by Arijana Zeric
If you’re into the benefits of organic detox teas but don’t want to pay a fortune, then Hackney Herbal might be the place for you. Founded in 2015 as a social enterprise, they sell locally grown herbal tea blends and offer classes where you can learn how to blend a healthy cuppa yourself.
I caught up with founder Nat Mady to find out more about her green passion. “I love experimenting with herbs, making teas and remedies. But the fundamental thing for me is growing herbs. I think gardening is a really important factor for your general wellbeing and connecting with nature.”
Indeed, a great focus of Hackney Herbal is not only on promoting physical but also on mental wellbeing. By working with other social enterprises such as the centre for better health, they provide free opportunities for people to learn about plants and engage with nature. “The idea of being a social enterprise is that we use all our profits to fund things that some people can’t afford to pay so they can join one of our community courses. I much prefer for people to come here and learn how to make tea than just to sell our products. Our focus is on showing people how to do it and to make it accessible.”
Currently, they grow herbs at Hackney City Farm but plan to open up a new patch soon in Hackney Wick, which Nat proudly describes as “a big deal.” Weekly gardening sessions will be on offer as well as accredited courses where participants receive a certificate upon course completion. “This can also help people to get back into employment,” explains Nat.
With all things vegan and natural being at a consumerist high, it’s no wonder that most of their classes are booked up. “It’s useful to observe trends, especially looking at our strategic aims for what we are doing and who we’re engaging with. Whether it’s a herbal course or candle making, there’s a huge interest in wanting to learn new skills and having an experience. And people like the fact that they can buy something which has a social impact and contributes to some kind of benefit.” What might have started out as a niche project, following an “organic” trend, has quickly become very popular.
Yarrow Styptic Recipe
Yarrow is a great summer time herb and is easy to find growing around Hackney. It’s a great ant-inflammatory, antibacterial and vulnerary (wound healing) herb. You can make a styptic (something that stops bleeding) with the dried herb. Harvest yarrow stalks and then hang them up to dry in a airy place for 1-2 weeks. Then use a coffee grinder works or pestle and mortar to grind into a powder. To use the styptic just take a small pinch of the powder and apply it to a bleeding wound. It works well on small cuts and scrapes. You can place a plaster or bandage over the wound to hold the powder in place.