Herbal medicine is the medicine of the people. It is simple,
safe, effective, and free. Our ancestors knew how to use an enormous
variety of plants for health and well being. Our neighbors around
the world continue to use local plants for healing and health maintenance,
and you can too.
In your first lesson, you learned how to "listen" to the
messages of plant's tastes. And you discovered that using plants in
water bases (teas, infusions, vinegars, soups) -- and as simples --
allows you to experiment with and explore herbal medicine safely.
In this lesson, we will learn how to make effective water-based herbal
remedies and talk more about using simples.
Tea for You?
Teas are a favorite way to consume herbs. Made by brewing a small
amount of herbs (typically a teaspoonful to a cup of water) for a
short time (generally 1-2 minutes), teas are flavorful, colorful drinks.
Herbs rich in coloring compounds -- such as hibiscus, rose hips,
calendula, and black tea -- make enticing and tasty teas. They may
also contain polyphenols, phytochemicals known to help prevent cancer.
Since coloring compounds and polyphenols are fairly stable, dried
herbs are considered best for teas rich in these.
Herbs rich in volatile oils -- such as ginger, chamomile, cinnamon,
catnip, mint, lemon balm, lemon grass, lavender, bergamot, and fennel,
anise, and cumin seeds -- make lovely teas which are effective in
easing spasms, stimulating digestion, eliminating pain, and inducing
sleep. Since much of the volatile oils are lost when herbs are dried,
fresh herbs are considered best for teas rich in these, but dried
herbs can be used with good results.
I enjoy a cup of hot tea with honey. But teas fail to deliver the
mineral richness locked into many common herbs. A cup of nettle tea,
for instance, contains only 5-10 mg of calcium, while a cup of nettle
infusion contains up to 500 mg of calcium. For optimum nutrition,
I drink nourishing herbal infusions every day.
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