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Foeniculum vulgare is a member of the Apiaceae family. It is a warm, spicy sweet herb that has affinity to the liver, kidneys, spleen – the seat of the immune system as well as the stomach. The main actions are to regulate Qi or Chi (depending on your spelling). Qi is the seat of energy within the body.

"Tossing doughnuts, fritters or fried dumplings in fennel sugar adds grown-up complexity without diminishing the indulgence factor”

Yotam Ottolenghi

Fennel is a rich source of vitamin C, potassium and dietary fibre as well as folic acid and phosphorous. It is also a good source of minerals including manganese, iron, calcium, magnesium and molybdenum.


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Woman with hayfever

Walking around the Oxfordshire countryside last week, I couldn't help notice the many fields of yellow at different stages of flowering. Of course, a very familiar sight at this time of year, not only in Oxfordshire, but across the country. Rape has many benefits to the farmer, firstly it controls blackgrass through stale seedbeds and then because of the earliness of maturity it provides an early entry for winter wheat, helping to spread the workload, free up storage as well as the farmer’s cash flow. Rape seed is grown for animal feed, vegetable seed oil and biodiesel.


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With the onset of spring comes one of our most common and prolific weeds, the stinging nettle. Many of us can relate to the nettle as mostly an unpleasant experience when inadvertently coming into contact and receiving a tingling, itching sensation to the skin for hours to come. Often the itching and tingling is joined by heat and becomes more active at night when you are trying to sleep. The more nettles that manage to sting you the longer it lasts and the more intensive the tingling. It is this very stinging that has the ability to stimulate circulation and relieve pain and swelling.


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Image of wedding dress fitting

Marriage is not just for one special day, your wedding day. It is for a lifetime. As Dr Joe Dispenza said, “In a marriage work on yourself instead of turning the relationship into work.” Why is it that so much planning and preparation go into one special day, with limited thought and preparation for making the rest of your lives together literally the happiest time of your life?


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New Years resolutions 2022

New year is a time of excitement for many as we embrace the new year coming in, letting go of the old year and whatever that encompassed. Let’s face it 2021 was a difficult year for most unless you happen to be a food supplier, PPE or vaccine manufacturer, or delivery company, and even they had their fair share of issues.

Did you set some New Year resolutions, as you did last year and the year before that? Do you usually fulfil your resolutions, or are you like many full of vim and vigour in the first month, perhaps two months and then with life’s pressure it all falls apart, leaving you feeling demotivated, annoyed or even angry at yourself and perhaps even despondent as the resolution that you have just given up on has been the same for the last 2 or 3 years?


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Cinnamon* (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, cassia and several other species) is a well recognised spice, and one of the oldest spices.  Cinnamon is one of the seasonings in “Five Spice Powder”, together with anise, star anise, cloves and fennel seeds.  In the colder months, especially at Christmas, cinnamon is one of the many go-to herbs for bringing about that warm “Christmassy feeling”. Used in seasonal cooking, it is liberally added to mulled wine, Christmas cakes, mincemeat in mince pies and many other seasonal delicacies. Personally, I love adding it to my morning porridge, often together with turmeric powder.  Cinnamon provides that sweetness and warmth so often craved when the weather is cold.


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“Interoception” is not a new concept, it was already receiving attention over 10 years ago. However, with rising numbers of people suffering from mental health illnesses, often emotion and mood related is triggered by external factors that lead to internalising negative thoughts and feelings frequently to a point of “no control.”  Consequently, “interoception” as a concept takes the stage more noticeably.


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Pumpkin belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, genus Cucurbita and is grown primarily as a vegetable or ornamental plant. It is extensively grown throughout tropical and subtropical countries, with the most common types worldwide being Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita moschata, and Cucurbita pepo. The name pumpkin comes from a Greek word ‘pepon’, meaning a large melon. Pumpkins come in different shapes & colour, usually orange but can be yellow, white, green or red.


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Guest post by Naga Sanapally

Elderberry or Sambucus nigra, the Latin name, is one of the most versatile herbs closely tied to human health and healing. The history of Elderberry dates all the way back to 400 BC, and Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” called the Elder tree his “medicine chest”, for it  seemed to cure a wide variety of ailments.


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Plantago lanceolata and major are both common plants that grow across most of the United States and United Kingdom and are a member of the Plantaginaceae family. Plantain, as commonly known, likes to put down roots near human activity and is often found along roadsides, popping up through sidewalk cracks, in meadows and other areas where the soil has been disturbed. Not surprisingly, plantains in the garden are common and are usually considered unwelcome weeds. This is unfortunate because plantain is considered one of the most important healing herbs in the Materica Medica and is probably more nutritious than most of the leafy greens typically cultivated in garden patches.