Herbs are living substances that protect and heal our spirits, minds, and bodies. Some herbs work best when combined with other herbs. Some herbs work best alone. Trial and error throughout the ages have given proven results. You can trust an herb to do what century old tradition says it will do. It might not bring immediate results, but if the right herb is taken in correct doses over a long enough period of time, good results will be forthcoming.
It’s best to use the plant parts in their entirety rather than trying to isolate the active ingredients. Each element of a plants part has specific roles within the body. The combination of elements in an herb works to prevent harmful side effects. This is known as synergy (the strength of the sum of the parts is greater than the strength of individual parts).
They work best when used only as needed whether for one day or one year. Some herbs such as yellowroot should only be taken for two weeks before breaking for at least a week. In herbal medicine, dosage should be reduced and discontinued as condition improves. Adding more of a good thing to speed healing may aggravate symptoms. It takes time to rebuild health.
Beware of anyone, or any company, that claims to improve herbal properties by breaking apart the chemical components of natural herbal material. When I hear about synthesizing this compound or that compound and taking out certain ingredients from the herb to make it into a pill, I flinch. Do the big drug companies really think their chemists know more than God? The whole herb is always best in the long run (and can be purchased in capsule form for convenience). Of course, there are variations in quality of herbal medicines. Some capsules may just contain sawdust.
Most herbalists and herbal suppliers are down-to-earth, honest people. You can usually trust them to sell quality products. it just runs with the territory. Most leafy herbs dry out within a year or two and lose most of their potency (roots, barks, and resins can last much longer). There are ways to tell if herbs are old and useless. Test quality by doing a taste test. Does it have a distinctive flavor? No? Then the herb is probably old. Also try an aroma test by crushing a few leaves between your fingers. Does the herb have a strong scent? If your medicinal -- and culinary -- herbs aren't up to par, maybe you should look for fresher plant material. You will notice a world of difference.
If buying dried herbs in capsule or tea bag form, always read the ingredients list. The name of the desired herb should be listed at the very top or be the only one listed period. With pre-packaged products, twist open a capsule or tear open the tea bag. Does it look and taste as it should?
For example, chamomile should have fuzzy-looking yellow particles (from the flower). Dandelion root should taste bitter on the tongue. Mullein should be grayish green in color - almost moldy looking. Tea bags should have a nice aroma. There is no use to waste money purchasing cellulose (sawdust). Many discount and some chain stores sell inferior products so look for growers, local health-food stores, and wellness centers that guarantee quality. High quality herbs are a must when it comes to healing. Poor quality herbs are worthless.
* Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking other medicines.
"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling, herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
* Note - the information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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