"A balanced world is one rooted in generosity and reciprocity"
The Healing Garden shares herbalist Deb Soule's 45 years of experience working with plants and their healing properties. This is more than just a book on herbs. It is an inspiring guide to herb gardening and crafting herbal remedies that promote wellness of spirit and body. "A balanced world is one rooted in generosity and reciprocity" says Soule, and we couldn't agree more.
Which is why this gorgeous book resonates with us because whether it's kelp sustainably picked by ocean divers outside the African coast, organic and wild foraged elderflower, nettle and dandelion from North Wales or powerful remedial and homeopathic ingredients like live stem cells, silk, gemstones, vitamins and aromatherapy oils, ingredients mean a lot to us. We really care about what goes into the products we have on Onolla and the brands behind them.
"Give yourself time and space to be with plants. This in itself is a healing practice. Let the plants inspire you."
Here are some stand-out tips from the book...
Knowing when to pick specific plants to optimise their medicinal potency is pretty intuitive to a herbalist with 45 years experience behind them but to the gardening newbies among us, it doesn't come as naturally. As a rule of thumb, knowing what time of year to harvest is a good place to start. Chives grow quickly in spring and summer so keeping a couple of pots on hand means you can cut as you please. With Parsley, make sure you cut the whole leaf with the stalk and leave behind the older stalks which can be tough. For basil, fingers are your best tool, picking just below the leaf so new leaves can grow.
How you dry herbs is just as important as when and how you gather them. The main purpose of drying herbs is to remove moisture and most importantly, to preserve their medicinal properties. The key is hot, but not too hot, an attic is ideal so long as it doesn't get above 38℃ (this shouldn't be an issue for us Brits) and placing a thin muslin cloth over the top of herbs and flowers will stop dust from collecting.
3) Herbal Infusions
According to Soule, dried rather than fresh herbs work much better with boiling water. To make one litre of tea, 4-6tbsp or for a single cup, 1-2tbsp of dried herbs into a french press or teapot steeped for 30 minutes is ideal. For a strong medicinal infusion, leaving your herbs to steep for 4-8 hours or even overnight will give the most potency. Once strained, leftover herbs can be composted or tipped into plant pots in the garden or even sprinkled into house plants, just don't chuck them!