Herbs on Stanpit Marsh

Stanpit Marsh Nature Reserve Christchurch, Dorset, UK

Stanpit Marsh is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It has a 7000 year history of human activity. In 1969 excavations on the eastern shore of Mother Siller’s channel revealed artefacts left by Mesolithic coastal wanderers (3000 BC). As well as flint fragments, traces of Purbeck Limestone and stone from Portland were found (evidence of human movements across Dorset). At that time, the sea level was lower than today so there are likely to be more Neolithic remains now under water.
Stanpit Marsh is situated on the north side of Christchurch Harbour, just below the confluence of the rivers Avon and Stour. The 65 hectare site has an unusual combination of habitats including salt marsh with creeks and salt pans, reed beds, freshwater marsh, gravel estuarine banks and sandy scrub. It was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 1964 and in 1986 as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Marsh is home to over 300 species of plants, 14 of which are nationally rare and endangered. find out more. None of the plants on Stanpit Marsh may be cut or collected by anyone of course as the whole area is designated a National Nature Reserve. The Reserve is looked after by professional wardens of the Christchurch Borough Council, Dorset, UK.

Alan Hopking, medical practitioner and director of Herbactive Health Clinic, is Chairman of the Friends of Stanpit Marsh (founded 1982).

Herbs found on Stanpit Marsh and their Medicinal Action

I have often taken groups of herb lovers for a stroll round this ancient unspoilt 65 hectare area called Stanpit Marsh Nature Reserve. We start at the scout hut under the Elder Tree, and slowly go round identifing herbs and talk about their traditionalΒ and modern medicinal virtues, some of which are listed below.

Plantain – inflamed skin and eyes, burns, ringworm allergies
Clover – protective against cancerous growths (ext), psoriasis, eczema, lungs/whooping cough
Ragwort – stimulating/warming for rheumatics (externally only)
Daisy – pains/aches, inflamed liver, wounds
Ox-eye – whooping cough, asthma, nervous excitability
Dandelion – diuretic, kidney and liver stones/ tonic, cardiac diuretic, warts
Nettle – asthma, goitre, weight reducing, diabetes, anaemia, hair growth, arthritis (flagellation), alterative tonic
Teazle – cleansing, eyewash; root for warts, ulcers, fistulas
Dock – alterative, laxative; skin, piles, protective against cancer, psoriasis
Groundsel – diaphoretic, anti-scorbutic, purgative, diuretic; hot diseases
Gorse – insecticide (powdered), cardiac component; Bach Remedy for hopelessness, depression
Buttercup – herb tincture in wine for shingles; root for gout (ext), rubefacient for joint pain
Thistle – lactation, catarrh, pleurisy, protective against liver cancer, stones melancholy (use as Milk Thistle)
Watercress – anti-scorbutic, increases appetite
Chickweed – demulcent, skin/eczema, ulcers, piles, inflamed skin
Bugleweed – lowers thyroxin level, weak heart, cough, bleeding lungs, weak narcotic
Dropwort – (poison) pectoral problems, asthma, ulcers (ext), piles (use fuits)
Hemlock – (poison) eruptive skin, foul ulcers (poultice)
Elder – leaf: insecticide (ext), piles, purgative; flowers: eye/skin lotion, pulmonary action, colds/flu, catarrh, coughs; berry: sudorific (increases sweating), tonic
Horseradish – stimulating, aperient, rubefacient, diuretic, antiseptic, right heart failure (dropsy), stones, circulatory stimulant, expectorant (root)
Marshmallow and Common Mallow – coughs/colds; main use poultice for leg ulcers, lungs, internal ulcers, IBS, colitis
Hawthorn – heart remedy, circulation, cholesterol, blood pressure regulator
Watermint – IBS, colitis, digestive, anti-inflammatory
Blackberry – anaemia, tonic, constipation
Honeysuckle – headache, bronchitis, asthma
Pennywort – stones, earache, tinnitus
Silverweed – IBS, mouth ulcers, sore throat, bleeding (use like the American Cranesbill)
Willow herb – haemorrhages
Wild celery – arthritis, antiseptic diuretic, depression
Mayweed – relaxes, gentle sedative, digestive help, eyes, inflammations
Sea beet – blood cleanser, nutrient in convalescence
Yarrow – high blood pressure, colds/ flue, cystitis, thrombosis, wounds
Lupin – seeds: worms, bladder problems, emmenagogue, diabetes
Dog rose – high vitamin C, anti-depression, nervine, anger help
Meadowsweet – digestive, lowers stomach acid, ulcers, gastritis, arthritis
Fleabane – insecticide (powdered) (also used on dogs and cats), diarrhoea
Ground ivy – sinuses, cough, bronchitis, haemorrhage
Dead nettle – leucorrhoea, skin eruptions
Lesser celandine (Pilewort) – piles
Sea clubrush – insomnia, diuretic, sudorific
Yellow flag – cathartic, diarrhoea, leucorrhoea, snuff, toothache
Common meadow rue – purgative, laxative
Skullcap – tonic, nervine, anti-spasmodic, headaches, fits, epilepsy, insomnia, hydrophobia, hysteria
Sea lavender – astringent tonic, diarrhoea, gargle, piles, prolapse, eye problems
Burdock – alterative, diaphoretic, blood purifier, skin, boils, all skin problems, stones
Oak bark/galls – astringent, antiseptic, bleedings, diarrhoea, gargle for gums
Holly leaf – diaphoretic, catarrh, pleurisy, small pox, tonic (use as Mate tea)
Black horehound – anti-spasmodic, vermifuge (worms), nausea/vomiting (pregnancy sickness), sedative
Rowan tree berry – anti-scorbutic
Silver birch leaf – cystitis, diuretic
Guilder rose – cramps, high blood pressure, relaxant
Herb Robert – use as geranium, digestive
Yellow Melilot – cholesterol, circulatory system tonic
Fennel – digestive, flatus, colic
St John’s Wort – depression, stress, anxiety, anti-viral, AIDS

Go to Stanpit Marsh Web Site for more information.