Ah, blogging. It's been a while – how have I missed thee? Just give me a moment to brush the inch or so of dust from my barely used writing table...there, that's better. Now, what's the best way to ease myself back into the habit, I wonder?
How about a new regular feature, the Wonderful Weekend Recipe? You can call it WWR for short if you like. It won't mind. Since the title is fairly self-explanatory, let's just dive right on into the first-ever WWR without further ado.
The Wild Rose Electuary for soothing sore throats
'Electuary' must be one of my favourite words in the English language. For some reason, it evokes for me an image of peaceful cloisters in late spring, with golden beams of sunlight regularly picking out the figures of monks talking quietly below. In reality, however, an electuary is a sweet herbal preparation, usually based on honey. And probably used by monks throughout the ages.
Because of honey's nourishing, building and warming qualities, electuaries are ideally suited to tonic formulations, such as the Longevity Electuary I'll introduce you to next week. Since honey is also very sticky and soothing, it's also an excellent base for herbal mixtures intended to soothe the throat – which is where the Wild Rose Electuary comes in.
The recipe couldn't be simpler:
2 parts marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) root powder
1 part sage (Salvia officinalis) aerial parts powder
½ part rose (Rosa damascena) petals, as close to powder as you can get
Get yourself some locally grown honey so that you're supporting your friendly neighbourhood beekeepers. Gently heat it until it turns molten, add your herbs and stir everything in until it's all mixed together nicely. How much honey you use will determine the eventual consistency of your electuary: more honey equals runnier electuary, less honey means a stiffer end product. You'll need to have an empty glass jar handy to pour the molten mixture into.
And that's it! This stuff is so tasty that you can eat it straight from the spoon, but it can also be made into a drink by melting in warm water. The Wild Rose Electuary is a wonderful throat soother, thanks to the combination of mucilagenous (gelatinous, soothing) marshmallow, antimicrobial sage and cooling rose. Why not make some up for the next time someone in your household comes down with a cold? Kids will, of course, love it for its sweetness. Just don't leave them alone with an open jar and a spoon...
Instant genius kit
A little anecdote to round things off. At my wedding a few years ago, one of the guests came down with a sore throat and was not happy. For some reason – either my wife or I must have had a cold recently, I guess – we had a jar of this electuary with us, and we gave him a spoonful or two. Within ten minutes, he was feeling so much better that he called me "an actual genius".
So there you have it: become an instant genius with the Wild Rose Electuary!
Media articles bashing detoxification are becoming a yearly tradition to rival Christmas. The truth is, not only is it possible to boost our bodies' ability to detox – it's crucial for anyone seeking optimum health. And what's one of the best ways to boost your detox system? Herbal medicine! Grab a copy of my free ebook to learn more about why detox is crucial for your health!
Detox: smeared by association
Rather than spend a couple of thousand words picking apart articles like a recent Guardian piece that described detox as "a myth", here are two facts that the anti-detox crowd conveniently overlook.
One: pointing at questionable products like detox foot pads and dodgy 'colon cleanse' tablets in order to heap ridicule on the entire concept of detoxification is simply a trick. There are plenty of great products out there, just as there are plenty of questionable ones. Such 'guilt by association' tactics serve to obscure what detoxification is all about: supporting the body's naturally existing processes to help it get rid of poisonous substances, or toxins. This is best done on a daily basis, through the use of herbs, foods and the right high-quality vitamin and mineral supplements.
Ensuring proper detox is a central part of herbal medicine
If you want to learn more about detoxification and why it's so important in the 21st century, along with some simple, everyday tips and tools to boost your own detox capacity, download my first, free, ebook. All you need to do is provide your email address and sign up to the HerbSmith mailing list. The ebook is called 'The Detox Download', and the first of several parts focuses on the kidneys – one, or more accurately two, of your most important detox organs.
'The Detox Download: Kidney edition' is only meant as a brief primer on detoxification, however. Many people will need a more comprehensive approach to detox on the road to true vitality, often as part of a structured wellbeing programme. If you feel you'd benefit from personalised advice like this, please get in touch.
Yours in health,
Adam (The HerbSmith)
Well, The HerbSmith website has been up and running for a few weeks now, which means a proper welcome is way overdue. So: welcome to www.herbsmith.uk, my (Adam Smith's) electronic window on the world and one of my primary means of getting the word out about what I do.
And what is that, I hear you ask breathlessly? The brief answer, as the page banner above says, is 'herbal medicine' – which is an incomplete reply that raises many questions of its own. What is herbal medicine, for instance? Is herbal medicine different from mainstream medicine, and if so, how? Why should I even consider seeing an herbalist for my health issues, rather than my GP? All perfectly rational queries, and ones that I'll try my best to answer in future posts.
What does an herbalist do?
As an herbalist, I use the healing powers of the amazing plants that grow all around us to restore a state of health. Since their histories are entwined with our own through centuries and millennia, plants have evolved to be humanity's perfect medicine. Gentle yet powerful, effective and virtually free of side effects if used appropriately, herbs and herbal medicine have been unfairly relegated to a supporting role in 21st century medicine, particularly in the Western world.
As a naturopath, I use the healing power of nature - vis medicatrix naturae - to gently bring the unbalanced body back into a state of health. This basically translates as helping people to get out of their own way! The body's natural state is one of glowing, vital health, to which it will return if blockages are removed.
Perhaps the deepest beauty of herbal medicine, though, is its infinite adaptability. By selecting different herbs, by changing the doses of herbs in a mixture and by preparing the herbs in different ways, the herbalist can create an herbal remedy for everyone. This is why you'll always hear herbalists say that they treat the individual, not the condition. In other words, John's eczema may be very different to Jill's, and may require a very different approach to treatment.
I am no different to other herbalists on this. I'm passionate that this underlying philosophy of herbal medicine is the right one.
Treating the individual - not the condition
Natural healthcare for the win!
I'm equally passionate that natural healthcare more widely not only works, but is also safe, rational and cost effective. Creaking and groaning alarmingly, Western-style healthcare systems are beginning to collapse under the weight of too many sickly people and expensive medications. A widespread move toward natural medicine and healthcare systems based on prevention, rather than expensive and often fruitless and damaging treatment, becomes more of a no-brainer every day. To me, at least!
Herbal medicine on the Surrey, West Sussex and Kent borders
But until politicians get with the programme and begin to see the world the way I do, I can try to make difference in a small way, by offering my services as an herbalist to the public. I believe that herbalists should be educators, so please sign up on the right to my mailing list to keep up-to-date with what's going on here! I'll be posting here regularly from now on, and frequently in the next few weeks: lots of health-related information, recipes, waffling about herbs and ranting about this and that. It would be wonderful to have you along for the ride!
An irregular blog
I'm Adam Smith, a Herbalist and Naturopath practising in the Surrey/West Sussex/Kent border area. Although I hope it will change, I don't currently post here regularly.