The stars of this book are the plants, trees, and flowers themselves. They are endearing, beautiful, mysterious, fundamental, and primitive. The delight and uses of their seeds, roots, bark, color, and form are phenomenal and, set among the rest of the intricate web of nature, they are truly miraculous. This book is not only about the plants, however, it is also about a combination of natural healing methods, healthy lifestyle, and the use of herbs as potent tools for natural healing.
Were this simply a book on herbal medicine, it would be dangerously easy to see plants as a direct substitute for conventional drugs. But although it is often possible gently and carefully to substitute one for the other, on the whole it is best to use herbs as an integral part of life, combining them with a wealth of other lifestyle choices and thus preventing and balancing disorders or diseases.
Plant healing is deeply ingrained in our ancestry, yet the privilege of healing our own bodies has been increasingly taken away from us and put into the hands of doctors and conventional medicine. It is not surprising that night calls to doctors have doubled in the past few years, pill taking has soared, and the skills of home nursing have diminished.
Many people tend to view ill health as a “supermarket affair, demanding quick answers with the cry, Give me a pill and make it go away, now Others, however, feel a desperate yearning to know more about natural home-healing skills, combined with herbs. So this book has been written with the understanding that herbalism and natural healing should be restored to the home as safely and effectively as possible.
All practitioners insist that if there is any doubt about the cause of a patient’s condition, a doctor’s diagnosis should be sought. From this diagnosis you, and perhaps your local herbalist, can work on your body naturally until you regain full health
Why Try Herbalism?
Medical science took a big leap forward in the United States and Europe after World War II with the introduction of a whole collection of drugs, including beta-blockers, anesthetics, antidepressants, steroids, and antibiotics, to name but a few. Some remain extremely useful, especially the anesthetics, some painkillers, and antibiotics, when used in highly selective situations.
Medical technology also took a big leap and, although some discoveries are now readily accepted as being useful and noninvasive, much new technology seems to have been designed simply to make lots of money for the manufacturers, while some is positively destructive, invasive, and life-threatening.
The Roots of Herbalism
Archaeological evidence tells us that during their time as huntergatherers, humans collected and consumed approximately one hundred to two hundred different plant species in any one year. The diverse chemical compounds in these plants would have greatly protected the immune system and stimulated digestion more effi ciently than does our modern diet. Not only did human kind fl ourish on this diet, but so did the animals that people subsequently consumed. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the “animal foods” of today.
Modern people’s normal dietary range of plants is generally only between twenty and forty species. These include carrots, cabbages, potatoes, parsnips, onions, apples, bananas, strawberries, peaches, lettuce, tomatoes, peas, broccoli, beans, wheat, blackberries, zucchini and other squashes, oil made from sunfl ower seeds or olives, lemons, garlic, chiles, and rice. Super markets, on average, stock thirty to thirty-fi ve species. It is an unfortunate fact that many of these plants are also genetically engineered.