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Aerial herbs M-Z

This being the second part of an otherwise rather long file, newcomers may find it useful to look at the introductory paragraphs of ‘Aerial Herbs ‘A-L’.

Marigold herb, Calendula officinalis – 1:3 30%, 10-14 days

The Pot Marigold, often known simply as ‘Calendula’, is most valued for it’s resin-rich flowers. However, a gentler tincture of the whole herb is often useful and is specific for the treatment of glandular fever and post-viral effort syndrome. The whole aerial herb is collected in flower – (this can be done conveniently from mid-summer when sufficient of the flowers have already been gathered – the plant is not likely to recover from cutting. Beware of mildew if you leave it too late). Coarse comminution is sufficient, perhaps by ‘twisting plugs’ manually.

See also in the ‘Flowers’ section.

Marshmallow leaf, Althaea officinalis – 1:3 25%, 10-14 days

Marshmallow is in flower late in the summer. Normally the leaves and flowering tops are used – stripping the leaves down, plucking off the flowering tops, and discarding the stems. The necessary fine comminution is easy. A 1:2 tincture is possible but increase the alcohol to 30%. If supplies are short, it’s acceptable to incorporate the top half of the stem or thereabouts.

The indigenous ‘true’ mallows, Malva sylvestris, M. moschata, M. pusilla & M. neglecta can all be used, prepared in the same fashion and with near-identical uses. See also in both the ‘Flowers’ and ‘Roots’ sections.

Meadowsweet, Filipendula ulmaria – 1:3 25%, 2-3 weeks

Meadowsweet is harvested in full flower in mid-summer – hold off until the flowers have developed the strong and distinctive smell of salicylates. Use the aerial herb including the stems, but cut about a third of the way up as the lower stems are of little value and too tough to comminute easily. Run through a shredder or secateur into 3-4cm sections.

Meadowseet is sometimes confused with Dropwort, Filipendula vulgaris, which prefers a very dry as opposed to damp habitat – although it is has been used in medicine the indications are different and it lacks the powerful salicylate content for which Meadowsweet is prized.

Motherwort, Leonurus cardiaca – 1:3 25%, 10-14 days

The leaves and flowering tops are harvested in full flower, often as early as June, which will allow for a second cut in late summer. Strip the leaves downwards off the stem and pluck off the flowering tops. Beware if you’re working with well-developed plants, this cuddly-looking plant has a surprise for you – viciously spiny calyxes. The lower leaves have a habit of yellowing off so pick through carefully. Coarse comminution will suffice.

Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Hieracium pilosella – 1:3 25%, 10-14 days

Harvest the whole aerial plant in full flower any time during the summer. Choose your moment carefully as the leaves are usually no more than a tight little rosette sitting on the ground, so take when reasonably clear of soil-splash. Don’t worry if occasional root fibres remain attached. Little or no comminution will be required.

Mouse-ear is a classic example of an indigenous herb that has fallen into disuse simply because it doesn’t dry well. A tincture of the fresh herb is an extraordinarily useful pulmonary remedy with a marked bronchodilatory action.

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