Reconnect to our native and sometimes not so native) wild medicines. This 8 day course is based in a permaculture project with access to the woodlands and grasslands of Towneley Park. We run the course for one day a month and follow the turn of the seasons. Working mainly outside, we learn to identify wild medicinal plants and follow their growth and change from early spring to late autumn and utilising them in medicine making and wild food. Guided by two qualified and experienced Medical Herbalists, you will learn to make salves, creams, vinegars, tinctures, lotions, herbal oils, honeys, elixirs, teas, nettle beer, fruit leathers, glycerites, hydrosols, flower essences, dandelion coffee, wild garlic pesto, and more; some of which you will be able to take home for personal use.
The cost of the full course (8 days) is £480 which works out at discounted rate of £60 per session. To do an individual day, the cost is £70. Payment by installments can be arranged. The cost includes all handouts and products made
– The first stirrings of Spring and time go deep into the dark earth and work with roots and shoots, exploring and working with kitchen ingredients to add power to our medicines, when there is little growing outside. This is a good time to work with dandelion root, horseradish and burdock root – making fresh dandelion and burdock root tonic, joint and muscle rub and dandelion root coffee. Its time to bury the fire cider vinegar in the cool soil allowing the horseradish, ginger, thyme and all the lovely warming herbs to infuse for a month.
The Greening – See how the land awakens and is filled with lush green medicine. The air is scented with the aroma of wild garlic and there is an abundance of cleansing, nourishing herbs to help clear out the sluggishness of winter and clear out the last of coughs and colds.
Here we make Wild Garlic pesto, Cleavers succus, Nettle beer, Nettle soup, Spring greens juice. We dig up the fire cider vinegar put in the earth last month to infuse with healing and roast and grind some of the dandelion we prepared last month for delicious dandelion coffee.
The First Flowers of Spring - The woods are yellow with archangel and the lawns are dotted with Daisy and Dandelion flowers. This month were working with Daisy, Yellow Archangel and Dandelion flower medicine, with a focus on making herbal oils and salves. Daisy makes an amazing, healing skin salve and lotion and we infuse it with plantain or Elder leaf to use on bruises and cuts. Using the aromatic Lemon balm leaves we make a lush lip balm, excellent for cold sores. This is also a good time to tune into the more subtle realms of plant healing and we make our first flower essences.
June is a lush and vibrant month. The trees are abundant with blossom, the days are long and the sun at its highest in the sky. This month we learn to tincture the abundance of summer; working with the medicine of Hawthorn, Lungwort, Lemon balm and Plantain.
Full on into the height of summer the Elderflower, Meadowsweet and Pot Marigold blossom are all over the garden and park. Healing plants are in abundance and Mugwort lines the lanes. Here we gather medicines enjoying the heat and beauty that summer brings, making, vinegars and hydrosols as well as a flower essence. We also make Mugwort smudge sticks and learn to work a little deeper with plants as we do a mini shamanic journey to meet the spirit of them.
Hedgerow Harvest – This is the time of the equinox, when day and night are in balance and the air cooling. The hedgerows are bursting with berries and seeds have formed on the plants at the end of their cycle. This month we work with the fruits of the hedgerow; blackberries, elderberries, hawthorn berries as well as nettle seeds. Its berry picking time and we make delicious Hedgerow Elixir, Elderberry syrup, and add the haws to the hawthorn blossom tincture. The elderberries are lovely, lush and juicy and we add them to the Elderflower tincture we started in summer and finish the meadowsweet vinegar started last month
Its feeling cooler now and the leaves are losing their leaves. Time to finish off the medicines we have been making over the last few months. The Elder flower and berry tincture tastes delicious and ready in time for the onset of any colds and flu, The hawthorn tincture is also ready; red and lush, good for cardiovascular support and calming. Gathering what is left of the harvest we choose medicines from the garden to infuse and make creams. The art of making creams for skincare and as a muscle rub is sometimes difficult, but the by now the group has learned many skills over the seasons and are able to make some beautiful products on their own with our guidance. In preparation for the ancient festival of Samhain we will be making lovely incenses that we have dried from the garden and using it in a mini ceremony thank the garden for its healing abundance.
A time of roots and the bareness of winter. There is a chill in the air and the darkness of late autumn sets in early. The stove is lit and its glow wraps its warmth around the busy classroom. The most hardy Herbalists wrap up and go outdoors to dig Elecampane and horseradish root, and collect the last of medicines in the garden. Others stay in the warmth and chop the Rosehips and roots. Now is the time to prepare medicines to keep ourselves and our families healthy. There is something very primordial in making winter medicines and preparing for the cold dark months. This is a busy, reflective session of tuning in to the colder season and making cough medicines, and throat lozenges. Here we finish the course, and celebrate the many friendships that we hope will last beyond the course.
Edwina Hodkinson BSc(Hons) MNIMH & Danielle Kay BSc(Hons) MNIMH
Offshoots, Towneley Park, Burnley, BB11 3RQ