of three who told me she only just heard of Arnica and she couldn't believe she had never come across it before. So I thought I would repost this bit of info on this wonderful healing plant.. a must have for any parents first aid kit!
 Most people would have heard of Arnica from the homeopathic cream available in chemists. We do not use Arnica internally in herbal medicine as it is considered toxic. We do however us it a lot externally with fantastic results. We make an oil from our Arnica montana and Arnica chamissonis over the summer months.

This weekend was the start of our Hawthorn flower harvest. This is my absolute FAVOURITE flower harvest of the year. We are fortunate to have some very old Hawthorn trees in our back field that we harvest from. The tree branches are laden down in full blossom right now suggestive of the abundance in store for us this growing season. It lifts your heart to be standing beneath a Hawthorn with your harvesting basket as flower blossoms cover you like confetti. Not surprising it has this effect as Hawthorn is all about the HEART.

The well known spice Turmeric (Curcuma spp.) has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. We grow Curcuma at our nursery Bareroot Botanicals in north Sligo. It is the rhizome of the plant we use, mostly to tincture, for clinic. Curcuma rhizome has to be one the top 5 herbs I use for liver detoxification. Whether liver detoxification is needed for arthritis, skin conditions or general detox Curcuma is indicated.

Today we harvested Alchemilla vulgaris (Lady's Mantle) from the garden. This a probably a herb lots of you will recognise as it inhabits many gardens as a flowering border plant. You can even find roundabouts in Dublin full of Lady's Mantle!
I have tinctured today's Alchemilla harvest and will harvest more over the coming week to dry for tea formulas.
This plant is an absolute must for me to have for patients. It is used for heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding that may occur between periods. I have found it invaluable as a uterine astringent for heavy prolonged bleeding that can happen in women during peri menopause.

A perfect soup for strengthening the immune system for this time of year is organic chicken bone broth with Astragalus root, shitake mushroom, onion, garlic and thyme.

Astragalus membranaceus root is an immune modulator and stimulant which is well researched for its use alongside cancer treatments.

Every year there is one herb in the garden that really makes itself known. One type of plant that will be in abundance and seem more striking than ever. As herbalists and plant growers when we see this it's clear to us we need to stop and take notice. This plant has been brought to our attention for some healing that needs to take place for ourselves, something that maybe we are not quite aware of or giving enough attention to.
This year that plant is Figwort ~ Scrophularia nodosa. We went up to our old farm in Sligo to move plants last week. When I arrived at the house the first thing I noticed was a giant Foxglove and a Figwort self seeded in the gravel at the front door!

About Ivywood

Herbalists Ross Hennessy and Marina Kesso have moved their businesses and family to a new piece of land in Co Clare. They are busy creating new spaces on the land to reestablish their clinical practice and medicinal herb nursery. Formerly Bareroot Botanicals and Iona Herbal they have now renamed the woodland and business Ivywood.

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