| HERBS have been the fundamental form of treating disease throughout the world for millennia. In the wild, plants use alkaloids and natural chemicals to protect themselves from fungus, stop animals from eating their leaves and attract pollinators to spread their seeds throughout the forest. Before a tree dies of a disease, it sends specific compounds through its roots to any of its young in the area, ensuring they have the proper defense to withstand the disease.
When we harvest and dry herbs, these compounds are still available inside the leaves, stem, roots and flowers of plants. The same elements that protect herbs from a fungus can assist us in restoring health to our body. In the modern world, we are able to validate with precision the therapeutic benefits of herbal medicine and understand the complex structures that have beneficial effects on the body.
There is no end to what we can learn from the interaction of these complex plants with our own physiology. The compounds held in a single herb have a bounty of biochemical actions affecting our health. Berberine, a compound extracted from the plant Goldenseal, increases up-regulation of glucose and decreases overall cholesterol in the body. Lions Mane Mushroom boosts the synaptic connectivity in the brain to help with early onset dementia, while increasing the production of Beta cells to better manage high blood sugar levels. When properly prescribed, herbs have a transformative effect on the body, correcting and stabilizing the underlying factors that can lead to disease.
Herbal medicine has been the fundamental form of treating disease throughout the world for milliner. Only in the last 200 years has western knowledge made an entry into the field of medicine. Now, in modern times we are able to bring together the traditional knowledge of herbal medicine with clinical studies of the west to better understand the properties held within the plants. In this way we are able to treat with even more precision.
One of the fundamental reasons herbal medicine is so effective, is that it changes the actual physiology of our body, unlike prescription drugs which simply “turn off” certain processes in the body to meet the desired effect. Herbs on the other hand, “turn on” processes, enabling herbs to influence a multiple of reactions in the body such as, stimulating the digestive system, increase the production of insulin through beta cells and harmonizing estrogen levels to name a few.
The compounds held in a single herb have a bounty of biochemical actions that balance one another out, and when prescribed appropriately, can have transformative effects on the body without any side effects.
Teas are a simple, easy, and delicious way to incorporate herbs into your everyday life. Below are some examples of medicinals that I love.
The general rule of thumb for steeping herbs is as follows:
Flowers: 2-3 minutes
Leaves/Stems: 3-5 minutes
Roots: 5-20 minutes
You can always steep your herbs for longer. The general idea is flowers are more delicate than that of roots, and so do not need as much time to brew. Roots, on the other hand, are thicker and dense in nature, allowing you to cook them at higher temperatures for more extended periods of time to extract the beneficial qualities. Just remember, the longer an herb cooks, the stronger the taste.
Ginger is a great way to increase digestion, warm the body, and decrease nausea or morning sickness.
Fresh ginger will be milder in nature than that of dried and is my preference of choice when making teat. To prepare, peel a piece of ginger (roughly the size of your thumb) with a spoon, removing all the skin. Next, thinly slice the ginger and place in a small pot of water, cover and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Strain, add honey and lemon to taste. The tea can be stored for five days and reboiled several times.
Tulsi (holy basil)
This tea is not only deliciously aromatic but yields exceptional benefits to the body. Its taste is similar to that of mint but more subtle in flavor. Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb, in that it targets and balances the central nervous system. It can be taken in the morning to get going or enjoyed at night to calm down and help with sleep. You can never have too much Tulsi.