Who can say where certain interests or passions originate?
In another life, I might have ended up a herbalist. From a young age I was drawn to ideas of what you could do with plants for health or diet. If I came across a snippet of information about how such and such a herb steeped in hot water could aid in the treatment of a cough or some other ailment, I remember happily storing the information away for later.
I remember as a child reading a family friend’s Encyclopedia Britannica, looking up herbal remedies. Not there was much in them about the specifics of such things, but I’d find bits and pieces about how this herb or that plant was historically known to be able to do this or that and I’d think it was really interesting.
I experimented as a teenager with home remedies for beauty treatments, like egg whites as a face mask, or oats mashed up with rosemary or sage if I could get hold of them. Who knows where such interests come? Was I a village wise woman in a past life? Not that I believe in such things, but it makes me wonder.
In my imagination I’ve got a world of time to devote to intricately designed herb beds. On my bedside table I’ve got a range of books devoted to these subjects. Herbal encyclopedias, pictorial guides and so on all devoted to the subject of herbs and flowers.
I like the idea of ways we can incorporate every day items from the garden in our diets for benefits that have been tried and tested for centuries before there were pharmaceutical companies with their push for profits.
I like that you can steep some leaves in hot water and maybe cure a headache or an upset stomach. I’m not sure I hold with the idea that serious illnesses can be cured, but every day remedies? That said, today’s everyday remedy might have killed two centuries ago so who is to say, really?
Ailments cured in the kitchen, that’s where I’m at. It fits with my idea of food as a gentle, wholistic piece of the life puzzle.
This brings me to Borage. I’ve never thought much about it and have probably flicked past it in my herbal books without a backward glance. So when we were collecting plants for our herb beds a month or so ago, and Sean suggested Borage, I said yes mainly because it sounded obscure and interesting, not because I knew anything about it.
The little plant we got has taken off beautifully and has flowered in the most striking way.
A few days ago Sean said it was time I got out there with the camera and so I did. I love how I never really see a flower until I’ve photographed it. I didn’t see the lovely pointy centre until I was processing the photos.
I’ve read up on Borage and didn’t know until today that it had properties which may make it useful in treating hormonal imbalances and head colds. Also, a friend of ours says it goes very well with both gin and pimms.
Health remedies? Cocktails? This plant can do both! That’s a win in my book!
I’ve already been shredding the slightly spiky leaves into salads and they have a fresh, slight cucumber flavour.
But what I really love is knowing that in my garden, which is such a work in progress, I may harbour all manner of exciting trinkets and treats. I planted Borage because Sean recommended it without knowing anything about what could be done with it. What else is out there that I don’t yet know about?
At a BBQ this afternoon, where there was a great, expansive borage plant in the garden, I was told that you can freeze the flowers in ice cubes and put them in drinks. How great is that? I think I’ll go gather some as soon as I’ve hit publish on this post.
It amazes me sometimes, all the stuff that we can find out. You just never know.