Himalayan Balsam

Dan, Rebekah, Roxie and I took a nature hike this weekend to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us as well as the gorgeous early autumn weather. It was clear, sunny and about 20 degrees all weekend. After a few weeks of gray skies and cold weather, it was uplifting to spirit, mind and body.

We live along the Vltava River, which winds its way through all of Bohemia.  Along its banks some truly precious plants grow, filled with good medicine.IMG_20170930_134132862_HDR

I had planned to harvest nettles today, as they are in abundance along this path.  I was fortunate to find a patch of second growth Yarrow as well. This was good luck as we had just finished my last harvest in our Fever Doctor Tea .  We have all been drinking this to battle the cold that has been going around town.

Harvesting Yarrow Achillea millefolium


On the banks of the Vltava, an invasive non-indigenous weed known as Himalayan Balsam can be found in profusion. For many, it is a nightmare. For our family, it is a delight.

Impatiens glandulifera

My children have fond memories of this plant, even before I began gardening and studying herbalism. The seed pods are the best fun for kids and adults alike as they explode with such power as to shock even the most prepared victim. The seeds within, especially the black ones, have a delicious nutty flavour that has been lauded for years in wildcraft cooking.

I love popping the seed pods and shoving the seeds in my mouth. I do not look elegant whilst doing this, believe me.

I have not yet been this fortunate, but I still have a goal of bringing home a bag full of the seeds and using them in a baking of bread.

Impatiens are a mainstay in the Bach flower essence formulas:

According to the Bach Centre

“Impatiens is, as its name suggests, the remedy for impatience and the frustration and irritability that often go with it. Anyone can get into this state of mind, but there are also genuine Impatiens types, who live life at a rush and hate being held back by more methodical people. To avoid this irritation they prefer to work alone: the Impatiens boss is the one who sends staff home early so she can get the job finished quicker.

The remedy helps us be less hasty and more relaxed with others. It is also an ingredient in Dr Bach’s original crisis formula, where it helps calm agitated thoughts and feelings.”



Himalayan Balsam seed falafel

The Lunchbreak Forager

This quick and easy recipe is a twist on the original falafel recipe, but equally as tasty and perhaps a nice unusual one to serve up at dinner parties.


1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Coriander seeds
1 can of chickpeas- drained
1 cup of Himalayan balsam seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp wholemeal flour
1 carrot finely grated with the moisture squeezed out
1 chilli finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon zest only
Rape seed oil for frying


Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan for 1 min then mash in your pestle and mortar or give a quick whizz using the seed bit of your blender/food processor. Blend the rest of the other ingredients. Roll into balls about the half the size of rats head. Heat about 1cm/half an inch of oil in a large frying pan and roll your balls about until browned. Put onto kitchen paper and then serve in a pitta bread.

2 Comments on “Himalayan Balsam

  1. That is funny. My sister #4 enjoyed popping the seed pods of Impatiens sodenii (oliveri) when she was young. She ducked as she poked them. The seed went everywhere. I did not know that anyone else knew about this. It is not a common plant. The busy Lizzie, Impatiens walleriana is uncommon here now because of disease.


  2. I had never seen this plant when I lived in the States. It is a highly invasive weed here. Every time I find a big patch of it, it is gone the next time I see it as the foresters are constantly battling it. I literally come back to a spot with my plastic bag ready to harvest a ton of seeds for my bread and the patch of balsam is liquidated. One day my timing will be right. 😉


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