Questions about the collection, preparation and use of herbs
By Signe Pucena (LV)
Which medicative /(vulnerary) herbs do you collect?
(here can be asked both about the herbs which are found in the meadows, on the sides of the road, and also about those which are grown on the window sills and in gardens, also about that which is found in woods and swamps, also about mushrooms (for example, stinkhorns) or bracket-fungi / polypores etc.)
What (purpose) are they used for?
How are they used / prepared? (to be found out as detailed and precisely as possible, for example, if a tea is prepared, then in what proportions are the herbs and water) For how long are they used? (for example, for how many days? / weeks? How many times a day?) Here must be found out accordingly to the sort – if teas are prepared, then about teas, if infusions, then what is used for them (spirit / vodka / homebrew (moonshine) ) How strong are they made? For how long are they put down? What is the dosage and frequency of use? What should be taken into account when the herbal teas and infusions are used?
How are they prepared for use? How are they dried? Where are they dried? How long are they dried? Where are they put / kept afterwards? In what containers are they put / kept – glass, plastic, etc.?
Is the time (season) of the collection important – morning / evening? New moon / old moon?
For how long are they kept (preserved)?
Do they help? Are there any stories based on experience, how it was before and how it has helped?
Can they treat erysipelas (‘rose’, Saint Anthony’s fire) or any other illness that the modern medicine can’t? (an awkward question because the interviewer has to feel himself the moment in which to ask this question and to whom and how)
From who have they learned this skill? Did the (grand-)parents also practise that? (if something about the parents and the herb collection is being told, then it must be asked, how have they done it – the sequence of the questions is the same)
For how long do they practise it themselves?
Must there be said some words (i.e. incantations, magic formulas) during the process of the collection / preparation of the herbs?
Are some words said when going into the meadow or wood, for example, spells against snakes or ticks (formerly spells against snakes were very widespread, which were said when going into the wood, so that the snakes wouldn’t show up. Maybe there are some spells now?)
If You go collecting herbs is there anything You smear against ticks or use when they have already sticked? (preferably from natural materials)
Do You collect some herbs in the meadows which You use for soups, salads, spices etc. If yes then which ones and how are they used. (the recipe must be found out as detailed as possible, also the process of preparation and from where is the recipe taken. Maybe some remember wartime weed dish recipes)
If there are some medical herbs at home or on the window sill or in the garden, then it must be found out what are they used for (for which illnesses); how are they prepared and how are they used; from where is the knowledge about the use; do they help?
If [birch] besoms are made from herbs and trees, then it also must be found out, which herbs and the branches of which trees are put in the [birch] besoms; how do they help (against what illnesses); when must they be collected and tied into the besoms; how must they be used and prepared so that the leaves wouldn’t fall off?
Author: Signe Pucena (LV)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.