February Fiddlings

Not much growing at this time of year which is just as well because I don’t have much daylight hours free for harvesting.  I have been meaning to complete my autumn/winter pruning so this afternoon got out because it was a bit drier – brighter and less damp than the morning.  February is a bit late for pruning bushes maybe but, because it has been cold, no plants have gone mental yet.

First off, I trimmed the blackcurrant bush (Ribes nigrum).


I mostly grow this for the fruit (after a bumper crop in 2013, it was ravaged by some sort of pestilence in 2014 and you could count the currants on two hands!) although the leaves are used on the Continent for gout, chronic rheumatism, upper respiratory complaints like sinusitis and sore throats and to tone blood vessels in cases of fragile capillaries and high blood pressure (Barker 2001).


Interestingly, the buds are regarded as an adrenal tonic, a native adaptogen if you like, so I have pulled those off the prunings and intend to make a glycerine tincture with them.


Secondly, I pruned my Viburnum opulus, (right) More commonly known as guelder rose or cramp bark, it is a staple antispasmodic herb for the western herbalist.  Harvesting the twigs is the easy part – now I have to shave off the bark and either dry it or tincture it.


Its finding the time for these things….


Barker, Julian (2001) The Medicinal Flora of Britain and Northwestern Europe Winter Press; West Wickham, Kent


About donaldpurves

Traditional Herbalist since 1989, qualified originally with National Institute of Medical Herbalists (Tutorial Course, School of Herbal Medicine/Phytotherapy), joined Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners in 2011. University lecturer in Herbal Medicine since 2005. Born and brought up in the Scottish Borders. Higher Education at University of York (Biology 1980) and Scottish School of Herbal Medicine (MSc Herbal Medicine 2003). Married to Rukshana Afia, an artist working with drawing, textiles and ceramics. Passionate about environmental, economic and social justice.
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