UK Wild Food Foraging with some game, wild brewing, recipes, herbal remedies and some adventures in there too. The travels of a foodie hunter gatherer around Sussex learning the skills needed to forage in the UK and create the best wild food dishes. Courses available through Hunter Gather Cook website
Agrimony. Latin name: Agrimonia eupatoria History:
Eupatoria) was named after Mithradates Eupator, King of
Pontus, 134 BC – 63 BC.
He is credited for discovering many of the medicinal
remedies we still use today. The
legend goes that the King would test poisons and their antidotes on his
unfortunate prisoners. After much
trial and error with his expendable captives, he then began daily poisoning and
curing himself, with his newly discovered antidotes, he hoped to build an
immunity in a bid to make himself invincible from a death by poisoning – as was
the fate of his father.
backfired fired on him rather spectacularly, when his army was defeated by
Pompey and he faced imminent capture by Rome, which was to him a fate worse
than death. He lovingly dispatched
of his family by poisoning the lot of them and then attempted to poison himself
- only to find that he had strengthened his constitution rather too efficiently.
Now merely weakened by the
poison, he attempted to kill himself using a sword but when he also failed in this
endeavour he was forced to request that his closest bodyguard finish him off
his rather extreme drug trialling methods, Mithradates did a lot for the
progression of medicine. Agrimony
was just one of the plants he apparently used in his experiments and was used
globally by Native Americans, ancient Greeks, Anglo Saxons and many more.
is a list of ailments Nicholas Culpeper, a 16th century herbalist,
believed would be benefitted by Agrimony.
of the liver, gall bladder and kidneys
to the bowels and for chesty coughs and colic
to snake bites
to cold sores, cancers and ulcers
out splinters or anything that has got into the flesh
with hearing and the treatment of tinnitus
of the blood
you can see Agrimony was historically used in the treatment of numerous
illnesses but modern research would disregard it as useful for most of these
recently Agrimony has been prescribed as a cure for athlete’s foot and in herbal medicine is used for its’ mild
astringent properties- useful in the treatment of coughs and as a natural
Latin Name: Previously Spirea ulmaria, Now Filipendula ulmaria. Other Names:
Dolloff, Meadsweet, Lady of the Meadow, Queen of the Meadow, and Bridewort.
is believed that Meadowsweet was a highly sacred plant to the druids. Meadowsweet pollen has been found in
graves and barrows dating back 4000+ years – potentially given as a burial
offering. According to druid lore,
King Arthur’s lady of the lake taught the early healers of Meadowsweets medicinal
Agrimony, many of the historical medicinal uses of Meadowsweet remain the same
today. It’s use in pain relief has
long been understood. It contains
salicylic acid – which has now been synthesised to create aspirin and other
painkillers. The latin name for
Meadowsweet was previously Spirea ulmaria (now Filipendula ulmaria) which is
where ‘a-spirin’ derived from.
the way modern Aspirin has been produced – extracting only the salicylic acid -
has neglected the natural tannins and astringent properties of Meadowsweet,
meaning that it can have an adverse affect on the stomach lining. So from now
on I plant to munch on some Meadowsweet when I’ve got a headache.
is also used in other medicine, which thins the blood, and in antacids. I would check with your doctor before
tucking into Meadowsweet yourself, as it may not mix well with other
Having read about all the positive properties of both Meadowsweet and Agrimony (not to mention their fascinating histories and taste!), I decided to make an ale to cure EVERYTHING and possibly drink myself under the table in the process.
500g white granulated sugar
250g Meadowsweet leaf and flower
250g Agrimony leaf and flower
40 pts water
1 teaspoon champagne yeast
Firstly boil the water and add the leaves and
flowers and boil for half an hour - you can do this in batches if needed, I
did. Allow to cool, then strain
out the plant matter, stir in the sugar until fully dissolved allow to cool to
blood temperature and then add the yeast – allow this to sit on the surface of
the water (wort) for 15 minutes and then stir in.Loosely cover and allow to stand for 12 hours in a warm
Next, strain the liquid into a pressure
barrel, if you’re brave you can use bottles but I wouldn’t advise it, these can
be rather explosive! Keep in a cool dark place and leave for 14 days and then
taste. In the end I left mine for a full 6 weeks, this was partly because I
forgot about it and partly because when I got round to trying it was a little
sweet and needed more time.You
may wish to leave it longer too, depending on your sweet tooth!