What is herbalism?
Simply put, herbalism is the use of plants as medicine. Western medicine sees herbalism as "alternative," but let's not forget that both methods have a place in this world. My philosophy around herbs is to try them first for your ailments, and if it doesn't work, then go the western route. Historically, herbs have been used in both eastern and western cultures for a long time, and have been proven to cure a plethora of health issues, pains and illnesses.
How do you use herbs?
There are many ways to take herbal medicine, some of more effective than others, and it also comes down to a personal preference. Depending on the situation they can be taken in the form of a tea, tincture, capsule, linament, decoction, suppository, and so on. Your local herbalist or apothecary will always be able to tell you this.
I have had so much success with herbs, that I am a true believer. I've cured myself of a mulititude of ailments, ranging from dermititis, yeast infections, UTI's, the common cold, and emotional stability. I am always happy to share my experiences with you anytime. I will always go the herbal route first before calling my doctor, and in all honesty, I consider the herbalists at my apothecary my doctors.
Local Denver/Boulder Apothecaries
Apothecary Tinctura | 6th + Fillmore, Denver
Artemesia and Rue | South Broadway, Denver
Herbalism Roots | 13th + Galapego, Denver
Rebecca's | Boulder
Six Persimmons | Boulder
Plants to Love
Rosehips are really special because they come at such a specific time in the year, and their healing benefits are lovely. I was up in Steamboat Springs this past weekend, as my boyfriend and I have made it a ritual to go up around September and October, and their were rosehips everywhere. Literally every turn you took their they were. Waiting to be harvested and used as medicine.
The rose hip is the fruit of the rose. Once the rose flowers and all the petals fall off, the hip is left and that is what we harvest. Rose hips are used mainly because of their high source of Vitamin C (they have 50% more C than oranges!). Because of their Vitamin C levels, they are greating for boosting your immunity.
So what are all of their benefits?
Astringent: great for skincare. It has the ability to renew skin cells without dehydrating.
High in Vitamin A: great for healing wounds and burns, but also improving skin health, keeping it elastic.
Diuretic and mild laxative, helps with constipation.
High in antioxidants (carotenoids, flavanoids, polyphenols, leucoanthocyaonins, catechins), which help in situations of cancer preventions and cardiovascular disease.
Preparation: rose hip oil, tea, cold infusion, balm/salve, jelly.
Last week while I was in herbalism clinic, I had the pleasure of learning about reishi mushroom from one of my teachers, Cat. She is a master herbalist and you can find this fabulous human at Rebecca's Apothecary in Boulder on Spruce St. Unfortunately I was only able to stay for a couple of short hours; I wish I could have stayed longer, but she opened me up to a whole new way of looking at this lovely fungi.
Medicinal Use: helps promote mental clarity and peacefulness; immune tonic; improves cellular immunity; immunoregulator; stimulates phagocytosis and increases resistance to bacterial, parasitic, and viral infection. The adaptogenic quality of this fungi can also help the body acclimate to stress.
You can take reishi in a few different ways. Tea, tincture, capsule, or powder. My friend Taryn just told me that she likes to blend warm homeade almond milk with some vanilla, dates, and reishi powder, and it resembles hot cocoa. Yummy. In her book, A Home Reference to Holistic Health & Healing, Brigitte Mars likes to make an herbal tea and add a dosage of reishi tincture to help ease anxiety.
In our world, it is becoming vital to our health to be open minded about different avenues of healing. Reishi is a power fungi that offers so many different forms of healing, and if we overlook it we could seriously be missing out. Just looking at the long list of healing properities reishi mushroom does for us, it can be overwhelming. Why not use what mother nature is giving us to work through our ailments. To think that these plants are just here for the earth and not for humans is narrow-minded. Let's thank them and allow them to be a part of our lives.
Plant Family |
All plants and herbs have there own unique makeup with different roles that serve our health. Like I've said before, I am a believer in the healing properties of plants. Motherwort is one of my favorite plants. First of all, it grows very well in Colorado, and not all plants grow well here; definitely a bonus. But what does this beautiful plant really do for our health and how can we use it?
Traditional uses of motherwort are:
Menstrual cramping (associated with delayed menstruation or stress)
*Women often use motherwort after childbirth to prevent uterine infection. Although used post pregnancy, it is not appropriate to use during pregnancy.
You can use motherwort in a variety of different ways. Most common is a tea or tincture. My plant is doing so well outside and once it blooms and grows a bit more I will be making a tincture. Tinctures are liquid extracts made from plants usually created in alcohol or glycerite that are taken orally. In a tea, motherwort is often paired with hawthorn.
Not all cities have the luxury of having a local apothecary, and if you don't have one you can go to, I highly recommend ordering your herbs and medicine from Mountain Rose Herbs. It's a lovely company!