Best Quality Herbs & Essential Oils
Friends, this the article about Best Quality Herbs & Essential Oils, we are using in our home. Why Try Herbalism? Herbs, Natural Healing, and Nutrition(Part 1)
The Plants Themselves: Best-Quality Herbs
The huge increase in demand and a belated desire for quality has led to an upsurge in organically grown herbs. Dr John Christopher was a pioneer on the subject of organics. He insisted upon organic and wild-crafted herbs for medicinal purposes.
The question of good-quality herbs was always a vital one to herbalist
juniper (various species)
Parts used: leaf and berry
pine (various species)
Parts used: needle and resin
Ginkgo (ginkgo Biloba)
Part used: leaf
The Compact Pharmacy
For this reason, he liked herbalists to prepare and even pick their own herbs, to make their own tinctures, ointments, and other preparations to a high standard. To this day, herbal preparations vary in their quality, and, sadly, I have met people who have not had beneficial experiences from some preparations.
Twenty years ago it was hard to find organically grown herbs,
so my personal choice was to grow my own as much as possible, to seek out organic herb growers in Britain, and to import from American wildcatters when I needed to. Nowadays, needs and trends have changed dramatically, and access to good-quality herbs has become relatively easy.
Nevertheless, my own experiences do not necessarily reflect the norm, so the whole issue deserves a closer look.
There is a recognized need for greater control on herb quality. As a result, rules and regulations have been put into place in Britain by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) which is addressing the quality, origins, storage, and preparation of herbs grown in or imported into Britain. The problem of quality has become more pressing in recent years as herbalism’s popularity increased the need for herbs.
Toxic metals have been found among some imported herbs.
Radioactive waste has also been found, as some herbs are still collected in and around disaster areas, often by poor people who are eager to make a living and for whom herb collecting is still a way of life. Since the 1940s, there has been a thirty-three-fold increase in the plants themselves use of pesticides, including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other agents, with a tenfold increase in potency.
Pesticide use on herbs is disastrous.
Sulfured herbs are now available; prosecuted for not disclosing this information.
Plants as Investments and Moneymakers; Plants are becoming an increasingly profitable investment.
At the same time, pharmaceutical companies were not doing so well financially, and a lot of companies have swallowed up rivals in a bid to survive. In 1990, the pharmaceutical market profit was 15 per cent; by 1994 it had fallen to 9 per cent. In the West, this drop in revenue has halted research programs, as the money to fund them simply hasn’t been available.
One idea they have developed is to focus on the older generation and the problems of ageing.
With the World Health Organization predicting that the incidence of cancer will double or triple as the number of older people increases, this age group would seem a likely target. Another trend, already apparent in some areas of alternative medicine, is the move to bypass the doctor and sell more products directly to the public, either over the counter or through mail order. Pharmaceutical companies have begun “copying” herbs, and this trend should grow in the years to come.
Several pharmaceutical companies are investigating methods for standardizing plant-based medicines.
. Without proper identification, researchers could not prove the safety and efficacy of other plant agents, because there were batch-to-batch inconsistencies. Previously, pharmaceutical companies would not submit applications for herbal medicines because companies could not receive patents for them. However, recently a pharmaceutical company has developed the first pharmaceutical versions of multi-molecular herbal medicines by standardizing the active molecules and their interactions.
For years, pharmaceutical companies threw away the best bits of the plant while looking for that magic bullet.
Diabetes, rheumatism, arthritis, ulcers, cataracts, Crohn’s disease, senility, arteriosclerosis, and old age; flavonoids do this by preventing our cells from “rusting” or ageing. In hindsight, this lesson was indeed a bitter and costly one.
This is how herbalists have always worked!
Our ancestors grazed plants in the days of hunting and gathering, ingesting a broad range of plant species, which kept them well. Now science is beginning to look down this avenue in the hope that its next billion lies at the end of it. It may well do, but I feel we can graze for ourselves. When some drugs come to the end of their patents and therefore their value as revenues expire (which will be soon, in some cases), the pharmaceutical industry will, no doubt, make an even greater investment in “natural” Green pills.
Plant Collecting and Drying
Plant chemistry varies according to the time of day and season. It is possible to identify some basic guiding principles:
Spring leaves are best because they have new sap in them.
Bark: Spring is the best time to collect bark, just as the sap rises.
Flowers: These are at their peak just after they have opened.
Seeds: Their peak in late summer and early autumn.
Berries: Usually autumn is the best time to collect berries. Look for good, deep color and tight, glowing skin.
Once harvested, how herbs are dried and stored is of paramount importance. When a herb is picked, it immediately starts to-decay; bacteria and fungi increase, and the plant’s potency ebbs with its colour, smell, and texture. It is vital to arrest this process as quickly as possible. Still, others are more affected by the climate; for example, if it is constantly damp and rainy, fungal spores can destroy the plant. General rules for drying are to keep the plant out of direct sunlight and in constant aerated heat.
Best Quality Herbs & Essential Oils “The Compact Pharmacy”
A herb is sometimes used on its own or sometimes as part of a formula that contains several herbs. The latter, termed poly-pharmacy, employs a teamwork effect that is appropriate when the power of a single herb needs to be supplemented. Very often the formula consists of one main herb with others acting as support.
Basic Preparations of Herbs
Also, a choice has to be made regarding what means the specific beneficial chemistries are to be extracted.
1. Herbal Teas- infusions
Teas and infusions can be made using a specialized teapot, or if you wish to make tea in a mug or cup, then a tea sock is ideal. A tea sock is a simple
Use 1⁄2 to 1 ounce of dried herbs or 1 to 2 ounces of fresh herbs to 3 cups of distilled water. Infuse the herbs in a mug or teapot for five to twenty-five minutes, then strain out the herbs and discard.
Chamomile is the only exception — use 1 ⁄2 ounce of this herb to 3 cups of water and infuse for only five minutes.
Dosage Guide for a Seven-Minute Infusion
Adults: 3 cups a day
Children aged 3 to 12: 11⁄2 cups a day
Children under 3: 3⁄4 cup a day
Adults over 70: 11⁄2 cups a day
Adults over 75: 3⁄4 cup a day
Basic Preparations of Herbs: Decoctions
With these harder parts of plants, an infusion may not extract all the medicinal properties that are locked into them. Therefore, you need to heat them for a longer period of time. (1 cup may evaporate during boiling). If you have the time, it is best to let the herbs soak and re hydrate in the water for up to twelve hours, and then slowly bring the mixture up to a boil. Let it simmer for between ten to thirty minutes.
Divide the resultant liquid (approximately)
The central lid to the infuser compartment allows entry of herbs See-through glass, so that color changes can be watched Central infuser The teapot infuser cups worth) into three glasses and drink at intervals throughout the day. tinctures, These are mixtures in which the medicinal components of herbs have been extracted, ideally into organic grain alcohol or vinegar. To make the standard quantity of alcohol or vinegar tincture at home, use 8 ounces of dried roots, berries, leaves, or flowers, or 16 ounces of fresh material, with enough vodka to cover — a minimum of fluid ounces (1 quart).
1. Place the chosen material in a blender or food processor and cover with vodka;
standard 45-proof is effective, but 70- to 80-proof is even better.
Blend the ingredients. If using berries, the mixture will be particularly stiff and hard, making it difficult for the blades to turn and requiring more vodka to get them to break down.
2. Shake well, label the jar carefully, then store it in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
3. After two days, measure the contents and add water.
For dried berries, leaves, and flowers, add 20 per cent of the volume if using 45-proof vodka, and 50 to 60 per cent of the volume if using 70- to 80-proof vodka. Leave for two to four weeks, shaking at least twice a day.
4. Strain the mixture through a jelly bag, preferably overnight, until you have strained the last drop.
For the best result, use a wine press.
5. Pour the resultant liquid into dark jars, label, and store in a cool, dark place.
For personal use, decant into a 2-ounce tincture bottle.
Some herbalists like to plan the making of tinctures around the moon phases, using the gravitational waxing and waning of the moon to add power and energy as the old herb alchemists did. To do this, start the process when the moon is new, then strain and bottle at the full moon.
To keep tinctures over a long period of time, seal the stopper with wax and store it in a dark place. If you wish to avoid the alcohol when administering a tincture internally, you may evaporate 98 to 99 percent of the alcohol from the solution by putting it into a little boiling water.
Otherwise, simply add your tincture to a little cold or warm water or fruit juice.
Dosage for every day and Long-Term Use
Children aged 7 to 12: half of adult dose
Aged 3 to 7: one-quarter of the adult dose
Children under 3: 2 to 5 drops twice a day
Dosage varies from individual to individual and depending on whether or not a single herb or formula is being used.
Basic Preparations of Herbs: Herbal Syrups
I prefer to use maple syrup and have done so successfully in my clinic for several years. Most children can be induced to take any herbal tincture by adding 25 to 50 percent maple syrup. If you simmer a three-power decoction down to half this amount again, you will have a six-power decoction. By adding maple syrup to this, you get a three- or six-power syrup.
Onion and garlic syrup:
Chop organic garlic and onions, or put them into the food processor or blender. If you use fresh organic garlic and onions, you can use the whole
plant. Some rain forest honey is good for this, or maple syrup. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice. Alternatively, you can puree the onions, garlic, and syrup together, which is quicker but requires more syrup.
Elder-flower and elderberry compote syrup:
Begin with elder flowers, which appear in June; their white, flat petticoats should be picked just as they burst out of their buds. Pull the white flowers off the green stalks and put them into a wide-necked jar. You can add more every day or so, but each time cover the flowers with vegetable glycerin or maple syrup. As time goes by, the flowers will compact and the upper part of the jar will contain only syrup. Add more flowers and fill the gap, but never let the flowers rise above the syrup; this often proves difficult! The resulting syrup is thick and full-bodied. Shake daily. You can likewise place it in any dwindling autumn sunshine, and strain and add more berries if you wish.
The Plants Themselves; Herbal Capsules
There are two types of empty gelatin capsules — those of vegetable origin (preferred by vegans) and those of animal origin. Then push the two ends together; one will overlap the other.
Capsules can also be useful for those who are unable to take hot cayenne pepper on a teaspoon.
Adults: 2 capsules two to four times a day
Children aged 7 to 12: 1 capsule two to four times a day
Aged 3 to 7: 1 capsule twice a day
Children under 3: capsules often not advised ointments
To make an ointment, pour olive oil over the chosen powdered herbs.
A good standard is 1 cup olive oil for 12 ounces of dried herbs. Place in a closed container (stainless steel, earthenware, unchipped enamel, or glass) Periodically, take a fork and stir the mixture.
Leave for a further week to macerate (if using the oven method, heat up again before continuing).
Strain by passing the mixture through a piece of muslin lining a large plastic or stainless steel colander; alternatively use a jelly bag and hang overnight. Do not forget to label your ointments.
Apply two to three times daily, or more frequently if necessary.
Compresses can be made with any liquid at any temperature, but hot herbal tea or decoction is commonly used. Other possible ways to make a compress are by using various vegetable oils,
Apple Cider vinegar, and Essential Oils.
To make a herbal tea compress, first, prepare an infusion or decoction in the usual way.
Wring out excess liquid, and apply the cloth to the affected area. Placing a heavy towel, plastic wrap, or hot water bottle over the compress will help it retain its heat longer. Replace when the heat has ceased.
A good way to increase circulation in any area of the body is to alternate the hot compress with a cold one.
A poultice differs from a compress in that, instead of the infusion or decoction being applied to the body, the herb or herb oil itself is applied.
This can be done very simply by just “bruising” a herb leaf (crushing it slightly) and applying it to the skin; plantain leaves, mullein flowers, and
comfrey leaf poultices are good examples and are ideal for sprains.
Another common method is to mix dried, cut, or powdered herbs together and add water, apple cider vinegar, or another appropriate liquid
such as olive oil to form a paste, which is then applied to the skin. There is another rule for treating a wound: Once the poultice has dried, it may seem that some of it has disappeared or been absorbed into the body.
Don’t clean the remaining poultice off — add a new poultice over the old one and keep “feeding” the area.
They can also be used to heat an area (for example, a mustard plaster) and for glandular infections or congestion. A poultice can also be applied between two layers of gauze or light cotton if you don’t want the actual herb to touch the skin for some reason. As a poultice dries, it becomes taut and draws out impurities. You can add drawing herbs or even refined clay, which increases this “pulling” power.
This type of poultice is ideal for tumors and cancers;
Herbs like pokeweed root may be used to assist in the treatment of breast cancer, while the addition of powdered charcoal will help purify the blood.
Vegetable poultices have also been used widely over the years, made from potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, garlic, cucumbers, aloe vera, and a wide variety of greens. Cayenne, ginger, mustard, and horseradish have all been popular for heating and stimulating poultices.
Healing and soothing poultices made from comfrey leaf, slippery elm bark, marshmallow root, aloe leaf or gel, calendula flower, lobelia leaves and seed,
and mullein flower have been used extensively. Seed and grain poultices have also been used over the years with very soothing effects, along with fruit poultices using bananas, figs, apples, papayas, and melons. Plantain leaf is a prime drawing herb used in poultices and is also a blood cleanser. Every kitchen contains an onion, and this can be heated in the oven and placed over the affected area for pain relief.
Castor oil packs are useful for easing pain and inflammation. They can also relieve congestion and draw out toxins. Construct a muslin or flannel pack to the appropriate size and soak it in warmed castor oil.
The temperature on the body should be as hot as is bearable because the heat will force the castor oil into the area.
After placing on the body, hold in place and cover with plastic wrap and a hot water bottle. The duration that the pack is left on will vary. Some packs are changed for new ones every hour or so to keep them hot. Some may be left on overnight, or just for thirty minutes. Another option is to apply a pack for thirty minutes every four hours.
Garlic Paste for feet
This treatment is an excellent aid for any respiratory disorders. Peel eight cloves of garlic and puree with equal parts of olive oil, water, and slippery elm bark. Apply a generous amount of petroleum jelly to the soles of the feet (to prevent burning of the skin) followed by a layer of garlic paste. Cover with fine muslin bandages and an old pair of baggy socks; you can even tie plastic bags over these. This paste should be checked every two hours to ensure that the garlic is not burning the soles of the feet.
Suppositories and Pessaries
Suppositories and pessaries are herbal poultices that are used internally.
The base is generally made with a mucilaginous herb like slippery elm inner bark powder and a lubricant such as coconut oil or cocoa butter. Other powdered herbs that treat the particular problem are added to the base.
These are inserted into body openings (vagina, rectum, nasal cavities, ears, or mouth) to disperse their herbal constituents to internal areas.
Suppositories and pessaries are made in the same way and are commonly used for rectal cleansing, vaginal infections, irritation, inflammation, and general problems in the reproductive area. When making a suppository, you will need finely powdered and sieved herbs to make the result as smooth as possible. The size of the suppository will depend on the area that it will be inserted into. Take a jar of coconut oil and place it in a bowl of hot water. In a short time, the oil will melt.
Mix the melted coconut oil with the finely powdered herbs until the mixture forms a pastry-like consistency.
Form the herb mixture into the size and shape of the suppository you desire. Place the individual suppositories on a piece of waxed paper, or a stainless steel or glass plate, and refrigerate them. Refrigeration will make the plants themselves hard. When you want to use one, take it out of the refrigerator, hold it between your fingers for just a few seconds (the coconut oil will begin to melt), and then insert. Use some olive oil to lubricate the area of insertion first. When the suppository is inside the body, the body temperature, which is always variable, will cause the coconut oil to melt and the herbs will be dispersed.
Use equal parts of the following in powder form: squaw vine leaf, slippery elm inner bark, yellow dock root, comfrey root,
chickweed leaf and stem, barberry root bark, mullein leaf, and flower, plus half a drop each of geranium essential oil and lavender essential oil in a
cocoa butter base.
Use nine parts slippery elm bark, three parts barberry root, three parts paud’arco inner bark, two parts black walnut hull, one part chamomile flower, one part lavender flower, and tea tree the essential oil in a coconut oil base.
Start with a treatment of seven pessaries, using one every night, or once every third or fourth night. Insert into the vagina.
If you wish, use a sanitary napkin to protect night clothing, bed linens, and so on; but the more air allowed to circulate the affected area, the better. On dressing in the morning, use a natural sponge to prevent leakage; you may even need the extra protection of a sanitary napkin.
Ideal for hemorrhoids. Use equal parts of the black walnut hull, horse chestnut fruit, eucalyptus leaf, slippery elm bark, and yarrow leaves, plus a few drops of witch hazel essential oil in a base of cocoa butter.
An example of douche herbs would be a premade decoction of an equal amount of chamomile flower, pau d’arco inner bark, barberry root bark, and lavender flowers and leaves. This formula is capable of promoting resistance to a range of fungi and bacteria.
Essential Oils —The Compact Pharmacy
There are, at present, more than three hundred different types of essential oils available, which form an extremely efficient medical system. Many essential oils form the basis of modern pharmaceutical preparations.
Applied directly and undiluted to the skin, they will burn, except in the case of lavender.
Some people can indeed tolerate it, but a patch test is advisable.
If an essential oil has been applied directly in undiluted form and is burning, treat it with aloe vera gel, olive oil, wheat germ oil, or any thick vegetable oil you have at hand. Do not use water, as it will amplify the burning effect.
Methods of Use and Dosage for Essential Oils
Tissue and handkerchief: Put one drop on and sniff when required.
Inhaled as a vapor: Add two to three drops to a bowl of steaming-hot water and cover the head and bowl with a towel; keep your face a foot above
the surface of the water and inhale the vapor.
Massage oil: Use approximately 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon essential oil to 1 cup base oil.
Baths: Add a maximum of eight drops.
Vegetable-based oils: Nut or seed oils are best. If in doubt, use cold-pressed virgin olive oil.
Place your chosen and preferably fresh herb in a blender with a little olive oil or fractional coconut oil both are non-rancid, safe, stable base oils in which the herbs can be macerated. The cutting of the herbs will release the essential oils into the base oil. Place this maceration in the sunshine and allow it to steep for two weeks. Shake regularly. If you wish, you can strengthen it by straining the liquid, discarding the residual herbs, and beginning the process again with a new batch of herbs.
The Plants Themselves
For a warming body oil and rub, use a tablespoon of each of the following herbs: English mustard seed, hot chile powder, fresh ground ginger, and black pepper. Cover the ingredients with olive oil. Steep for a month and add essential oils of peppermint and camphor for extra heat.
Testing for oil quality is expensive but vital, ensuring that they are safe and reliable.
Making your own as described above is easy and ensures high quality with no adulteration.
These provide a lovely way of “fumigating” an area. The fragrance will change the atmosphere and help clean it. Native Americans traditionally used wormwood or white sage. You can make your own version using a combination of English sage, thyme, eucalyptus, rosemary, and wormwood.
Hold the herbs together in a tight bundle, then bind the bundle even more tightly using thick, pure cotton thread. Dry the bundles thoroughly and quickly, otherwise, they will become moldy and unusable. To use, light and allow the flame to take hold, then blow out, and use when shouldering.
Powders and Talc
These can be very useful treatments for chickenpox, shingles, summer heat rashes, athlete’s foot, or any itching disease, especially where there
are pustules that are weeping. You can even use it on weeping eczema.
Use two teaspoons of arrowroot, cornstarch, or fine corn flours.
Mix with one teaspoon of a combination of the finely powdered black walnut hull, thyme leaf, barberry root bark, and dried lavender leaf and flower, or any
of these herbs singly.
Vaginal dusting powder:
This is suitable for moist discharges and infections. Use a combination of 1⁄4-ounce fine white clay or bentonite clay, 1⁄2-ounce arrowroot powder, 1⁄2-ounce black walnut hull powder, 1⁄2 ounce barberry root bark powder, or turmeric rhizome powder, 1⁄2-ounce neem powder (if available), and 1⁄4-ounce lavender leaf and flower powder. Either apply to the area like a powder or mix the powder with aloe vera gel and insert it into the vagina. Aloe will cool the area in hot weather; however, the powder will dry up and absorb the discharge.