wild plants

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Natural Skincare: 9 Wild Plants That are Good for Your Skin

At one time or another we all suffer with some skin irritation. Whether its a small rash or periodic eczema or dermatitis, your skin needs taking care of and there are some herbs that can help with your natural skincare routine. Plant based skin care isn’t a new phenonemon. Extracts from wild plants combined with essential oils and beeswax are one of the oldest ways to treat skin irritations.

We are all familiar with the beautiful Aloe plant that grows in tropical climates and soothes inflammation but if you are from Europe then you may find more plants with botanical compounds that are closer to home.

Here are just a few of the many wild herbs that have been found to be good for your overall skin health.

Lavendar

Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, lavender is a superb skin herb. You can use dried flowers to make a lavender oil and apply it gently to cuts and sores to help them heal.

Burdock Root

This is a detox plant. It cleanses the body and if you take it regularly it is said to help with acne and eczema.

Dog Rose Petals

Try a rose water toner to cleanse and hydrate the skin. Rose is a mild astringent and helps to hydrate mature skin. Another useful tip is to use the rosehips that come from this plant. Rosehip oil is commonly found in natural food stores and pharmacies these days but you can try to make your own. It absorbs quickly and is often used in anti-aging products.

Thyme

If you suffer from spots and acne than thyme is your friend. Take a small amount of Thyme mixed with alcohol and apply it to the affected areas. Let nature do the rest.

MarshMallow

Use the root of this common plant as an extra daily moisturiser.

Plaintain

This common weed found along the woodland footpaths is a natural tonic. This one is great for moisturising the skin.

Chamomile

This pretty daisy like flower is a powerful wild herb. It has been used for centuries to treat inflammation and muscle pain. It can help to clear up acne and even out the skin tone.

Basil Balm

Basil is known for its cleansing ability and can be used as your super natural skin cleanser. Like most of our favourite herbs basil has lots of anti-oxidants and is also said to help with dark circles so instead of cucumber why not try out some fresh basil leaves.

Chickweed

This tiny flowering plant is bursting with properties that contain natural skin benefits. It is an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and anti-fungal. It is a popular ingredient in salves as it has a calming, cooling effect on the skin.

If you are interested in recording your herb knowledge and getting creative with the herbs around you feel free to download our Herb Planner Pack.

There are many plant extracts with natural skincare benefits and the above are just a handful to keep a close eye out for. If you any skincare tips please send them to our team at info@orchardsnearme.com

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6 Wild Edible Plants found by the Sea

When people think of Coastal Foraging they often only consider the varieties of seaweeds and shellfish on offer but believe us, the wild edible plants growing by the seaside will give you plenty of food for thought. Conditions by the coast can make it difficult for some commonly found plants to survive. Strong winds and high tides are no match for these sturdy plants.

Here are just a few of our favourite wild edible plants to forage for by the sea:

Sea Beet

First and foremost is the dark green wild plant of Sea beet. This healthy green will greet you alongside sandy and rocky beaches across Europe. Like spinach the leaves can be added to stir-fry’s, used as a bed for your fish dishes and are a delicious vitamin full addition to your breakfast smoothies.

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Ox Eye Daisies

You can’t miss this friendly edible plant. In the past Ox Eye Daisies were used to treat coughs, asthma, ulcers and to clear sinus problems. It is a diuretic and a tonic. The flowers can be pickled or covered in batter and the young leaves can be used in a summer salad.

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Sea Radish

Looking for a homegrown supply of tasty greens to add to salads and dishes than sea radish is a great alternative source of greens that can be foraged all year round. This yellow headed grows in coastal areas and shines brightly in the summer months. The leaves work well in pesto recipes and the small pods are a great addition to summer salads.

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Yarrow

Be careful not to confuse yarrow for other poisonous plants such as hemlock. Both have white heads for flowers but there are two distinguishing features of Yarrow to look out for. First the glimpses of yellow in the flower heads and next the unmistakable fern-like leaves. They usually grow in groups and pop up in wasteland, countryside trails and along coastal pathways.

Sea Rocket

This coastal friend is a member of the mustard family. With great amounts of Potassium, calcium and Vitamin B this plant can provide a welcome boost to the immune system and all parts of the sea rocket plant are edible. This wild plant holds water and its hard, fleshy leaves make it easier to withstand any harsh coastal climate. Herbalists love to speak about the health benefits of this common wild plant.

We hope that you enjoy discovering these wild edible plants and find others to add to your favourite dishes. The great thing about foraging is that the land changes with the seasons are there are different plant varieties to be discovered throughout the year.

To start recording your foraging adventures feel free to download our Foragers Planner Pack and we have a special Herb Planner Pack for herb lovers out there.

To join us on on our food and foraging adventures please contact a member of the team.

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3 Medicinal Plants to Help with Insomnia

Are you feeling tired all of the time? Do you suffer from insomnia? Sleep deprivation can be a common occurrence in our busy lives today. It is well documented that sleep loss disrupts our attention span and causes emotional stress. Symptoms include mood swings, memory loss, lack of motivation, increased appetite and irritability.

Ongoing lack of sleep can have negative effects of your immune system which means it could take you longer to recover from common illnesses.

Our first recommendation is always to take a long walk in a natural environment. Join one of our day tours in nature or look for your nearest park or coastal town, walk slowly, breathe in the fresh air and allow yourself to become immersed in the nature around you. Try to leave your phone at home. If you are struggling to fall asleep at night try using some relaxation techniques, listen to soothing music and sounds.

Here are three of our favourite wild plants that are known to help relax the mind and help you to get a better nights sleep.

Lavender

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Lavender is treasured for it’s scent around the world, from perfumes to cleaning products to beauty products. It can be found growing throughout Europe. The lavender plant has multiple varieties. Studies have found that lavender can aid sleep through aromatherapy. To get a more peaceful nights sleep try placing a small bunch of lavender in your pillow case or lighting a lavender scented candle for a short time before going to bed.

Wild Chamomile

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Chamomile is one of the most popular wild plants, used by herbalists and foragers around the world. It’s daisy-like flowers are easy to recognise. Both the flowers and leaves are edible. The dried flowers contain terpenoids and flavonoids, which are known to help with insomnia, anxiety and relaxing the muscles.

For a better nights sleep make a simple tea from the flowers or put a bunch of chamomile under your pillow and enjoy the scent until it rocks you to sleep.

Valerian

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When many people hear the word today they may think of House Velaryon from Game of Thrones but long before Game of Thrones came to our T.V. screens the Valerian Plant was being used for medicinal purposes. This pretty plant prefers the sunshine and you will find it along the coastlines. The ancient greeks used to hang valerian in their homes to keep out evil spirits. When most people think of the Valerian plant they think of sleep as it is the most commonly used over the counter sedative in Germany. It is also said to reduce anxiety, stress and migraines. It contains calcium, iron and magnesium.

When preparing Valerian to aid sleep it is best to use the root of the plant and simmer is gently in water until it reaches boiling point. Drain away the root and sip on the remaining liquid. You can also use it as a foot bath and this is said to aid insomnia. Simply take a bundle of the herb (flowers and leaves), wrap it with string and add it to a basin of warm water, allow your feet to soak in the mixture for ten minutes. Let us know if this works for you.

These plants are readily available throughout Europe. They may be more obvious in the late spring and early summer months when the flowers start to bloom but the leaves can be just as effective.

If you are suffering from insomnia for a prolonged period of time than it is a good idea to see your doctor for recommendations.

For more information on any of our wild foraging tours please contact one of our travel experts.

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