Plants that heal
Medical herbalist Kelli O’Halloran harnesses nature’s healing powers
Along with a host of wild plants – plantain, nettle, scutch/couch grass, chickweed, dock, cleavers, dandelion, hawthorn – foraged from the hedgerows and seashore, O’Halloran uses a panoply of common garden plants in the different tinctures, oils, infusions, creams and balms that she makes for her many patients. Among them are lavender, rosemary, oregano and the oh-so-versatile pot marigold, which has long been valued in herbal medicine for its healing, cleansing, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties. “It’s what I describe as one of my desert island, go-to herbs, a plant that I simply couldn’t do without.”
At the Ballymaloe Garden Festival (August 31st-September 1st), O’Halloran will be giving talks on “A healthy garden and wild plant harvest for your medicine cupboard”. Other speakers will include Helen Dillon, Joy Larkcom, Madeline McKeever, Brian Cross, Gerard Mullen, Geoff Stebbings, and Ballymaloe head gardener, Susan Turner. See ballymaloe.ie.
While a variety of useful recipes are available from O’ Halloran’s website (kelliohalloran.com) it’s important to note that if you are suffering from a long term medical condition, certain allergies, are pregnant or taking any other medications, you should always consult a medical herbalist before taking any such herbal remedies.
Stand in a warm place and shake daily for two weeks. Filter and store. Taken internally as a tincture (5-20 drops in water, three-times daily), this has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and immune-stimulating properties and has a policing action on the lymphatic system, which is why I often use it as an adjunct in cancer treatment. It’s also useful as a treatment for scant/painful periods or varicose veins.
Sunday, September 1st: Totally Terrific Tomato Festival, Rolestown Garden Centre, Swords, Co Dublin. See rolestownplantsplus.ie; September 7th, 14th and 21st: Garden & Plant Photography Workshops (€70, 10am-5pm) at June Blake’s garden, Blessington, Co Wicklow with photographer Bernard van Giessen, see juneblake.ie and catchthelight.ie