For many people the knowledge of vitamins and minerals is, at best, a closed book and, at worst, an expensive mumbo-jumbo, difficult to comprehend. We often hear of ‘wonder’ nutrition which can be lauded one month and derided as useless – or even dangerous – the next. What would inspire confidence, therefore, is a guide to those ingredients which can only be beneficial: natural herbs – known to many of us as ‘weeds’.

Kate Beswick, our speaker, at Snitterfield’s March meeting, working towards a medical herbalist degree, with her basket full of dandelions, nettles, chickweed and cleavers, proved ‘before our very eyes’ that such weeds can be made into healthful and palatable additions to our diet. From her base in
Stratford-upon-Avon and her monthly workshops, she ably produces tinctures and balms specifically aimed at relieving many conditions and refreshing skin, hair and nails with drinks and potions. She showed us how to make essential oils, teas and nourishing additions, particularly to salads, and passed on tips for the use of everyday lotions to render them more potent.

Apple-cyder vinegar is particularly effective as a rinse for hair and, also, as a dressing for salads – where the leaves and flowers of dandelion, nettle, nasturtium, chickweed and cleavers will add interesting tastes and textures. A Spring tonic was particularly recommended. Apple-cyder vinegar, plantain leaves, cleavers and chickweed, with the addition of honey, turns into a cleansing, tasty drink, to give a boost of health and energy just when it is needed. Finally, to add to the fascination and interest of the evening, she brought along a selection of organic soaps, which she also makes, and there was a brisk interest from her audience.

Kate promotes her fascinating ideas by hosting parties for all ages where her customers can make many of the products which she had demonstrated for us. Her talk is thoroughly to be recommended to any group looking for an entertaining evening.

The ‘business section’ of the evening was varied as always. Future events include: lunch at the Snitterfield Arms on April 4; a skittles evening; poppy-making for St Mary’s Church in Warwick; a Bible reading for charity; and a planned excursion to Beckford Silk Mill. There will be plenty to look forward to as ‘Summer Time’ begins and new members will be sure of a great welcome on April 11 when Deborah Ellis will be reading her poetry

Barbara Alcock