Liz Lillicrap Medical Herbalist


february 19, 2015 03:11pm


We often visit one of my Bulgarian teachers, Ivanka, an elderly lady who lives in the summer months in a very small hamlet at the end of a track. She has water from a spring and a little further away is a well so when we visit we take her supplies of drinking water. On one occasion we had no more large water containers for the next visit and all she had was one rather greenish plastic water bottle. So, she picked a stalk or two of stinging nettle, put them in the bottle with a little water, swished it around a bit and, amazingly, the bottle was clean.


Posted By: liz.lillicrap

january 26, 2015 10:17pm


Nasty bite - origin unknown - insect, spider?
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First aid cream, Echinacea tincture, lavender essential oil - none of the usual remedies had much effect and after feeling pretty rough all day I wandered down to the shop/bar to meet Stewart.

Everyone noticed my ankle and there were many hints/tips about what was needed. Gosho (from Yantra) and Ilya (our friend from the village) both suggested смрадлика – which turned out to be Cotinus coggyria or rhus cotinus (common name Smoke bush).

Stewart was summoned to Ilya's house and came back loaded up with herbs - смрадлика and невен (Calendula officinalis = Marigold) and instructions to make a strong infusion and use as a footbath, making sure the whole of the inflamed area was covered for as long as possible.

I did this about 3 times a day and on the second day the infected area was a lot less inflamed. I looked up Cotinus coggyria in the book given to me a couple of years previously by one of Ilya's granddaughter, Mariela, and found that it contains flavonoid glycosides, is astringent and anti-infective and used externally as an infusion for purulent festering wounds!! I looked it up in English textbooks but there was very little.

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Posted By: liz.lillicrap

january 26, 2015 08:53pm


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Whilst visiting Bulgaria for longer periods and trying to learn the language to a level that allows better communication, I have been able to find out more about the use of herbs in the country.

I have been interested in how different plants are used and how familiar plants have a different use.

The examples I will give have all come from Bulgarians, either because they know of my profession, because they have been offering advice at a particular time, or I've just noticed something they have done which was new to me.

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A herbalist in Bulgaria is or was someone who collects herbs and takes them to an apothecary to be made into medicine.

Even those people who prefer to use antibiotics and allopathic medicine, still seem to know what properties a plant has, and in that way are still much more connected to their environment.

The wild flowers and plants in the countryside during the spring and early summer are amazing.

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Posted By: liz.lillicrap

november 01, 2014 01:13pm


I had not before seen the full glory of the Bulgarian wild flowers in the Spring.

Acres and acres of Filipendula ulmaria (meadowsweet) 1114Meadowsweet field.jpg with their delicate blossoms 1114Meadowsweet flower.jpg
Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) 1114Yarrow.jpg and
Melilotus officinalis (Melilot) 1114Melilot.jpg as well as many more, some which I could not identify such as this 1114Unknown.jpg .

Until next year ....

Posted By: liz.lillicrap

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