One at a time or scattershot?

I am still fairly new on my herbal medicine journey. By fairly new I mean that I really started about a year ago. I'm finding my quest for learning to be a little overwhelming which is one of the reasons that I'm here. Do you guys find that it's easier to learn by the herb (I will admit to being a little obsessed with Plantain and Elderberry), by the "product" (I just made my first Plantain Salve, I'll post about that later) or what exactly? I want to really KNOW my herbs and what to use when, why and how but sometimes I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels. My future daughter in law expressed an interest the other day and made the comment that she was excited to learn from me (what?! ME?!) and that she was excited that my someday in the distant future grandchildren would learn from me and gain knowledge from childhood to adulthood. I really need to step up my game now but I'm not sure the best approach. Would anyone like to share what has worked for you, or equally important, what hasn't worked and why?

Comments

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,361 admin

    I learned by the herb and continue so to do. I grew up In the Appalachian mountains, with old folks who "wildcrafted". So, goldenseal, ginseng, angelica, blood root, etc were valuable sources of income. They also used herbs for ailments. But, first we went out and identified them and learned how and when to harvest responsibly, then to process, then remedies.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,516 admin

    I started my learning journey very early with my mother and grandmother. It was mostly one herb at a time. as we worked with them in the garden or found them out in the wild.

    I do herbal walks in my area and when I take people out for a walk, I encourage them to get to know at least one of the plants really well. I had one gentleman on a walk that knew nothing about plants before the walk and was completely overwhelmed, so I told him to pick just one thing and he chose Arnica. At the end of the walk he told me that even though he had absorbed very little else, he would never forget Arnica; what it looks like, how it grows, or any of its properties.

    Learning about a plant at the same time as you make medicines with it is a complimentary way of learning. Gives you a real feel for the plant as opposed to just reading about it.

    There are schools that teach their modules by the ailment or condition, so you learn about a group of herbs that may have similar properties or uses. This can be valuable if, for example, you are looking for herbs to assist with colds or flus.

    Susun Weed imparted this to a workshop I attended. Even if you only take one thing away from a class (let's say Nourishing Herbal Infusions or perhaps learning about one specific herb), go out and start teaching that right away. Don't wait until you think you are "qualified".

    It is important to get the message out about original medicines and their preparations, even it it is just one at a time.

    I'd say that a herbal learning journey takes many paths and as long as we continue to promote what we are learning then we are keeping up the traditions of being a true herbalist.

  • DeeperEating
    DeeperEating Posts: 63 ✭✭✭

    I'm still fairly new on my journey as well and every recommendation I've had is to add one herb at a time to my knowledge base. But that has meant that I haven't added any new herbal preparations (outside of hot and cold infusions, teas) in the last 18 months. I'm not sure when to branch out to learning more about preparations! I do have a friend teaching a salve class this month that I'm planning to go to, but honestly, I haven't learned really anything about herbs with much in the way of major topical applications as of yet. Guess I'll have to pick one for my next herb to work with. Maybe Calendula?

    Overall I do feel good about working with one herb at a time though. It's given me deep knowledge in a handful of things.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @bejer19 TGN has three herbal academy classes. I can vouch for all three. Be prepared to spend a lot of time with the Herbal Energetics course. I now know just enough to appreciate my non-expert status. Lots of fun things to learn and practice, practice.

  • maimover
    maimover Posts: 359 ✭✭✭

    Calendula is hopefully what I work with sometime this week. I have dried flowers and want to make the herbal infused oil that Kami McBride made on the super garden food summit; want to try with lavender as well. I see two discounts for herbal companies in our resources; arnica is also one I’d like to learn much more about.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @maimover I made an arnica linament as part of the TGN course Making Herbal Medicine. I was super paranoid while doing it as I didn't want to get any of the poisonous substance spilled anywhere in my kitchen. I made sure that the container is properly marked as external use only. I haven't had a need to use it yet.

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    'A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.' And it sounds like you've begun the good journey. In the beginning of my studies, I was told it is better to know 10 uses for 1 herb rather than 1 use of 10 herbs. You might find a plant (like plantain and elderberry) that comes to your attention time and time again are the very ones needed in your life. As @judsoncarroll4 advised-identify,learn,harvest,process,remedy-I would add give thanks. Listen to your heart/intuition, the plants will teach. Focus on one step (plant) at a time and you will be offering your healing wisdom to your lovely grandchildren-to-come.

  • KarynPennington
    KarynPennington Posts: 9 ✭✭✭

    I, too, am newer (with herbs) and I, too, vouch for the herbal classes here, especially in the Energetics -- She suggests doing an overview and learning the basic constituents of an herb (many herbs) and then picking 1 herb at a time to go really in depth and learn all that you can about it. The best way to learn about an herb is to use it -- see it, taste it, feel it, smell it, -- make things.

    I LOVE that your daughter-in-law wants to learn from you -- that's awesome. You can always teach even when you're still learning. In fact, teaching is the best reinforcement for what you've learned.

    You will find a vault of valuable information here on the boards -- ask away and those who are a step or two ahead of you on your journey will gladly share. That's why we're all here -- to learn and to teach. No need for each of us to reinvent the wheel all the time.

  • pseabolt
    pseabolt Posts: 48 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    Thank you, all of you, for the wonderful advice and wisdom. I’ll continue doing what I’ve been doing, which is focusing on one or two things at a time. I picked Plantain because I actually saw it used on a bug bite during a camping trip with friends and thought it was the coolest thing. When I got home I realized that I had it growing in my own yard (insert excited girly squeal here). I attended a talk on herbal medicine and Elderberry was one of the herbs mentioned. I was intrigued and wanted to order some Elderberry trees as soon as I had the money. I was resigned to a wait before I could harvest but in the meantime I figured I would continue to learn. I have a dear friend that grew up living this lifestyle and she has taught me so much. During one visit to her house she took me out to her Elderberry trees in her yard and harvested some berries for me. I was so excited. Fast forward a couple of weeks, I was in the woods down at the far edge of my yard and saw a stand of familiar looking trees. Come to find out, I have my own, berry producing trees already!!! I never realized but actually getting to see the mature trees in person at my friends house showed me exactly what I was looking for. This year I was too late to get any berries from my trees but next year, it’ll be me vs the birds and squirrels! I think there will be enough for all of us though.

  • wbt.affiliates
    wbt.affiliates Posts: 100 ✭✭✭

    My journey into herbs began with a crisis. In order to pay off our home, we needed to let a huge number of things go by the wayside. We only went into town four times a month, for church service and shopping. We cut down on the heat and used the fireplace more. I gardened for fresh food, inside and out.

    But because we couldn't afford the gas to go into town often enough, we stopped seeing the doctor. That was scary for me. But I'm a survivor, and so I did a ton of research.

    To my surprise, I found almost everything I needed from the natural health community. Our health actually IMPROVED by using herbs and wildcrafting.

    Did I do it one herb at a time. No. My health issues needed immediate attention. So did my husband's. I researched natural ways to address them, and then implemented them.

    Besides, herbs work WITH your body. They don't just address symptoms and leave behind a series of side effects. Herbs are WHOLE, meaning all the parts of the herb work together to make the "active ingredient" (a medical term that isolates only what they believes works) successful. Furthermore, herbs feed your body. Manufactured meds do not.

  • pseabolt
    pseabolt Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    @wbt.affiliates You are a real success story!!! I am really impressed and a little intimidated, lol. May I ask, have you found any natural alternatives that will help with hypothyroidism (under active thyroid). I recently switched jobs and am without insurance and am trying to find something to supplement until I can get some insurance, or if successful, completely replace the synthetic thyroid hormone.

  • one.ette
    one.ette Posts: 54 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    @pseabolt Suzy Cohen has a book that is phenomenal about thyroid!

    Here is an article about how she headed her thyroid:

    You're welcome

  • pseabolt
    pseabolt Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    @one.ette Thank you so much!!! Ill look for it *right now*!!!!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,374 admin
    edited October 2019

    @pseabolt My cousin does a type of acupressure/deep tissue massage. She told me that she has helped quite a few people be able to go off of thyroid meds by a simple massage.

    What I remember is that you can check for the issue & check whether it is gone by pressing a pressure point on the outside side soft spot of the big toe...between the main foot and bulbous part, like the stem of the toe (that is so much easier to show in person rather than describe 😞). Use medium to hard pressure for this and the following action. As long as you have the issue, that pressure point will hurt.

    This will be difficult to describe too...to massage for thyroid, you put pressure in the soft area underneath your ear (we are starting on the right side), as if you are trying to clear the pressure of the tube while having in a cold. You then follow the (vagus?) Nerve path down about 1/2 way to your clavicle, and cross over the muscle and down toward another pressure point to the middle-left of the soft area just above the clavicle. That spot will hurt when you do this until you have fixed your thyroid. The soft spot on your toe will do the same.

    This will take care of one side of the thyroid. To do the other side, repeat this massage on your left.

    I don't blindly believe doctors anymore when they say...med for life. I had way too many problems...including extreme morning sickness, a miscarriage & extremely early menopause symptoms (and more) in my early 30s, due to thyroid meds. Most often, there is a perfectly good plant or action a person can take that will improve the situation with less side effects. In the case of thyroid, feeding it instead of using meds to take over the function, is the way to go.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,374 admin

    @one.ette I recognize many of those supplements from a combo I bought long ago called Thyroset, made by Douglas Labs. There are two versions of this supplement online. It works well.

    One issue I had whether on or off meds/supplements is that I never lost weight Whoops...I did lose a bit once while I was off...for about 1 year only, and once when I drastically changed my diet & mowed grass & walked almost non-stop...otherwise, I gained only.

    I was told that I should have lost weight. That is one thing that has always baffled me. How do I get that off safely once & for all?

  • pseabolt
    pseabolt Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    @Laurie OMG! I had such extreme morning sickness (with the only child I’ve been able to have) that I only gained nine pounds during my pregnancy and he weighed 9 pounds 4 ounces at birth!!! My periods stopped at 37. I never knew that there was a correlation between that and thyroid. My mother was the same carrying me and with early menopause and she too was treated for thyroid issues. I’m at work now but you’ve given me much food for thought and research. Be warned, I may have more questions for you later!!! BTW, I haven’t lost all the touted weight either.

  • nksunshine27
    nksunshine27 Posts: 343 ✭✭✭

    I have a hypo thyroid problem also I started taking a natural thyroid supplement with iodine in it and doc Jones nutritive supplement. then found the herbs for hypothyroid also i cut drinking milk out of my diet after watching on of the medical summit presentations last year and being active that help my thyroid A LOT and i feel much better and have lost half of the weight from when i gain when my thyroid went defunct hope this helps

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    I agree with @judsoncarroll4 learning by the herb is a great approach. I really recommend Sajah Popham's Materia Media course which you can access by subscription. He really goes into depth on each herb so that by the end of each session you're familiar with all aspects of the plant and it's uses, energetics, and dosages etc. Get to know each plant individually and you'll soon build up a really sound repetoire! Good luck with your studies, and wishing you well on your herbal journey.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,374 admin

    @pseabolt Let the questions fly! I hate what these "safe" meds do to people. I have quite a story associated with doctors & thyroid meds. It is long and I sure learned a lot in that time.

    We (I took my husband) questioned an endocrinologist that was a friend of a pushy GP. She couldn't get me to do what she wanted (even used cruel scare tactics about my soon to be born baby), so sent me to him. He admitted that if women go off thyroid meds, that they often soon are expecting (hmmm), and that it can cause problems with pregnancies. Well then! That was my confirmation of what I had experience with. My sickness was so bad with pregnancy #2 that I stopped eating & drinking.

    The first pregnancy, I was barely nauseous for 2 wks! I proved through my other pregnancies that the meds were my issue. Imagine that...and the infertility clinic said my thyroid levels were good (while I was taking them just before pregnancy #3)...no health problems could be identified. We were on our own. I started getting just as sick with #3, so told them to put me on something, I was NOT going to lose this one too. By pregnancy #4, I had the extra pushy Dr. & endocrinologist, where I got more proactive. Pregnancy #4 & 5 were great without meds. I even lost a bit of weight while nursing (but not nearly enough). I have much more in my story, but this is a summary.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,374 admin
    edited October 2019

    @nksunshine27 I love my milk, but raw only. I can't digest the other. We have our own milk cows and feed them naturally...we don't use any of that crap that they feed at dairies, and ours live outside.

    So, did you cut out the store version?

    I skipped even raw dairy for a time and found no benefit personally. I just missed my dairy. 😕 I have gained some weight in the past from drinking processed milk & lost some weight in the past by drinking raw...but not much.

    Being honest & realistic...I think some of my issue actually certainly lies in not going to bed soon enough (and snacking!) and not sleeping well when I do (first it was years of non sleeping kids, then a nasal polyps husband...who is a night owl)...and now I also need to get more exercise again (I deal with knee issues from when I was in much better shape @ 19) & drink more water. I also need to make sure my liver is strong...you know, strengthening the basic elimination organs, and go from there. Without that first, the body will just retain the garbage. I also wonder if mercury fillings are messing with my whole body. I was given a lot of mercury fillings as a kid. The dentist must have really needed the money as my teeth really weren't that bad. 😠

    We hardly eat out or processed, eat 1/2 the sugar or less in foods, and have mostly from true scratch meals, no boxes & cans. We are trying to cut down on & hopefully eventually eliminate our plastic usage with food.

    I am looking into the benefits of chia seed, and of spices added to the diet. I also need to figure out just what to do to make sure my liver is working at its optimum.

    I keep looking. It is just hard to be consistent with anything with a crazy busy household.

  • one.ette
    one.ette Posts: 54 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    @Laurie I read a book last October that changed my life and has helped me to get way healthier and lose over 50 lbs. It was called "The Diabetes Code" by Dr. Jason Fung. I started following his recommendations and am far healthier! Then this summer had a dental revision, which included having all the metal, root canals, infections, and mercury removed from my mouth. 3 weeks after my dental revision I literally started feeling better than I have felt in 35 years! I feel like I have my life back. I have more healing to do on my healing journey but I have learned so much and have lots of hope now!

    Good luck on your healing journey! I would love to hear more of your story 💖

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,374 admin

    @one.ette Very interesting. I will have to look into that book. As well as the fillings being removed...I would need a lot more money to get that done, unfortunately.

  • nksunshine27
    nksunshine27 Posts: 343 ✭✭✭

    I once in a while drink milk but i know i'm going to pay for it later with hurting joints, not only did i watch a webinar about how we aren't meant to drink milk {we are the only species to drink another species milk after being weened off our own}, but i went to Peru for two weeks and that country doesn't have refrigeration where we were and they don't have milk they do have cheese. i felt great i missed it for a little bit but after a while i didn't so when i got home i thought i needed a big glass of milk that i missed so much the nest morning my joints hurt so bad i could barley get out of bed to go to work. so now i dont drink it at all. except once in a great while.

    I also growing up had knee problems like tendinitis. so i replaced milk with infused water made my self and lemon water first thing in the morning during the day i would drink at least 1 or 2 glasses of water with 2 tsp. of organic natural apple cider vinegar ( i make it myself)

    maybe depending on what you snack on before bed makes a difference. and yes getting more sleep is good but i know sometimes that seems impossible. also if your on the computer or phone or watching tv before bed it messes with your body in making melatonin and so i did this with my kids and me now electronic anything 1/2 hr to and 1hr before bed. either read a book or write in a journal ( which is a good way to keep track of what your doing all day and what needs to change. no tvs or phones in the rooms either.

    yes removing mercury fillings will help i realize not everyone has insurance, but if you at least save enough to do one at a time it will help. I had all of mine finally removed and the difference was pretty good.

    Golden paste its made with turmeric is a good anti-inflammatory, also try making overnight oats with chia seed in it.

    I understand its hard to be consistent and all the info i'm giving you i don't mean to sound like i know it all or any thing like that i don't know your full life style just like you don't know mine but i'm just trying to give you ideas to help so you can live your life to the fullest 😉 so sometimes small changes one thing at a time. it takes 20 days to make a habit, its not easy but you put yur mind to it you an do it, I would really try on of doc Jones herbal supplements called Nutritive i started on that in a powder formula and would add it to my juice in the morning. you can also get it in a tincture, you can also look on his list of herbal formulas for what helps the liver. but sometimes just starting on the nutritive will help and you may find its not your liver at all. don't know you didn't say why your so concerned that it your liver, any way just attempting to be helpful I hope your healing journey is a success

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,374 admin

    @nksunshine27 Thank you for the thoughful suggestions and insight. Any input is helpful. I am always open to learning from others. Thanks for your support. It is good.

    And here I am up super late and looking at a screen. I just covered a few of my poor wet cold special chickens that had open roofing (it's almost freezing here with a fine, almost misty rain) & now I am hoping that they make it through the night. They should have been covered when the sun set earlier. They looked so cold...I was so cold when I popped out there.

    I am tired at least. I hope that I'll sleep soon and not be awake worrying.

    I am not overly concerned about my liver. I just know it is an important place to start when cleaning out the body. I am pretty large too, so not everything will be working optimally. K. P. Khalsa had said that many people want to correct health problems, but they forget about the elimination organs and so can't effectively get rid of things effectively, so their poor health continues. I am probably okay in that department, but I wonder if I could do better. This is where my thoughts stem from.

  • nksunshine27
    nksunshine27 Posts: 343 ✭✭✭

    @Laurie, If you have access to free pallets you can make a roof or even a tarp and a hog panel, I hope they'll be fine chickens are resilient animals I've raise them for 14 years and some of the things that have happened to them and them survive youd be surprised.

    if you want to do a cleanse then start with your colon first then work your way up.

    I think we always wonder if we can do better.😉

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @pseabolt My using and benefiting form herbs has been a life long journey. My father used various herbs to help heal my dog's broken leg. He used three different herbs.

    Growing up I/we drank a lot of herbal tea to aid in our bodies being healed. I continue that today and decided a couple of years ago to grow and/or forage the herbs that I use for my teas.

    When I started growing food as an adult in 2002 I grew various herbs: Basil (various varieties), Garden Sage, Greek Oregano, Bouquet Dill, Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, Slow Bolt Cilantro, English Thyme, and more. I learned then that I could also use fresh Basil in an herbal tea. I also cooked with the herbs and used them in salads along with the greens and lettuce that I grew.

    I have taken the knowledge gained from my father (and others) that I have gleaned throughout the years and have discovered some of the herbs growing on two family farms and a farm where I work at part-time. I have worked to learn more about the plants growing and their different uses: culinary, medicinal, and edible. I have over 15 herbs that I collected and dried this year that I will use on an as needed basis (some I have already been using) along with some that I get from a local health foods store.

    I am still learning and plan to continue learning until I die. I also have made infused water with herbs, infused oils with herbs, cooked with herbs, added to baked goods, made poultices, and tinctures.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,374 admin

    We have some of those types of shelters awaiting their completion. We have garage door panels, a frame, heavy tarp & wire to close it in.

    I got everyone covered in time, I guess. They were dry in the morning & we're given dry straw.

    I have some chicken survivor stories too. They can be quite resilient.