Geranium is a beautiful and under appreciated medicinal herb that is a delight to have in the garden. Commonly known as Rose geranium, Pelargonium graveolens has a delicious sweet and spicy scent when the heat from the sun releases the essential oils into the air. These precious oils are responsible for much of Geranium’s healing effects, and one of the easiest ways to harness these oils is to infuse the fresh plant in water - such as in this refreshing Geranium Summer Infusion recipe! Geranium is easy to grow, requires little care and can be grown from a cutting. The flowers are edible and can be added to salads and deserts.
Healing with Geranium
Geranium is a safe and restoring herb, replenishing us when we have burnt out our resources due to overwork, illness or stress. Having a special affinity with our hormonal system, geranium gently restores our energy, relaxes and uplifts the mind, relieves depression and irritability. For women, geranium is a wonderful ally to balance the reproductive system, helping PMS, menstrual difficulties, infertility and menopausal symptoms.
Geranium tightens tissues in the body, reducing water retention, inflammation and swelling. Topically, geranium can be used to soothe and heal wounds, sprained muscles, bleeding, inflammation and rashes such as eczema and herpes. For these conditions, apply a compress by soaking a cloth in a geranium infusion and placing over the area several times a day.
To Prepare Geranium Summer Infusion
The amounts used can be adjusted to taste. The floral, spicy tones of geranium combine well with the zesty tang of lemon, making for an attractive and tasty summer time drink that is both refreshing and restoring.
These patties are light in texture and tasty to eat while being incredibly good for you. Just four patties provides a third of your daily fibre requirements to feed your gut bacteria and support digestion, detoxification and blood sugar balance.
One of my favourite herbal drinks at this time of year - rich, earthy roasted Chicory root coffee. The bitter and sweet flavours are brought out by the slow roasting process, making a great full bodied drink to kick start your digestion in the mornings. Autumn is the perfect time to harvest our root herbs, and this common edible weed offers us an abundance of support to help us maintain our well being at this changing time of the year. Like other bitter herbs, Chicory stimulates the cleansing action of our liver, improving our ability to process toxins effectively. High in antioxidants, Chicory has also been shown to reduce inflammation and protect our liver from chemical and free radical damage. These important qualities offer us valuable support in preventing and treating the many chronic health conditions that inflammation and toxicity can underlie. Chicory root is also the highest source of inulin of any food or herb. Sweet tasting inulin is a prebiotic that feeds our good gut bacteria, again boosting our first line of immune defense, and is a type of soluble fibre that supports gut health, lowers high cholesterol levels and improves diabetes. Finally, Chicory has also been shown to have anti bacterial, anti fungal and anti viral effects - all helping our immune system to deal with pathogens. All of this from a common garden weed!
We will be harvesting and preparing roasted root coffee with another wonderful healing weed at our upcoming Autumn Herbal Medicine Making Workshop - the wonderful Dandelion! We have been growing a garden bed full of Dandelions in nice loose soil for easy harvesting for two years. I look forward to sharing this delicious herbal beverage and all it's wonderful healing properties with you at the workshop.
Imagine food being a joy and a pleasure in your day, free of any anxiety, guilt or 'shoulds'. Imagine you were also able to work with food to be a primary source of healthcare in your day, both for yourself and your family. This is how our relationship with food can be in our lives, yet we have many blocks that get in the way.
While facilitating our Herbal Medicine Making Summer workshop recently, I was struck by how empowering it is to reconnect with knowledge and skills to care for ourselves and our families. It allows us to be more responsive to our own health needs and, importantly, reminds us how powerful self-responsibility is for supporting our health.
What does it really mean to be responsible for our own health? At times this idea might be weighted with a sense of judgment or blame, if we view any ill health as being a personal failure. But what if we could respond to ourselves with compassion? What if we could recognise our sub-optimal health as messages from our wise inner self, signalling us to make adjustments in the way we are living our lives? What would it look like if we took this kind approach, responding to our body’s needs moment by moment, adjusting our food, our activities, our approach to work and play in order to keep ourselves in a state of wellness?
When we take the lens of judgement away, self responsibility becomes instead an empowering realisation, knowing that we have the ability to listen and respond effectively to meet our own needs. Times of ill health are then transformed into times of concentrated learning, positive exploration and change. When we can flip our approach to health care in this way, then our bodies become a reference point to learning about ourselves, our beliefs and attitudes and how these are driving us in our daily lives.
It can take a significant internal shift to respond to ourselves in this way. Our modern culture does not tend to prioritise self care. In addition, many of us come from family lines that have had to work through significant odds in order to survive. This can result in a strong work ethic, but also a harsh view of life that can negatively impact the way we care (or don't care) for ourselves. It is not just our eye colour that is passed down our family lines! Do you allow yourself to take time for rejuvenation, or do you have internal messages saying that this would be lazy, unproductive, or selfish? Is your sense of self worth tied up with working hard? Bringing awareness to these beliefs and shifting those that are no longer serving us is an important part of our self healing process.
So, let's enable ourselves with knowledge and skills, and respond to ourselves with kind attentiveness. One aspect of self care we have that is ever close at hand are the herbal allies and healing foods found in our own backyards and kitchen pantries. We just need to restore this ancient knowledge and relationship, and bring that support back into our everyday lives. If this is something that speaks to you, I encourage you to come along to one of our upcoming natural medicine workshops - learn to take hold of your health care in an age-old and natural way.