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Claire Mullan (right) holding Herb Hut at Cultybraggan.
Photo credit: Blue Noun

Introducing Claire & her Herb Hut

At Blue Noun English Language School (now Blue Noun Language Hub) we have a few close friends and collaborators. This blog introduces Claire Mullan, AKA the Herbal Hippy and her role within our non-traditional language school.

Claire is a qualified and practising herbalist with a full client list. She also teaches workshops encouraging community members to look for health solutions in plants.

Her workshops include outdoor foraging and indoor health & wellbeing workshops.

Blue Noun invite Claire to work with our language guests in these various ways, depending on the time of year and our language guests interests she’ll have a workshop to engage you and get you talking.

Claire also runs a community Herb Hut. This is a weekly drop-in study group for self-learning herbalism.

The format of Herb Hut is that her group is assigned a weekly herb and then search through Claire’s extensive library in research – pooling the results together at the end.

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A Non-Traditional Language School & Community Hub

During the winter months, Herb Hut actually takes place in our learning space (with our language and the community joining together in true ‘hub’ style).

Outside winter months it takes place at her amazing space at Cultybraggan Camp – a previous WW2 prisoner of war camp that has found new purpose in housing tens of micro industries. In itself it’s a fantastic visit – and one on our activities list too! Find out more here. 

English language school activity list Huntingtower Castle keys
A hut at Cultybraggan:
Photo credit: Blue Noun

“ Claire is based at ‘Camp 21,’ Cultybraggan’s historic POW Camp which in itself is thoroughly unique and very poignant. You can still feel the god-forsaken experience of a POW camp. 

For students who have an interest in visual culture, this itself is a remarkable visit.”

Ruth, 2019

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Sample Herb Hut Lesson

What a treat – a trip to Claire’s Herb Hut at Cultybraggan Camp (Comrie) to learn about her ‘Herb of the Week’. This week, we were finding out about Tilia  (Lime Tree Flower), all the while relaxing in a truly glorious part of our world.

Most often views are vast. To appreciate this one you’ll need to swap your binoculars for a magnifying glass and look closely.

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Claire’s self-seeding (with some starter-planting to get it going) herb garden has turned into a meadow, and she’s only four summers in. It’s a small corner of our planet, but cherished – and vast in variety of indigenous* Scottish wildlife.

Even better, Claire is a fully-qualified herbalist and knows how to (sustainably) gather the different parts of her plants (and indeed wild plants all over the region) which she prepares as medicines for her patients.

Today’s herb Tilia is a calming herb. It can actually reduce high blood pressure, not just by relaxing one’s arteries (which it does), but also by reducing one’s stress levels – an underlying contributing factor in high blood pressure.

As Claire says, herbalist philosophy is to treat the person, not the symptoms, to get to the cause of the manifesting health issues.

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No doubt for me that the freshly brewed (and delicious) Tilia tea helped me slow down to appreciate the wonder of each discovery.

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Hanging out in Claire’s Herb Garden
Photo credit: Blue Noun

Today’s herb garden visit witnessed a fledgling blackbird straight out its nest for the first time. A spiky, bluish spotted caterpillar (my mum would know which), and the flowers Angelica and Self Heal (Prunella Vulgaris).

English language school activity list Huntingtower Castle keys
Red Kites are a frequent sight at Cultybraggan:
Photo credit: Blue Noun
English language school activity list Huntingtower Castle keys
In winter months Herb Hut moves to Blue Noun English Language School
Photo credit: Blue Noun
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*Just in case you don’t know, indigenous plant species are critical to supporting our wildlife as their cycles are the ones that insects rely on. Designer plant species might look pretty, but seldom offer the same habitat and support to wildlife.

Keep Gardens Natural!

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Find out more about Claire’s Herb Hut and herbalism practice here.

If you’ve enjoyed our quick portrait describing how our non-traditional Language School fits herbalism onto its course, you might enjoy reading:

Live Language Learning!

A quick note from the author

We began the Blue Noun blog back in 2019, when we called ourselves a ‘language school’ (we now call ourselves a language hub) and we were building up our business completely from scratch.

Our first few months were spent making friends in the community, researching homestay hosts for our language guests and finding out about all the good local places and activities to take our language learning guests.

In 2021 we moved the Blue Noun website to a different platform. We had the option of deleting these old blogs – they are very different form our current, more pedagogic style of posting, but I think they are quite charming to see how our young business grew, turning from a language school run by an artist – into a language hub which really began to focus on coaching artists in English by immersing them in creative environments.