14 June 2020 – Honeysuckle

Today I’ve been controversial about honeysuckle. Honeysuckle, along with rose, is June’s birth flower and depending where you are it’s also called woodbine, kettle-smocks, bear-bind and withywine (amongst many other names). The controversy comes with me bringing it into the house. Universally, honeysuckle outside seems to be a good thing, I’ll be protected from witches and the evil eye, and it’s also said to bring good luck (especially if you wear it while courting). But inside seems to be a different story, not least because apparently I shall now be plagued with lascivious dreams. And probably more moths.

But there are others who say bringing honeysuckle inside will not just attract moths, but will also attract moolah. And let’s face it, as a freelancer, I need all the help I can get at the moment. So off I went to a hedge I often frequent when foraging, having a quick game of Grandmother Pop-Off with the bindweed on the way (only to find some people call it Granny Pop Out of Bed, weirdos). Then found me some honeysuckle. As per my foraging rules, I snipped off a bundle, then headed back. 

Honeysuckle is also supposed to make a rather pleasant tea, so after shoving the majority into a pretentious mini-milk bottle, I pinched out some of the flowers and began steeping. Despite knowing in my bones this was honeysuckle, I did make sure I’d properly identified what I’d picked and how to prepare it before ingesting it (just flowers, no leaves, stems, stalks or berries). It’s said that taken as a tea, honeysuckle can help with sore throats. As well as cause them. Honeysuckle is very confusing. 

Firstly, when the boiling water hit the flowers, the smell was incredible, like dusk in a mug. In hindsight, I probably should have strained it, as the wet flowers kept sticking to my lips, but it tasted delicious. Just like the smell, and sweet. And also rather lovely cold. As for the throat, it’s neither soothed nor exacerbated it, but as a foraged cuppa, it’s definitely a win. As for the rest of the folklore, I’ll just have to wait and see.

Right, I’m off now to eat some cheese and then go to bed. 

What do you mean 6pm is too early?


Resources

Culpeper (1995) Culpeper’s Complete Herbal, Ware, Wordsworth Editions Ltd

Dietz, S.T. (2020) The Complete Language of Flowers: A Definitive and Illustrated History, New York, Wellfleet Press

Nozedar, A. (2012) The Hedgerow Handbook, Recipes, Remedies and Rituals, London, Square Peg

Simpson, J. and Roud, S. (2001) Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore, Oxford, Oxford University Press

Vickery, R. (2019) Vickery’s Folk Flora, An A-Z of the Folklore and Uses of British and Irish Plants, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson

https://www.virtualheb.co.uk/honeysuckle-wildflowers-western-isles/

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/plants/wild-flowers/honeysuckle/

http://irishhedgerows.weebly.com/flora.html

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