Precautions to Observe

Unfortunately dangers do exist in using plants for food, health and medicine. The wild plants included in these photographs are safe to use apart from Lords and Ladies, Lesser Celandine and Foxgloves where medical advice should be sought. The following precautions should be taken:

  • Identification. If unsure of the plant do not use it. It is worth visiting the National Botanical Gardens for correct identification as they have a wildflower section for poisonous and medicinal plants. Many wildflowers can look alike.
  • Medicines. If taking medication always seek medical advice before using herbs as they could cause adverse reactions.
  • Pollution. It is not advisable to use flowers from the side of roads because of pollution from traffic, animals and weed killers. When weed killers are used plants turn brown and die. This can also affect subsequent growth.
  • Illness. If in pain or ill health, seek advice from a qualified medical herbalist or doctor before using plants.

Nearly three hundred years ago John Keogh mentioned in his Botanalogia Universalis Hibernica that he was convinced that if the properties of all the herbs and trees growing in this Kingdom were discovered, there would not be a 'distemper or a disease which the inhabitants presently suffer from which might not be cured.' Old Irish proverbs support the belief that there is a herb for every ailment. 'Tá luibh ar gach leigheas' and another 'Níl luibh an leigheas'. We in Ireland should not forget the marvellous treasures that exist on our grass verges.

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