BEFORE USING ANY HERBS FOR HEALING – PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR!
You can use herbs in a variety of ways for natural healing. But you must remember that not all herbs are good for you. Some can interfere with medicine you are already taking, some can be mildly toxic and others can kill. Please speak to a registered and qualified herbalist or a doctor before using any herbs.
Nonetheless, if you have sought advice, herbs can be a fantastic way to natural wellbeing. Below are some ideas on how you can use herbs as your natures medicine cabinet.
A poultice is made by mashing herbs, plant material or another substance with warm water or natural oils to make a paste. The paste can be applied directly to the skin and covered with a piece of clean cloth. If the herb used is potent such as onion, garlic, ginger, mustard, etc., you may want a layer of thin cloth between the skin and the herb. The cloth can then be covered with plastic wrap to hold in the moisture. The poultice can be changed every 3 to 4 hours or whenever it dries out.
A compress is made in the same way by mashing herbs, plant material or another substance with warm water but with enough water to make a ‘liquor’ or ‘juice’ from the herbs. Drain the herbs away from the remaining juice (water and juice from herbs) and bathe a piece of clean cloth into the juice, place this cloth onto the skin, this is then the compress. The compress can be changed every 3 to 4 hours or whenever it dries out. Compresses work in a more gentle way than poultices and are great for kids.
Add your favourite herbs to a mug; usually a mix of up to 1.5 teaspoons (combined) is enough. Add water that has just been boiled for 1 minute earlier (never use boiling water straight away) and top up until your mug is full. Allow to steep for 5 minutes. Drink as is or add honey to taste.
A tincture, also called a plant extract, is an herbal preparation made by steeping plant material in alcohol. As it steeps (for several weeks) the alcohol draws out all of the medicinal qualities of the plant which include alkaloids, volatile oils and resins. Alcohol based tinctures can last for several years and are a convenient way to preserve your medicinal herbs.
Fresh herbs: When using fresh plant material be aware of where you are getting it from! Do not pick plants that have been sprayed with chemicals or ones along roadsides where they can pick up many toxins. Make sure you pick at the proper time for that particular plant and that it is healthy and pest-free.
Dried herbs: To make a tincture with dried herbs the process is identical except that you will only need to fill your jar 1/3 full of plant material. Dried herbs are convenient because they are always available from a good, organic herb store. Once you have your plant material the step are simple.
1. Simply chop or tear the leaves, roots, flowers or bark (depending on plant) and fill your jar but do not pack it in.
2. Pour the vodka or brandy in to fill the jar and cover the herb.
3. Tightly screw the lid on the jar and shake gently
4. Label your jar with the date, the herb and the type of alcohol
5. Store your jar in a dark place for 2-6 weeks, the longer the better. However, we have also made this by sitting the tincture mixture on a sunny windowsill for 2 weeks and this also worked very well.
6. After you have left your tincture, it is ready. Strain out the plant material and put some in an amber dropper bottle (don’t forget to label this too) and continue to store the excess in a cool, dark place.
Roll on oils are very handy to keep with you at all times and are perfect for helping to take the edge of headaches and as an insect repellent during the summer months as you can roll on the oil directly where it is needed. A mix of a base oil and a few drops of essential oil is all need. Healing Salves Are semi hard (that can melt in your hands) salve that you can rub on where needed. Should never be used on large open wounds but for small cuts, bruises, small wounds, allergy rashes, burns etc healing salves work incredibly well.
Massage oils are not just aromatherapy oils, a blend of certain essential oils not only can smell divine but also be used for deep tissue healing and massage. A good massage blend has a good quality base (carrier) oil and a few drops of purposefully chosen essential oils to match the requirements.