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Wild Medicine, Beyond Our Door

By July 25, 2014 8 Comments

Wild Herbs have been in use long before recorded history. Uses include medicinal, magical, industrial, and culinary.  When history was transferred from oral to the written word, records of herbs and their uses have been discovered in Egyptian, Persian, and Hebrew cultures as early as 3000 BC.

feverfew

Feverfew Photo by Brandy Lucas

Practices and Definition of Herbalism

There are many practices of herbalism including Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic, Native American, and European.

Over 10,000 species of herbs exist in the world. An herb can be classified as a small seed bearing plant with fleshy parts rather than woody parts. Herbs flavor, fragrance, medicinal qualities, health benefits, dyes, economic, industrial and pesticidal properties are of considerable value.

The types of herbs besides perennials include annuals, trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, mosses, algae, lichens, and fungi.

stjohnswort

St. John’s Wort Photo by Brandy Lucas

Benefits of Herbs

Using herbs as a medicine provides many essential benefits. Compared to conventional medicine, while medicine herbs are used in a whole state.  Unlike conventional medicine that uses isolated parts of a whole.

Hippocrates, The Father of Medicine quotes: “Let your food be medicine and your medicine be your food.”

The body responds to herbs as nutrition and nourishment, since they are in their whole state considering them a food.

Since herbs are considered food they are well tolerated by the body and have a reduced risk of side effects, easily being assimilated and broken down.

Herbs are also effective with chronic conditions. Many people with chronic conditions turn to herbs to reduce the chance of side effects often caused by conventional medicine.

Many herbs are widely available outside your door. They also cost less at a fraction of the price, and can be grown at home. Most herbs used for medicine require little care, are prolific and easy to obtain for a home garden.

In many parts of the world herbs are the only medicine available.

chickweed

Chickweed Photo by Brandy Lucas

Disadvantages and Safety of Herbs

Some disadvantages to herbs include emergency situations. Medical crises such as broken bones or heart attacks need immediate professional care. Doctors can set the broken bones and have the equipment to resuscitate a heart. Herbs in these situations can only serve as aids in helping the healing process along.

Lack of information is another variable. Especially concerning the proper dosage of herbs personally.  While most herbs are benign, to someone who applies the wrong dosage of certain herbs at home in as little as a gram can prove lethal or toxic.

Many wild herbs have poisonous look alikes. A proper identification guide is key when gathering in the field.

Lastly some conventional medications can have adverse effects with some herbs and their chemical makeup.

Be cautious and aware of your sources when purchasing herbs. Make sure the buyer is reputable and ethical, not selling inferior herbs or endangered wild herbs, due to the lack of regulation in the herb industry.

Herbs are an integral part of our future and deeply rooted in our past. They are a wonderful medicinal gift given to us since the beginning. Herbs when used with respect will reward you with beauty, comfort, healing, food, and reconnection to your wild past.

Author Brandy Lucas

Brandy is enrolled in The School of Natural Healing to obtain her Master Herbalist Degree. She is a forager, homesteader, lover of plants and Mother Nature. She is passionate to share her knowledge, love of the wild and cultivating the wilderness within each of us.

More posts by Brandy Lucas
  • Theresa

    Brandy , I look forward to more articles on this subject. I grow several herbs at home for culinary purposes, but I would love to learn more.

  • Mariah

    I’ve recently become more and more interested in healing myself in a natural way, and avoiding taking medicine whenever possible. However, one of the greatest reasons I haven’t ventured too far into this world is because I’m afraid of mixing up the good and the poisonous. I can’t wait to hear more about this topic!!

  • Beverley

    This is a great article . As time goes by I am learning much about wild plants as edibles and want to learn a lot more. I too grow a lot of herbs for preparing food with but really want to learn more about the medicinal plants.

  • Barbara

    I have a love for plants, but am lacking in identifying them. I also realize I am on far too much medication prescribed by my doctors. I would love to find a natural replacements!

  • Robyn Fell

    I’ve worked shamanically with plant spirit medicine for years and know what magical healers our plant friends are.

    • diann

      Robyn, would love to learn more on healing spirit medicine!
      I’m in Arkansas

  • Love the new Website. I’m very interested in foraging and growing edible herbs at home. Could always use more help in learning to identify wild edibles. You guys are one of my favorite things on Facebook. Keep up the good work.

  • diann

    I am only beginning to forage here in Arkansas. friends loaned me some edible plant books and I have found much while on wildflower hunts. have much to learn…keep info coming! Thanks