Herbs in July ..Sneak preview, Wild Roots Calendar for 2021, a collaboration project
Introducing our new collaboration: Wild roots, a herbal, foraging, folklore, native festivals, movement and nature calendar for 2021
I have joined forces with the super talented artist Gemma Challenger, gifted healer and yoga teacher, Victoria Cooper and poet ,Caroline Mellor to produce a seasonal native nature and folklore calendar for 2021.
Each month will have information of plants to collect and forage, seasonal traditional festivals and symbolism, beautiful poetry, yoga poses and movement for the month and the gorgeous illustrations of the native nature and plants of the month.
Here is July: a month of summer sunshine and colour and flowers everywhere.
Latin : Calendula officinalis
Parts used :Flower heads.
Folklore and history
The Latin name calendula originated from kalendae or calendars defined on the Roman calendar as the first day of the month, the beginning of the new moon cycle, the time when this beauty blooms. It is reputed to be able to flower every month bringing a bit of sunshine to grey days even in winter. Calendula takes its place as a flower known for magic in love and romance.
Calendula flowers have several hues, the most common being yellow and an orange-gold. Both these hues vibrate with the Sun and the energies of joy, abundance, the Third Chakra, intellect, creativity and clarity.
In full sun in the afternoon, much of the healing qualities are contained in the resin, the sticky stuff of the flower. Dry the whole flower minus the stem on a drying rack in a dry place away from direct sunlight.
Calendula has many medicinal properties, making it an excellent all round herbs to harvest, store and use.
It has anti-inflammatory and moisturizing qualities which make it a very gentle external remedy for the skin and very effective for eczema prone skin. It also combines well with St John’s wort in a healing tincture.
It is a potent antifungal and can be used internally and externally against thrush and yeast infections and imbalanced gut flora. It is also considered a lymphatic, a herb that helps support the lymphatic system so can be useful herbal adjunct with infections and viruses.
It has a hormone balancing effect on the female reproductive tract and can help some women regulate menstruation and reduce heavy periods. However, avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Cooking: You can add the beautiful petals to salads and rice dishes to add a splash of colour.
Some ways to use Calendula:
How to use:
Organic Calendula Infused oil
This oil is very easy to make, a great summer project. This beautiful sunshine yellow oil can then be used alone or as a base ingredient in a cream, serum or lip balm or just as a great natural moisturizer. You can use different carrier oils such as almond; olive oil, wheat germ; avocado which have different textures and nourishing qualities.
Collect Calendula flower heads on a sunny day, I use the whole head. I prefer to harvest them and then dry as it makes the oil very potent.
Approx. 25g to 38g of dried herbs to 150mls oil ( I love using cold pressed organic olive but choose what you prefer). Or roughly half a jar of dried herb to whole jar oil. If using fresh herb, fill the jar full of herbs and ensure that it is covered with oil as higher water content.
Infuse in the sunlight-summer months on a sunny window sill (my preferred way as it gives a lovely gentle heat and long deep infusion) for 2-4 weeks. Remember to shake regularly. Then strain with muslin or cheesecloth and label sterilised jar.
Or you can put the jar in a water bath for 3-4 hours. Airing cupboards or the gentle heat of radiators is another way to infuse herbs into oil in the winter time.
Remember with all projects, always use clean and sterilized jars with tight-fitting lids.This ensures no contamination and a longer shelf life.
Coloured glass bottles will add to the shelf life. Also adding a few drops of vitamin E oil may help preserve the oil.
NB when making herb oil infusions, you will notice after a week or two a residue at the bottom, pour off the top part of the oil into a new jar and discard this residue as it can degrade the oil.
Calendula Healing balm
This ultra moisturizing healing balm is great for dry skin, eczema and baby’s delicate skin.
Use your beautiful infused calendula oil for this project and see if you can find some undyed natural beeswax, a beautiful amber hue that smells divine. You can buy some beeswax off a local beekeeper and grate it at home and support their important work.
15 g grated raw (unbleached) beeswax/ 100mls of your homemade calendula infused oil (this ratio will vary on climate and the texture that you prefer)
Optional: 20 drops Roman chamomile essential oil
Organic 20 drops lavender essential oil
Homemade salves and lip balms call for beeswax and oil, which mix only if heated to 150 degrees. Simply pour the infused oil into a heat-resistant glass beaker, set it into a saucepan half-filled with water, and bring the water bath to a gentle simmer on the stovetop.
Grate the beeswax with a cheese grater, mix the grated wax into the oil, and gently heat the mixture until the beeswax melts, stirring constantly with a chopstick or wooden spoon. After the wax incorporates perfectly into the oil, immediately remove it from the heat and pour the liquid salve into suitable sterilized containers. You can then add essential oils if you want. It will harden as it cools.
You can add 20 drops of lavender and 20 drops of roman chamomile to give it an extra healing effect and gorgeous aroma.
You can buy little glass pots to put these in, or use recycled jam pots. Avoid plastic containers.
TIP: if you are unsure of the consistency you want you to achieve, you can put a tea spoon into the melted wax and oil. Immediately place this in the fridge …wait until this hardens, this will give you an indication of the end texture. (If you want harder add more beeswax to mix; softer add a little more infused oil.
Latin : Rosa Spp.
Parts used: Flowers, hips and leaves
The beauty of roses depicts a beautiful Summer day. Rose, known as the queen of flowers calms the mind and soothes the heart, simultaneously relaxing and uplifting. Not only do these beautiful blooms symbolise love but they are also packed with medicinal qualities.
There are 100’s of different types of rose, all with different properties. Rosa damascena, the flowers known for their fine fragrances, and commercially harvested for rose oil absolute ( very expensive but amazing scent); Rose centifolia, Rosa gallica among many others.
Wild roses Rosa canina can be found along hedgerows and will later develop into rosehips, packed full or Vitamin C and iron.They are not a strong smelling as cultivated types such as Damacensa however still carry the calming, astringent and cooling properties.Rosehip oil is considered one of the best natural skin treatments, an ingredient in many serums, it is excellent to reduce scars and reduce wrinkles.
You can collect wild roses or harvest home grown unsprayed roses. Collect the flower heads and use it in a variety of ways .If you will be picking your own roses, do so in the early morning when the blossoms are the most fragrant.
The petals contain volatile oils that help calm tension and are anti bacterial.They are rich in vitamins C, D E and packed full of antioxidants and quercetin a natural anti inflammatory.The leaves are astringent and can help with stomach upsets and diarrhea.
Rose and Raspberry Apple cider vinegar
This delicious vinegar is packed full of health benefits. You can add it to salads dressings, or have one teaspoon morning and evening in water to support health and promote good blood sugar balance and reduce inflammation.
Use fermented organic apple cider vinegar if possible, this contains a whole host of digestive enzymes and helps reset gut flora balance.
150g punnet of organic raspberries
5 tables spoons of fresh rose petals or 2 or dried.
500mls of organic apple cider vinegar.
Simply add all to a kilner jar. Leave for 2- 4 weeks in a cool dark place, shaking often. Strain and put in sterilized glass bottles. Lasts approx 3 months, longer in the fridge.
Wild Rose tincture
Choose a sunny day, get up early and go to the hedgerow. Collect your rose petals and dry the petals. Fill a kilner jar full with the flowers you can use the whole head.. Add vodka,or brandy to cover shake often and leave for 2 to 4 weeks. Strain and you have a wild rose tincture!
This will last up to 2 years stored in a cool dark place.
How to use:
A 15 to 20 drop of this can be added to water if feeling stressed or anxious. Up to three times daily. Also useful for women with menstrual cramps, take a teaspoon three times daily with water.
You can add 1 teaspoon to raw cacao drink for extra mood boosting effects.
Add a teaspoon to cocktails, or champagne if you are celebrating!
Get in touch to pre order…
Copies available from October