Maggie Pope
is a Medical Herbalist

Practising in
Bridgwater, Somerset

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November, 2013

Picking Medicine That Grows

The whole point of choosing the name Growing Medicine for my clinic and business was to illustrate both the fact that the medicine I use comes from things that are growing in contrast to things that are synthetically made in bulk  in a factory, and that I am actually growing some of my own stuff. Since I started practice here in Bridgwater I have acquired an allotment and have begun a scheme of growing my own medicinal plants, some of which I have made into tinctures and teas and stored in my pharmacy ready to use for my patients.

Years ago, before I started training for my degree in Herbal Medicine, I used to wonder what women did when their children got ill before the NHS was developed. In some social history books I discovered that in rural areas there was a lot of knowledge about medicinal plants, and this wisdom was passed down from generation to generation orally. And people used to just pick tips up from each other. In most villages there would be a certain individual who had amassed a great fund of plant knowledge and neighbours would defer to them in times of illness in the family. If you are interested I can recommend Memory, Wisdom and Healing: The History of Domestic Plant Medicine by Gabrielle Hatfield. The History Press 2005.

Last week one of my daughters had a cough and cold. I was in my allotment that morning and I picked White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare.

White Horehound is expectorant which makes it useful for those productive coughs of a heavy cold, as opposed to those dry irritating coughs that hang around after a cold has long gone. It relaxes the muscles of the bronchus and frees up the mucus that just sits there.Horehound


And I picked some Greater Plantain, Plantago major.

Plantain is great for colds. It is demulcent so it helps soothe sore throats and inflamed respiratory membranes, and it has expectorant properties to help get up stubborn mucus from the bronchial tubes.



And some of my lovely aromatic Catnip, Nepeta cataria

Catnip is a traditional cold remedy. It is a diaphoretic, which means it herbs induce involuntary perspiration that helps to manage a fever. It also boasts some nervine properties so it can help relax stressed ill people.

14th Catnip

This was what women would have done years ago, instead of going to the pharmacy to by Lemsip and paracetamol.

I took the herbs home, washed them and snipped them into bits. I then added them to an in-cup infuser with some dried yarrow harvested from my garden, and made a hot soothing ‘cold’ tea.

And Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is another important remedy for helping the body deal with a fever. Your body needs the fever to improve the function of your immune system, and disable those cold bugs.  It is brilliant in the acute stages of heavy colds and influenza. It is also supposed to have antimicrobial properties.

Some I picked earlier from the garden and dried for teas;



Growing Medicine Tea: Beneficial for coughs and colds. take with lots of rest and a good book…..




November 2013
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