As odd as it sounds, I am fascinated by plants and the very idea that I can plant a tiny seed in the ground, add water, a little fertilizer (preferably natural compost I’ve created from my scrap pile!) and warm sunshine, and that little seed I pressed in the dirt days before, will manage to poke its tiny head out. Eventually that seed grows into a plant which produces fruit or turns into a beautiful flower or tall tree.
One part of botany that really interests me, is herbalism. The very idea that a plant has medicinal properties is fabulous. I tend to think of “medicine” as the pills or liquid which comes from the pharmacy! Honestly, however, when we eat “food” from our garden, everything we put in our mouths, has “medicinal” qualities! Even those foods we eat, like potato chips, donuts, cinnamon rolls, pop tarts or other processed foods in a box or can is ultimately “medicine” for the body. That said, not all “food-medicine” is created equal. Much of the processed food delivers an abundance of salt, sugar and unhealthy calories! So in effect we are taking “bad medicine.”
We visited our daughter who lives in the South last weekend and when we arrived everyone was working on planting the garden! My daughter is quite the herbalist and has a huge array of dried herbs in her kitchen that she uses for both cooking and medicine.
I find when I leave her home, I’m scouring books and internet sites for more material on the latest bit of information I learned from her! I have grown a variety of herbs like mint, bee balm, cilantro, sage, catnip, thyme and oregano among others. I use them when I cook and some make great teas, which are good for you with medicinal qualities; and I’m looking forward to trying more!
I can’t help but wonder about all the synthetic medicines we take for all kinds of ailments! We have become a culture who relies heavily on prescription medications. A study of the top ten prescription medications include Zocor for cholesterol, Lisinopril for blood pressure, and Prilosec for acid reflux, and this is just a small tip of the iceberg!
The list for over the counter medications is also quite lengthy and you can get relief from a headache to skin issues just by visiting your local pharmacy! There is Tylenol or Advil for headache (among many others), Claritin or Zyrtec for allergies, throat lozenges, cough syrups, medication for stomach upset, fever, pains, colds and a whole host of other things we can diagnose ourselves.
So which is better, herbal medicine or synthetic? There’s always the allergy issue with unknown herbs, but that holds true with prescribed medication, as well. And I find, when we are prescribed a medicine to fix one thing, it seems it wreaks havoc on something else! It’s a personal choice and certainly a visit to the doctor is probably in order if there is something going on you really aren’t sure about. You may need a prescription written for a particular ailment, but sometimes a good cup of tea – herbal tea—is the perfect solution!
I challenge and encourage you to do some research, and maybe you’ll find a natural remedy or two which is better than the alternative, synthetic kind.