Preparing Herbs for Health and Healing…
Herbal medicines have been used for centuries to aid in healing and maintain overall wellness. Many herbs are cheap and easy to grow and can be an effective addition to your overall self-care routine.
However, it is important to prepare and use them properly in order to avoid irritation or serious side effects.
Most people will buy a bottle of pills from their health food store, but the dried herb may not be as potent as the fresh, and the “dosage” might not be effective. Many herbal remedies from overseas are often adulterated with cheap ingredients to “stretch” the herbs, or other ingredients that could cause side effects.
There are many ways to take herbs for health. Here are a few suggestions:
Herbs are full of phytochemicals that can aid in a range of medical conditions. Many of them contain high levels of antioxidants, such as nettles, and can, therefore, help prevent disease and the wear and tear on the body caused by the process of aging.
Herbs can be used in a range of ways if you enjoy being creative. Some studies have shown that they can also be an effective weight loss aid due to the interesting flavors they add to foods, which can help reduce unhealthy cravings.
Use herbs fresh in your cooking, drinks, candy, as a chew, and so on. Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, for example, are tasty aromatic herbs you can use in a range of savory recipes. Ginger is good in tea and mixed with lemon juice for colds and detox. Licorice has much powerful healing effects-make sure the pure root is being used. Chew peppermint or spearmint for the fresh taste, and to improve oral health.
Try different ethnic cuisines, particularly Indian food. Ayurvedic herbal medicine has been practiced on the Indian subcontinent for more than 5,000 years. Turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, and ginger are just a few of the powerful herbs and spices found in Indian cookery.
Tinctures use pure ethanol and sometimes water to preserve the herbs and make an extract from them to use throughout the day. Bach Flower Remedies would be a good example of tinctures.
Vinegars are made with acetic acid. The herbs are preserved and the flavor infuses the vinegar and lends it some interesting flavors. It can then be drunk in small amounts or used in salads.
Oils such as olive oil will also preserve the herbs. The flavor will infuse the oil and create interesting flavors. It can then be used in a range of recipes.
Wines, cordials, and liquors
These are made with about 40% ethanol to preserve the herbs and other botanicals. Popular examples are elderberry or elderflower wine, gin, and the Greek drink grappa.
Tisanes and teas
Fresh herbs to be dried should be hung in a cool spot free from direct sunlight. The dried herbs can then be used any time. Tisanes or teas are a popular way to enjoy herbs. Just add hot water, steep, strain as needed, and drink. Chamomile is one of the most popular and soothing teas.
These are herbs, roots and/or bark that have been boiled for a long time in order to get all of the active ingredients out of the botanical. Willow bark decoction is as effective as aspirin in relieving pain. It can be taken internally or applies to sore joints.
Some plants release thick gel-like substances when they come into contact with liquid, forming a thick solution. Plants such as sage and thyme are chopped up and placed in cold water. They are left to stand for about 10 to 12 hours, and the resulting liquid can be used in wines and cordials, or topical preparations such as creams and ointments.
Poultices or compresses
Poultices or compresses are usually made from the whole plant, often chopped and mixed with other healing ingredients and then placed in a cloth. Hot or warm water is then usually applied, and the poultice placed on the trouble spot. It can ease aches and pains, or aid in breathing when placed on the chest, such as a mustard plaster.
You can try your herbs and put them into gelatin capsules. This is your best option if the taste is too strong to enjoy the herb as a tea or tincture.
Essential oils are so named because they are the healing essence of the plant or botanical. They are highly concentrated, and perhaps thousands of times more potent than the fresh herb. Hundreds of essential oils are using in the ancient healing modality aromatherapy.
Essential oils can be:
- Diluted with water
- Diluted with water
- Diluted with a carrier oil, such as in massage
- Added to hot water to be inhaled
- Added to a hot bath, to be inhaled and for the skin to be soothed
Most people buy the oils and then make their own recipes rather than try to distill essential oils themselves. Look for kosher, edible-grade oils from Europe, America or Canada to ensure you are getting a high-quality product that is safe to use.
Natural Herbal Remedies That Work…