vendredi 8 octobre 2010


Françoise and I went to the UK Herbfest this year near Worcester. It was held on an ecological conference site run by a voluntary organisation called Green and away. The programme was dense and exciting with speakers from all over the world. Among others, David Winston, American herbalist talked about herbs and depression, Rocio Alarcon, ethno-botanist from Ecuador spoke about using local plants in simple ways to combat stress, she also joined HSF on the spot, well done Rocio and John Lockly from South Africa did some workshops based on his understanding of Shamanic practises. The food was vegetarian, pity we had to eat on our knees on benches, might have been more convivial to have had some tables.......but that is coming from French herbalists where food and eating are sacré! Francoise did an early morning chi-qong class and I did a late evening sweat lodge, we had the chance to listen to a great local band with folk/Indian influences 'Dragonsfly' . The bar and conference venues where all in large round tents or yurts, which really resonated well with subject of medicinal plants. On the Sunday afternoon we went on a herb walk with Christine Herbert, David Winston and Julie Bruton-Seal, which was very interesting but made us all the more determined to offer botany/medicinal plant courses in the Alps to UK herbalists in order to share France's rich flora. We made great connections with many of our fellow herbalists and this sharing and exchanging felt really important for the future.
We will definetly return next year.

mardi 5 octobre 2010

Dilston Physic garden

This spring I made the trip up to Northumberland with my father to visit Elaine Perry and the Dilston Physic garden. Elaine and the garden were very inspiring and the link for HSF was instant.
This contemporary physic garden is the inspired creation of Professor Elaine Perry, a neuroscientist at Newcastle University who directs research into plant medicines. It occupies a tranquil site above the Devil's Water at Dilston in the Tyne Valley. Herbs and trees with properties for health and healing grow in abundant quantities, clearly labelled with regularly updated information on their traditional uses and scientific, clinical evidence.
Elaine was at the beginning of setting up some herbal tea testing trials when we met and we decided it would be a good idea to work on them together as a HSF project, carrying out the trials in France and the UK. It is one of HSF's first concrete projects, if you are interested in being a volunteer please contact Elaine through her web site if you are in the UK or contact HSF if you are in France.

dimanche 3 octobre 2010

Herbalist in the North of France

This spring I went to visit Fanny Vasseur, a herbalist based in the North of France who is a member of Herbalist sans Frontières. Fanny's project was helped along by an association that helps young people with ecologically sound projects in all aspects of their installation. She has the use of two hectares of land owned by the association and a small workshop that she uses for drying her herbs and packaging them. Fanny grows most of the plants she uses for her herbal tea range but also wild crafts thyme and lavender in the south of France in her van, which is equipped with a solar run dryer. Fanny also runs family orientated activity afternoons around the them of medicinal plants.