Old Wisdom for a New World
Many folks are afraid to dig in and try to use natural remedies because they still find it all very mysterious. Using leaves, flowers, roots, or dried herbs to heal what ails them still sounds so much like Hocus Pocus and it scares them a bit. The ingredients sounds so exotic and hard to find and they have no idea what a tincture is so why bother right?
It is actually MUCH easier to get started than you think. You don’t even have to be very knowledgeable or brave… you just have to start somewhere and start learning. Herbal remedies are easy, natural, inexpensive in relation to pharma meds, and they are very effective for a broad range or ailments and complaints. Considering all the help they can provide it amazing how much fewer side effects they have when compared to the miracle pills you get at the doctor. The laundry list of side effects you hear about during pharma commercials is downright scary and you just don’t have all that with herbal remedies. Not only do they work to cure what ails you they can actually enhance your health and strengthen your immune system, not just cover up unsavory symptoms. Best of all you can turn your kitchen into your very own apothecary and and use natural ingredients to help with everything from indigestion to menstrual cramps.
After doing a bit of research you will start to make a list of the herbs you want to track down and use in your home brewing. Herbs need special care if you want them to last so store them in a cool, dark place, preferably in dark glass or ceramic containers. If you bought them in plastic make sure to remedy that immediately. I like this Libby set of herb jars but they would need to be stored in a dark place. You could easily find small jars just like these at a flea market, estate auction, or yard sale. They may not match but that will just help you identify the ones you need faster.
Techniques of Herbal Medicine
Tincture – Herbs soaked in alcohol to make an extract.
Infusion – A drink (can be hot or cold) made with leaves, flower, or herbs.
Syrup – An infusion sweetened with honey or sugar.
Tonic – a drink designed to energize or stimulate some part of the body or body system.
Compress – cloth soaked in some sort of herbal infusion that can then be pressed over an area of the body like a wound.
Poultice – a moist mass of plant materials (like leaves) or herbs pressed over a wound or affected area of the body.
Ointment – a cream infused with the juices or essential oils of plants and herbs.
Homeopathy – Treating individuals with highly diluted substances or compounds to trigger the body’s own natural system of healing.
Aromatherapy – Using aromatic essential oils and plant essences to alter a person’s mind, mood, cognitive function, or health.
Chinese Herbalism – A component of traditional Chinese medicine where herbs are used, often in conjunction with other techniques, such as acupuncture or massage.
Ayurveda – Herbs are used to help balance the doshas or energy types (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) and get rid of illness and disease by restoring that balance.
A good place to start your research would be The Herbal Home Remedy Book: Simple Recipes for Tinctures, Teas, Salves, Tonics, and Syrups. For more practical advice on natural healing I HIGHLY recommend this awesome ebook written by a talented mama and blogger called Herbal Nurturing. It rocks! And of course you all know I love the Wildcraft game that teaches you all about herbs while you play.
Ready to give it a try or are you already embracing the herbs? I would love to hear!
Wednesday, April 13th, 2011