Learning to use herbs on a daily basis


Incorporating herbs into your diet and routine can be as simple as each day making a pot of herbal tea, adding in a handful of mixed herbs to your soup or cutting fresh herbs from the garden for a salad or stir fry. 

The last thing I do each evening is boil the kettle to make a pot of herbal tea for next morning.

You can drink herbal teas throughout the day at any time with food or on it’s own. Personally, I usually drink my herbal tea cold, as it’s cool by the time I get to it. However, I’ve found that many bitter herbs are simply better this way, besides the fact that I love to let the herbs steep for a long time in the teapot to get the best use of them. 

Top tip! Drink any bitter herbs cold and they are easier to take, so good for your digestion and liver function too. 

Your herbs will change throughout the year as well. In the spring, adding nettle to your soups is an easy thing to do, because it is young and full of needed minerals and more palatable then. Dandelion can be used all year and all parts of the plant are edible, but this also tastes nicest in the early spring. 

Some other herbs are only available during the autumn season such as meadowsweet or elderberries. And it’s always nice to preserve herbs in syrups or in the freezer for use when you need them. I make rosehip syrup and elderberry or elderflower cordials that can be used all year long. 

There are many herbs more suitable and palatable for young children – if you start when they are young, they will be used to the earthy tastes and smells. My young children would request chamomile tea, anything with elderflower or nibble on green baby spinach leaves from the growing tunnels. 

I also love to give them rose petal or rosehip teas, dandelion, nettle and rooibos or hibiscus – each of them offer additional minerals and vitamins, antioxidants, and are uplifting to the spirit. 

Throughout your life your needs and body requirements will change – herbs can and should be a part of all of that. For instance, sage is a women’s herb for all seasons and cycles, it supports hormone balance and creates harmony in the endocrine system. 

My favourite herbs to use when I am feeling out of sorts depend on what I am battling. If it is a cold or tummy bug, I might be using antiviral herbs such as goldenseal, lemon balm, elderflower and garlic. 

For a kidney or bladder complaint I would choose to use uva ursi, dandelion, clivers, goldenrod, juniper berries, hydrangea for kidney stones or marshmallow to soothe the area. 

Another area of herbs I have found to be quite significant in their healing power are the trees. Personally, I have an affinity to trees of all kinds and try to incorporate at least some aspect of tree medicine into my healing protocol. 

We can find and use elder, both the flower and berries especially for children and the winter months. It’s a gentle yet powerful immune booster and can be easily dried to use all year. In fact all parts of the elder tree are medicinal. 

See you in the hedgerows! 

April Dannan

April Danann is a food influencer, creating new trends in healthy sustainable living as part of her clinical practice as a Naturopath Herbalist Herbal Nutritionist Intuitive. She lives in West Cork where she is a natural bee keeper and can often be found in the hedgerows.

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