Healing Herbs for a Healthy Life—Jane Placca, herbal medicine practitioner

After a very well received first interview, Invest in Yourself, Debi Evans welcomes Jane Placca BSc (Hons) Herbal Medicine (2011), PG Cert Nutritional Medicine, Member of the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy (MCPP) back to UK Column to discuss herbal medicine and how it can help every one of us.

In this interview, Jane Placca talks about the benefits of specific herbs and plants that are living around us, often in abundance. Let’s not forget they are free, too. In this interview, Jane discusses the benefits of pine needles, dandelions, nettles, cleavers and much more. She also tells us how to store them, prepare them and use them safely. How do they get from the wild to a bottle in a cupboard ready for us to use? 

Since the beginning of the Covid–19 pandemic, the majority of the world’s population have had their lives disrupted and infiltrated with fear. With so much doom and gloom around us, an accelerationism of global events and a constant cascade of information, Jane reminds us of the importance of taking time out for ourselves, slowing down a bit and enjoying what is around us, hidden in plain sight. In today’s frenetic world, many of us complain that we don’t have time to learn new things; yet Jane can’t imagine not making the time in order to invest in ourselves and our families.

To harvest your own herbs and plants, you don’t need much except sharp eyes and a heart filled with love, and what better way to cheer us all up than a gentle stroll on a sunny day with a basket, gardening clippers and gloves? There is no age restriction when learning about herbs and how they can help us in our everyday lives. Often, practitioners have learned from their parents and grandparents; recipes have been passed down over generations. Herbs are a family activity; take the children and grandchildren with you. Not only will they learn what is good for them, they will enjoy a treasure hunt with a difference. How many children can say they picked their dinner fresh from the wild? And how many take a fishing net with them?

Herbal medicine is so much more than tinctures, lotions and potions in quirky bottles with handwritten labels. It is often the fruit of a lifetime of knowledge, long formal training and a labour of love. Jane explains the significance of respecting what you are growing and picking, and of only taking what you need and of thanking nature for its gifts to us. Some herbal preparations take months to prepare so require patience, while others can be used almost immediately when required. 

Jane shares with us her simple recipe for a spring tonic, a pick-me-up to help keep our immune systems healthy. Herbal medicine does not have to be complicated; it can mean something as straightforward to adding a few dandelions and nettles to a delicious summer salad. The benefits are enormous. 

With much more to explore, UK Column very much looks forward to a third interview where we will learn more about the wonderful world of herbs and how to make a topical preparation.

We would advise anyone wishing to know more about herbal medicine to get in contact with a qualified herbal practitioner. Jane Placca is very willing to give advice and can be contacted themanchesterherbalist@yahoo.com.

The information in this interview is for educational purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of UK Column; it is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, which is provided by your primary health carer.

Always seek the advice of your GP or other qualified health professional with questions regarding a medical condition and prior to commencing any diet, supplement, or health programme.