Sunday, 22 January 2012

Simple Cherry Bark Cough Syrup

Simple Cherry Bark Cough Syrup

  • Put 1 pint of water in a saucepan to boil. Add 1 tbsp. of licorice root. Boil the mixture for five minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat source. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
    Wait 10 minutes and add 1 tbsp. of wild cherry bark and ½ cup of honey to the cough syrup.
    Let the cough syrup cool to room temperature before using.
    Take a ¼ cup of wild cherry bark cough syrup three times daily. 

Horse Chestnut Salve

Recipe for Horse Chestnut Salve 

Add half of the horse chestnut bark into the top half of a double boiler saucepan and cover with sunflower oil.  Replace the lid firmly and place inside the other saucepan (which should be about half filled with water). Heat the external saucepan so that the water gently boils. Do not let the pan boil dry. Boil for 2 hours, then remove the inner pan and strain off the oil, squeezing the horse chestnut (to remove as much oil as possible).

Place the rest of the horse chestnut inside the inner pan and pour over the oil from the first infusion. Replace the lid firmly and heat the oil in the outer pan for a further two hours. Strain the oil into a heated, sterile glass bottle or jar and cap with a screw top lid. If using fresh as opposed to dried horse chestnut, let the infused oil sit for about three days to make sure any water content separates out. Decant oil. If water drops are left in the infused oil it will go off more quickly. Label the oil with the name and date that you made it.

To create the salve (which is easier to rub into the skin) grate some beeswax into the hot infused oil until it melts. Use about 1oz of beeswax to 8 fl oz of oil. Test the consistency by dropping a few drops of oil and dissolved wax into a cup of cold water. It will solidify instantly and you can tell if it is thick enough by rubbing it between your fingers. Pour into small jars and seal. The salve should thicken on cooling and will change from a dark green to a light green.

Thursday, 12 January 2012


The closest specimen of my herbal ally lies about 10 feet away from the bottom of my back garden. At this time of year it is completely bare, no leaves or fruit remain from last year. As I write small buds are just starting to show early signs of life. The bark is a grey/silver and the tree looks beautiful with it's spidery branches reaching upwards towards the sky. This tree is well established and hugs the border between the field and it's dry stone wall boundary.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Herbal Ally & herbs to explore this year

After some deliberation (very torn between this and my Ally from last year - Burdock) I have decided to work with Elder this year. Last year I enjoyed working with Burdock and am looking forward to seeing the 2nd year growth from the plug plant I grew in my garden (to a few raised eyebrows from my family who are keen gardeners, you want to plant what?!). But Elder or Sambucus nigra keeps coming back on my jaunts out and about. As part of a task last year I plotted lot's of Elder trees within a mile radius of my home and there is one just beyond my back gate so it will be close at hand.

Other Herbs I particularly want to work with this year are as follows (Common name followed by latin name): 

Dandelion - Taraxacum officinale                       Motherwort - Leonurus cardiaca

Meadowsweet - Filipendula ulmari                    Marigold - Calendula officinalis

Ginger - Zingiber officinale                                  Angelica - Angelica archangelica

Lemon Verbena - Aloysia triphylla                     Peppermint - Mentha piperita

St Johns Wort - Hypericum perforatum              Garlic - Allium sativum

Fennel - Foeniculum vulgare                               Marshmallow - Althaea officinalis

I plan to wildcraft some of these and grow (or am already growing) others.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

New Year Apprenticeship 2012

Wow, I did it! Only gone and started a blog..... just in time to begin Year 2 of the Sanctuary herbal apprenticeship. Over the coming year I am going to use this space to chart and share my herb blurb from a year of discovery into the World of herbs. First task is to think about what will be this years Herbal Ally, the herbs I want to specifically work with and planning how I can use this in plans to expand my own herb garden.  Feeling good about the chance to join a community of like minded people and the year ahead.