Where Do the Herbal Remedies Originate From?
Herbalism, using plants to make herbal remedies, cure and heal people with, has been with us longer than any other kind of medicine. At first, the knowledge of herbalism has been passed down by word of mouth, from generation to generation. At each culture, there was a wise woman, a witch, a shaman, a healer… who used herbal remedies as the foundation of their healing work. Even today, many — if not most — of the remedies originate from plants and are then processed in the pharmaceutical industry.
The Tenets of Herbalism
There are some timeless principles on which herbalism — and any healing, when we come to that — is and should be based. The tenets of herbalism are:
|The whole plant is better than an isolated extract.
|Don’t cure the symptoms only, heal the entire person.
|Practice minimum effective treatment and minimal intervention.
|Enable the body to heal itself.
Herbal remedies should not be prescribed naively. A substance can be a remedy in one form, but a poison in another. Plants may be our best friends but should not be underestimated in any situation. However, obey the simple rules stated above and there will be no problems.
Professional Level of Herbalism
Just as with any other kind of healing, it is possible to study and practice herbalism professionaly. A professional herbalist will be well versed in orthodox medical diagnosing, and will have the power to prescribe potent herbs that are generally unavailable to the general public. It takes a significant time to train up to a professional level of herbalism. Often, persons gifted in energy healing may use a combination of methods to form an appropriate personalized therpy, and herbal remedies enter the picture naturally, since they are readily available all over the world.
Herbalism As A Self-Help System
Herbal remedies are ideal to use in home, and are usually cheap enough to be available to everyone. You can use them in first aid, everyday ailments, the management of chronic conditions, strengthening of the body and preventive treatment.
How To Take Herbal Remedies
There are three main carriers for herbs.
Water — for teas and/or infusions. Flowers, leaves, some seeds, and fruit are usually put into thewater and body can quickly assimilate whatever water carries. Good for children and convalescents, as well as for patients with delicate digestion.
Alcohol — as in tinctures or spiced wines. Any part of the plant may be preserved in alcohol, but the hard parts seem to be prevalent. Not applicable if the patient cannot tolerate alcohol; should not be given to babies either.
Oil — to make rubs, massage oils, liniments; with beeswax, can be used for ointments and salves.
Body Parts To Apply Herbal Remedies To
Herbal remedies can be directed to almost any part of the human body.
Tinctures are liquids made from flowers, leaves, of root of the plant. A tincture is maid by soaking the flowers, leaves, or roots in strong alcohol. Tinctures keep well, need small place to store, and are highly concentrated so a few drops may be an entire dose. Taken through mouth.
Infusions are teas — parts of the fresh or dried plant boiled in water. The resultant “tea” is strong and often literally too hot to start drinking it right away. There are some plants that cannot stand heat, such as comfrey, marshmallow, and valerian root and if you must make an infusion with them, leave them in cold water for 12 hours previously. Taken through mouth. Most infusions are distasteful so maybe mixed with honey.
Decoctions are similar to infusions, only made from tougher materials such as roots, bark, nuts, and seeds. Taken through mouth.
Tablets and capsules are taken through mouth and are useful for people that do not want to taste remedies.
Creams and ointments are applied externally. Active ingredients pass through skin into the blood and continue working there throughout the body. Often used in massage.
Compresses may be cold or hot. Help ease aches, pains and swollen joints. Made from infusions applied to cotton and then the whole “package” applied to the diseased part of the body.
Poultices are a paste made from bruised fresh or dried herbs.You put the paste on cotton and then bandage it to the affected area. Useful for painful joints, and drawing out infection from boils, spots and wounds.
Suppositories are prescribed for rectal problems, such as piles, and usually come ready-made to insert.
Douches are for vaginal infections. A douche is made from infusions or decoctions which have been allowed to cool.
Herbal baths, easily the most pleasant way of applying herbal remedies to the body.
Using Herbal Remedies At Home, Safely
In many cases, tradition will help you out and you will know exactly what to do and when. You just have to remember what your mother or grand-mother did on the occasion and that’s it. Someone in the family has, say, diarhorrea and is automatically given peppermint tea, case closed. You don’t even think of it as of a healing, although in fact it actually is.
In previous centuries, herbal remedies might well have been the only source of healing for miles around, but today it isn’t so. For that diarrhorea, you would probably take some pharmaceutical remedy first, followed by peppermint tea, just to help the process of recovery out. Herbal remedy in that context is a complimentary therapy. On the other hand, if all you have is a set of herbal remedies, then it pays to start thinking and acting as a true healer. The basic principles are:
First assess the whole body and the entire aspect of the patient.
Start the therapy by adjusting the lifestyle — how much the patient sleeps, eats, drinks, and/or physically exercises.
Use the simplest available remedy, either internally or externally.
Write down the state of the patient, when the therapy started, how long was it in effect, what happened.
Let the patient understand the idea of the therapy and then let them take it as prescribed.
Give them your utmost loving care — they are the members of your family!
Monitor the progress for a few days and be prepared to call the doctors, after all.
Parts Of Herbs That Can Become Herbal Remedies
Herba in Latin means flower, but in herbal medicine any part of the plant may be used. For instance:
|chamomille, marigold, St. John’s wort
|peppermint, sage, thyme, comfrey
|willow, oak, cinnamon
|cayenne, rose hips
|clove, aloe vera
|rose, rosemary, lavender
|olive oil, St John’s wort
Where To Get the Herbs
The easiest way to get herbs is to grow them in a garden or a window box. If you are into gardening, and provided you knew what kind of illness you would have to deal with — say some chronic disease, you could grow them on your own.
Dried herbs are widely available from food stores, drug stores, pharmacies, fairs, farmer’s markets etc. You should best know in advance the Latin name for the herb, as that is the only sure way to identify the herb. (Some herbs have five, six or even a greater number of local names and nicknames.) Also, you should specify which part of the plant is going to be used: root, bark, leaf, or flower.
Some herbs are poisonous, addictive, or outright dangerous, and there may be laws about collecting such herbs. Don’t just go about picking flowers and plants, ask for permission if needed. If you think a plant would be useful to you but you don’t know enough about it, ask the natives, they usually know quite well what will this or that plant do to the human body.
Do not gather roots from the side of the road, or recently sprayed crops or foliage, or from sick looking plants. You are looking for vitality in the plant, which will then be transferred to the herbal remedy through a special preparation procedure.
Acquiring Herbal Remedies Through the Internet
In this year and age of Internet, there are many online shops for raw and/or processed plants, as well as online “pharmacies” selling herbal mixtures for particular problems. Some sites carry all kinds of remedies — herbal, mineral, homeopathics, flower remedies, supplements etc; other concentrate on their proprietary mixtures, such as NativeRemedies.com. Finally, from a site such as www.mountainroseherbs.com you can order organic herbs and spices, teas, bulk ingredients and so on.
Preparation Of Herbal Remedies
Using herbs at home often is a pleasure. However, you can take it one step further. Here is How To Make Herbal Remedies, an illustrated guide showing you how to make home remedies using herbs, spices and medicinal plants. (Once in a while you will have to make your own remedy, so this would be a good way to learn about the proper procedures.)
Herbal Remedies For Gynecological Problems
Well, women all over the world used various plants to help them with “female” side of life. Breasts and breast-feeding, menstrual problems, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), infertility, miscarriage, pregnancy problems, labor pains, post-delivery problems, menopause symptoms, prolapse, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), thrush, painful intercourse… for all these problems, there is one, two or more excellent herbal remedies to choose from.