It was two days after a large fall of snow, the coldest winter for decades but people turned out, regulars and new people and all were very welcome.  We were concentrating on looking for new growth; what plants don’t mind the cold weather, even thrive on it.  Chickweed and cleavers (or sticky bud, or sticky willy, or goosegrass) were the main herbs we found.

At the herb garden looking for new growth of herbs

The thyme was surprisingly robush sheltering under the curry plant

Bushy chickweed, loads of it!Bushy chickweed, loads of it!

Separating chickweed, yarrow and goose grass. Some for tea some for the vege burgers

 Chickweed has a cool, cucumber taste. It’s an excellent garnish in salads. We made pesto with it in November. See here http://lambethbandofsolidarity.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/winter-outdoor-cooking-in-myatts-field-park/

It likes the cool and cold months, dying away in the summer. It’s an excellent, soothing herb for external use. Herbalist use it for eczema and I’ve read that it soothes nappy rash.  Goosegrass is a good diuretic, a good tonic.  This is what plants for a future has to say about it http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Galium+aparine

Edible Uses

The tender young shoot tips – raw or cooked as a pot-herb.A rather bitter flavour that some people find unpalatable, they are best used in the spring.They make a useful addition to vegetable soups.It is said that using this plant as a vegetable has a slimming effect on the body. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute.One of the best substitutes, it merely needs to be dried and lightly roasted and has much the flavour of coffee.A decoction of the whole dried plant gives a drink equal to tea.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Alterative; Antiphlogistic; Aperient; Astringent; Cancer; Depurative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Homeopathy; Skin; Tonic; Vulnerary.

Goosegrass has a long history of domestic medicinal use and is also used widely by modern herbalists. A valuable diuretic, it is often taken to treat skin problems such as seborrhoea, eczema and psoriasis, and as a general detoxifying agent in serious illnesses such as cancer. The whole plant, excluding the root, is alterative, antiphlogistic, aperient, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, tonic and vulnerary. It is harvested in May and June as it comes into flower and can be used fresh or dried for later use. It is used both internally and externally in the treatment of a wide range of ailments, including as a poultice for wounds, ulcers and many other skin problems, and as a decoction for insomnia and cases where a strong diuretic is beneficial. It has been shown of benefit in the treatment of glandular fever, ME, tonsillitis, hepatitis, cystitis etc. The plant is often used as part of a spring tonic drink with other herbs. A tea made from the plant has traditionally been used internally and externally in the treatment of cancer. One report says that it is better to use a juice of the plant rather than a tea. The effectiveness of this treatment has never been proved or disprove. A number of species in this genus contain asperuloside, a substance that produces coumarin and gives the scent of new-mown hay as the plant dries. Asperuloside can be converted into prostaglandins (hormone-like compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels), making the genus of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry. A homeopathic remedy has been made from the plant.

Cooking the vege burgersCooking the vege burgers