Listen to the Hazel Catkins sing!

This is the beautiful sound of a Hazel tree singing to us in the early springtime. Using an instrument which translates the electromagnetic impulses from any plant and translates them into sound, we are able to hear the individual ‘song’ of different plants. When I do this, I notice that plants are ‘shy’ at first and then they get going, but I was fascinated when I recorded and played the song back to the Hazel - it seemed to get really excited and bold, increasing its output measurably. Listen and enjoy the amazing sound of the song of a plant, but please be patient as it was shy and took a while to sing smoothly, also the music is strange to our ears, but ethereally tender.

Click here to hear it sing


Magical Forest Retreat, 21st May 2017

Adrian and I are very excited about our next Magical Forest Retreat on the 21st of May. There are still some places left.

Celebrating the power, passion and pain of the heart. 
 21st of May in Hampshire.

Jo Dunbar and Adrian Rooke take us on a journey along the Celtic Wheel of the Year to the merry month of May and the ancient celebration of Beltane. This is the time when love fills the hedgerows; when the Gods and the Goddesses come together in the Greenwood marriage bringing fertility to the land. Working ritually in the forest, the sacred tree that we will focus on at this time is the Hawthorn which is truly a tree of the heart. Hawthorn is a boundary tree, one of bridal petals and thorns – in this workshop we explore our boundaries, the power and the passion as well as the pain of love, and the graceful acceptance of change. 
We shall also connect with the Celtic Gods and Goddesses of this period in the Wheel of the Year.
Beltane was always a time of bonfires and frolicking in the woods and the meadows. In keeping with this noble tradition, we shall discuss some herbal aphrodisiac potions. As always, there will be stories, and joyful song and chanting, meditations and working magically with our sacred Hawthorn.
We have a workshop space for private use within the Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Hampshire. 
For further details click here.


The best herbs for arthritis

Headline news this week brought to my attention that ordinary pain killers such as Ibruprofen, aspirin or paracetemol can raise the risk of heart failure by 20%. What was not mentioned was that “All NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) share an increased risk of serious complications in the upper GI tract such as bleeding,” Luis Alberto García Rodríguez, MD…/risk-gi-bleedi….

Acccording to the British Medical Journal, NSAIDs cause approximately 3500 hospitalisations for and 400 deaths from ulcer bleeding per annum in the UK in those aged 60 years and above.

Of course, these painkillers give us great relief, for which no doubt, each and every one of us are very grateful, but there are natural anti-inflammatory herbs which can also help to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain - leaving us free to use NSAID's only occasionally, thereby greatly reducing the risk of unknowingly and severely damaging our health.

A study published in 2015 showed that after 12 weeks the 32 patients who took a Frankincense were more pain free and could walk longer distances than the 34 who were given a placebo (dummy pill).

We see that a combination of frankincense and turmeric was more effective and more easily tolerated than diclofenac for treating active osteoarthritis.…/Natural-anti-inflammatory-agents
in 2014 a study comparing the pain reducing efficacy of turmeric to ibuprofen found that turmeric and ibuprofen equally reduced the pain of knee osteoarthritis, but thre were fewer gastrointestinal side effects in the group taking turmeric extracts when compared to the ibuprofen group.
Another study of 100 people divided into two group, with one recieving rosehips and the other received a placebo showed a signficant improvment in hip mobility and joint movement in the group who used the rosehips.…/article/pii/S0011393X03000043

There are other fabulous anti-inflammatory herbs such as Cat's Claw, Devils Claw, and White Willow.
What else can you do? It really helps to lose weight so that there is less stress on the joints. Dropping wheat, dairy and sugar from your diet will make a big difference in weight.

Certain foods have been linked to promoting arthritis - tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, all chemical in food seem to make it worse, whilst oils fish, lots of vegetables and fruit have an easing effect on arthritis.


Protect yourself against bacteria and viruses

The news recently highlighted the problem of anti-microbial resistance, in other words – the dangerous resistance to antibiotics of bacteria. You shall probably notice that doctors will be reluctant to hand out antibiotics for bacterial infections, and colds and flu. This is and has been necessary for a while now, so it is important that we find other ways to protect ourselves from milder bacterial infections so that the antibiotics are effective against life threatening bacterial infections. Although antibiotics were regularly prescribed for viral infections, they are entirely ineffective against viruses. So, what can we do? Well, lots actually.

The most important of all is to keep your immune system strong. We have a wide range of immune boosting herbs, and herbs which kill bacteria and viruses which we can prescribe in a formula for your individual case.

Try not to get too stressed, or if you feel tired – take a little time out. Sometimes I just lie on the floor of my apothecary for 5 minutes, and it makes a difference. Get out into nature – it is rebalancing and healthy just to be in nature.

As much as you can afford, buy organic food. The practice of organic farming supports a rich mineralized soil, and much less use of anti-biotics for animals, so the nutrition of your food is far more supportive of your overall health and the health of the planet, plus the animals are better cared for.

Avoid mucous producing foods like wheat, sugar and dairy products. Eat some meat, fish, eggs or pulses, lots of different vegetables and some salads and fruit. Enjoy nuts and seeds humus, avocados, and a little honey as a treat. Enjoy oat biscuits, rye bread, and butter is fine.

Your kitchen cupboard holds a store of anti-biotic herbs and spices – thyme, sage, garlic, cloves and cinnamon are all powerfully anti-biotic.

Make your own:
Anti-biotic tea for a chest infection:
1 teaspoon of dried sage
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
Add the herbs to a small tea pot of boiling water and drink 4 to 6 cups daily until you feel better.

Anti-biotic snack for chest infections:
1 slice of rye toast
Mash ½ an avocado with 1 clove of crushed garlic, ¼ of finely grated horseradish and some lime juice. Pile onto the toast and enjoy.


Raspberries for cancer, arthritis and fat burning

This full moon is the harvest moon, and few of us are likely to be harvesting barley, but many of us will probably be enjoying our own home grown raspberries. So, lets look at what raspberries can do for you.

Cancer cells are greedy and proliferate at a great rate, but they are also immortal. Raspberries are rich in certain plant nutrients like ellagitannins which send signals that encourage the cancer cells to enter into a more natural cycle of programmed cell death (apoptosis). Ellagic acid has anti-cancer effects against colon, oesophageal, liver, lung, tongue, and skin cancers.
Organic raspberries are also naturally high in anthocyanins, which protect our circulatory system – thus helping to prevent cardiac disease and also dementia.
By inhibiting the production of inflammatory COX-I and COX-II enzymes, raspberries help to reduce the pain associated with arthritis, gout and other inflammatory conditions. Being highly anti-oxidant, they mop up the free-radicals which promote inflammation and cancer.
And…da dah!!! Red raspberry ketones are used in Japan as a weight loss supplement. The metabolism in our fat cells can be sped up by ketones called rheosmin which is found in raspberries.

Try a bowl of freshly picked raspberries which a "dressing" of dark chocolate sauce. Melt 50% very dark chocolate with 50% coconut oil. Pour over chilled raspberries and enjoy safe in the knowledge that you are feeding your body super-foods.

Make your own anti-viral cough syrup

An oxymel combines a herbal extract of vinegar and honey. It is delicious and an ancient way of storing herbal remedies. Oxy means sharp or acid. Mel is honey - soothing and comforting, and makes the remedy palatable.

This is how I did it.

First I collected ripe elderberries (anti-viral) and stripped them off the stalks into a pot of heated apple cider vinegar and allowed them to simmer for about 10 minutes. Once I had crushed the vinegar berries with a potato masher, I added thyme and hyssop (also anti-bacterial herbs for chest infections) to the elderberry vinegar, switched off the heat and quickly placed the lid on to keep the essential oils within the vinegar. After 30 minutes of allowing the vinegar to cool, I strained it and bottled the liquid.

Now for the honey part. I added Elecampane (anti-bacterial for chest infections) to some lovely honey, gently simmering this too, and then left the herbs in the honey for 5 days to extract. Then I warmed the honey and strained the herbs out of the honey.

Now combine half and half herbal vinegar with herbal honey, and bottle. This is wonderful for a chesty cough or sore throat. Take 1 dessertspoon in a little water 4 or 5 times a day.