Salves, salts and smudges are just a few of the many ways foragers can hold on to the best from each season. Explore the wild now and you’re guaranteed some finds that will keep those summer vibes around well into autumn, as Nikki Bawn of Boggle Lane Foods explains.
There’s an array of wild things reaching their peak for picking to take home and preserve. All of them will help you amp-up levels of flavour, healing and fragrance to lift your spirits even after the sun has gone.
It’s been an unusual summer to say the least, with a brief warming followed by driving rain and endless clouds, then sun again. The summer solstice came and went without it really feeling like the seasonal switch had been pressed, but despite this, Mother Nature is relentless in her focus. Wild growth and the natural world around us still absorbs and retains the sun’s energy with surprising efficiency even under thick cloud!
Sage is an ancient, potent herb known for much more than its edible uses. This fragrant little fellow is a member of the mint family and possesses impressive anti-bacterial and healing attributes. It is said to cure everything from memory loss to blood disorders and even hair thinning. For me, sage is a dependable all-rounder for both the apothecary and culinary cupboard. Its power to clear out negative energies and fill a room with fragrance is immeasurable and with a little know-how sage will provide for a gorgeous perfumery creation, particularly dried for smudging or arranged in a vase as a delightfully aromatic bouquet.
Ground-ivy is also known by many other names such as Creeping Charlie, Field Balm and Runaway Robin. Many gardeners despise this low growing, evergreen creeper due to its relentless spread through lawns and flowerbeds. The benefits, though, far outweigh the annoyances I can assure you. This so-called weed has been used in a plethora of ways to promote health and relaxation. You will even find it listed in treatments at the swankiest of Italian spas. Eye, nose, throat, skin, respiratory and even digestive conditions have all been solved by using this little aromatic plant. Its musty, mint-like scent works well in a tea and it can be dried and combined with natural rock, Himalayan or sea salts for the ultimate relaxing soak guaranteed to ease away the tightest knots from tired muscles.
Fireweed is a plant that stands tall in sunny, undisturbed grassy edges and along banks and ponds. Its distinctive vibrant flowers reach upwards in purple or pink spikes, which add splashes of colour to otherwise green areas. Also known as Willowherb, it is part of the Evening Primrose family. Young shoots, flower buds and leaves are edible and are said to promote a healthy gut. Many herbalists use this wild plant fresh and dried for teas or combine it with alcohol to make a medicinal tincture to heal many conditions like lung problems, migraines, sore throats and even stomach issues. It can also be infused in water to bathe skin wounds, burns, eczema and psoriasis.
Our natural landscapes, open spaces, woodlands and even our gardens are always on hand through the seasons to provide not only beauty, but a source of healing for the body and the soul. It sounds cheesy perhaps, but the power of plants can do wonders in so many ways and preserving them will lift the spirits even on the dullest of days. Have a go at making a smudge or some simple bath salts to help keep your sunny disposition long after the flowers have gone!
As always, I advise every enthusiastic forager to check and positively identify everything before using it. Plants are powerful and can have unexpected effects so always do your homework beforehand. Happy foraging!
For more information visit: www.bogglelane.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org