TheHerbBoat, site logo.

Blog

 RSS Feed

Category: HERBS

  1. Black is the new Black ....

    Posted on

    Black is the new black ... when it comes to tea

    This year has seen a huge rise in people asking if I sell Black Teas … and sales of my Blue Lady Tea (an Earl Grey blend) went up. So I spent some time experimenting with different black teas and blends. Being in London earlier in the year helped, as there was a huge choice of quality teas readily available to buy and enjoy.

     blue lady tea blue lady t

  2. LOVAGE ACTUALLY

    Posted on

    So it seems that Lovage is enjoying a much deserved renaissance. I have seen a surge in sales lately of this big, hearty, robust herb, both in its dried form and as young plants through my sister business Alchemy Plants. Last winter in London. I spied trendy young hipsters sipping Bloody Marys through hollow Lovage stem straws, found young lovage leaves in restaurant salads and my Mother’s Day treat was a delicious meal out of roasted beets with Lovage pesto. lovage2 

  3. Eats Shoots and Leaves ... MICROGREENS are Go

    Posted on

    Despite years growing millions of seeds commercially when I had my little herb nursery, I still get a sense of amazement, awe and wonder at watching seeds germinate and grow. There is something immensely therapeutic and empowering about growing your own food, and that can prove difficult in a small space with no garden … like a boat or a flat. So this winter I have been playing around with MICROGREENS, the ultimate solution to gardening in a small space and a year round supply of fresh, immensely nutritious and tasty food.

     micro6 micro10 micro13

    Amaranth Red Army      Perilla and Basil                      Pea Shoots after watering

  4. My Top 5 Herbs and Spices to Survive January

    Posted on

    When the celebrations are over, despite knowing that the days are slowly and surely getting longer, January can feel like a long hard month. The prospect of going back to work, body feeling sluggish and bloated, indigestion is your new best friend, liver ruined by excess partying and all those relatives bringing germs and viruses, along with their gifts, from far flung places, the NHS stretched beyond capacity and imploring us to stay away with minor ailments ....

  5. Herbs during Wartime

    Posted on

    I will be trading at the Stoke Bruerne “Village at War” weekend on 10th and 11th September. This annual event looks back at the impact of the Second world War on life in an English village.  Several people have asked me what herbs have to do with war, particularly World War2, and are surprised to hear of the crucial role the humble herb played in our nation’s health and survival.

  6. Blue, Blue, Electric Blue ....

    Posted on

    The towpath in Staffordshire was full of Comfrey plants, and this year the flowers seemed especially blue … they vary from pale pink through sky-blue pink to almost electric blue. My foraging fingers went to work as this is a good tea herb. It is also a great addition to compost heaps and makes a good liquid plant food.

     comfrey

    Other blue flowered herbs that are worthy of attention at the moment are beautiful starry Borage flowers. Loved by bees, these edible flowers are a pretty addition to salads, with a mild cucumber flavour and absolutely essential to Pimm’s. It does grow wild; I have seen lots on the Macclesfield Canal but it is also easy to grow from seed. Borage can be a bit invasive in the garden and the hairs on the leaves are irritating to some people.

     borage

  7. Spring has Sprung ... and things are getting seedy on The Herb Boat

    Posted on

    Well, spring has sprung … though it doesn’t feel very spring like here in Lancashire. However, seeing all the new shoots, blossom and early daffodils means my thoughts have turned to planting seeds for the coming year. The Herb Boat roof doesn’t allow for much gardening, but it is amazing what you can achieve in a few pots and containers.

  8. Bath Time Bliss

    Posted on

    Whilst some boats have a small bath, here on the Herb Boat I just have a shower. A bath is a rare treat provided by landlubber friends. I have a number of such friends here in West Yorkshire, having spent several years here at the University of Bradford, both studying and working, and have been enjoying regular soaks which have eased my achey, arthriticcy old bones a treat. It has also given me a chance to fully test the new range of Herb Boat Bath Salts; blends of organic salts, essential oils, herbs and flowers to elevate your bath time to spa like heaven. And of course, all natural ingredients and no nasty parabens and the like.

    salt3

  9. Herbs Help You Breathe More Easily ...

    Posted on

    There are many ways to enjoy the beneficial aspects of herbs and spices. You can cook with them, infuse them, inhale them, burn and smoke them, make extracts, oils, lotions, potions and salves, bathe in them, strew them  ... the list is endless.

    Here on The Herb Boat, I have had a long history of smoking one of the most addictive herbs known to humanity, Tobacco, Nicotiana tabacca. Once commonly used medicinally as a relaxant, sedative and expectorant, it has been widely available for centuries as tobacco, tinctures and snuff.  When the truly addictive nature of nicotine was understood, along with the it's toxic, carcenogenic properties, particularly when smoked, it's medicinal use declined, though it is still widely commercially available as tobacco for smoking and chewing, and snuff. Many people cannot understand why anyone would choose to smoke, and many smokers battle with their addiction.

    Whilst the long term detrimental health effects are now well known, the highly addictive nature of this herb makes it a habit that is hard to kick. Smoking is linked to many cancers, not just those of the lungs, gum disease, premature ageing, poor circulation and inevitable damage to the delicate membranes of the lungs. This was brought home to me in a frightening way recently when a chest infection made my annoying little "smoker's cough"  worse, and worse and eventually culminated in me being admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties last week. 

    I'm now home, and feeling much better ... and yes, I have stopped finally smoking .....  but I have been diagnosed with COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder. I am still learning about what this will mean in the long term, but for now just getting out of bed results in wheezing and coughing. So I have been taking things easy and using a soothing blend of herbs as an inhalation, to help ease my wheeziness and soothe my bruised lungs.

    Inhaling steam alone has long been used to help relieve coughs, breathing difficulties and congested sinuses. The addition of some herbs, spices and / or essential oils can enhance the soothing effect of the steam.

    inhale1

    My choice of herbs is;

    Sage, known to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties,

    Eucalyptus for it's powerful anti-bacterial, anti septic, astringent, antispasmodic , analgesic (pain killing) and expectorant properties,

    Rosemary for it's soothing, anti-inflammatory properties,

    Lavender for it's calming, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties,

    Peppermint known to be an expectorant and decongestant

    And a sprinkle of Orange Peel which provides support against respiratory distress, exerts a lung cleansing activity, breaks down and expels congestion (phlegm). It also contains high levels of histamine and antioxidants, which may help in relieving various respiratory complications like bronchitis, cold, flu.

    So I place the herbs in a deep bowl, and add water that has just cooled from boiling

    inhale2 inhale4

     

    Then find a large towel and form a tent over your head and the bowl, keeping a good 30cm away from the bowl, and inhale the steam for 5 to 10 minutes. If at any point you feel any discomfort, just pop your head out of the tent.

    inhale3

    Not only does the steam moisten and open congested air passages, it also raises skin temperature causing blood vessels to dilate and thus improves blood circulation. So you will also benefit from a mini-facial. Be gentle with your facial skin after the inhalation, splashing it with cold water and patting it dry.

    Other herbs, spices and essential oils to try inhaling for coughs, colds and sinus problems are Bay, Cloves, Cardamom, Tea Tree, Myrrh, Basil and Pine.

    Obviously, if you are pregnant, breast feeding, taking any medication or if your symptoms are persistent and severe, you should always consult a qualified practitioner.

    And obviously, if you are a smoker, you should get as much help, love and support as possible to help you stop.

    Keep trying and say NO to Nick O'Teen

     superman_vs_nick_o_teen

    TTFN

    Bunny