Herbs for Beginners

Herbs for Beginners

Herbal medicine is among the most respected of the ancient natural remedies and has stood over the test of time even with modern medicine. Herbs are compatible with the human body and today more people have become interested in herbal remedies and rediscovering the use of traditional medicinal herbs.

Now before we go any further into this topic…

If you are suffering with any medical condition always consult with your doctor before introducing an herb to your regimen or with any medication. Herbs can do wonderful things if used correctly so it’s important to talk with a licensed professional Herbalist and your Doctor.

Herbal medicine that survived as well as renewed popularity over the years despite the development of chemical drugs during the 18th and 19th century and the pharmaceutical companies in the 20th and 21st centuries. Today professional herbalists use herbal medicine as a more natural way to maintain health and well-being by using traditional preparation such as dried herbs, infusions, tinctures, and ointments. And although herbal remedies are natural, nature also has its poisons and if not used properly you can have negative affects. Many herbs are very potent and need to be used carefully which is why I wanted to discuss the proper way to use herbs and how to use them safely. And when you’re new to using herbs always consult a doctor and professional herbalist because when it comes to your health why guess when you can know for sure!

How to use Herbs Safely

As I said before just because herbs are natural does not mean that it could be used freely. There is a huge difference between drinking a tea and trying to self medicate. And with that in mind there’s a couple golden rules that we want to go over…

1.Always seek medical advice from your doctor.

  • If you are on any types of medication always seek medical advice before taking herbal medication’s. And also never discontinue treatment from your doctor without medical guidance.
  • Some herbs can counteract or increase activity with certain drugs. (for example, garlic has an anticoagulant effect that thins the blood and if you are taking any medication that also thins the blood, garlic would increase that effect.)

2. Do not self-diagnose

  • If you are not feeling well do not attempt to self diagnose. Because if you are not a trained professional in health you could make a mistake and use the wrong herb which could end up in a bigger mess than what you originally had. I know a lot of people are a huge fan of Dr. Google; however why I guess when you can know for sure! And once you have consulted with a medical doctor you can talk about different treatments and what all your options are.

3. Pregnancy

  • I know you guys are probably sick of hearing me say this however in some cases people need to hear this more than once but always consult your medical doctor.
  • There are many herbs that benefit women while they are pregnant however it is recommended that women avoid using any type of herbal remedy for the first three months. For herbal remedies that are safe to use while pregnant consult your doctor or midwife.

4. Only use 1 herb at a time

  • Whether you’re using herbs externally or internally it’s important to only use one herb at a time so that way you are not confusing the system.

5. Always follow the instructions on packaging.

  • You can get many herbs as a supplement whether it be tablets, teas and so on. Never take more than the recommended dose unless advised by a professional.

Herbal Ingredients

Herbs contain active compounds known by chemical names that have been given to them after scientific analysis. Herbs have been used for thousands of years and now with scientific methods we have now been able to prove their efficiency and traditional applications. And in the future I will be going over 130 herbs where I will be giving a basic guideline on each herb and it’s uses. So if you have not followed us on Facebook and Pinterest I would recommend you do so now so that way you can stay up-to-date for future topics.

Many modern drugs have been derived from herbs. An example of this would be aspirin from Willow however most of theses are synthetic and only focus around one active ingredient to make it super concentrated. In herbal medicine, the whole plant is used to make a remedy. This is because nature has designed the chemicals in the plant to work together to balance the active constituents, which helps prevent any side effects.

What’s in Herbs?

Alkaloids

Alkaloids are the most powerful of all the plant constituents and often affect the nervous system. If an herb is alkaloid rich it should not be used for home use.

Bitters

As the name implies this is a very bitter tasting ingredient in herbs which increase the flow of digestive juices improving all aspects of absorption and elimination.

Tannins

This substance has a protective affect on the skin, helps reduce inflammation and shielding against infection.

Glycosides

Natural sugars

Gums and Resins

The sticky ooze that comes out of tree bark. A good example of this would be a maple or pine tree.

Mucilages

Is gel-like that soothes, cools, and protects the skin as well as delicate membranes of the digestive, respiratory and urinary systems.

Saponins

Produces a lather when mixed with water.

Flavonoids

Mainly found in plant tissues with yellow or white pigments. It helps with circulation, protect blood-vessel walls, and helps reduce inflammation.

Volatile oils

Specialized cells found in leaves, flowers, roots, wood, fruit peel, and berries. They have a powerful smell that is usually extracted by distillation which is a processed used in aromatherapy. Also, volatile oils contain many constituents such as coumarins, esters, ketones and terpenes.

Vitamins and Trace Elements

All herbs are rich in these and are essential to your overall health.

And there you have it!

I hope you found this topic helpful for your journey into herbal medicine.

I’m going to be doing a profile on each individual herb and their uses.

Be sure to follow our blog as well as on Facebook and Pinterest. Each time I write an article they are posted there for your convenience!

Sources:

Book: Herbs by Jennie Harding (ISBN-13: 978-0-7858-3568-4

Information pulled September 22, 2021

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