Mushroom update

Mushrooms are springing up in every woodland in Britain right now, and they’re also being promoted as the latest ‘superfood’. This is not news to traditional Chinese medicine, where they’ve been jewels in the crown for thousands of years, but they hardly feature in the Western pharmacopoeia. Perhaps it’s because in Britain, at least, fungi are usually viewed with deep suspicion. It’s a shame, because we h...

Posted by Su Bristow on Fri, 17 Nov 2017

Read More

Adaptogens - the true story

So Gwyneth Paltrow talked about adaptogens, and suddenly they are the answer to everything. And it’s true that they turn up in probably four out of five herbal prescriptions. An adaptogen is a herb that helps you function at an optimal level; it supports your vital energy, so that a lot of problems fall away. As a practitioner, it’s my experience that you can go a lot further by using herbs like these, rather th...

Posted by Su Bristow on Fri, 10 Nov 2017

Read More

Heartburn Treatments

I’ve talked about this before, but new evidence is stacking up about the potential risks involved in long-term use of Proton Pump Inhibitors. These – omeprazole and its relatives – work to reduce stomach acid, and are hugely popular. The WHO classes omeprazole as an ‘essential drug’. They have largely replaced H2 Inhibitors – Zantac/Ranitidine – and people who consult me often don’t see them a...

Posted by Su Bristow on Fri, 3 Nov 2017

Read More

After the harvest

So you’ve come home with a basket full of berries, or roots, or fungi. What do you do with them? Unless you’re going to use them straight away (see ‘Making herb teas’), you’ll need to preserve them somehow. Some things can be frozen, but the usual next step is to dry them. If it’s done both gently and quickly, you’ll end up with herbs that will keep for at least a year, ready to use when you want th...

Posted by Su Bristow on Fri, 27 Oct 2017

Read More

Tuscan herbs

Last day in Tuscany today. Even now in mid October, there are plenty of herbs still in flower: thyme and marjoram, oregano and rosemary grow at the side of every path. Sage and lavender, mint and lemon balm are still in full leaf, too, though the flowers are gone. There’s a reason why these lovely aromatic herbs are so abundant here. The oils they contain help them to resist drying out in the long, hot summers; back i...

Posted by Su Bristow on Thu, 19 Oct 2017

Read More