Oh how we love Autumn.
From blackberries, whortle berries and now to sloes and hawthorn. They all have a healing quality to share along with their natural colour.
Sloe was traditionally planted near the house for protection because it was a common belief that evil faeries could not pass through the thorny shrub and that it would keep harm at bay. For anyone who has tried to pick sloe berries, it is easy to understand where this came from.
There is more to sloes that just sloe gin. It is one of the best berries to use as a laxative due to its astringent glucosides. The flowers have the same affect but being gentler are good to use with children, either nibbling or infusing in some milk.
We love sloe for its mesmerising scarlet dye. Although it fades with each wash. Whilst it lasts it is truly stunning and should definitely be experimented with.
Simply fill a pan half full with sloe berries gathered after the first frost.
Cover with water and bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 30 mins. It creates a rich sloe juice that is almost immediately ready for dyeing with.
Pre mordant your cotton fabric. Then add the fabric to the dye bath, submerge and circulate for even colour, then leave for an hour before removing.
Hawthorn equally is one of the most sacred trees in Celtic tradition. Symbolising love and protection.
Like the rest of the plant the hawthorn berries are one of the best heart tonic remedies we have. Strengthening and toning and opening us up with the courage we might need to love.
Its colour is subtler, salmon pink but still very beautiful.
When not dyeing with the berries you can:
Infuse them in olive oil for 4 weeks and use this vitamin C rich oil to nourish your skin.
Infuse them in hot water and drink as a homemade Love Tea, sharing it with those you love.
Share the Love x