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Natural Medicine for Householders, with Judith Hoad,  €450, 9 – 16 June  (Kissos Campus)

Wandering Through the Weeds

That was the name I adopted for the medicinal herbs workshops I began leading thirty years ago and, while titles change, the activity is still best described that way!

I remember starting one herb walk right at the front door of the householder who had organised it; a dandelion was growing out of a crack in the concrete beside the door jamb, which he had never noticed! We later ‘wandered’ along the country lane leading past his house.


One of the fascinating aspects of these walks is that, while the geology of each site will determine the range of plants to be found, there are always surprises, sometimes from the plants themselves, sometimes from a story or a statement from one of the participants. Although I’m designated the ‘leader’ of the walk, I always learn something new.

A wide range of plants and medicinal herbs exists on the Eurasian land mass and they occur along the entire 4,000, (or so) miles from the East to the West, with the same varieties at the same altitudes and seaboards from one end to the other.

Furthermore, the same varieties exist on all other continents, with the exception of Australia. The Australian herbal tradition depends largely on the transplanted Eurasian one, aboriginal tradition being so very different from the Eurasian, that it was not recognised until it had nearly vanished.

The exception might be the use of flower essences, each of which is a water imbued with the subtle essence of a flower.

Medicinal Herbs and Plants

While it is one thing to identify wild plants—95% of which have medicinal value—it’s another to know how to preserve and administer their virtues.

The first criterion is to know the purpose of the remedy; is it something needed immediately, or is it a question of preserving the virtues for future use?

Judith_hoad_making_tincture_from_medicinal_herbsThus, the immediate, such as infusions and decoctions come first. These are followed by tinctures, which allow the virtues of a plant to be preserved for future, usually internal use. Macerated oils can be used individually for massage and some forms of dressings, but they are invaluable in the making of creams and ointments.

Unlike the simple and universal ways to make the remedies already mentioned, creams and ointments have many recipes and different methods, some of which are extremely easy. These I teach on the courses I facilitate at my home and also this one I shall be leading here at Kalikalos in June.

A great-grandmother four times already, I still lead a labour-intensive life at my mountainside home in the north West of Ireland with two amiable cats and frequent visitors, including my increasing family and many students to whom I teach my passion for Natural Medicine. My garden is a riot of cultivated and wild plants – the latter usually growing where they have chosen.


Judith Hoad points out medicinal herbs

My respect for all other species has led to me coining the word ‘ecokin’ to denote our universal relationships of equivalency with all other beings.

For those interested in going deeper into their own health, there will be time set aside for private consultations.

Judith Hoad’s website: