Category Archives: InfoBlog

Sleep Easy

Can plants help you to sleep?

 

For those who have difficulty sleeping (generally – not just with the mini heatwave that we experienced!), there could be natural help at hand.

Whilst most of us are reluctant to take medication for such things, sleep deprivation is a serious condition and if you often find yourself watching the clock as it ticks through the early hours of the morning, then you might want to give plants a go!

I’m not making this up – and I’ve not had too much sun! (I diligently wear my hat whilst working out in the blazing sun).

So – which plants could be beneficial to your nights’ sleep?

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Aloe Vera – One of the only plants to emit oxygen at night – which can help to induce calming sleep.  You don’t need to concoct a potion or cast spells- having the plant in the room in which you sleep is enough. You can boost the sleep inducing properties by drinking aloe vera gel.

 

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Mother in laws tongue – Sansevieria Trifasciata – this popular houseplant not only produces oxygen, but it also reduces carbon monoxide in the room – so again, it’s great for inducing calm sleep patterns. It’s rumoured to have a lowering effect on blood pressure too – which is beneficial to good sleep.

 

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Boston Fern – This bushy house fern not only looks beautiful (lush, green leaves) but is also rich in flavonoids which will help to regulate your nervous system and help you deal with stress.

 

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Weeping Fig –  sometimes referred to as Benjamin’s Fig. It removes high proportions of benzene, ammonia and other harmful impurities that may be emitted from low quality items, such as chipboard and linoleum. It will improve the overall air quality in your bedroom – and again, looks lovely. Keep the leaves looking super shiny with a damp cloth every couple of weeks (it looks like an artificial plant).

 

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Our final suggestion is the Areca Palm – another plant that removes the carbon dioxide, as well as other toxins from the air. It also realeases moisture into the air – making it easier to sleep, as your airways don’t get dried out, causing you to wake frequently.

 

So – if you, or someone that you know has difficulty sleeping on a regular basis, try heading off to your local garden centre and stock up with some healing plants. The garden centre staff will be able to advise you on care plans for your plants – as well as letting you know the best location for them to be.

 

Try it out – and let us know if you start to sleep better.

What are weeds anyway.

Are these weeds useful?

As this week starts with “National Weed your garden day” (wouldn’t it be great if it only needed doing one day a year!?) we thought we’d have a look at whether the weeds that blight our gardens can be useful?

Starting with our old friend, the nettle

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The source of many a childhood red rash as we dashed into the undergrowth to retrieve a lost football – only to be stung by the protective spines on the nettle plant. Lately, we’ve seen Nettle tea popping up in supermarkets and we’ve seen recipes for Nettle soup too (not enough cake in Nettle soup!). Medically, parts of the plant can be used to treat  anaemia, arthritis, asthma, burns, eczema, infections, inflammations, kidney stones, prostate enlargement, rheumatism and  urinary problems.

 

Next we’ll have a look at Burdock

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Again, many a childhood memory of drinking glasses of Dandelion & Burdock. The root of the burdock is a really popular foodstuff – used frequently in Japanese cooking – but medically, it can be used as a detoxing herb and is apparently very effective for skin problems.

Following hot on the heels is our friend the Dandelion

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale agg.) footpath near to Home Barn Farm Sapcote SP 4900 9197 (taken 7.5.2008)

We spend long summers trying to rid our gardens and lawns of the bright yellow flowers – but as well as being mixed with Burdock for a refreshing drink, It supports overall health by gently working to improve the functioning of the liver, gallbladder, and urinary and digestive systems.

Red Poppies

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Are not only pretty to look at and helpful to remind us of the sacrifices made during the world conflicts – but they are also medically useful as a sedative – relieving pain and helping you sleep – without the narcotic effects that the Opium Poppy has.

Sticking with the red theme – Red Clover

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(which is actually more pinky/purple) is another well developed plant that frequents many a garden, meadow or field.  It is used for chronic constipation, skin complaints and bronchitis, it can also help to balance hormone levels during the menopause, relieving symptoms such as hot flushes.

How about our friend, the Bramble?

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We all know that we can pick the fruit of the bramble (blackberries) and make them into a pie or a crumble (served with thick vanilla custard, thank you!) but what else can you do with the plant that invades any spare space in the garden and takes hold quickly? In the summer, the leaves of the bramble can be harvested for making into tea or infused oils to treat bumps and bruises. The infused oil can be added to a basic cream to help to treat haemorrhoids too! The blackberry fruit itself is high in antioxidants and they can be made into a remedy to ease the symptoms of gout!

 

There are many plants that we consider to be weeds or unwelcome in our gardens or open spaces – but perhaps this will make you look at them in a fonder light – knowing that they aren’t all bad. We don’t recommend that you try making any herbal remedies yourself without some guidance. Julie Bruton Seal has written a book called “Hedgerow Medicine” that is useful to explore the healing properties of some of the more common plants/weeds, and for further help, there is the Herb Society of the UK.