At this time of year despite the moments of brilliant blue cloud free skies there is a very noticable, almost daily, drop in temperature. Just two weeks ago I could leave the house in a t-shirt and flip flops with no extra layers and be confident that I would be comfortable. Now, despite the clear skies, even when indoors I am layering up with socks, slippers and a hoodie. Maybe it is my crumbling Victorian home that breathes so wonderfully, keeping deliciously cool even on the hottest of days, that as autumn arrives begins to be a disadvantage.
So as I contemplate turning on the heating, just for a few minutes, I rack my brains for my usual cold weather survival techniques. I need not think for long. At the weekend I attended a friends birthday in London and as always when visiting the city travelled by train. Looking at the passing countryside on my journey I noticed the hedgerows dripping red. The hawthorn bushes are full of rich, ripe, red berries or “haws”.
Haws make a lovely tea which boosts the circulation helping to keep you warm even when you inhabit a chilly home. You can use the haws fresh or lay them out to dry so they can be stored for later use. To extract all the medicinal qualities you will need to make a decoction, that is simply simmering the haws for 10-20 minutes. Use 2 teaspoons of fresh or 1 teaspoon of dried haws per mug, and drink a maximum of 3 mugs a day. To save fiddling about I usually make enough for 3 days and store it in the fridge. Each time I then fancy a mug I take enough from the fridge, put it back in the pan and gently heat it ready to drink.
Please note: avoid using during pregnancy or whilst breast feeding, and check with a herbalist for contraindications if you have an ongoing medical condition or are on medication.
If you are interested in making a selection of winter remedies with seasonal plants then please join me on my Remedies for Winter workshop.