Herbs for health and the benefits of walking in nature

I spent half the day walking in nature today. The weather was warm and sunny, the air was fresh and the sky – blue. As soon as we stepped out in nature I felt an overwhelming feeling of peace and joy! Walking in nature can be incredibly therapeutic, it can reduce stress and increase the levels of happiness. There is an interesting study on how walking in nature changes the brain that you can read here.

For me walking in nature is not just about relaxing, but also about reconnecting and getting creative ideas. My husband and I always have the most interesting conversations while walking. We love to brainstorm and so often have come up with ideas and plans for our future while walking in the forest. It truly is a special time for us, and we value that a lot. I cannot recommend enough for everyone to walk more often in nature, to grab their partner on a walk, or even if you have a difficult topic to discuss, to do this while walking. You will notice the conversation flows easily and if you are looking for a solution, you might find it much quicker.

Today our plan was actually to just explore the area where we live, by taking a different path than usual. We got lost, we walked through a forest, ended up next to a fence that we had to climb over in order to continue, and walked through a corn field for about 30 minutes. It was so much fun! We found orchards, beautiful trees, that we hugged and adorable little baby cows.

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I always take a bag, garden gloves and scissors while on our walks, as I love to pick herbs, flowers and berries along the way. It is a joyful activity, but it would be helpful to have some knowledge about the herbs and “fruits of the forrest”, their benefits and how to recognise them. I am still quite new to it, but it is a topic that I find really interesting and will definitely be exploring it further in the future.

Today I just wanted to show you what we “harvested” during our walk, and introduce you to them and how they can be used. I would love to hear your suggestions about what else I should look out for this time of year during our walks!

IMG_9681Chamomile

Makes a delicious tea and has a lot of health benefits too! It can help treat cuts and wounds, as it has antibacterial properties; camomile can calm muscle spasms and sooth stomach ache; it can help people suffering from diabetes. It a great tea to have before going to bed.

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Elderberry

Used for its antioxidant content to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health, and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial & viral infections and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995. You can make delicious elderberry syrup. Both the skin and pulp can be eaten. However, it is important to note that most uncooked berries and other parts of plants from this genus are mildly poisonous when eaten raw.

IMG_9682Hawthorn

I honestly thought for a second these were rosehips! 😦 But they are smaller and the end of the berry is a bit different than the one from rose hip. It is commonly used to make homeopathic medicine and has a variety of therapeutic effects, such as strengthening the walls of blood vessels. Hawthorn also has a tonifying effect on the heart and vascular system.

IMG_9684Nettle 

I have dedicated an entire blog post to nettle, because it has so many benefits for your health. You can read it here.

I will be using camomile and nettle to make tea, elderberry to make anti-flu syrup and the hawthorn… honestly not quite sure if I actually will use it, and how I could use it. Do you have any ideas and suggestions about it?

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