With the rise of what is now known as conventional allopathic medicine shortly before World War I, herbalism slowly fell out of favor and became to be thought of as folk medicine. Rather than viewing nature as the source of healing, as had been done for centuries, people began to view drugs and other "modern" healing methods as superior. If you would like to start using medicinal plants more often, here are 9 tips to do so:16
Probably the best way to use witch hazel is to make a tonic with it. To do this you need a 1/2 lb of bark from the witch hazel tree, distilled water, and vodka. Mix the witch hazel and enough water to cover the bark by about 1-2 inches. Bring that to a boil and let it simmer for around 20 minutes with a lid on. After that remove the bark by straining it out and add half the volume of your tea in alcohol. So if you have 20 ounces of tea add 10 ounces of the alcohol. Thayers toner is also a great choice if you just want it pre-made it includes aloe vera in it as well.
Plantain has a pretty lengthy list of uses it can be used to treat acne by applying a salve or tincture to the area, crushing the leaves can make for an effective sunburn remedy. Just from these two uses alone you can see that plantain would make a great herb for any prepper, but the benefits of plantain don't stop there. The ability that plantain has for treating cuts and healing wounds makes it a great herb to know when in the wilderness and to keep in your herbal first aid kit. Plantain can also be used to treat colds, the flu, and respiratory infections by brewing a tea with it.
Recent research has suggested that probiotic supplementation may be able to stop tumor growth. (12) And this makes perfect sense because 80 percent of your immune system is housed in your gut. In addition to supporting your immunity to disease, research has also shown that probiotics can improve digestive function and mineral absorption as well as aid in healing leaky gut, which all contribute to helping prevent cancer!
Chickweed is an annual herb that can be found all over the world in temperate as well as arctic regions. An interesting characteristic of the chickweed is that it sleeps, at night the leaves will fold up covering the young buds and shoots. Chickweed is also known for being quite a nutritious herb and is a good choice to include in your salads. The whole plant can be used both dried and fresh in herbal remedies. Let's have a look at the main medicinal uses now that this herb is best know for.
The great fear of the pharmaceutical industry, and the vast cancer treatment system that it controls, is that a non-patentable and inexpensive cure for cancer might put them out of business. Sadly, these organizations exist to turn a profit from cancer treatment, which is measured in the billions of dollars every year. They are in the business of treating cancer not curing it.
Next on our list of herbs is Echinacea also known as Black Sampson it is referred to by the native Americans of the plains as snake root, because it was traditionally used to treat snake bites. Natives have also used the plant to treat tooth aches. The Omaha-Ponca and Cheyenne Indians were probably the most notable groups to use the plant. They would rub the juices of the roots on their bodies to heal burns, or like mentioned above would use it to treat toothaches. Today echinacea is used to boost the immune system and speed up recovery of the common cold. There are three common types of Echinacea; Echinacea purpurea is the most common it can be found from Georgia to Oklahoma, north to Michigan and east to Ohio. Echinacea pallida is most commonly found in open woods and prairies, people in states like Michigan, Arkansas, Texas and here in Nebraska can find this species of Echinacea. Echinacea angustifolia tends to grow on roadsides, prairies, and outcrops; people living in Texas all the way north through the Dakotas and southern Saskatchewan you can also expect to find it growing in Montana and Colorado.
The dandelion is often thought of as a weed due to the fact that it can very easily over run a yard and choke out grass. Dandelions are actually a great herb, they offer plenty of nutritional benefits as well as medicinal, which is why it makes our list of herbs. One great thing about the dandelion herb is that the whole plant can be used from the flower down to the roots. The leaves make a great addition to salads and the flowers (when still yellow) can be eaten raw, cooked or made into a dandelion wine. Even the root of the dandelion can be consumed, usually it is roasted and ate or added to a nice cup of tea. Due to it's good diuretic properties dandelion is also sometimes called piss-a-bed.
Another well know spice in the kitchen cinnamon is also known for it's medicinal properties. While not really an herb I still think it's important to list it in our list of herbs and their uses. Cinnamon actually comes from the inner bark of a tree in the laurel family. It's been used for centuries and was a hot commodity for trade in ancient times. In fact during the first century A.D. in Rome cinnamon was 15 times more expensive than silver. The Chinese were probably the first to use cinnamon as a medicinal herb and used it to treat fevers, and diarrhea. In more modern times cinnamon has been found to stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics, as it has an insulin kind of effect.