Why use Herbs?

by Vikki

September 30, 2020

I am not a medical doctor or professional (yet!).  This information is not meant to treat or diagnosis, it is for educational and entertainment purposes only. If you or your loved one is sick, always seek medical care and advice from a trained medical practitioner of your choice. Never use herbs or herbal treatments without first doing research on that herb and its effects by a trusted source.

Why Use Herbs?

Genesis 1:29: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”

As I grind some dried rosemary, thyme and mullein, grown in my own garden, by hand in a mortar and pestle for a respiratory-strengthening tea, their individual scents waft up and mingle, and I inhale deeply, and exhale slowly, with a small smile on my face.  I can’t help but think that this very act has been done all over the world for centuries…millennia! What a peaceful experience…helping create medicine for healing! 

Why herbs? Hmmm…where to begin? I think of Julie Andrews as Maria, teaching music to the Von Trapp children.. “Let’s start at the very beginning… a very good place to start…” Smart woman!

Shall we go, say, 5,000 years back?  The oldest written evidence using herbs and plants as medicine has been found on a Sumerian clay slab from Nagpur, approximately 5000 years old! Humans have a long-term relationship with herbs for their medicinal properties that offer natural, effective, sometimes immediate and lifetime benefits of healing and better health.  Our bodies are programmed to work synergistically with what has been given to us!

While I am a firm believer in “there’s a time and place for modern medicine” (usually in extreme emergency situations), I also understand that in today’s world, for most other conditions, it is a medical system that focuses more on treating sickness than living well.

I remember attending a health conference once years ago, where they mentioned that in China many years ago, the philosophy created by Li Shizhen (1518-1593, Chinese acupuncturist, herbalist, naturalist, pharmacologist, physician, and writer of the Ming dynasty – Wikipedia) was to pay your family physician to keep you healthy, and if anyone got sick, payment was stopped until the doctor made the patient well again!  What a great concept, and perfect incentive to keep the doctor focused on health and not illness!!  His belief was “To cure disease is like waiting until one is thirsty before digging a well”

Wow!  How many pharmaceuticals today focus on preventative medicine?  Herbs do just that, and more!  They can affect us emotionally and physically by strengthening our body’s systems for long-term wellness, they can restore health, and provide much-needed balance.

Herbs are the original Super Food!  They provide many beneficial phytochemical for our bodies that may not be accessible anywhere else! 

Photochemicals: chemical compounds that plants use to neutralize threats or provide protection against stress factors.

Plants are so amazing in that they have natural abilities to create their own defense mechanisms! But modern food production techniques took over that job for most all of our food crops, starting many years ago, to help facilitate abundant pest and disease free crops in their efforts to feed the world. Slowly over time plants have had to rely less and less on their own photochemical production to protect themselves!  So they now have very little of these precious, amazing compounds.  Herbs are not relied on for main food sources for humans like vegetables have been, so where other food crops have been genetically altered directly or indirectly, herbs have largely been left alone.  

For a most excellent, super-informative, deeper study, refer to Dr. Bill Rawls blog: https://vitalplan.com/blog/the-case-of-the-missing-phytochemicals-and-how-to-get-them-back

Herbs are very versatile!  There are so many ways to reap their healing benefits: 

*cook with them 

*eat them raw in salads 

*dry them and capsulate them

*make teas and drink them

*tinctures

*Elixirs

*Syrups

*Oxymels

*Poultices and Soaks

*Ointments and Salves

*Beauty products, such as soaps, lotions, serums, lip balms, etc.

*Crafts!

But for all of their splendor, using herbs medicinally should always be approached with knowledge and basic understanding.  Too many times I’ve heard people say “Herbs are natural, so they’re safe.”  Only if they are properly used! A specific herb may have multiple effects that vary from person to person.  One of the things I really like about herbs and herbalismis that it is a holistic approach.  It does not try to isolate one symptom or disease or one part of the body, because the body is a whole!  Anything you do to one part of the body will affect the rest of it!  So a holistic approach is best, especially when paired with other healthy habits like eating right, exercising and getting good sleep.

So do research, educate yourself, and if you’re unsure of anything, visit with a licensed/certified herbalist or naturopath.

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