Botanical medicine in its simplest definition is the use of medicinal herbs in the treatment of diseases. Understanding the properties of the herbs, the active constituents and the healing nature of the plants, a trained practitioner can create an herbal remedy specific for you and your condition. There are herbs that help with hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness associated with peri-menopause and menopause. While other herbs help with coughs, arrhythmias, digestive complaints and everything in between. Some herbs need to be used with caution as they have active constituents that are toxic when used in large amounts. There are many herbs that are contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation for any number of reasons; because they are teratogenic, they are uterine stimulating, or due to their emmenagogue effects.
Herbal remedies can be made into:
- Tinctures - liquid extracts of the herbs
- Salves - thick ointment contain the herbs for external use
- Compresses - a cloth soaked in hot or cold water, herbal tea or herbal oil and then placed on the skin
- Capsules - either powered or liquid herbs in a pill form that can be easily swallowed without much taste of the herbs
- Elixirs - contain the herbs, water, sweeteners (honey or glycerin) and a small amount of alcohol
- Glycerites - liquid extract of an herb made with glycerin
- Poultices - made from fresh or moistened herbs, which are pulverized and then placed on the skin
- along with teas, herbal baths, herbal oils, and suppositories.
The form the remedy takes is usually based on your needs and the most effective way to use the herbs. Some herbs can only be used externally, while others can be used externally and internally. In the coming blogs I will discuss commonly used herbs and ways that you can use them for yourself and your family.