2018 Courses at the Weald and Downland Living Museum. Singleton. West Sussex. To book - Email courses@wealddown.co.uk

Seeds of Good Health.
Friday 18th May.
9.30-4.30pm, £60.

The seed contains the potential of the whole plant. Some herbalists believe that the potency of new life in seeds makes them the most valuable plant part to be given in medicine. Seeds may be chewed whole, ground into powder, decocted for medicinal drinks, or applied to the body in ointments. Most commonly in the past linseed was used in applied plasters. We will examine the benefits of seeds both familiar and unusual, as they have been used over the centuries. We will also try out some live medicine with tasty, vitamin and mineral rich freshly sprouted seeds. Fennel, coriander, caraway, psyllium, alfalfa, red clover, lentil, sunflower, sesame and fenugreek are some you will meet on the day.

Celtic Herbs
Saturday 19th May.
9.30-4pm, £60.

A day to make real contact with the value of our native environment, looking at those plants available to our ancestors before the Romans came. Life in a Celtic round house has left only archaeology to enlighten us but we will be using the oldest surviving source of Celtic medicinal recipes from the Book of Howel the Physician. In gathering herbs, and preparing salves, poultices and herb drinks we can explore the vital importance of native herbs in diet, medicine, dyes and other crafts. Betony, vervain, woad, mistletoe, yarrow, elder, hawthorn, nettle and chickweed are a sample of the herbs you will meet on the day in their widest uses.

[The course takes place in the Anglo-Saxon house at the Museum].

Woodland Herbs.
Sunday 20th May.
9.30-4.30pm, £60.

A walk in wild woodland reveals not only herbs in the undergrowth but also herbal trees. This day will equip you not only to find first aid by the wayside, but also to gather ingredients for pleasant, health-giving teas. Along the way we can also identify powerful herbs now grown as flowers and important medicinal herbs being researched and recently used for example in cancer treatments. Herbs covered will include Hawthorn, Elder, Yew,  Ajuga, Sanicle, Hedge Woundwort, Wild raspberry and Strawberry, Violets, Ivy, Herb Robert, Bilberry, Butcher’s broom, Cowslips, Lily of the Valley and Solomon’s Seal.  Medicinal and cookery recipes will be part of the day.

Herbs for Health.
Friday 24th August.
9.30-4pm, £60

The origins of the herbaceous border lie in growing herbs for home remedies in the past. Led by a medical herbalist, the course offers guidance on the most safe and useful herbs to grow and how to harvest and use or preserve them., A practical day ensures careful identification, instruction on the individual herbs and experience in making a footbath, herbal honey syrup, herbal teas, an infused oil, a herb pillow and more.

Applications for bites and stings, bruises and irritated skin are taken from a selection of historical and modern recipes covering everyday problems from sore throats to diarrhoea. This will be a day illustrating effective traditional use of herbs. Some herbs featured: marshmallow, fennel, elder, chamomile, lemon balm, thyme, sage, pot marigold, chickweed, houseleek, ribwort plantain, lavender...

Herbs for Daily Life.
Saturday 25th August.
9.30-4.30pm, £60.

A day either for the beginner who wishes to know how to introduce herbs into their daily life effectively: or for those who have attended historical herb courses previously and would like a deeper focus on methods. It will cover herbs in cookery, home medicine, making fragrances and wines and liqueurs. We will also look at how the role of herbs has changed to meet new needs with changes in lifestyle over the centuries. The emphasis will be on those areas of particular interest to participants and questions to be addressed can be emailed to Christina up to two weeks before the course date.

Arabic Influence – Exotics and Pharmacy.
Sunday 26th August.
9.30am – 4.30pm, £60

As the habitat of the precious spices and aromatic gums such as myrrh, olibanum, and cinnamon Arabia supplied these for western medicine. However the extent of the Arabic influence on medical training and in particular the practice of the apothecary was so much greater than sourcing drugs. We will be looking at contacts with the East from the pilgrimage of Alfred the Great to Jerusalem and his receiving a prescription from the Patriarch there, travels and translations of Arabic texts by Adelard of Bath, and Crusaders eating oranges at Jaffa. The fusion of Arabic, Greek and Roman medicine at the teaching hospital in Salerno where returning Crusaders were treated, ensured  the use of nutmegs, cloves, ginger, tamarinds, senna, rhubarb, saffron, liquorice, and  distilled rose water in the west. A day for the art of the apothecary to come to the fore with the works of Avicenna, Mesue and Rhazes giving us exciting recipes to make.


Also at the Weald and Downland Living Museum  Christina will be Herbalist in Residence from Wednesday 30th May to Sunday 3rd June. On these days she will be available to talk about our native herbs, Arabic Influences in Western herbal medicine and those herbs which gave rise to modern drugs and for the last 2 days she will be concentrating on herb gardens and gardeners. On the Evening of Thursday 31st May  she will be giving a talk - Drugs from Natural Sources.

From Dr. William Withering's research on foxglove in the 18th century to recent extracts from the yew for chemotherapy and anti-inflammatory papain from the pineapple; the talk follows a fascinating history. The isolation of important alkaloids from Aconite, Cinchona, Henbane and other herbs from 1803 onwards and dominance of opium derivatives in Victorian medicine, contributed to healthcare today. Work on salicylates in Willow, Meadowsweet, Wintergreen and Birch has now provided popular pain relief. In the 20th century interest in Chinese herbs has added ephedrine and Ginkgo extracts. Chemical synergy in whole herbs and the result of using isolated extracts, environmental considerations and folklore are illustrated with slides of the plants which have led to modern drugs. A thought-provoking lecture. 

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Richmond. London.
Planning and Tending the Herb Garden
Saturday 7th July 2018.

This will be a day of introduction for those who might wish to have their own herb garden. It will give the opportunity to consider the practicality of what might work in your own space from both the point of view of design and harvesting. Examples of growing herbs which are both decorative and useful either in small urban settings or larger country gardens, will offer inspiration for planting schemes exploring use of colours, forms, foliage textures and perfumes to gain the best effect. The medieval ideals of beauty, usefulness and pleasing aromas in the garden will inform us on choices to be made.

Whether your aim is a wildflower garden having a natural appearance, an ordered serenity with a knot or a selection of potted herbs to brighten and transform a balcony or patio, there will be something for everyone. Getting to know the herbs involved will be through slides, herbarium samples and an all-important walk in Kew gardens to see the plants growing and literally smell the roses. Main uses of all herbs mentioned will be given. Pencil and drawing paper is not obligatory but you may wish to make sketches of ideas on the day for later. More detailed uses of the herbs may be further explored on a second day.   

Go to www.kew.org/learn/talks-courses/   to download their brochure and booking form.


Aging Successfully – 4 Spring Workshops and 5 Autumn.

Each day 10-4pm  Simple guidelines on diet, exercise, environmental influences and 10 ways to care for the appropriate body system. A personal approach to material from the courses available by email. See Aging Successfully Interactive and Essentials on the Welcome Page.

1.     Brain and Nerves    all of the above + mental exercises to increase your brain capacity and memory.  Saturday February 24th

2.     Heart and Circulation     dates to be arranged for other days.

3.     Breathing

4.     Digestion

5.     In Autumn – Kidneys and Skin

6.     The Immune System

7.     Bones and Muscles

8.     Reproductive System

9.     Eyes and Endocrine

To find out more or book email christina.stapley@tiscali.co.uk