What is Herbalism?
It’s a very old type of all-natural folk medicine that uses plants & plant extracts to treat a variety of ailments.
Evidence has been dated 60,000 years ago that Neanderthals used indigouous plants for their skincare needs & also for healing & treatment of many ailments.
Usually only the green & leafy plants are used. Most all parts of herb plants make great spices. (ex: seeds, berries, roots, bark & inside meat from stem) They also bear fruits or vegetables which make them edible.
Medicinal herbs are usually the woody plants & shrubs. While the more soft, leafy ones are for Culinary herbs.
Botanical definition: Botanical Science defines an herb as a plant that does not produce a woody stem. Usually dies in temperate climates. They are both annuals & perennials. Meaning they either die (annual) or go back to their roots.(perennial) Some examples are: bulbs, peonies, hostas, grasses, banannas to name a few.
Some of the different influences in our culture are: Chinese herbal medicine, the Ayurvedic principles of india, the ancient Greek & from Rome.
The Chinese Method or “Herbology” is where the doctor acesses the yin/yang condition of the patient, along with studying their symptoms. Chinese herbs are classified using these methods:
- The Four Natures: This is the yin/yang state. How effective herbal medication is in bringing them into balance. Yin/Yang ranges from cold (extreme yin), cool, neutral, warm or hot. (extreme yang) If patient has internal cold then an herb that has hot yang value is used.
- The Five Tastes: These are pungent, sweet, sour, bitter, & salty. pungent herbs are used to increase sweating & vitalizing blood. sweet herbs are used to tone & harmonize body systems. sour herbs are used as an astringent. bitter herbs help get rid of excess heat & empty the bowels. salty herbs help to soften up hard masses.
- The Meridians: Meridians refer to the precise organ that the chemicals in an herb target. Menthol is pungent & cool & is associated with the lungs & liver. This means that since the lungs are organs that protect the body from colds & flu, the use of menthol helps get rid ofcoldness in the lungs & also resist heat toxins.
Always Remember: * Use a non-metallic or enamel pot when preparing your own herbal remedies.
Dangers: Anything we extract from the plant is a chemical. In some cases- just a small bite on a leaf can cause death in infants. These plants are usually found very deep in the woods, but always use caution. You can overdose if herbal drugs & conventional drugs are used together to cure the same ailment. Choose herbal treatments that have been proven safe & effective.
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