Medium 9781911597582

Practical Herbs 2

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Practical Herbs 2 is written for everyone who likes to harvest and process their own herbs from the wild or from their gardens.This volume includes comprehensive instructions for making herbal honeys, poultices, and green powders.Finnish herbalist Henriette Kress focuses on herbs that are easy to grow or find in northern Europe-stressing teas over tinctures, as local tradition dictates.The book is lavishly illustrated with beautiful colour photographs that demonstrate clearly the methods and skills used.

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The Basics: Recipes

ePub

HERBAL SYRUP

Herbal syrups are runny. They preserve the herb for later use.

A good herbal syrup contains enough sugar to ensure that it won't spoil or grow mold. It also contains enough water that it won't crystallize easily.

How to make an herbal syrup

1 quart (1 l) water

1 cup (250 ml) fresh herb material

or 0.5–0.7 ounces (15–20 g) dried aboveground parts

or 1 cup (250 ml) fresh or dried roots or bark, in smallish pieces

13 ounces (425 g) granulated sugar

Put the herb in a saucepan and cover it with the water. Bring to a boil and simmer covered or uncovered 15–25 minutes. Strain. (For a stronger syrup, add more herb to the same liquid, simmer another 15–25 minutes, and strain.)

Add sugar to 3/4 cup (200 ml) of the strained liquid, set the heat as low as possible, and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Pour the syrup into glass jars, seal with a tight-fitting lid, and label (example: “Herbal syrup, peppermint and thyme, June 2014. 1 tsp. as needed for cough.”).

 

Herbal Energetics

ePub

I include in this volume's plant sections two new descriptors—“Taste” and “Energetics.”

Energetics involves using your own five senses to learn about herbs and determine how to use them. Incorporating a knowledge of basic herbal polarities makes it easier to get familiar with new herbs when you encounter them.

People and problems can also be divided by these polarities.

HOT AND COLD

The more important pairing in herbal energetics is hot–cold or the milder warm–cool.

You can classify a lot of plants this way, but some are neutral in heat.

Of the liquids, alcohol is hot, vinegar is cool, and oil, syrup, and water are neutral.

Warming plants

Hot plants include

chili, garlic, pepper, ginger, wasabi, mustard, horseradish, and even the flowering tops of beebalms in hot summers.

Warm plants include

common culinary herbs such as fennel, cinnamon, cardamom, basil, and thyme, as well as, for instance, catnip, hyssop, raw onion, elecampane, and angelica.

 

Problems

ePub

MENSTRUAL PROBLEMS

Painful menses are all too common, especially considering how easily they can be remedied.

It's also relatively easy to prevent most PMS and heavy or irregular menses.

Treating menstrual pain due to endometriosis can be challenging, however.

Lady's mantle (Alchemilla spp.) is one of the best herbs for women.

FEMALE HORMONES

The production of sex hormones starts in the brain. The hypothalamus produces gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which stimulates the pituitary to produce follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), the principal two principal gonadotropins in humans.

FSH stimulates follicles in the ovaries to produce estrogen. The strongest folliclewill become this month's egg. When estrogen reaches a threshold, the egg is released. This is ovulation.

The remaining part of the follicle—the “egg cup,” as it were—is the corpus luteum. LH stimulates the corpus luteum to produce progesterone.

 

The Herbs

ePub

BEEBALMS

Lovely spots of color in the garden and fiery medicinal plants.

Monarda species: Also called horsemint and bergamot, as

• scarlet beebalm, oswego tea (Monarda didyma), also called fragrant balm, crimson beebalm, scarlet monarda

• lemon beebalm (Monarda citriodora), also called lemon mint, purple horsemint

• wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), also called horse-mint

among other species. Fiery oregano species such as Greek oregano (Origanum heracleoticum) and hot thymes can be used in the same ways.

Taste: Hot, aromatic.

Energetics: warming, drying.

Family: Mint family, Lamiaceae.

Annual or perennial: Harvest from summer to fall.

Habitat and cultivation: Beebalms are North American plants. I've seen southern species grow in sand, but those species that survive northern winters thrive in moister and more fertile soil.

 

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