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Introduction to Herbal Medicine

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(Picture obtained from One Lombard)

Plants are everywhere. And you might be surprised to know that many of them are herbs. Those weeds you see growing at the edge of your property? Herbs. The weeds in and around your driveway or stone path? Herbs. How about the many different flowering weeds growing in your yard? Yup, you got it. Herbs! The healing properties of herbs come in all forms, from the root of the dandelion weed that is so commonly known, to the elderberry shrub along the woods. Herbs even grow along highways, in roadside ditches and next to abandoned buildings. That’s the great thing about plants. They adapt easily to natural life and can find their place anywhere. And while some herbs prefer hot, dry climates, while others thrive best in wet areas, they almost always have a story to tell.

This may seem like an odd way to describe plants, but they have many qualities as humans do and it's important to get to know each one and love what they have to offer. It may be funny and short, or wild with emotion, but you can always be certain that your life will be changed and you will get a glimpse into the past. Herbs started with our ancestors. Not having the medical technology that we have today, they turned to surrounding plants to heal minor cuts and upset digestive systems, to more serious wounds and illness with their innate wisdom. Today we have many written works on herbal remedies used over hundreds and thousands of years. When the printing press took off in the 1440s, recorded information became abundant and books were becoming the popular read – only second to the bible at the time!  Among the most popular was Nicholas Culpeper. One of my favorites, his The Complete Herbaloriginally published in 1652 gives quite the colorful understanding of herbal medicine.

Herbalism became important. It was the forefront of everyone’s home at the time and it was the “trend” of health. So much so, that as herbs became imperative in life, and the pharmaceutical companies took off, there was a threat. If we look at many of today’s medicines, we can see that most have an origin from herbs. For example, Aspirin was originally derived from the bark of While Willow, due to its anti-inflammatory compounds that can reduce pain. This isn’t to say that these medications are natural because they contain these powerful compounds, because those drugs only contain an extraction of that active ingredient, and are then filled with additives and preservatives. But it gives insight into what most scientists, and the drug companies, understand - plants are necessary for healthy lives.

We hope to share with you useful information on our common plant friends and how to use them for their beneficial qualities. I will provide recipes and fun facts, stories and a love that can only come from a desire to share information for others to appreciate. I hope you find this useful, even if you just carry it around as a pocket of knowledge that my never be used, but is there just in case.

May your day be plant-iful.

health herbal medicine herbalism wellness

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