Barley WI was introduced to the use of local herbs for many aspects of health and nutrition by Helen, the group’s latest speaker from The Gathering Fields.
Helen is based on a family farm near Abbeysteads, where she has used one of the barns as a teaching centre.
Her use of herbs is based on the Ayurveda principles, believed to be one of the oldest systems of medicine.
She described the uses of many wild plants, all known to the audience.
For example, sorrel is good for digestion and as a source of Vitamin C, hawthorn leaves are good for circulation, hysop boosts immunity to infection and dandelion root is good for skin problems such as acne.
The herbs can be drunk in the form of teas, applied to the skin in a cream or as a soap, or added to the bath water.
Helen said she is always looking for new ways to use herbs and had made a pesto with wild garlic, lovage, meadowsweet, sorrel and hysop.
This and the dandelion marmalade which she passed round for people to taste were very popular with the group.
At the end of her talk, she invited members of the WI to sample other herbs and products which she sells in a shop in Lancaster.