Medicinal herbs produce certain effects on the body. A list of all these possible effects is called "herbal properties." One herb will produce certain effects while another may produce some of the same ones, plus certain others. Listed below are the important facts about herbs.
Medicinal herbs produce certain effects on the body. A list of all these possible effects is called "herbal properties." One herb will produce certain effects while another may produce some of the same ones, plus certain others. Listed below are the important facts about herbs. This is the continuation of Important Facts About Herbs (Part 1).
Strong, bitter herbs: To avoid nausea, be sure and give enough water with them.
Powerful herbs: Be careful in giving herbs which have powerful effects. These include lobelia, juniper berries, black cohosh, poke root, aconite, and shavegrass (horsetail).
Bitter pills: They have a tonic effect on the stomach, digestion, and related organs.
Herbal temperatures: A hot infusion or decoction is used to help induce sweating. Cool teas are used for tonic effect, and warm teas produce a feeling of relaxation. (Vervain is the best for inducing sweating.)
Tablets vs. capsules: Tablets are easier to work with than capsules in hot climates; the latter tend to stick together. Vegetarians either open and empty capsules or use tablets, since capsules are made from slaughterhouse products.
Herbs at mealtime: To avoid taking too much liquid, capsules or tablets are preferable to teas at mealtime.
Varying the intensity of the amount given:
Here are several principles to keep in mind:
- For a slow, gradual, general effect, give the herbs in small quantities of syrup or milk between meals.
- To aid the appetite, increase digestive secretions or, for a local effect on stomach or intestines, give herbs before meals. Give the herbs in acacia gum or olive oil for a localized effect on stomach or intestines.
- To reduce the irritation of certain herbs, give them in syrup or soy milk.
- To increase absorption of the herbs and produce a more rapid effect, give them 1-2 hours after the meal.
- To reduce the bitter taste of herbs, without reducing the bitterness, take the dose in a large quantity of fluid, syrup, or honey. The bitter taste is often necessary for the proper effect to take place, but the bitterness can be disguised to the taste buds.
- Fluids which do not taste good can be taken more easily by drinking them cold, followed by a drink of plain water.
Weekly rest day: In order for herbs to work best, they should not be taken one day each week. Then, after 2-3 weeks of treatment, no herbs should be taken for 3 days in a row. During this rest period, observe the patient.
- If his energy remains low during that time or if the symptoms worsen, at the end of the rest period put him back on the herb dosage.
- If he improves during the rest period, then extend the rest period a day or so and then continue the treatment with smaller doses than were used before.
- If he seems to completely recover during the rest period, then the treatment can be changed to a more tonic, nutritive approach.
- New symptoms or problems may reveal themselves at this time. If so, an herb formula or new therapy should be instituted to meet it.
- If he seems to get stronger during each rest period, begin reducing therapy and extending the rest periods.
Types of teas: When bitter teas are taken, they have a tonic effect on digestion and related organs. A cool infusion or decoction is used for tonic effects. Hot teas are used during sweating therapy. Warm teas will create a feeling of relaxation.
Types of herbs: Flowers and leaves, being more delicate, are usually made into infusions. A decoction is used when trying to extract healing properties from most roots, barks, twigs, and seeds.
Determining the dosage: First, study the suggested dosages for each herb. Next, consider whether a child or an adult; and whether the person is strong, weak, or pregnant. Perhaps lactation or menstruation is present. Consider the age, temperament, sex, and size of the individual. It is always safer to start with a smaller dose; and, if that works well, increase it slowly to the normal dosage. If a child will take the herb, give him only part of that which an adult would receive: Assuming 150 pounds for an average adult, if the child is 50 pounds, then 150 divided by 50 = 1/3 of the adult dose.
Herbs for children: Only give mild herbs to children and adults who are experiencing an acute ailment, not harsh laxatives and strong cleansing herbs. Mild herbs can be given in large amounts, usually 1 cup of tea per dose. Here are the mild herbs: peppermint, chamomile, catnip, comfrey leaf, nettles, chickweed, spearmint, and alfalfa. The strength and energy level of the individual tells a lot.