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Black Woman Hoodoo Practitioner Root WomanThe Herbal Primer - Uses for Medicinal Herbs

By Sharon Bloom | Submitted On August 06, 2012


Most cultures have a history of using herbs medicinally. Herbs have been mentioned in the Bible and were used by primitive peoples for preserving, flavoring, and remedies. Later, herbs were grown in monasteries in the Middle Ages and during Victorian times, it was fashionable to have an elegant herb garden. With the emergence of modern drugs, herbs fell into a decline medicinally, but there has been a new interest in organic remedies. Let's look at some of the medicinal herbs and how they are used.

Depending on the specific herb, the usage varies. Some are used for their leaves; some are steeped to make a infusion,tincture or tisane; some are eaten; some are swallowed; some can be applied in a poultice to the skin; it all depends on the need and the herb.

TEAS: We have all heard of herbal teas for comfort and relaxing. Chamomile is a well known herb for sleeplessness and anxiety, but lemon verbena can also be a useful aid for sleeplessness; hyssop tea for sore throats as a gargle;yarrow tea applied to cuts and bruises; borage for coughs and dill or basil for flatulence.

To make a tisane in a one cup serving, you will need 1 tsp of dried herbs or lightly crushed herb seeds, or 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs. Pour boiling water over the herbs and then let them steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and add sugar or honey to taste. Can be consumed hot or cold.

TOPICAL REMEDIES: Aloe is a wonderful herb that you can simply cut a leaf and use it straight from the plant onto a wound or sunburn or scrape. Many other herbs can be applied topically in other forms, such as poultices, baths or compresses.

BATHS:Healing Baths can be aided by the addition of herbs wrapped in cheesecloth that are hung from the bath spout under the running water. Sage and strawberry leaves for aching muscles and joints;blackberry leaves to rejuvenate and refresh the skin tone- also jasmine and orange blossoms can make a bath heavenly. Don't forget using herbs in your footbaths as well for soothing relief with a lovely fragrance.

POULTICES: Many of these applied topically are crab apple, comfrey or flax seed. Poultices are made from dried, powdered or crushed herbs mixed with hot water to make a paste. This is applied to the skin and covered with a warm towel, cloth or bandage to keep it warm.

You will notice that the amounts in herbal recipes differ between using fresh herbs and dried herbs. This is because dried herbs are concentrated and have more oils than fresh herbs.

The best bet is to buy an herbal book to guide you in which herbs will work with your specific need. You should never experiment with wild herbs as many are toxic, or may be toxic over an extended period of time in certain quantities. Always consult your doctor to ensure you are not contraindicating medicines you are already taking, or conditions you may already have, such as liver disease.

Herbs are wonderful and will add much to your life, be it aromatic, culinary or medicinally.

SHARON BLOOM is a multi-award-winning artist, photographer, recycled artist,herb gardener & author and editor of a free family-oriented daily blog called "SHARE OUR GARDEN", which shares beautiful flower photos, inspirations, recipes, garden ideas, recycled art and humor. You can sign up for free at http://shareourgarden.blogspot.com

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