Lectures on Medicinal Herbs

Poisonous and Irritant Plants
Herbs in Homoeopathy and Bach Flower Remedies
The Physic Garden
Compassionate Herbs for Stress
Herbs - Serenity by Natural Design
Medicinal Trees
Herbs in the Swiss Alps

If you would like to ask Tina to lecture to your group, e-mail us on Christina.stapley@tiscali.co.uk or telephone 01249 821087 for further information.

Poisonous and Irritant Plants

An important talk as few speakers offer a working knowledge of which garden plants are a real danger to children, pets and other domestic animals. Awareness of poisonous plants has been raised in recent years and labelling improved, however information on what to do when suspected poisoning occurs and how to make the garden a reasonably safe place without becoming over-cautious, needs more publicity. Identification of the plants themselves is vital as the poisons unit which serves doctors and hospitals with guidelines can only function if the cause is known. Some common house plants - Amaryllis, are included along with shrubs such as Daphne mezereum and herbs regarded as flowers, such as hellebores, trees, medical herbs and wild plants which might appear as weeds and remain unidentified.

Very few poisonings occur which result in death, but knowledge needs to be passed down to ensure this remains the case.

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Herbs in Homoeopathy and Bach Flower Remedies

A brief look at the way in which herbal medicine relates to, and differs from homoeopathy and the flower remedies opens the talk. A range of herbs are then introduced and illustrated in detail. The familiar homoeopathic remedy herbs of arnica, belladonna, bryonia, calendula, hypericum, symphytum and so on will be shown as plants and discussed briefly. Although Dr. Bach deliberately sought wild flowers not in general medical use, some flower remedies, such as agrimony, crab apple, rose, holly etc are also medicinal herbs. A selection of flower remedies are looked at to illustrate treating aspects of each of the seven emotional states which Dr. Bach identified as leading to disease. While preparation of homoeopathic and flower remedies is given, emphasis is on the healing nature of the plants themselves.

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The Physic Garden

Beginning with herbs mentioned in the oldest texts available to us, this talk explores the way in which man has discovered the healing qualities of herbs and put them to use. From early herbals and trade in herb drugs from 1,500 B.C. we follow herb use into Infirmary gardens of monasteries and go on to detail useful home treatment herbs to grow in your own garden. Safe home remedies for everyday problems are set beside herbs used in modern herbal medicine and precautions in use and dosage noted. The true nature and value of herbs is nowhere more evident than in their healing role, which has still to be fully explored and understood. We do not need to go to the rain forests to make new discoveries of powerful drugs, many await notice and investigation in our own gardens and the surrounding countryside. A revealing talk.

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Compassionate Herbs for Stress

Using slides in winter or fresh herbs in summer, the talk offers a tour of the serenity garden where herbs offer tranquillity, beauty and fragrance. Apart from enjoying the plants in the garden and benefitting from their fragrances as you weed and harvest, they supply sedative and tranquillizing teas and ingredients for soothing pillows, bath sachets and pot-pourri. Blends of herbs for all these uses, essential oils as aids to relaxation and the role of herbs in a supportive diet to strengthen health and resilience are detailed.Cheering those melancholy moments in life has also long been a function of herbs, a look back to the Elizabethan recipes, supplies ideas for modern use. A light-hearted and helpful talk aimed at providing inspiration for life-enhancement in stressful .times.

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Herbs - Serenity by Natural Design

A talk with a difference, serenity is looked at in its widest context - the natural world. The herbs are used to ask the question what does serenity involve? and how can plants be used to make it a part of our everyday life? While repeating some aspects of the previous talk, this takes the concept to a greater depth, looking also at forms and textures in the design of plant life and relating this to possibilities in our own surroundings. A talk illustrating beauty and interaction in the garden on levels not generally appreciated. It is hoped that all who listen to this talk will leave with a wealth of food for thought and inspiration to attune themselves to the beauty and reality around us.

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Medicinal Trees

Herbal remedies are rarely thought of as coming from trees, yet many do. Conditions from rheumatism and arthritis, through allergies and sinus conditions to problems with heart and circulation, even digestive upsets, can be soothed with remedies from medicinal trees. The use of some takes us back to prehistory and others forward into the present day as we follow familiar trees around us such as hawthorn, elder, willow and birch; introductions now naturalised with walnut, horse chestnut and the European limeflower and trees usually harvested in other countries.

Tinctures of the North American sassafras, prickly ash and powdered slippery elm bark are all to be found on herbal dispensary shelves alongside the more exotic resins of myrrh, frankincense and guaiacum.

The talk is illustrated by pictures of the many trees, their relevant fruits, leaves, flowers, bark and resins and items carved or turned from the woods. Information on their historical and present uses and source countries today is given amongst other fascinating details. You will come away with a new appreciation of the trees around you and some you may see on holiday.

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Herbs in the Swiss Alps

Included in this talk are a number of herbs familiar to us growing high in the Alps at 1,200m, yarrow, ribwort plantain, cowslips, eyebright, Thymus serpyllum and red clover. Also other less familiar, the great yellow gentian, Gentiana lutea and Arnica Montana are protected plants in Alpine fields. High altitude species are to be seen also such as the Alchemilla alpina, Plantago alpina and Pulsatilla alpina Hypericum maculatum, and edelweiss along with the Alpenrose and many more. During this talk Swiss and British uses of the herbs will be given as the slides show them against a stunning backdrop on the slopes around Wengen, in the Alpine Garden at 2,400m above sea level and at a lower altitude in the medicinal herb garden at the Ballenberg Museum.

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