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Chichester Herb Walk is Creative Writing Prompt

You can find creative writing inspirations everywhere you turn, from people and nature to objects and places. One of Chichester Copywriter’s biggest creative writing inspirations is the great outdoors. Whenever Katy’s brain is tired and the words fail to flow quite as they should she heads to the countryside, whether it’s the South Downs or a rural retreat within urban Chichester.

This month, Katy joined client Mary Atkinson’s Chichester support group of the Federation of Holistic Therapists on a herb walk run by Emsworth based herbalist Steve Taylor. While the holistic bunch sauntered down Summersdale Road and then Fordwater Road, Steve pointed out herbs aplenty that those unaware of their useful properties would deem mere weeds.

As well as words of wisdom from Nicholas Culpeper, the guide was full of tales about fairies, folklore and witchcraft. With a keen appreciation of nature and  creative writing interests nestled deep in the mystical woodland of the Young Adult Fantasy genre, our Chichester Copywriter couldn’t resist picking out the following fascinating facts from the walk to share with you:

 

Lavender – As a plant that’s ruled under Mercury, and so is believed to have an effect on the nervous system, lavender can help to soothe headaches, dizziness and anxiety. Many of us are aware of its relaxing properties but did you know that it can also be steeped in hot water to make a refreshing and revitalising drink?

Bramble Leaf – The leaves of blackberries have anti-inflammatory properties. Herbalists advise that it’s best to use the new leaf shoots to treat ailments like mouth ulcers and sore throats and you’ll notice that they taste a little bitter, like aspirin.

Nettle – High in vitamins and minerals, nettle can be used to relieve painful muscles and joints, especially when used as a cold press.  Nettle is usually associated with those painful stings of childhood, which occur when the fine hairs of a stinging nettle make contact with the skin.  However, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, scientists believe that the shock of a sting can actually decrease the pain of existing conditions by confusing the body’s pain signals and reducing levels of inflammatory chemicals. Nettle is believed to be beneficial to gout suffers and those with urinary problems. There has even been research into its efficacy as a treatment of serious kidney conditions.

Plantain – Native Americans named this resilient and useful plant White Man’s Foot because it was believed to grow wherever the feet touch the ground and you’ll often find it growing beside pathways in the UK.  Plantain’s sinewy leaves make it easy to remember that one of its traditional uses was to repair tendons. It’s also said to stop bleeding and is known as a good aid to hay fever.

Watercress – While watercress is best known as that peppery leaf that gives a bit of bite to your salad, like other members of the cabbage and mustard families, it’s regarded for its pain relieving properties too. It’s often used by herbalists as a poultice to reduce swelling and tumours.

Mugwort – This beautiful scented herb with a silvery under leaf has mythological associations to Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon. As such, it’s believed to invoke restful sleep and clarity of dreams. It can often be found growing alongside Roman roads and it’s said that, while marching through our lands, flagging Romans used to tuck mugwort in the soles of their sandals to release a restorative aroma.

Elder – Rumoured as good for the metabolism and fever, this warming herb can help to restore normal body temperature. According to Steve, there’s an old Sussex saying suggesting that if you’ve taken elder for three days and it hasn’t worked it’s time to see a doctor. What’s more, it’s good practice to ask the fairies for permission before picking elder flowers or felling elder trees!

 

Chichester Copywriter was most taken with these last two. Mugwort not only sounds like a character from Harry Potter but also has an irresistible, heady scent and fascinating mythical links. In fact, Katy placed a sprig beside her pillow after the walk and waited to see whether it had any bearing on her subconscious. Sure enough, dreams were plentiful and vivid that night, making interesting creative writing fodder for Katy’s Dream Journal! (see main image).

Also, as she’s putting the finishing touches to a children’s story centred on a group of animals and fairies on Brownsea Island, Katy couldn’t resist adding an elfin elder to a setting of oaks and Scots pines after discovering the tree’s fey connections.

Katy is looking forward to attending some more inspirational herb walks and talks soon…In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact Katy for professional marketing services, from copywriting and copy-editing to social media marketing training.

NB: Please seek consultation from a qualified and experienced herbalist before attempting to use any of the above mentioned herbs or plants as remedies.

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