Monthly Archives: August 2012


A quick jaunt to Italy and a scorched Croatia, full of reddened forests after apparently not a drop of rain since May! Whereas here the drenching continues. Life is so unbalanced.

Rovinj, a town by a sparkling aquamarine sea possessing the very smoothest of smooth-worn cobbles I’ve ever felt, had a lot of anise-type plants everywhere, including a marine variety! Seemed to be the only green herb surviving this roasting…

Croatian Sea Anise!

In other news, un-herb-related but curious, I have spent some time at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford over the past week, assisting a performer in the Paralympics Opening Ceremony (large-scale bonkersness) and there discovered a weird fact. Which is, that in olden gladiatorial days, the entrance/exit tunnels underneath the stadium through which lions would enter and audiences would leave, were named vomitoriums, deriving from the verb to spew forth or expel. That explained why each of those tunnels where the performers were congregated before trooping into the centre were proudly named VOM 1, VOM 2 and so on… as in, ‘Everyone to VOM 5, NOW!’. Peculiar, entertaining and fabulous – make sure you watch tonight for some beautiful movements and wheelie action…


Am planning some Herbal Medicine workshops at The Mill in Walthamstow – here are brief details for now, more to follow later!

7-11 Coppermill Lane, Walthamstow E17 7HA
Saturdays, 2-3.30pm - 5 weeks starting Saturday 22nd September

Come learn about the magic of herbs:

·       Herblore, plant recognition & gathering; our local herbs and their seasons and habitats

·       Simple home remedies and how to use medicinal plants to support your health and wellbeing

·       Making your own herbal preparations – practical sessions

·       The place of herbs in our lives!

To find out more/book a place, contact Rasheeqa on 07784 506 494 or email

Or drop into The Mill to book/have a chat, or ring on 020 8521 3211

£5 per session or £20 for whole course if booked in advance

So my first gig as qualified herbalist is appropriately wild and muddy and spent at the Green Gathering, a luscious mixup of rainstorms, rainbows, huge insect bites and boiled thumbs, blacksmiths and Brixton tea parties, dreads and dancing, and a lot of cider. Delicious still cider out of plastic canisters. Never been to this fest before and indeed had not been to one for a while so it was a joyous return.
See pics on Facebook here

First experience of festival first aid...

Dedj and her crew are a marvellous bunch with a long-time experience of festival first aid and I had a great welcome to my new family of herbalists – ‘Big-up good-natured people who love and know plants’ to quote our friend Oscar from the crew food tent. It is awesome and warming to feel I am entering this world and community especially now knowing it has many quality and very funny folk in it. The fun/work balance was negotiated skilfully and it was rewarding to be in a setting where using herbs was the norm and most comers to the first aid tent were sympathetic to, and more often, very appreciative of this medicine. It was somehow reminiscent of a very different place, my father’s family Dawakhana – a Unani medicine house in northern India – whose location on one of the busiest little thoroughfares I’ve ever seen means a continuous flow of people accessing this affordable treatment, for almost the last 100 years. A colourful English-Welsh hippie festival and a bustling Muslim brass-producing Indian town in the foothills of the Himalayas are not on the surface similar – and yet a very like response to herbal medicine issues from their people. And why? I can only perceive that a large part of the impetus comes from the fact that it helps. A number of first aid tent visitors, as well as asserting their ideological support of herbal healing, said that their experience of our treatment had been effective in the past and so they remembered it and returned. Of course this shouldn’t be, and isn’t, surprising for me as a herbalist after these years of study experience – but it is brilliant to see it in practice!

Much looking forward to doing it again and learning more hands-on skills for this acute side of things, a new experience for me after clinical experience in the longer-term approach to treatment. Bring on the duck poo sprain ointment and the plantain dressings…