THIS afternoon we make hawthorn tea, explains herbalist Luzia Barclay at her herbal practice in Salisbury.

“Hawthorn is good heart boosting tea.

It is natural, pure and cheap and you can make it yourself. In the spring it is one of the earliest flowering shrubs and you can take the flowers and some of the leaves to make tea. Then there are the berries; it has been a good year for berries. These can be dried so you have a supply all year round,” she says.

To make the tea, Luzia simply crushes some berries and places them in a teapot, adds boiling water and lets them infuse. The result is simply delicious, a lovely, warming mug of fruity tea.

Luzia, who is German, has lived in England for 26 years, and trained as a registered medical herbalist here. She runs workshops and courses at Salisbury Herbal Practice in Hamilton Road, as well as at other venues around Dorset and Wiltshire.

The courses range from making your own lip balm and face cream from natural ingredients to learning how herbs and spices used in cooking and infusions can help with digestion. And of course she has courses on making your own teas and tinctures.

Plants have been used by herbalists for centuries and it was in the 17th century that two of this country’s great herbalists, Gerard and Culpeper, wrote their Herbals detailing the history and health giving properties of each plant.

Luzia grows herbs in her garden or, like the hawthorn, she gathers from the wild. “You have to be careful not to pick things along the road because of pollution or from a field that might have been sprayed. But to go out on bike or on foot, it is so healthy.”

Luzia is a mine of information about herbs. I learned that Aloe Vera is good for first aid, thyme makes a soothing tea to alleviate cold and cough symptoms and the widely grown peppermint and lemon balm herbs make refreshing brews Tinctures are made by adding organic alcohol to the herb or fruit and are more potent as the alcohol draws more of the benefits from the plant.

You can find out more about Luzia’s courses and workshops by visiting