Healing power of plants

Dilis Clare is a GP and medical herbalist who is passionate about the health benefits of the wild herbs that thrive in our hedgerows. Next weekend she’s leading a free walk, where she’ll show people how to identify these herbs, explaining their qualities and how they’re used to treat various conditions. This will include sharing recipes for tinctures and cordials. She tells BERNIE Ní FHLATHARTA why we should reconnect with the treasures growing beneath our feet.

One of Europe’s leading authorities on herbal medicine is passionate about the benefits of herbs and is equally enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge through online courses, seminars and seasonal walks.

GP, Dr Dilis Clare who arrived in Galway City in 1999, to a place the Dublin native has always thought of as home, was ahead of her time back then when she started introducing aspects of herbal medicine into her new practice at Sea Road.

It proved to be a good decision. Settling in Galway certainly was the right move for her and she can’t imagine living anywhere else, describing it as her Nirvana.

The city was gaining a reputation as a cultural capital when she arrived.

Indeed, Dr Clare’s West End neighbourhood has since become fashionable in its unique, hipster way.

She was instrumental – along  with other West End businesses –  in setting up raised beds and in planting apple trees in the Small Crane area, giving the urban space a touch of greenery as well as access to fruit and herbs.

On Sunday, August 20, Dr Clare will give her last herb walk of the season when she will lead a group of people on a tour of a small area of Barna, showing them wild herbs and what to do with them.

She has been giving these walks for a number of years because she’s passionate about the health benefits of herbs and wants to spread the word.

“It’s a take-home and make-do type of walk,” she explains.

“All people have to do wherever they live is notice what’s growing in and among the hedgerows.

“On the walks, I bring water with me to wash herbs I pick, as I want people to taste and chew. As they’re doing that, I tell them about the beneficial qualities of the herbs.

Pictured: GP and medical herbalist Dr Dilis Clare in her Apothecary and Clinic at Sea Road. PHOTO: JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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