Inhabiting this herbal land and the joy of wild tea
By wildcurious, May 4 2018 01:36PM
I’m stomping the lanes on the border of North Cornwall and Devon, taking some much needed space to just be in the outdoors.
Simply. Without distraction.
I have a hammock camp, fire and foraging basket. Sometimes not much else is needed.
This is about connecting back with what nourishes me, with really feeling how this land has the ability to hold and nurture when we ask for it.
Walking the South West coast path feels like coming home to the familiar at this time of year. The hedgerows are bursting with energetic possibilities, and old and much loved plant friends beckon from the unworn edges of my eyes.
It’s a belief shared by many that the land provides what we need as we need it. The energy and vibrancy of new plant growth gifts us with the qualities we need right now.
Nutrition, flavour, energy, cleansing, nourishing. As we prepare for the land to sing ever louder as spring drifts towards summer.
The Japanese recognise 72 seasons across the year, dating back to time immemorial. Well 24 seasons and 72 microseasons to be precise. They are so deeply attuned with their land, they feel and know the depth and significance of the shifting energy of the land, how the plants and people are part of this delightful and dynamic flow.
What would the experience be here if we shifted the container, the frame of how we perceive the flow of the seasonal energies and what movement really means in context with plants and the land?
It’s about inhabiting the land, not simply living on it.
One companion on this journey is a book by Henriette Kress of Henriette's herbal, called Practical Herbs. Henriette is a Finland based herbalist and has crafted an accessible guide to working with wild herbs for wellbeing, with detailed ‘pick up and put down’ reference guides to a couple of dozen common plants familiar to our little island, as to her home. The book covers stage by stage the process of working with herbs from identifying, gathering, preparing oils, salves, tinctures and teas.
This weekend we celebrate #nationalteaday– yep – what a wonderfully British thing?!
And I’m drawn to stomp the green lanes Storm Kettle in my pack, gathering and freshly preparing soul gratifying tea to sip contemplatively, slowly and attentively.
To really feel. To really be present.
I’ve gathered Cleavers (Galium aparine), wild Mint (Mentha spicata) and Nettles (Urtica dioica) to prepare a simple and grounding infusion.
Cleavers contain silica, glycosides and flavonoids, they cleanse and uplift whilst offering ant-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities, as well as being a mild diuretic. A distant relative of coffee they offer the wonderful quality of gently uplifting and energising.
I stumbled across wild Mint growing in profusion along a stretch of rugged sand carpeted coast. It is one of the most delightful and fragrant plants of the great outdoor larder, packed full of delicious essential oils to boost and enliven us.
Finally the beloved Nettle. I have a love affair with this plant that lightens my step when surrounded by these spiky and inviting friends. Nettles are truly a wonder plant, bursting with protein, fibre, flavonoids, magnesium, potassium, copper, iron and vitamins A, C and some B’s.
A serious nutritional powerhouse.
These three plants when infused together have the qualities of grounding, energising, uplifting and soothing and remind me that I am home, I am held and I am nurtured by the land.
I offer this as an invitation for you to find and open yourself to your own wild path, to connect back to wildness that resides in you.
To listen to the thrumming rhythm rippled land and the songs and stories it has to share when we understand how to listen.