1) What is an herb anyhow?
The word “herb” technically translates as “grass” in Latin. Many herbs are plants that wither back each Fall. Trees and shrubs aren’t technically herbs in this sense, however there are numerous medicinal shrubs and trees that are used in herbal healing. Essentially when you ask what an herb actually implies to an herbalist, it’s a plant that has medical value-and that includes every type of medicinal plant whether it’s a tree, shrub, grass, or even a fungus. There are healing herbs for weight loss, herbs for depression, herbs for anxiety and medicinal herbs that have been used for centuries for treating many other ailments.
2) Do they really work?
In ancient times, our forefathers found out all they knew about their healing power by trial and error. Anything that would make their lives a bit more easy to bear acquired practically an aura of magic due to the fact that they understood herbs worked, however they didn’t exactly know why or how. Today we have the benefit of greater understanding thanks to the introduction of clinical methods. Modern science has actually taught us how and why herbs do in fact work. They include chemicals, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that produce various results within the body. It’s not at all like pharmaceuticals where one kind of chemical is neatly isolated, precisely measured, and has actually a defined response. Herbs are quite separate from pharmaceuticals because they actually have varied strengths and mixes of chemicals in them.
3) Are herbs truly safe to make use of?
They do indeed have active chemicals that are generally less focused and have a built-in overdose deterrent, in that many of the herbs are bitter. It takes a bit more time for some herbs to build up within the body because of herbs offering a more gentle, slow moving healing process whereas pharmaceuticals are generally more immediate because of their concentration. The genuine answer lies in the individual using the herbs, the time spent in research of what herbs should be used, and the individuals obligation towards their own health and well being or that of the patient being treated.
Here are some basic bits of advice when using herbs:
· Don’t take herb unless you research it first. If you are not 100% of what a wild plant is, don’t use it.
· Use just the advised quantities for the advised durations.
· If you’re over 65 or sensitive to drugs in general, start with lower strength preparations.
· Listen to the signals your body gives you and act appropriately.
· In addition be especially cautious if you have a pre-existing medical condition or chronic illness.
· Also be careful when using natural essential oils, they’re exceptionally concentrated.
· With a couple of exceptions, pregnant and nursing mothers should not be using medicinal amounts of herbs.
· With a few exceptions, kids under the age of 2 should avoid utilizing medicinal amounts of herbs.
Just to be safe it’s always advisable for you to discuss the use of medicinal herbs with your medical professional.
4) How do you understand what herbs you should be using?
Fortunately our forefathers did a lot of the work for us and history has actually kept exceptional records of both failures and successes that these individuals have actually had with various herbs. While numerous herbs were being used for particular disorders throughout history, some have been proven scientifically inefficient. There are a couple of questions you must ask to help narrow down your search for what herbs you’ll be using.
First what do you actually want to get from using them? Are you ill with a cold? Maybe you require a known expectorant. Do you need something that is known and understood to help you to develop a particular response such as lowering of your appetite? When you can clearly answer these questions you can then begin a search for herbs that are understood to have the properties you require to help you in your desired goal.
Secondly, what technique do you feel most at ease with in applying/using the herb? If you want to have a great tasting tea or infusion, you’ll need to see what herbs are pleasing to the palate. If taste is a factor and you know the best herb for you is terrible tasting, consider purchasing capsules or a powder to make it as palatable to you as possible
Last but not least, what other properties does this herb have that I need to consider? Would it in any way hinder a pre-existing condition, allergy, or medication? As already mentioned ask your medical professional just to make sure.
5) How do decide how much I need to use?
Generally a dose recommendation would be a variety of 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dried herb per cup of water. Start on the lower end if you have a chronic illness, are normally sensitive to drugs, are over 65 or the herbs are for to dealing with ailments in a child. If you’re an otherwise healthy adult without particular sensitivity to drugs, do not hesitate to begin with a more powerful dosage.
Just like some people are fine with one Aspirin, others might require 2 or 3 to get relief, herbs are the exact same in deciding the right amount for you as all individuals respond in a different way. Research and study the herb you’re interested in before taking a first dose, ask your physician about any issues with taking the herb, and then listen to your body which will generally inform you as to what’s right for you.
6) What type should I purchase?
Herbs come as whole, cut and sifted (c/s), powdered, and sometimes as pills and salves. To decide on the best way for you then just ask yourself how you are planning on using the herb and will you need to use it for other factors. If you’re open to exploring the numerous preparation methods to get the best method possible, either whole or cut and sifted. You can constantly powder a portion, or reduce the herb as you want to and as the requirement arises. Powders, salves, and pills are the most convenient types and are readily available to utilize however you think is right for you. Also think about your current skill level with herbal preparations and make a judgment call on what is right for you.
7) Using them medicinally looks complex, can I really do this?
If you can make a box of macaroni and cheese, you can just as quickly use herbs to make a salve or powder. Through the ages people have actually been investigating, what are the best methods available to utilize them and you will find that most of those are available in now in what we call infusions. If you can do some research and study, you will soon be able to measure out a teaspoon of herbs in a cup of water, prepare an infusion and then yes, you have discovered that you can use herbs!
8) Why should I acquire a pound of herb at a time?
Lets say that typically a pound of herb costs $15.45, which is about 96 cents per ounce. Even if you factor in shipping that’s $1.41 per ounce so buying in bulk helps keep costs down.
Factor in the carbon footprint of all the extra plastic product packaging and waste that comes along with smaller amounts, their delivery, packaging in boxes, and transport to the stores. Then there’s the pollution that factories produce when making plastic bottles and labeling. The list goes on!
Not to mention the majority of the bottles in store shelves are clear which is bad for protecting the herbs. It’s also a problem with controlling the quantity of air the herbs are exposed to since as you use the herb the bottle contains more air which drains the herbs of its qualities. Buying larger amount directly from a reputable supplier will ensure that you have the freshest powdered herbs available.
9) A pound of herbs is a lot to buy, what will I do with all of it?
The good news is that they typically have many varied and numerous uses around your home that we may not have been aware of. A good example of this is the herb Basil which isn’t just for cooking, it can be used to help[ eliminate digestive tract parasites, increase the effectiveness of the immune system by up to 20%, and has actually been prepared and used effectively to help treat acne. That’s 4 uses that the one herb has suddenly, as well as being used for cooking!
One thing that many consumers do frequently is splitting and sharing a purchase with family, friends or neighbors to reduce cost and use their herbs whilst they are at their freshest. Collaborating in a group like this can be a great experience to help share ideas on using the herbs and can lead to very enjoyable regular group activities.
Many individuals divide the herbs up and make vinegars, flavored salts and sugars, and numerous other mixes and provide them as gifts for friends and family. The possibilities are endless when you pair fresh herbs with pretty bottles, boxes, bins, and baskets. You’ll never ever be caught unprepared again when you find you unexpectedly require a gift for an event.
10) Are my herbs going to keep and how should I store them?
The bags they come in are the perfect container to keep using for storage, but if you wish to use containers of your own, you can move your herbs into them.
The main factors to consider are oxygen and light exposure the herbs are receiving. It is best to keep them in nontransparent containers. To restrict the amount of oxygen your herbs are exposed to, either lower the quantity of air as much as possible from the bags, or if you’re using other containers utilize cotton wadding to limit the quantity of oxygen inside of them.
Moisture, insects, and heat are other factors that will rapidly destroy your herbs if not avoided.
The majority of fragrant herbs (such as sage, rosemary, and thyme) can remain potent for more than a year, and non-aromatic ones (such as alfalfa, comfrey, and chaparral) will last about two years if stored well.
If you store all of your herbs well they can have a tremendous life span. Infusions and preparations however will not last long once prepared and must be made to demand. Pastes however can last for a minimum of 2 to 3 years, some a lot longer if stored well.
It takes a bit of time for some herbs to build up within the body because of them being a more mild, slow solution whereas as mentioned previously pharmaceuticals work more rapidly because of their concentration. The real answer lies in the person utilizing the herbs, their research in the type of herbs used, and the individuals level of personal responsibility that they take for their own health requirements.
If you really don’t want to store your herbs for long periods then consider growing your own herbs in planters, window boxes or setting up your own small herb garden and have fresh herbs all season.