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Getting Started with Herbal Medicine

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One thing I quickly realized when we had children was that we could either educate ourselves and attempt to prevent and treat whatever ails us or we could live in fear and ignorance and rely continuously on the medical establishment.

That is what kick started my look into herbal medicine. I found that God-given plants could often times prevent or treat many common ailments without any side effects and at a greatly reduced cost compared to doctors visits and health insurance.

I do believe there is a time and place for trained medical professionals and I am thankful for them. I also believe it is simply unnecessary to rely on them when all it takes is a little studying and the ability to stock an herbal medicine cabinet.

I initially started our family with simple herbal teas. It is so simple that it only involves the herb and boiling water. After that I learned about tinctures which are liquids, usually alcohol or glycerin, that has extracted all of the medicinal properties from the herbs into a very concentrated liquid. Finally, I began using essential oils. These are the most concentrated components of a plant, and while seemingly expensive up front, go a really long way.

Books & Videos

ABC Herbal – One of the first herb books we read and a great one for learning the general concepts of how the body works with herbs.

Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal – A really comprehensive book for those looking for more detailed information on exactly which herbs are helpful for which ailments.

Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes For Vibrant Health – A much less expensive book than the above with loads of great recipes.

Making Herbs Simple – A great DVD set for those just starting out. This really helps you understand that anyone can do this and it truly is simple.

Loose Leaf Herbs

I have written extensively about which herbal teas we keep on hand for various ailments here, if you’re interested. Others like comfrey we use to make poultices for topical healing.

Tinctures

You can make these yourself or buy them from a reputable source. I have only dabbled in making an elderberry tincture, but the process for any tincture is really simple.

Essential Oils

There is all sorts of conflicting information out there about these super concentrated plant extracts. But the way I understand it every plant has oils in it that give it its medicinal and culinary properties. When extracted properly these can be used as powerful healing agents.

I have my own questions about the sustainability of essential oils, but for now we like to use them for colds and other illnesses, killing mold, and cleaning naturally. A few good ones to start with are lavender, lemon, clove, and eucalyptus.

The most important thing to remember when using any herbal remedy is to be educated about what that plant does, what contraindications there are, and what a reasonable dose looks like. I am not a medical professional, so don’t just take my word for it. Do your homework and consult a professional.