Skip to content

Herbs: Medicine Of The World

Mysterious Chinese herbs in the traditional medicine shops of Hong Kong

Herbs: Medicine Of The World

Herbs are a plant or a part of a plant that is used for its scent, taste, or therapeutic properties. Every culture has herbs that are used to help us overcome different diseases. The key is to learn which ones are good for what and when and how to use them. The herbs of the field are a blessing for our welfare. Herbalism is use of plants for medicinal purposes, and the study of such use. Some are very common to us and others not so much. The whole world makes up the herbal medicine cabinet. Plants have been the basis for medical treatments throughout much of human history. Especially in places like India, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan traditional medicine herbs are still greatly used.

Herbs for teas,  or tisanes, are when you seep a certain type of herb in liquid, usually hot water. Though teas  are made in a few different ways, that is perhaps the most common.  Mint is a great appetizer or cleanser, A cup of warm mint tea before a meal helps with digestion.  It is also very soothing for  stomachs in cases of indigestion or inflammation. It can also work wonders for a headache. In cases of bad asthma, it has been very helpful to some. When you feel sick to your stomach, drinking a cup of mint tea can give you almost instant relief. Mint is one of the common herbs in our society and is easy to grow. In fact it is best grown in a container unless you want a mint orchard. It will quickly spread. You can use the leaves fresh or dry them for a later time. The many mint herbs are very easy to prepare.

Decoctions are usually boiled and are  usually of harder substances like roots or bark. When I make a ginger herb tea, for example, I usually use the root or rhizomes. I like it a lot stronger and I boil the rhizomes till soft and mash. Then I continue to simmer on a very low heat for 8-10 minutes at least. The result is a very strong ginger tea. This is the type of tea you will want if you are using it to fight a major disease like Ovarian Cancer, IBS, or Alzheimer’s. It is often used along with traditional methods for added healing benefits and to help with the nausea that accompanies some of the standard treatments. If Alzheimer’s runs in your family, consider adding ginger in everything you can and drinking several cups of the strong tea daily.  In the case of Alzheimer’s, you could also make a ginger candy using honey instead of sugar.  If fighting cancer, I would want to be careful about any type of sugar. I have also found those who have good results for pain relief.  Ginger is also good for tired muscles, weight control, Glucose levels, and Arthritic inflammation.  Ginger is another one of the common herbs that are easy to use.

Maceration  is the old infusion method of herbs with a high mucilage-content, such as sage and thyme. To make macerates, plants are chopped and added to cold water. They are then left to stand for 7 to 12 hours (depending on herb used). For most macerates 10 hours is used. I generally put in a bowl of cold water and cover with a plate and let stand 10 hours. Sage is used for treating conditions from cankers to memory loss.  It is  more than just your average kitchen herb. Maceration makes a strong tea and you can serve it over a small amount of ice or serve at room temperature. Findings have confirmed that drinking lots of sage tea and using sage in all you can help the brain to function and is useful to stall off Alzheimer’s.  Sage oil is also excellent for healthy adults for increasing their brain activity.

Tinctures are usually made with either alcohol or vinegars. Often times cough syrups are made using alcohol. Different herbs can be added to vinegar to make awesome salad dressings. Tinctures seem to be used when you want something really strong with the benefit of either alcohol or vinegar.

There are thousands of herbs throughout the world and each area has their local herbs. You can also grow your own herbs and use fresh, or order many of the ones from across the world either dried or freeze-dried. The world of herbal medicines is unique and intriguing. Grow what is easy for you to get to start and then start branching out and growing other herbal plants and fruits. There are many seed exchange groups online where you can start getting things from India or South America. Once you get started, the world becomes your doctor. Of course always check with your medical doctor before using something new or different and do your own research. Google is a great research buddy. Many areas have classes on different herbs and herbal oils. The sky is really the limit!

This was published with permission on at: