Herbs in our life - They are our food and medicine. They keep us nourished and healthy!

jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin
edited November 2020 in Growing Medicinals

Our life is slowly returning to normal. I have even been able to do a few local herb tours. I was so happy to see my herbal friends coming with their children.

It is said that those who teach learn the most. That's true. During the lockdown I developed new ideas, new thoughts ... and recently I have thought a lot about herbs; wild herbs, medicinal herbs and their meaning in my life, in our life and in general in this modern life.

Herbs play a very important role in my life, and in my husband's life. We use herbs to stay healthy. We always start our day with a cup of herbal tea and we also drink a cup of tea before going to bed. Which ones? Well, the tea blends depend on the season, the weather and how we feel. A period of cold weather - "tea for cold weather", stress - calming tea, over-eating - "stomach tea" or, we simply drink "relaxing tea" with various pleasant smelling herbs. My husband has replaced his coffee drinking rituals with herbal tea drinking rituals and drinks 2-3 extra cups per day. I prepare all of our herbal blends myself and we drink the same tea for about two weeks, and then it's time for a new blend.

Many herbs are also on our dining table as a daily addition to meals: nettle seeds, ground horsetail, turmeric, ginger, garlic ..., dried berries, fruits, vegetables ... And in summer many fresh berries, fruits, vegetables directly from our own garden or from the forest nearby. Our spices are also made from herbs grown or collected by us.

Herbs, and by "herbs" I mean everything growing: fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, cereals ... are full of vitamins and minerals. If one constantly consumes different herbs, then one doesn’t need any artificially produced or extracted food supplements. Herbs have an overall effect on us and do not only affect individual organs, they affect whole systems: the immune system, the nervous system, the hormone system, the metabolism. A human being is part of nature, the same as a herb. Nutrition and medicines prepared from nature suit people best.

The best herbs come, of course, from one’s own garden. One knows exactly what grows there. However, one can have only a limited number of plants. But! There are so many wild herbs – theseare real treasure troves, full of vitamins and minerals that can keep us fit and healthy. In summer I enjoy fresh herbs, but if I want to enjoy herbs all year round, I need to stock up. I collect and dry them, and while collecting herbs I am spending a lot of time in nature, which is wonderful! It makes me healthier and, when I am healthy, I don't need any artificially produced medication or food supplements.

I would be interested to hear how you integrate herbs in your everyday life. To keep you healthy 😊


  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    @jolanta.wittib that is so true. My mantra is to stay as healthy as possible, naturally. I try to be as self sufficient as I can. I've incorporated herbs into my vegetable garden and around my fruit treees. Everyday I graze on different plants whilst I work away, happily building my piece of paradise. I'm learning more about foraging and identifying plants which I thought to be weeds and therefore useless. Where I use to live, St Johns Wort was considered a scourge. Many farmers sprayed to eradicate. I am now asking a friend of mine to collect flower heads for me, as it doesn't grow where I now live. I thought it was good for depression, turns out it's good for so much more. Now I'm into making tinctures, salves etc I'm looking forward to using it. Plantain had a similar fate, now it's my go to when I want to taste blue cheese! Spending time outside nurturing my land always makes me smile and feel content. Always learning new things and this forum has taught me plenty.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    @jolanta.wittib I have been a herbalist for many years and the times I am in the bush, harvesting in the wild, are some of my best times. I live in a rural area (what most would consider wilderness) and it has become a bit of a ritual with us that whenever we have to go to the big city (Vancouver), we go further out into the bush and spend a whole day out there. Sometimes harvesting, sometimes cutting firewood, sometimes just sitting on the beach of a remote lake. Helps get us through the trauma of the city trip. And on our return we make a trip out to the bush again to recover.

    I agree with you that wild harvested is best. I try to do that but not always possible so I have a good supplier of organic dried herbs as well as products (blends, tinctures, salves, etc.). Almost all medicines that I need grow in my area but there are a few exotics that I buy just because I haven't found anything local to replace it with. Myrrh is one. I like to keep a tincture on hand for mouth/tooth infections. I also buy medicinal mushroom products as it is a lot of work to get a good extraction and some just don't grow here. With the exception of chaga. It is found in several locations near by and it is easy enough to make medicine from.

    Herbs are always in my life. Incorporated into food or tinctures, salves, balms, oils, bitters, vinegars, jellies, butters, teas and other beverages, syrups, Fire Cider, honeys, candies, shrubs, liqueurs, tooth powder, etc., etc., etc. We are both in our sixties and are not on any pharmaceuticals nor do we see a doctor. Even though no doc, we still see professionals for assistance when required. In addition to my herbal knowledge (and a big circle of herbalist friends), we have a naturopath and a homeopath and our daughter is an RMT. We are also First Responders so we can take care of small emergencies ourselves. I put this down to herbs, a natural lifestyle and being conscious of what our health needs are and addressing them right away.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. There are so many parallels in your attitude towards herbs. My husband and me, we spent two thirds of our lives in cities. Now we are happy to live in a rural area, so the wilderness is “round the corner” and we DO enjoy the quietness, the sounds of nature and the company of the birds, bees and co 😊. We are in our sixties, seventies. May be one needs to reach a mature age to enjoy this kind of life.

    I like being in this network because it enables “meeting” people with similar aspirations, thoughts, ways of life, even when they live on the other side of the globe. I am from Austria, Tirol, the Alps.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    Thank you for your thoughts. You mentioned St Johns Wort. I love this herb. This was the first plant as a herb which I remember from my childhood as my grandmother used to collect them and dry in the attic. I make the “red oil” of it and use it for all kinds of skin problems. And I add it to my “Winter” tees. But Do not use it in summer, as it increases the sensitivity to sunlight. It is my “winter herb”.

    i like you idea of incorporating wild plants in your garden. I do the same. Some wild plants and herbs even protect cultural plants from insects or illnesses. Recently I ran a workshop “ Wild plants for a healthy garden”.

    This forum is a real enrichment. Sharing and learning! Exchanging ideas! I am really glad to be in.

    COWLOVINGIRL Posts: 954 ✭✭✭✭

    You are right about this being a great forum! Amen to that!

  • KimWilson
    KimWilson Posts: 197 ✭✭✭

    Each year we learn more about herbs and plant more of them as well. This year we have been successful in getting plantain and purslane go germinate.

  • annebeloncik
    annebeloncik Posts: 62 ✭✭✭

    I've been using essential oils for a few years, and I am interested in adding more herbs and medicinal plants to my garden. I have grown sweet basil, rosemary, thyme and mint pretty successfully, and cook with them a lot; this year I have added purple and cinnamon basil, echinachea, nasturtium, lemon balm, flat leaf parsley and chamomile! Looking forward to using them!

  • mgray11
    mgray11 Posts: 83 ✭✭✭

    I'm nowhere near using herbs as much as a lot of you, but I am working on it.

    I'm 32, yet have 2 major conditions that are usually only found in folks 40+ years older than myself. Because I'm a single mother and usually pretty busy, I haven't gotten to do a whole lot of research on growing & eating to heal/be healthy. I drink peppermint or ginger teas for an upset stomach and was blending turmeric into my smoothies and a few other recipes for awhile to help with inflammation. I have always liked garlic and use it even more so now that I know it's good for your cardiovascular system and can help with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

    Now that I unexpectedly have a bunch more free time than I used to, I'd definitely appreciate anyone's input as to how you've compiled your knowledge of herbs. Were there any books or people that were especially insightful?

    I unfortunately can only grow indoors, so it'll be a jungle in here 💚🌿🌵🌳🌲soon enough!

    @jolanta.wittib thank you for an amazing and inspirational discussion 👍✌

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    @mgray11 You could start with TGN's courses in the Academy. Doc Jones is a great herbalist and is easy to watch and learn from. Herbal Medicine 101, Making Herbal Medicines, Herbal Energetics and Wildcrafting & Foraging. Gives a really good start to learning about herbs. If you watch the blogs, there is often very good information in there. One of the latest was 15 Natural Antibiotic Alternatives .

    As to other teachers or books: If you get a chance to study with or find books by First Nations healers, they are always gems to have in your library. Any books by Dr. Nancy J. Turner are very valuable, especially if you are in the Pacific Northwest. Robert Dale Rogers has many books with one of his best being The Fungal Pharmacy. Susun Weed has several books as does Rosemary Gladstar. Learning Herbs website has lots of free information and offers courses, quite often with Rosalee de la Foret. Rosalee has two books out, both of which are excellent to have in your library and her website, Herbal Remedies Advice, also has free information. KP Khalsa is a well known and respected herbal teacher both for Western Herbalism as well as Ayurveda. Christopher Hobbs is another great herbalist. I did an online class with 7Song awhile ago and really liked his teaching style. You can sign up for a newsletter from most websites and they always have good bits of info.

    That should get you started.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @mgray11 Thank you for sharing your thoughts. When I started being actively involved with Herbs, I was a single mother too. Herbs and knowledge about herbs were and still are a kind of meditation, escaping into another world. Wenn on holidays, I always tried to collect some herbs and in winter time I read a lot.

    @torey gave you a lot of valuable advice. I love Doc Jones courses. He is a really down to earth and it is so easy to follow his advices.

    Concerning my home medicine, I always have something for colds/flu/... and my favourite is Nasturtium tincture. It is my antibiotic for respiratory tracks. And buckhorn honey for sore throat, cough, etc. And lime blossoms.

    I would also have something for the skin (insect bites, small wounds, blisters...) and that is either calendula oil or St John’s wort oil.

    And for the stomach and Desinfektion some camomile and lavender.

    And I would collect heaps of raspberry and blackberry leaves as basis for all my teas. one can drink leave tea all year round. It is called “Home tea” here in the Alps. One can also ferment these leaves, but that is more complicated.

    well, enough for the time being. My personal rule is not to integrate more than 5 new herbs per year into my life. Otherwise one looses courage 😊

    start with small steps

  • mgray11
    mgray11 Posts: 83 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2020

    Thank you both @jolanta.wittib@torey

    I'm going to give a look into some of the courses and other resources mentioned! Trying to, over time, build up an herbal first aid kit - knowledge is a powerful thing!

  • ltwickey
    ltwickey Posts: 369 ✭✭✭

    I am thrilled to read everyone's posts giving me new ideas of how to incorporate herbs into my life and the lives of my family members! Thank you all for sharing. My main stay for herbal use is teas. I have expanding this summer by including fresh herbs into our salads. Dandelion leaves are now my favorite to add to salads!! Such a peppery flavor.

    I am also going to add the harvesting of wild raspberry leaves to dry and have for winter teas to brighten up the dreary days of winter!!

    Hope everyone had a great 4th of July Holiday!

  • John
    John Posts: 163 ✭✭✭

    Working on getting more herbs for eating and other uses in NW Wisconsin. I'd appreciate any ideas and experiences you could share. Have a great day everyone! :)