If you are interested in using natural remedies but don't know where to start, fear not. This introduction to ways of using herbs will show you just how versatile herbal healing can be.
Here are six ways of using herbs, and an example to inspire you for each one.
1. Herb vinegars
You can combine the tremendous health benefits of apple cider vinegar with herbs to take your salads up a notch. Choose a tablespoon of your desired herb, such as fresh basil or rosemary, and place in a sterilized bottle with a well-fitting lid. Warm the vinegar (do not boil) and pour over the herbs. Close the lid and store in a cool, dark place and your vinegar will be ready in two weeks.
Forget about artificially flavored lip salves, try making your own. Salves can be used for insect bites, spots, eczema, and chapped lips. To make one, melt two cups of coconut oil and a quarter of a cup of beeswax over a very low heat. Then you can choose which herbs to add. A tablespoon of dried lavender along with a few drops of essential oil will make a soothing salve. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth into sterilized jars.
Take one cup of water to a tablespoon of your desired herb or plant. Using hot, but not boiling water, cover the plant and let it infuse for an hour. Now you have an infusion that can serve several purposes. For example, an infusion of chamomile can help you to relax before sleep, and the leftovers can be used as a hair rinse to add shine and softness, especially for blonde hair.
A compress is a pad that can be placed on the body for a healing effect. Hot and cold compresses can be used for a variety of ailments. For example, a ginger compress used on the stomach can relieve menstrual cramps and stomach aches. Use clean cotton or linen cloth, and place in a bowl of hot water with six drops of essential oil. Squeeze the cloth and place on the body for 15 minutes.
A poultice is a heated herbal paste, which is spread on linen, gauze or cotton in a thick layer. Mixing ground fenugreek with flaxseed powder makes a powerful antidote to inflammation. Place on the affected area and cover with a towel to retain the heat. The combination of the warmth and herbs reduces pain. After removing the poultice, wash the skin thoroughly.
6. Essential oils
An essential oil is the oil derived from herbs or other plants through distillation or cold extraction. They contain highly concentrated benefits from the herbs that are used to procude it. It makes more sense in terms of time and money to buy your essential oils, but you can also make them yourself! Just add a few drops of a citrus oil to a carrier oil (such as sweet almond) to make your own uplifting massage oil.
When you are starting out using herbs, don't stray from recipes. Plants are powerful! Pregnant and nursing women should be particularly careful about researching and using herbs, but you might just find that herbal remedies can help when conventional medicine can't. Consult with a professional herbalist for guidance and tell your doctor about any herbal remedies you want to try.