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I was teaching a couple hundred km north this weekend.

I've been itching to get my hands on enough herbs to fill a basket or five, for weeks now. I can't really pick things in the archipelago, cos that's a fragile ecology - pick a lot this year and it'll be all gone next year.

In addition, it's been all too dry in southern Finland this summer. Helsinki hasn't been this dry since 1970 or so, and wells are drying up all over the place.

So I went teaching a few hundred km north last weekend, and things are green. Birches aren't yellow or even brown, rowan trees are all pretty green and orange with their unripe berries (instead of red-and-orange), the forest underbrush is green (instead of a premature red or yellow), the fields are green (not showing any of the pale yellow of dead and empty stalks), the grass is green - things grow.

And I got picking. That's a basket or two of nettles in seed, great bundles of fireweed (for the leaf) (Epilobium angustifolium), another basket of meadowsweet in seed (good for salves) (I already had some flowers, to be used as a gut soother and similar), and a lot of red raspberry leaf. And a few other odds and ends.

The group I was teaching picked oodles of SJW in flower (I picked mine in early July), a lot of meadowsweet in seed, lots'n'lots of yarrow flowers, and great swathes of ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) from a large patch, fully green. Among other things. Ground ivy loves water, and won't get lush and green if things are too dry.
We dried herbs, and packed up fresh herbs to be dried at home, and made oils, and a salve, and a tincture, and it was a lot of fun.

And woot - I finally got picking!


I was wondering about the seeds as the meadowsweet I picked was part seed head part flower, the leaves are very astringent, thinking I need to cut it with Epilobium when using it as a stomach tea and extra chamomile when I'm using it as an ant-inflammatory in arthritis.

It's difficult to pick just flowers, or flowerbuds and flowers - they're almost always halfway to seed. Use it if more than half of it is flowers, else add soothing things.
Add something soothing if you're using just the greens (as in seeds and leaf), in teas and such.
For salves the greens are just dandy.

Root, hard to dig up, tiny, all too astringent, not worth the bother.

How delightful. That sounds just lovely.
I am fond of meadowsweet myself. I use it in hair and scalp preparations if I'm feeling a bit scruffy, and it is nice and gentle for any Mom's who are dealing with cradle cap or other scalp ickies. And, of course, I almost always toss it into any headache remedy; it seems to work best if you can't pin down the root of the cause of the headache to begin with.

Scalp things, eh? Learn something new every day.