Craft a soothing aloe lotion after an encounter with poison ivy, make a dandelion-burdock tincture to fix sluggish digestion, and brew up some lavender-lemon balm tea to ease a stressful day. In this introductory guide, Rosemary Gladstar shows you how easy it can be to make your own herbal remedies for life’s common ailments. Gladstar profiles 33 common healing plants and includes advice on growing, harvesting, preparing, and using herbs in healing tinctures, oils, and creams. Stock your medicine cabinet full of all-natural, low-cost herbal preparations.
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About the Author
Rosemary Gladstar is the best-selling author of Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide and Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, which draw on her 40-plus years of experiences studying and teaching about the healing properties of herbs. She is a world-renowned educator, activist, and entrepreneur, and the founding director of Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center, the International Herb Symposium, and the New England Women’s Herbal Conference. Gladstar is founding president of United Plant Savers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation and preservation of native American herbs. She was the original formulator for Traditional Medicinal herbal teas and has led herbal educational adventures around the world. She is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, and serves on the board of the Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine and The National Health Freedom Coalition. She lives in Vermont.
Read an Excerpt
Infusions and Decoctions When making tea, leaves and flowers are prepared differently from roots and bark, in much the same way that spinach is cooked differently from potatoes. Leaves and flowers are generally steeped in hot water so as not to overcook and destroy the enzymes, vitamins, and precious essential oils. Roots and bark are generally simmered to draw forth the more tenacious plant constituents. There are a few exceptions to these rules, which you’ll generally find noted in herb books, including this one. But honestly, if you make a mistake and simmer a root that should have been steamed, don’t panic. Your remedy will still work. The process of steeping a plant in boiling water is called infusion, while the process of simmering a plant in lightly boiling water is called decoction. When in doubt, steep. Steeping is much less destructive to many of the important medicinal components of plants. The longer you steep the herbs, the stronger the tea. That’s not always preferable, as long steeping times can bring out some of the less desirable parts of the plant. Steep black tea too long and what happens? It goes from being a fragrant, aromatic beverage to an astringent-tasting, tannin-rich medicinal tea. A medicinal tea blend, whether an infusion or a decoction, is defined by its strength and potency. For medicinal purposes, teas need to be fairly strong, and so you’ll use a relatively large amount of herbs in making them. How to Make a Medicinal INFUSION Infusions are made from the more delicate parts of the plant, such as the leaves, flowers, buds, some berries and seeds, and other aromatic plant parts. Highly aromatic roots such as valerian, ginger, and goldenseal are often steeped rather than decocted, though I find they are effective either way. After, add the spent herbs to your compost. Here are the basic steps. Instructions
- Put 4 to 6 tablespoons of dried herb (or 6 to 8 tablespoons of fresh herb) into a glass quart jar.
- Pour boiling water over the herbs, filling the jar. Let steep for 30 to 45 minutes. (The length of steeping time and the amount of herb you use will affect the strength of the tea.)
- Strain and drink.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Welcome to the Wonderful World of Medicinal Herbs What Is a Medicinal Herb? How Is Herbal Medicine Used? The Benefits of Herbal Medicine Starting a Home Medicine GardenChapter 2: How to Make Your Own Herbal Remedies Setting Up Your Kitchen Pharmacy Herbal Teas Syrups Oils Salves Tinctures Herbal Pills Baths, Poultices, and Compresses The Skinny on Dosage and Duration of Herbal TreatmentsChapter 3: 9 Familiar Herbs & Spices to Grow and Use Basil Cayenne Cinnamon Garlic Ginger Rosemary Sage Thyme TurmericChapter 4: 24 Safe & Effective Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use Aloe Vera Burdock Calendula Chamomile Chickweed Dandelion Echinacea Elder Goldenseal Hawthorn Lavender Lemon Balm Licorice Marsh Mallow Mullein Nettle Oats Peppermint Plantain Red Clover St. John's Wort Spearmint Valerian Yarrow
What People are Saying About This
"Now more then ever we need to learn to care for ourselves while also caring for the Earth and this book is packed with simple, practical advice for using the plants growing right outside your back door! Who better to guide us into this world, whether for the first time or the hundredth, than Rosemary Gladstar. Her deep love and knowledge of the plants and her joyful spirit infuses her words and her remedies."
"This delightful book is full of wonderful information, recipes, and pictures to inspire new and old herbal students alike."
"This delightful book is full of wonderful information, recipes, and pictures to inspire new and old herbal students alike.
"Atrue reflection of its author in its wisdom, knowledge and practicality. It is filled with information, illustrations, anecdotes and simple, clear instructions for creating herbal remedies. This is not only a solid basic primer for the beginning herbalist but also a comprehensive resource book for all."
"Atrue reflection of its author in its wisdom, knowledge and practicality. It is filled with information, illustrations, anecdotes and simple, clear instructions for creating herbal remedies. This is not only a solid basic primer for the beginning herbalist but also a comprehensive resource book for all.