Here at West Apothecary, we have been enjoying the most busiest time of the year in the world of herbalism and the natural way of medicine making. We are in the depths of summer, the land is rich with a limitless amount of powerful plant medicines, all accessible with a short reach and local forage at our near by hedgerows that we are blessed to reside by.
It's an annual favourite to make herbal and medicated honey, with a booming medicine garden and ripe wild flowers, this only invites us to combine the potency of homegrown and wild medicine, infusing them in local honey from loved bees, where the two fuse together to make a new world, through this ancient practice a delicious and beneficial daily go-to is made.
Before we shift into autumn, Wild Roses or Dog Roses are in season and loaded with an intoxicating scent and properties, Rose is known as heart medicine, strengthens heart health and circulation, purifies the blood, supports PMS and women's health, reduces anxiety due to it's calming abilities and is our local strongest aphrodisiac, linked to the goddess Aphrodite. Lavender, a herb for the mind, reduces headaches, migraines and tensions, a nervine which nourishes the nervous system and reduces the stress chemical cortisol, Lavender is known to induce a restful nights sleep and can encourage some third eye-opening dreams (Lavender must not be consumed if you are epileptic). Fennel, a super soother for the digestive system and naturally rich in pre and probiotics, creating ease in the digestive tract, Fennel reduces bloating and is great for IBS and inflammatory symptoms, incredibly rich in calcium and magnesium, Fennel supports bone, muscle and even eye health. And finally Honeysuckle, a strengthener for the respiratory system, a remover of any congestion and infections, boosts and supports the immune system, as is loaded with antioxidants, tannins and is vitamin rich. Honeysuckle is known to reduce headaches and even a fever, it's soothing nature also calms the nervous system and is a natural aid to reduce stress and anxiety.
These herbs and plant medicines are easy to source locally in a nearby hedgerow or you may have them growing in your garden, if you are unable to forage wild roses, classic homegrown roses with a strong scent also work well too, as for Honeysuckle, Lavender and Fennel - these can be easily grown at home or sourced from someone you know who may be growing them.
You will need:
1 small handful of fresh Wild Roses
1 small handful of fresh Honeysuckle
1 small handful of fresh Lavender heads
1 small handful of Fennel pollen heads
250ml of local honey
and a 250ml sterilised jar with the lid.
Method: Pick your fresh herbs and lay them out on a tea towel for an hour or so for any bugs and insects to crawl out, then add the fresh herbs into your jar, creating colourful layers, once all herbs are in your jar, pour over the honey slowly until the herbs look fully submerged. Screw the lid on tight and add a label, with the ingredients and date. Leave in a cool and dark place for infusing, infuse for 4-6 weeks, the longer the infusion the more medicinal and delicious the herbal infused honey! When ready, strain the herbal honey through a sieve and into a clean jar, it's then ready for use!
Herbal infused honeys are used in many ways, simply drizzled on food, added to dressings, on toast, added to herbal teas and hot milks! A simple formula thats packed with many properties and takes you on a sensory journey, all from the nearby hedgerow and herb garden.
Plant medicine blessings, Harriet Coleman - Medicinal Herbalist and Founder of West Apothecary.