Elderflower toner Makes around 200ml
The scented cream blooms of elderflowers have been used by women since time immemorial – in infusions to soften the skin and even out tone. The addition of glycerine gives a moisturising effect, leaving the skin silky smooth. 1 head of fresh elderflowers (or 2 tsp dried) 200ml boiling water 5ml glycerine (optional)
1 Remove the stalks from the elderflowers (if using fresh) and put the tiny flowers in a mug or heatproof bowl.
2 Pour over boiling water, then cover with a plate and leave to infuse until cool.
3 Strain out the elderflowers, then add the glycerine (if using) to the liquid and mix well.
4 To use, soak cotton pads or a muslin cloth in the liquid and use as a toner or simple cleanser, once make-up has been removed. Use twice a day. The liquid will keep in the fridge for up to three days. consumption, as long as you take small amounts from different plants and don’t strip them bare. Picking for sale in the UK is considered theft by the Theft Act 1968 (Section 4.3). On private land, it’s best to obtain the landowner’s permission before foraging. Gaining permission also allows you to gather vital information, for instance, whether or not pesticides or chemicals have been used on the land. It is illegal in the UK to uproot plants on private land without the landowner’s permission. And, of course, it is immoral to pick plants that are vulnerable or rare. l Harvest herbs that are clean, safe and free from chemicals, such as pesticides and weed killers, animal or human urine and anything else unpleasant that may have been left on them. Don’t harvest close to roadsides, where plants will be polluted by car fumes, fuel, oil or rubber that washes off the road.
l Think sustainably, especially in cities where sheer numbers can soon deplete a species locally. Friends’ gardens, and allotments and community gardens should be your first port of call.
l Pick in moderation. When harvesting plants in the wild, never pick everything you see. Leave plants, fruits and seeds for wildlife and for other foragers who may follow. Taking the root will kill a plant, so think carefully first.
l And finally, give something
back: when you see seeds, take some and scatter them in other appropriate areas. Join a community group to litter-pick a park. Share your passion – and inspire others to love their local plants, too.
Elder is found in many a garden and park; its prevalence and rich foklore indicate its usefulness