By Victoria Lafean
According to Anne Kennedy, author of Herbal Medicine, if you’re comfortable in the kitchen, then you are well on your way to making herbal medicines. The first step is stocking an herbal kitchen. For most recipes, your average kitchen will serve you well. However, other items that are important are a blender/food processor, tea kettle, ceramic teapot with lid, a kitchen scale, and funnels.
Storing your remedies can be simple. Don’t worry about buying storage containers brand new. You can recycle jars, bottles, and cosmetic containers. If you choose to buy, buy things in bulk. Buying in bulk can save you money. You can find a wide variety of containers at health food stores, dollar stores, and online stores, especially stores that carry medicinal herbs.
In the Herbal Kitchen, we will be making boluses, decoctions, creams, liniments, teas, infusions, and tinctures.
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Many people believe that herbal medicines are completely safe because they come from plants. Some herbs, however, are deadly. These are the herbs to avoid at all times: belladonna, daffodil, foxglove, hemlock, henbane, jimsonweed, mandrake, tansy, and wolfsbane. Also, avoid herbs you cannot positively identify. Local library books can assist in identifying plants, or the option to buy plant identifying books from local book stores or online is something important to consider.
Anne Kennedy focuses on carefully purchasing herbs. Herbs are not regulated like pharmaceuticals, but they can be just as potent. Be sure to purchase your herbs from reliable sources. Make sure they are clearly labeled and information is readily available. When purchasing herbs, make sure they are dried. Another option is growing your own and drying them yourself. In the oven, place herb leaves or seeds on a cookie sheet one inch deep or less. Put herbs in an open oven on low heat – less than 180 degrees F – for 2-4 hours. To see if the herbs are dry, check if the leaves crumble easily.
Herbal medicine lets you avoid, by choice, pharmaceuticals unless you truly need them. Plant-based remedies cost less and your cost per treatment drops dramatically. Botanicals help you feel healthier naturally. Some remedies also offer multiple benefits. Lastly, many herbal remedies are family friendly. They can be used and made together. These remedies are not recommended to replace all professional medical care, but to use as an option for a healthier you.
Once you create your herbal kitchen we will, with Kennedy, create your own Mother Nature Pharmacy. Next time, we will create remedies with your newly stocked herbal kitchen.
Lafean currently resides in Fort Irwin, California. Lafean’s husband Evan is currently serving as a soldier in the U.S Army. Her hometown is Port Huron Michigan. Both Evan and Victoria hope to return after Evan completes his military service.