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Herbal infusion

Wairarapa people interested in the healing and culinary benefits of herbs can now apply for a scholarship to complete a national certificate, made possible by the Wairarapa Herb Society.

The Certificate Course in Herbs and Their Uses is administered and run by the Herb Federation of New Zealand.

“The Wairarapa Herb Society holds regular meetings and field trips, where our members learn about a range of herbal topics and share relevant experiences and knowledge,” committee member Cindy Munn said.

“Herbs and their culinary and healing benefits are endlessly fascinating. They also add beauty and purpose to our gardens.

“In accordance with The Wairarapa Herb Society’s charitable purpose, we also aim to support our community through the promotion of herbs and herbal knowledge. We are excited to offer up to five scholarships.”

The course consists of 12 modules that cover topics including botany, growing and harvesting herbs, medicinal uses, herbal and product law. The course is self-paced but must be completed within three years.

People can read more about the course at: https://herbs.org.nz/education/certificate-course/

Applications close on September 30. Email [email protected] with your phone number and why you are interested in the scholarship.

One recent topic of discussion by the Wairarapa Herb Society is flavonoids – the bright colour in our foods.

“Albert Szent-Gyorgyi discovered these brightly coloured substances in 1930 and isolated them from paprika. He called them vitamin ‘P’,” committee member Christine Voelker said.

“His suggestion was that they were very crucial for the integrity of the small blood vessels. However, scientists at the time refused to acknowledge the value of flavonoids.

“We know now that flavonoids possess anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and anti-carcinogenic properties. Flavonoids are found in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and in many herbs.”

When we consume citrus, we should include the white pulp of our organically grown lemons, oranges or mandarins, as citrin, hesperidin and rutin are abundantly found in there,” Voelker said.

“We also find these flavonoids in grapes, plums, black currents, apricots, buckwheat, cherries, blackberries and rose hips. These flavonoids are known to remove copper and protect the uptake of vitamin C.”

Five categories of flavonoids are known and research is progressing fast to determine their possible use in the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases, she said.

Celery, parsley, red peppers, chamomile, mint and ginkgo are the best herbal sources of flavonoids, according to Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer by Donald Yance and Arlene Valentine.

The Wairarapa Herb Society meets every third Tuesday of the month at the Old Court House, Holloway Street, Carterton, 1.30pm-3pm. Speakers, activities, sales table, cuppa and a chat. Herb garden maintenance every third Thursday 1pm-2.30pm, Haumanu Community Garden. Access from the laneway between Carters and the town clock.

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