Tilehurst Horticultural Association 

Herbal Walk May 31st 2015

31 May 2015 – A walk with Linda Bostock

OK so not a talk, but there was talking & walking.

Despite the vagaries of the weather – at least it didn’t rain – a group of 12 of us met up in the Rivermead car park with Linda & her husband.  A short introduction by Linda, about her background and training, before setting forth on an exploration of the verges and fields surrounding the River Thames, and then onto the banks of
the Thames. 

Natures Pharmacy is what Linda called it; how many times have we walked in the country side and just looked at the plants growing there, appreciated them, maybe, but not thought about what, if any, their medicinal properties may be.  Most of us know that the main constituent of Aspirin originally came from the willow.  Many more of the so called ‘modern drugs’ have roots in herbalism.

Chamomile, stinging nettles, elderflowers, berries & leaves, sorrel are a few of the plants found and discussed.   There are many ways of preparing herbs: Infusions – like making tea; Decoctions - when the bark, roots etc. are too hard for an infusion to release the properties, so boiling is necessary; and then Tinctures – when heat can destroy the properties and they cannot be extracted by water alone, then steeping in a spirit i.e. Vodka.

It was fascinating and informative, but one thing Linda did keep stressing: do not treat yourself, unless you really know what you are doing and be very certain that you know which plant is which for many look very similar – experimentation is to be avoided!

Lynne Jones

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