Herbal Medicine

  • Kol Drake
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Kol Drake created the topic: Herbal Medicine

I am not certain if we have any 'Nature healers' among us. I am intrigued by those who can identify plants, flowers, and trees and know what 'works' and what does not. For whatever reason, my mind just can not seem to wrap around 'doing that'. Still, I think it's neat.

I am reminded that Hippocrates, who lived sometime between 460 B.C and 377 B.C., left historical records of pain relief treatments, including the use of powder made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree to help heal headaches, pains and fevers. Most major pharmaceuticals are artificial 'remakes' of what comes naturally from Nature. The works of Edgar Cayce also come to mind since he used poultices and compresses and teas and infusions in most of his readings so, it can't be all 'bunkum'.

The single most important factor when purchasing herbs for making remedies is recognizing and obtaining the best quality available. Buy your herbs from reputable companies, those that have a conscience and are concerned about both the quality of the products they sell and the environment. (A couple of friends highly recommend this place to buy bulk herbs from -- Mountain Rose Herbs ) Whenever possible, use your herbs fresh. However, this is not always feasible - but quality dried herbs will generally retain all of their medicinal properties. A good dried herb should look, smell and taste almost exactly as it does when it’s fresh.

Of course, the best way to ensure that you are getting quality herbs is to grow your own. Many of the plants that you use for medicine can be grown as part of your flower/vegetable garden. They might even be growing wild already in your backyard or in the woods. Incorporate them into your landscape and use them as they grow and thrive. Plenty of books on 'how to grow herbs' and even how to make it 'work' even if you live in an apartment with no yard and nearly zero space... even if it means setting up a container garden of herbs for medicine and cooking. Fortunately, most herbs thrive in a small container on a sunny windowsill. (( even for folks like me with a purple (and sometimes black) thumb ))

Herbs retain their properties best if stored in air-tight glass jars, away from direct light, in a cool storage area (a kitchen cabinet will do). You can store them in all kinds of containers, but durable glass bottles do best. IF you try to re-use any kind of jar, make sure to wash it out REALLY REALLY WELL. You do not want your herbs smelling like pickles or marinara sauce. And, remember to label all of your jars with the plant name and date.

Now, the stuff I hope someone might find useful. Or have available to help a boo boo at a Gathering someday!

Knowing what plants cure what illness is not enough. One must also know how to prepare the plants. So, before the natural medicines are presented here, the ways of preparing them is presented here now.

Infusion: Cut and crush the herb, pour boiling water over the herb, stir and leave to cool. Do Not strain, allow the herb to sink and leave the to cool. If no boilingwater is available, chew or suck leaves to extract juices, then spit out the pulp.

Decoction: Cut, scrape and mash the herb roots. Soak the mashed roots in water,about half an hour. Bring the solution to boil and allow to simmer till about 1/3 (half a pint) of the solution has evaporated.

Poultice: Mash the root, leaves or whole plant and compress the plant into a flat pad. Add water to the pad if it is too dry. Apply pad to the wounded area, cover with a bandage or large leaf and bind the poultice into position.

Expressed Juice: Crush the stem and leaves into a juice pulp with rocks, sticks or your hands. A commercial juice machine is excellent for working within your home. Squeeze only the juice into an open wound and spread the pulp around any infected areas. Bind the pulp into position the same way as before with the poultice.

To Stop Bleeding:
Giant Puffball Mushroom: Pack Spore as a poultice
Plantain: Pound leaves into a poultice

Cleansing Rashes, Sores & Open Wounds:
Use externally to bathe 2 to 3 times daily or, if indicated, as a poultice.
Burdock: Decoction of the root, crushed raw and mixed with salt for animal bites.
Chickweed: Expressed juice of leaves.
Comfrey: Decoction of root as a poultice
Dock Weed: Crushed leaves
Elder: Expressed juice of leaves.
Oak: Decoction of Bark
Scurvy Grass: Crushed leaves
Shepherd’s Purse: Infusion of whole plant, except roots, as poultice
Sorrel: Crushed leaves
Tansy: Crushed leaves

These plants will induce perspiration to break a fever.
Elder: Infusion of flowers and fruit
Lime: Infusion of flowers

Aches, Pains & Bruises:
Use externally where indicated.Birch: Infusion of leaves
Borage: Infusion of whole plant except for the roots
Burdock: Decoction of the Roots
Chickweed: Infusion of whole plant except for the roots
Comfrey: Decoction of the Roots, applied to the area of swelling
Cowberry: Infusion of leaves and root
Dock: Crushed leaves, apply leaves to bruises
Poplar: Infusion of leaf buds
Sorrel: Crushed leaves, apply leaves to bruises
Tansy: Crushed leaves, apply leaves to bruises
Willow: Decoction of bark to relive head aches.

Colds, Sore Throats & Respiratory Illness:
Angelica: Decoction of the roots
Bilberry: Infusion of leaves and root
Borage: Infusion of whole plant except root
Burdock: Decoction of the roots
Comfrey: Infusion of whole plant
Horseradish: Eat the root raw, stepped in a tea
Lime: Infusion of the flowers
Nettle: Infusion of leaves
Oak: Decoction of bark, to be used as a gargle
Plantain: Infusion of leaves and stems
Poplar: Infusion of leaf buds
Rose: Decoction of hips
Willow: Decoction of bark

Upset Stomach:
Bilberry: Decoction of fruit
Bracken: Infusion of leaves
Bramble: Infusion of leaves
Dandelion: Decoction of the entire plant.
Horseradish: Infusion of the root
Mint: Infusion of entire plant, except root, with powdered charcoal and water.


Ya, I know it is 'smarter' to use 'modern meds' when possible BUT, if there was the zombie apokolypse or the magnetic fields do loop-de-loops or some other whacked out 'THING' happens and modern pharma 'goes away'... knowing which plant does what (and which ones won't kill you!) seems like a 'good thing to know'. (or have a good book with illustrations and which part does what. (( shades of Hogwarts' Herb-ology 101 classes... ))

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Jax replied the topic: Herbal Medicine

Is it smarter? Modern medicine only looks at one portion of the person - the physical. It has no concept of the energetic components, minimal understanding of many of the physical systems in the body, and even less understanding of how it works. Many side affects we don't know about because they present too far after taking medications to notice.

There are certainly some good western medicines. And there are some good herbal medicines. I agree, I would love to spend time immersed in learning all of this, hands on with a master. I have a few books but haven't used them very much. Our most common herbs are valerian as a muscle relaxant or sleep aid, and then various herbal teas by Yogi Tea and Traditional Medicinals. I like that they research and test. The most common uses for teas in my life are for digestion/stomach, energy, and menstrual cramping. Herbs do a good job in these areas usually.

Also, when we move to Denver next year we'll be experimenting with marijuana for Carrie. Not for me. But considering how many side affects and complications that come from western medicines, if this works better I won't hesitate to let her use it (in a non-smoked form).
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Beral Khan replied the topic: Herbal Medicine

So, I hope it helps her. Also, and oddly, My wife and I have been wanting to move to Colorado for a while - she's even looking for jobs there! We may end up in visiting distance.

I used to trust my force of Will.
Now I trust in the will of the Force.

Jedi Communication? Well its removing assumptions, questioning the absolutes, and asking for clarity of statements.

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  • Rebekah
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Rebekah replied the topic: Herbal Medicine

I find this topic very interesting and have always considered myself a "healer". I mean this in a couple of different ways...and will note that I've always been drawn to the SW books and sections that deal with healing. I was and am the person that most all of my friends and even those that don't know me will come to when they need a band-aid or have something wrong with them. My school backpack and purse almost always have food, water, and some type of first aid kit and CPR mask in them. I've taken multiple CPR and First Aid classes. Thanks to Rick (my boyfriend) I also have a book on Traditional Chinese herbs/medicine called..."Chinese Natural Cures: Traditional Methods For Remedies and Preventions (Diagnosis, Treatment, Herbal Formulas, Food Cures, Philosophy, Legends) " by Henry C. Lu. I've skimmed it so far but after I finish the personal training certification class I should have more time to really sit down and read it. One of my goals is to collect/make a herb box that I can keep in my car and in the kitchen for emergency use. I know that like Jax said Yogi Tea and Traditional Medicinal have great teas for things such as sore throat, common cold, flu, stomach ache, cramping, energy boost...and so on. I recently had a head cold and drinking the breath easy (helps with respiratory system) and common cold tea worked better than sudafed.


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  • Kol Drake
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Herbal Medicine

Having an 'herb box' or 'tea box' of fresh leaves would be cool. That and knowing that lemon grass helped in one way and comfrey did another.

I'd like to know a little more myself. I mean, I read where the ancients used spider webs to help wounds start coagulating. Edgar Cayce and others of the period before formalized pharmaceuticals, did a lot with compresses and poultices and tinctures and teas. Just seems like a lot of practical 'knowing' we have let slide by the wayside.

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Jax replied the topic: Herbal Medicine

I wonder if there are really useful classes a person could take as part of a retreat or something. That would be a really cool vacation I think.

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Kol Drake replied the topic: Herbal Medicine

Plenty of places to get courses.. either through online correspondence or colleges, etc. Here is a 'short list' --

Western USA

American College of Healthcare Sciences
(Correspondence Courses Available)
5940 SW Hood Ave
Portland, OR 97239
(800) 487-8839

Bastyr University
1450 Juanita Dr. NE
Kenmore, WA 98028
(425) 823-1300

California School of Herbal Studies
Forestville, CA 95436
(707) 887-7457

Columbines School of Botanical Studies
Howie Brounstein and Steven Yeager
PO BOX 50532
Eugene, OR 97405
(541) 687-7114

East West School of Herbology
(Correspondence Courses Available)
Michael and Leslie Tierra
BOX 275
Ben Lomond, CA 95005
(800) 717-5010

Evergreen Herb Garden and School of Integrative Herbology
Candies Cantina Kiriajes
PO Box 1445
Placerville, CA 95667
(530) 626-9288

Foundations of Herbalism
(Correspondence Courses Available)
Christopher Hobbs
35170 Lillian Drive
Philomath, OR 97370
(541) 929-5307

Global College of Natural Medicine
(Correspondence Courses Available)
250 Natural Bridges Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 458-4196

Herb Mentor
(Online and Home Study Courses Only)
John Gallagher
PO Box 1174
Carnation, WA 98014

Herbal Transitions
Sharol Tilgner
PO Box 523
Pleasant Hill, OR 97455

Lady Barbara's Garden
(Online Courses Only)
Barbara Hall
Eugene, OR

Living Awareness Institute
Kami McBride
PO Box 5381
Vacaville, CA 95695
(707) 446-1290

National College of Natural Medicine
049 SW Porter St
Portland, OR 97201
(503) 499-0027

North American Institute of Medical Herbalism
(Correspondence Courses Available)
Paul Bergner
PO Box 20512
Boulder, CO 80308
(303) 541-9552

Northwest School for Botanical Studies
Christa Sinadinos
Post Office Box 4543
Arcata, CA 95518

Oak Valley Herb Farm
Kathi Keville
PO Box 4543
Nevada City, CA 95959

School of Natural Healing
(Correspondence Courses Available)
PO Box 412
Springville, UT 84663
(800) 372-8255

Sierra Institute of Herbal Studies
Dodie Harte
PO BOX 426
Big Oak Flat, CA 95305
(209) 962-7425

Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA)
1100 E. Apache Blvd
Tempe, AZ 85281
(888) 504-9106

Southwest School of Botanical Medicine
Donna Chesner
620 W. Limberlost #24
Tucson, AZ 85705
(520) 678-7078

Eastern USA

Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism
2 Westwood Place
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 350-1221

Florida School of Holistic Living
622A N. Thornton Ave
Orlando, FL 32803
(407) 595-3731

Heart of Herbs
(Correspondence Courses Available)
Demetria Clark
PO Box 268
Princeton, MA 01541
(866) 303-HERB

Herbal Medicine for Women
(Correspondence Courses Available)
Aviva Romm, MD, CPM, Herbalist
PO Box 216
Monerey, MA 01245

jim mcdonald
4535 Jowik
White Lake, MI 48383

Northeast School of Botanical Medicine
PO Box 6626
Ithaca, NY 14851
(607) 539-7172

Sacred Plant Traditions Center for Herbal Studies
Kathleen Maier
PO Box 1313
Charlottesville, VA 22902
(434) 295-3820

Sage Mountain
(Correspondence Courses Available)
Rosemary Gladstar
PO BOX 420
East Barre VT 05649
(802) 479-9825

Tai Sophia Institute for the Healing Arts
7750 Montpelier Road
Laurel, MD 20723
(800) 735-2968

Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism
250 Main Street Suite 302
Montpelier, VT 05602
(802) 224-7100

Vintage Remedies School of Natural Health
(Correspondence Courses Available)
Spring Hill, TN 37174
(615) 807-0882

Wise Woman Center
(Correspondence Courses Available)
Susun Weed
Woodstock, NY 12498
(845) 246-8081

And in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, etc, the ethnic communities tend to have their own schools and healing centers which tend to teach to their culture... so plenty of places to 'get herbal'.
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