Barrow Voice      First Publised 1975

            Issue 161 Autumn 2020

3,234 copies published quarterly and delivered FREE to all households in Barrow upon Soar

She walked thoughtfully and quietly, looking at the plants and wildlife carefully and considering how they fitted into the overall environment. She noticed that there was a greater abundance of daisies and dandelions this year and thought how daisy infusions could be good for respiratory complaints and that although in Britain many of us don’t think about making dandelion teas or adding to salads as a peppery leaf, as they do in China, they could be used to help with digestive tract problems. With Covid19 around it seemed that the plants that could help are around too! But not just daisies and dandelions, so many other plants have medicinal properties. The wild geranium is a mild astringent and has been used to cure sore throats, and nettles, made into nettle tea, are said to reduce the miseries of hay fever as well as boosting your immune system. The little ladybird beetle on the nettle leaf has its role in the ecosystem too. It eats about 58 aphids a day thus preventing us from being overwhelmed by aphids!

Mairi is sympathetic to Cherokee Indian plant lore which in essence believes that for every known disease there is a plant remedy. The old Indian legend says that humans were in harmony with all of creation, both animal and plant, until they became greedy. They killed more animals for food than they needed and destroyed trees and plants wilfully. As a response, diseases entered the world. But the plants, although badly treated, felt compassion for us poor, two legged creatures and for every disease inflicted they provided a cure.

Wherever we walk in the countryside, through field or forest, Mairi believes our health improves even though consciously we may not be aware of what is happening. So what is happening? Well, it seems that plants give off phytoncides, natural organic compounds that help plants ward off insects and trees from rotting. In humans, breathing in these phytoncides has been proven to lower concentrations of cortisol, lower the pulse rate, lower blood pressure and have an overall calming effect. What could be better in these stressful times, she argues, than a woodland walk that not only exercises your body but calms you down and boosts your immunity? The Japanese have a phrase for it - shinrin-yoku - forest bathing. It is extremely popular with city dwellers who are aware of the harm living in the centre of treeless megacities causes, not simply to the body, but to the spirit. The citizenry drive out to the forests, walk about in them and then lie down in them. When they arise they are reenergised.

So Mairi’s advice is to get out into our local countryside and you don’t even have to walk too far from your front door. There are so many positive forces working on you, whether you are aware of them or not, which can definitely help you, not just through the next few worrying months, but the rest of your life. Listen to the plants.

Gaynor Barton


Barrow Voice is published by Barrow upon Soar Community Association.(BUSCA)
Opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed by the editorial committee or the Community Association.

Barrow Community Association is a registered Charity No: 1156170.

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Copy Deadline --          2nd November 2020

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