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Don’t you just love autumn? There is something so nostalgic about those last gentle rays of summer, and the chilly mists which descend in the evenings. I love the early-morning dewy spider webs strung like diamond necklaces across the path to my apothecary. As such, I am obliged to negotiate with Madam Spider, and carefully move her web to a nearby hedge without disturbing her night’s work too much.

I had a stow-away in my car, dangling right over my arachnophobic friend’s head, who half leapt into my lap when she spotted Peter the spider. We couldn’t possibly evict him, and I dare say that by the time we got home, Ant had secretly grown rather fond of Peter. Ultimately I had to rehome Peter because he had no hope of catching anything in my car, and now he lives on the windowsill where there are plenty of flying things attracted to the light.

The hedgerows around my cottage are bejewelled with red berries, like Hawthorn, Rowan berries and Rosehips. The hips are rich in natural vitamin C, and of course, we all know that they were used during WWII to boost the immunity of the troops – unlike our last crisis, where it seems that their services were no longer required. Rosehips are so nourishing, and a great tonic not only for winter colds and flu, but also for our skin and joints.

Rosehips plump up our collagen, reducing wrinkles whilst increasing moisture and elasticity in our skin(1). They also reduce arthritis pain (this is because of an anti-inflammatory constituent called galactolipid), and they reduce arthritic pain without causing the gastric ulcers often associated with pain killers like ibuprofen(2). During the winter months, I love to include rosehips and ginger in my prescriptions for arthritis, because my patient will get that double whammy of anti-viral immune boosting, as well as the anti-inflammatory pain relief for the joints.

(1)^ Phetcharat L, Wongsuphasawat K, Winther K.: The effectiveness of a standardized rose hip powder, containing seeds and shells of Rosa canina, on cell longevity, skin wrinkles, moisture, and elasticity. Clin Interv Aging. 2015 Nov 19;10:1849-56. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S90092. PMID: 26604725; PMCID: PMC4655903.

(2)^ Cohen M.: Rosehip – an evidence based herbal medicine for inflammation and arthritis. Aust Fam Physician. 2012 Jul;41(7):495-8. PMID: 22762068.