Culpepers Complete Herbal – The real Complete Herbal!

A recent addition to the library is the Culpeper Complete Herbal. Wordsworth Reference Library published 1995

There seems to be more versions of Culpeper herbals than hairs on my arm. I initially when offered the book said that I had it. On looking closer there is the all the parts normally cut out of general editions.

It Includes the catalogue of simples  and the family dispensary with notes on the degree of heat and cold each remedy exhibits. Plus his original epistle at the start and a forward to his wife Alice, Plus Galen’s key to the physic and a curious section called Culpepers last legacies.  Fully half of the book is in these parts.

A quote about my favourite herb Solomon’s Seal

Of Solomon’s Seal. Stamped and boiled in wine it speedily helps (being drank) all broken bones, and is of incredible virtue that way; as also being stamped and applied to the place, it soon heals all wounds, and quickly takes away all the black and blue marks of blows, being bruised and applied to the place, and for these, I am persuaded there is not a better medicine under the sun.

Go to my review of Culpeper HERE


CAUTION -Website Revamp ahead!

Folks – Letting you know I am in the process of revamping this web-site and focusing the  types of matters I write about in my newsletters.

Somethings will disappear – the focus of the site will change and not be so broad. The new focus of this site will be the wonder of plants especially medicinal plants. My newsletters will focus on the following –

Tinderry Mountain herbs – Medicinal plants and matters of interest in general about Natural Medicine.

Sunday herbalist – Articles for clients with a simple clear focus on health awareness and actions to take

The Natural Physician – The Flagship newsletter of the Hierophant one of Australia’s leading dispensaries for Herbs and Homeopathic medicine. Strong focus on case histories, the matrix system of Kim Dudley and materia medica ( remedy talk in depth).

Keep reading and sending in suggestions for articles.


Christopher Smith


Michael Moore Herbalist

In the book review section I have added more details and links about this great herbalist. Even though he was based in South Western USA, for herbalists he is one of the standard references. I invite you to head over to this section and spend some time viewing and reading about him. Go to Michael Moore

His books are spiced with his wry humour, scientific details, botanical descriptions and intricate plant – human physiology interaction. In the last few weeks  I have obsessed over this section of the site and added in a lot of material and commentary – hope you enjoy!

Lomatium update


Well once again the seasons have passed around and just as I was wondering if the Lomatium had survived it has actually grown two leaves.

Having been at the one leaf stage for a couple of years this is progress – in a Lomatium time scale. This plant do  not rush or hurry.

I had potted it up in winter as the soil level was low and needed replenishing, all the time wondering if it was dead.

So tips on growing this plant – easy to germinate from seed – prick out all seedlings and clearly label the pots. expect the seedling to go dormant is there if a change in heat or soil moisture.

DO NOT CHUCK OUT THE EMPTY POTS ( a mistake that I made)

This plant has seasonal dormancy that comes and goes at irregular times not linked to our normal autumn. Soil mixture should be free draining with some compost added.

Celebrate and appreciate each time it come to life again !


Dong Gui


Dong Gui - Angelica sinensis

Dong Gui – Angelica sinensis

The seed was sourced from Joe Hollis in North Carolina USA. With a period of cold in the fridge it actually germinated while still being refrigerated and on sowing promptly grew.

Such happy vital little plants. A testament to Joe’s seed collecting skills as Angelica seed promptly looses viability after maturity.

Vale Ken Atherton

1-Ken Atherton

Vale Ken Atherton

I was informed recently that Ken passed away in August 2013. I was very fortunate in being able to go and study with Ken a couple of years ago and learned a great amount. I came home with head bulging from the experience and my carry on bag bulging with the plant material Ken so generously shared with all.

It was one of those life changing formative experiences and I remember Ken often, as working with the herb collection I come across the plant stock that came from his garden.

Successful Schisandra germination


Successful Schisandra germination

Well all the effort has brought success.  Here you can see photographs of the seed germinating and the radical (root) emerging after the involved manipulation of temperatures to stimulate germination.

The technique outlined in an earlier post has cut germination time from a sporadic year to about six months. Looking at the germination progressing over the last few days has been fascinating.

I have just found out  from All Rare Herbs that these plants  are male and female on separate plants so the next challenge is to determine the gender of the plants I am raising.

1-Schisandra seedling 2 DSC_0822

Trillium seed propogation


Earlier in 2013 I purchased some Trillium erectum ( birth root – beth root) seeds from Lynne’s Rare Plants in the Blue mountains. Lynn had collected the seed rubbed off the fleshy material and stored them cool and moist. Normally trillium takes two years to show any seed leaf with the first year being focussed on root development.

Well here in spring was eight little plants with their initial leaves . No pricking out at this stage probably next year. Trillium erectum is one of the main medicinal species but careful reading shows that all trilliums have medicinal properties and were used when needed. This is plant is on the UpS plant list of endangered medicinal plants in North America.

A plant with very special usages and deserving of cultivation. Through building up expertise in growing these plants we move towards having cultivated sources of these plants for medicine

False Solomons seal germination



False Solomons seal has now germinated this spring (2013) after a two year wait. Smilacina racemosa is the scientific name and it is a little known herbal plant from North America. Medicinal usage is very similar to that of true Solomons seal. Growth is much slower though and just when I was thinking of buying more plants, earlier seed I had sown germinated.  The plant flowers readily in a terminal raceme and has red berries which hang on the plant for along time.

The wait was two years so it will be a regular task each year now to harvest and sow the seed. Collect the berries when ripe and rubbing off the flesh place in a pot under your seed bench where it gets regular watering and you can forget about it for a year. A good reference for usage is Matthew Woods book on North American medicinal plants.

Lomatium dissectum


Having read about this herb in Richo Cinch’s book – Growing at risk medicinal herbs it went onto the must grow seed list. Seed was procured from Horizon herbs sown and in spring it promptly germinates. The seedlings were pricked out into larger pots (the root intact) to allow free root growth.

Everything is going along fine and the first true leaves appeared when the plants seemed to be dying off. I thought it was a fungal disease at first but I found in scratching around that the root was still there and the plants had gone into early dormancy.

This could have been triggered by a temporary lack of water or over hot temperatures (remember this is a high mountain plant). Anyway I stopped throwing out the pots and kept them to one side in the poly tunnel. That was over a year ago.

Well a couple of weeks ago in July little leaves poked up from the porting mix so they were alive and growing. But funny time of the year to be sprouting leaves the middle of an Australian winter!

Time to go back and read Richo Cech again about raising these plants

Well I just did and reporting back to you have found the reference explaining this behaviour. Richo says seedlings become vegetatively dormant by midsummer…..The plant then re-emerge in mid winter in mild areas and in the very early spring in very cold areas

So the plant behaviour is right on the mark.