Pilewort Pile ointment!


For the treatment of piles (haemorrhoids), varicose veins, bruises and swellings.










-roughly 1-2 handfuls of freshly dug pilewort roots (the roots aren’t big and so can be time consuming and fiddly to harvest and prepare. But don’t let that stop you!)

-200ml Extra virgin olive oil

-20g beeswax


Measure the olive oil and put into a bain- marie (water bath).

(you can make you’re own by simply sitting a pyrex bowl in a pan of warm water!)

Make sure the water in the pan comes up to the level of he oil in the bowl. You made need to top up the water occasionally as it vaporises.

Add the pilewort root and simmer for 2 hours on the lowest heat.

Strain off the oil and stir in the grated beeswax or beeswax peas, keeping the bowl in the warm water still.

When the wax has dissolved pour into 30g or 60g jars . At this stage( before the oil cools),  you can add a drop of Lavender essential oil to help preserve it. Allow to cool and put lids on, label.



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Pilewort or Lesser Celendine

PILEWORT for…..yes that’s right, PILES!
Or Lesser Celendine
(Ranunculus ficaria)  Ranunculaceae or Buttercup family

This is one of the early spring flowers to lift the spirits after winter along with snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, helebores, winter aconite and windflowers. Spring is really on the move now with some citings of medicinal plants such as coltsfoot flowers, violets, primroses, lesser periwinkle, ground ivy, dandelions, daisies etc.

Lesser celendine is also a medicinal plant. It’s therapeutic action is that of a straight forward Astringent, specifically used for the treatment externally of Haemorrhoids or Piles or indeed varicose veins. The whole plant can be used but there is more of a reputation for the root being used. It’s use in this respect can be traced back to Culpeper and Gerard when the doctrine of signatures was still prevalent in Medieval Britain. If you unearth a bit of the root you will see that they do bear a lot of resemblance!

You can make an ointment or for the die-hards, suppositories out of the fresh root but care must be taken to ensure prolonged heating of the fresh plant as it contains protoanemonin ( a vesicant or blistering agent). Many plants of the Ranunculacea or Buttercup family contain this. However, with the heating or drying process it is converted to the more stable anemonin.

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Game on fellow herballers!

If you want to connect with Nature for the benefit of your mind, body and spirit then join me as we journey through the wonderous season of light and growth!

I’ll keep you up to date with what’s out now, medicinal profiles of plants, how to prepare remedies and recipe ideas.

I’ll also be running herb walks, talks and workshops throughout the season if you’d like to deepen your knowledge (see also my FB page).


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Hot Stuff! Wild Pharmacy Workshop

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This recipe continues on from the Horsechesnut infused oil.

The next stage is to simply add some Beeswax to the infused oil. Add 50g of beeswax to 500ml of the measured oil. If it’s a block of beeswax it is better to first grate it, otherwise use the beeswax peas. Once it’s melted, cool slightly then pour into small jars and label. To each 30g jar add a couple of drops of lavender essential oil for added antibacterial protection.

Apply to the skin twice daily for varicose veins, piles, swellings, sprains and fluid retention.

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Approx 1kg conkers
500ml unrefined organic olive oil

Break up the conkers using a rolling pin and tea towel and place in a glass pyrex bowl. Cover with the olive oil. Place the bowl in a pan of boiling water (or Bain marie if you have one) so that the water level comes up to the same level as the oil & conkers. Heat very slowly, on the lowest setting for 2 hours. (You should just be able to see the odd wisp of steam.)

Pour the liquid through a sieve and bottle up.

This oil is perfect for varicose veins as it easily covers large areas of the skin. The oil can also be used to make into a Horse chesnut seed cream where you would combine this with a decoction of the seeds using an emulsifier to mix the water and oil parts together, also well suited to varicose veins where the areas are more localised. Thirdly, the oil can be combined with beeswax to make an ointment. This preparation can also be used on varicose veins but is also well suited to haemorrhoids / piles.

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Horsechesnut seed  (Aesculus hippocastinum)

There’s more to these beautiful seeds than conker fights!

They contain Saponins collectively called ‘Aescin’ and Flavonoids.

Therapeutically they have an unusual ability to tone and strengthen the capillaries (small blood vessels) by reducing the size and number of pores. This has a knock on effect of reducing inflammation and water retention (oedema) in the tissues. They are used specifically to treat weakened veins including varicose veins, haemorhoids, acne rosacea and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). They also work well on wrinkles as they tighten the skin.

A cream, infused oil or ointment is made from an extract of the seeds to apply externally,  or a combination of an infused oil and tincture are blended to create a liniment. A tincture can also be taken internally to compound the treatment, although this is taken in small doses as the saponins can cause gastric irritation.

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See recipes for ROSE HIPS.

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(Crataegus monogyna)

These beautiful red berries set the countryside ablaze with colour at this abundant time of the year. They are also known as pixie pears, cuckoo’s beads and chucky cheese!

They contain Oligomeric procyanidins and Flavonoids (hyperoside, rutin) . It is a herb with alot of modern clinical research supporting it’s traditional use.

Therapeutically they are a tonic for the heart; increasing the strength of the contractions, opening up the blood vessels and economising oxygen consumption. It is traditionally known as, ’the nurse of the ageing heart’.

It is used medicinally to treat high blood pressure, angina, arrythmias and congestive heart failure. The leaves and flowers are also used to this end.

Other good uses of the tree are berries in Brandy which makes an excellent liquer. The wood was also prized as a fuel, known as the hottest fuel. Due to it’s fine grain, it was also used to make small things such as boxes and combs, which would take an excellent polish.

Pharmacy: The berries can be taken as a decoction dried or fresh (see Recipes on website for method & dosage). These parts can also be dried, ground into powder and encapsulated to take or the fresh or dried berries can be made into an alcoholic tincture to take internally. You can also make Hawthorn berry Vinegar, oxymel, elixir, fruit leathers, brandy, honey, ketchup, chutney and so on!

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