Madeleine's Herb Garden

Beeswax Ointment

Beeswax Ointment to the Rescue

Beeswax is a key ingredient in Madeleine's Beeswax Ointment. It is soothing and softening, and helps the skin retain moisture. Even after processing, beeswax is biologically active and retains its antibacterial properties. It also contains vitamin A, a vital element in human cell development.

Another vital ingredient in Madeleine's Cream and Ointment is Calendula. Pot Marigold, as it's also known, is antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and soothing to a variety of skin complaints such as acne, shingles, eczema, and can be used on cuts, scrapes, burns, scars, etc.

Madeleine's Beeswax Ointment also contains other flower essences, and uses the easily-absorbed almond oil as a base.
Almond oil serves as a great emollient, balancing or restoring moisture in the body. It makes a marvellous lubricant and natural moisturiser thus combating itching and inflammation.

Heart-warming herbs

As we head into deep winter, we all know it's good to keep warm and cosy. It's also important to keep things moving, and herbs can be a great help with this. Circulatory stimulants, like spices, resin-rich herbs, and those with strong essential oils and high flavonoid content come into their own.

Arteries, veins, and capillaries all work with and for the main mover - the heart. Just think of chilli, ginger, cinnamon, and rosemary. You probably feel warm already! Preparations of these and other herbs (including chestnuts) in alcohol, oil, vinegar, and tea are justly famous for warming the cockles.

Some of these herbs raise, some lower, and others regulate the blood vessels as well as the blood pressure. The marvelous ruby-red tincture of hawthorn berries in brandy - we prepared some earlier in the year - does all this, while also feeding the heart muscle itself.

As we move closer to the end of the year I'm gathering bramble leaves, nettles, plantain, and dandelion, chopping them up very small and sprinkling onto dishes for all the family, including dogs and cats. Greatly appreciated by aged horses too, mixed with grated carrot and offered on the palm.



From summer drink to winter medicine

Our respiratory system is intimately linked to our digestive system: look after one and you look after the other. Nature provides the Autumn fruits that are not only yummy for our tummies but also heal, cleanse, and disinfect our lungs.

By October elderflowers have become elderberries out in the great, green pharmaceutical laboratory: the lovely summer flowers we used for cordial are now ripe berries for you to turn into a poweful winter tonic.

The antiviral properties of the flowers are now increased in the berries. They are especially good for respiratory problems as they heal, restore, and tonify the lung tissue. They also help the whole body deal with infections.

It's best not to eat elderberries raw; simmer a batch for a few minutes in a saucepan with a little water and sugar (ideally muscavado or molasses sugar). The resulting cordial is best drunk warm to help with colds and flu.

The steadfast calendular is still blooming in Madeleine's herb garden. A vital ingredient in the creams and ointments, it is antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and soothing to a variety of skin complaints such as acne, eczema, and can be used on cuts, scrapes, burns, scars etc. The flowers are also delicious in salads or sandwiches, as the Madeleine's Cream office can attest!






May leaves, sweetness remains

  "May blossom is still with us so it's a good time to look at our own sweetness. May (Hawthorn) leaves and flowers help regulate sugar uptake across the digestive tract wall. By tonifying the gut lining, they can aid in stabilising insulin and non-insulin dependent diabetes.

As a society we are getting too sugary, so herbs like Silverweed, Hawthorn, Strawberry, (all in the Rose family) as well as Burdock and Bugle, are very good general tonics. 

'Silverweed' has lovely arched silvery leaves, then for a short while, little golden flowers appear - the moon and sun together...

These herbs can assist our whole system to work more efficiently and so help reduce cravings or the need for quick-fix energy sources." - Herbal wisdom from Ben Fairlight Edwards, The Barefoot Herbalist

Learn more about the wild food and medicine in our hedgerows on our next Herb Walk Workshop, Thursday 19th July 2012

For further details or to book, email or call me on 01342 826 965

Delights in the Hedgerows

Hawthorn tips are lovely to nibble as you walk; they're full of vitamin C and iron. Their old country name was "bread and cheese."

Dandelion flowers are beaming at us, radiantly signalling the perfect time to eat the flowers and leaves - pile them in a salad, or even better, pick the flowers when they are open in the sunlight and munch them as you walk - fresh, free flower essence.

Jack-in-the-hedge, or Hedge Garlic, has a more delicate perfume and flavour than the better known wild garlic (Allium ursinum).  Hedge Garlic is rich in mustard oils which have a warming effect throughout the body. It has a wonderful quality: it speeds up liver metabolism. Stimulating when eaten raw or juiced, this is great for hangovers and generally if you're feeling a bit jaded.

Nettles are always plentiful at this time and still tender. Use them as fresh spinach - lovely in quiches, or pour hot water over the leaves to make a Spring blood-cleansing tea.

Hogweed leaves are unfurling, the young, delicate shoots at the centre are best - fry them in butter for a flavour like prime asparagus... mmmm, the taste of Spring!

We might spot some on our next Herb Walk, Thursday, 17th May in central Forest Row – join us if you can! Email, or phone 01342 826 965