Using herbs to increase your health and wellbeing can seem difficult to learn, but it definitely doesn’t have to be. It’s easier than you think. Here are some tips to simplify your herbal learning journey and even make it fun.
One of the first concerns usually is how to find the medicinal plants. There are a number of ways, but the easiest is to simply purchase the plants. There are many wonderful companies that offer medicinal plants and you can often purchase them online. Many co-ops and local herbs shops also have very good quality herbs. With the rapidly growing interest in herbalism, these reliable sources are getting more and more common.
You can also easily grow your own herbs. This can be as simple as having a few pots of herbs in a windowsill. You can also add some herbs to your vegetable or ornamental garden in your yard. Most of the commonly used medicinal plants are actually easier to grow than other plants. They are often more tolerant of poorer soils and need less water.
One of the pure joys of working with medicinal plants is learning how to go out and harvest your own. It builds the spirit to be with the plants and learn how to identify them. Medicinal plants grow all around us and many you may already even know. Dandelion for example, is an herbalist’s favorite and can be found just about everywhere. Once you learn some of the more common medicinal herbs, you will start to see them all over in your backyard or in your neighborhood. You’ll be surprised!
With so many medicinal plants to choose from, it can seem overwhelming. Start with learning just a few. Which ones? Nutritive herbs which often pack far more nutrition than our healthiest foods, or tonic herbs which tonify and build our organs and vitality. These also happen to be the most common herbs, the safest herbs, and the herbs with the most impact on our overall health and wellbeing. Here are some herbalist’s favorites:
Once you have chosen the few herbs that you want to work with, start adding them to your food. Learn a recipe that you and your family will enjoy eating. Then add another. Feel free to be creative and play with these. It’s no different than working with any other favorite kitchen ingredient. These small changes to your diet will have very real impacts. Next, try making an herbal tea and drink it a few times throughout the week. Before you know it, these recipes and teas will just become part of your routine. You’ll wish you had started sooner.
So how do you learn about these herbs and recipes. There are fabulous teachers, books and resources now available. First make sure they are reputable. More often then not, searching for answers on the Internet will lead to confusion and poor advice. Look to teachers with good credentials and then make sure they match your skill level and interest. The herbal teaching community is very vibrant, nurturing and diverse. While I teach those new to herbalism, I love referring students to my fellow instructors with advanced teachings or specific areas of specialty.
As you can see, there are simple ways to begin. All it takes is a sincere curiosity. Working with medicinal plants can be fun and enjoyable. For some of us, that’s the reason we begin working with medicinal plants in the first place. The ability to increase our health and wellbeing makes it all the more worthwhile.
Feel free to leave any comments or questions below. If you would like to learn more about herbal medicine, check out the Home Herb School at www.homeherbschool.com