Herbal medicine is the medicine of the people. It is simple, safe, effective, and free. Our ancestors knew how to use an enormous variety of plants for health and well-being. Our neighbors around the world continue to use local plants for healing and health maintenance, and you can too.
In your first lesson, you learned how to "listen" to the messages of plant's tastes. And you discovered that using plants in water bases (as teas, infusions, vinegars, and soups) - and as simples - allows you to experiment with and explore herbal medicine safely.
In your second lesson, you learned about herbs for teas and how to preserve and use their volatile oils. You leaned about vitamin- and mineral-rich herbal infusions, and how to use them to promote health and longevity. And you continued to think about using herbs simply.
In this lesson you will explore the differences between nourishing, tonifying, stimulating/sedating, and potentially-poisonous plants. You will learn how to prepare and use them for greatest effect and most safety.
ALL HERBS ARE NOT EQUAL
All herbs are not equal: some contain poisons, some don't; some of the poisons are not so bad, some can kill you dead. I divide herbs into four categories for ease in remembering how (and how much) to use. Some herbs nourish us, some tonify, some bring us up or ease us down, and some are frighteningly strong.
Nourishing herbs are the safest of all herbs. They contain few or no alkaloids, glycosides, resins, or essential oils (poisons).
Nourishing herbs are eaten as foods, cooked into soups, dried and infused, or, occasionally, made into vinegars. They provide high-level nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, proteins, phytoestrogens and phytosterols, starches, simple and complex sugars, bioflavonoids, carotenes, and essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Nourishing herbs in water bases (infusions, soups, vinegars) may generally be taken in any quantity for any period of time. Side-effects - even from excessive use - are quite rare. Nourishing herbs are rarely used as tinctures (in alcohol), but when they are, their effects may be quite different.
It is generally considered safe to use nourishing herbs in water bases with prescription drugs. They may also be taken even if you are using tonifying, stimulating/sedating, or potentially poisonous herbs.
Some examples of nourishing herbs include: