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Herbalism A Tradition of Healing


Salve or tea used for burns. Nettle (cont.) May decrease insulin resistance ... Save the top 1/3 and compost the rest. Garlic Mustard (cont. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Herbalism A Tradition of Healing

Herbalism A Tradition of Healing
  • Linda Diane Feldt
  • Holistic health Practitioner

Using Herbs From Your Landscape
The Foundations of Herbalism
  • For thousands of years all herbs used were
  • Local
  • Common
  • Harvested by practitioner or user
  • Prepared at time of use or preserved for
  • Special non-local herbs were available by trade

Current Practice
  • This type of use is still relevant today.

  • Low or no cost
  • No fear of adulteration
  • Know plant part and if picked at best time
  • Fresh
  • Gets you out in nature
  • Personal/spiritual experience with plant(s)

Michigan Herbal Allies
  • In Michigan we are surrounded by herbal allies.
    When you begin to learn about them, it changes
    the experience of being outside and your ability
    to interact with nature.
  • Help is all around you. It is a very powerful
    thing to experience regularly. Finding and making
    you own medicine creates independence, and
    provides other options to the conventional
    insurance/medical systems.

Just a few of the hundreds In your yard
plaintain, dandelion, motherwort, lambs
quarters, echinacea, Groundsel, shepherds purse,
chickweed, mallow, self heal Coming in from the
woods stinging nettle, cleavers, garlic
mustard, poke, red raspberry From the
surrounding countryside mullein, yellow dock,
burdock, chicory, red clover, St. Johns wort,
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Plantain Plantago
  • Used in salads, for bites and skin irritations,
    soothes oral cuts and radiation burns
  • Leaves chewed, poultice, juiced or salve. Seeds
    of some species ground and used internally for
    diarrhea and constipation

Plantain (cont.)
  • Externally speeds healing, stops bleeding, draws
    out foreign matter, kills bacteria, decreases
    itching, decreases pain.
  • Grows in driveways, paths, near sidewalks, lawns.

Dandelion Taraxacum officinalis
  • Famous for liver support and nourishment, rich in
    vit. A, diuretic
  • Relieves gas and heartburn (20 drops tincture
    before meals)
  • All parts are edible

Dandelion (cont.)
  • Grows in lawns, fields, and where it is needed.
  • Used as tincture (leaves and root), eaten as
    green, steeped in vinegar, bitter infusion

  • A plains flower perennial, Ech. purpuria grows
    easily in Michigan gardens
  • Roots are harvested in fall of third or fourth
    year and tinctured fresh

  • Echinacea angustifolia harder to grow, roots can
    be dried.
  • Uses are commonly known, note that Echinacea can
    be used to stimulate or nourish the immune
    system. Anti-viral.

Echinacea Two
Actions stimulate nourish
  • useful for a limited time
  • useful when a fast result is required
  • can have possible side effects
  • useful for an unlimited time
  • useful when a long term result is required
  • especially indicated for recovery from long term
    or chronic illness
  • side effects are unlikely

Lambs Quarter Chenopodium
  • Eaten for high calcium and carotenes
  • Available early spring through fall (if picked
  • Can be blanched and frozen for winter nourishment

Lambs Quarter (cont.)
  • Excellent green for making calcium rich vinegar
  • Grows in disturbed ground
  • Easy to identify by chalky appearance
  • Use in place of lettuce for salad base

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Nettle Urtica
  • Leaves eaten for calcium, iron, protein,
    micronutrient content. Can also be made into
  • Tincture or infusion aids kidneys, adrenals
  • Salve or tea used for burns

Nettle (cont.)
  • May decrease insulin resistance
  • Infusions, soups, vinegars maximize nettles rich
    nutritional value that nourishes many body
  • Grows near water and high nitrogen sources

Garlic Mustard Allaria petiolata
  • Seriously invasive plant. You are encouraged to
    pick it (roots and all) nearly anywhere you find
  • Save the top 1/3 and compost the rest.

Garlic Mustard (cont.)
  • Use fresh in salads, blanch and freeze as pot
    green, great in sauces and soups, use in place of
    garlic in many recipes.
  • Medicinal benefit unknown, but as nutritious as
    most greens.

Mullein Verbasci
  • Traditional use to stop smoking (substitute)
  • Leaves, infusion, and tincture nourishing for
  • Oil from flowers used for earaches

Mullein (cont.)
  • Leaves used to help effectiveness of coughs, to
    reduce asthma, to calm lung inflammation
  • Found by roadsides, meadows, beginnings of paths
    and in gardens.
  • A startling plant in the second year, can grow
    6-9 feet.

Yellow Dock Rumex crispus
  • Root used as tincture to promote iron absorption,
    nourish liver.
  • Root used as oil as wound healer (bruises, tissue
    damage, trauma)

Yellow Dock (cont.)
  • Leaves used as food (great as pesto) contain high
    amounts of easily absorbable iron.
  • Great plant for treating anemia (tincture of
  • Will only grow in iron rich soil, fields and open

Burdock Arctium lappa
  • Tincture of the root is used for skin diseases,
    anti-tumor, as a deep alterative
  • The root can be eaten (first year and spring of
    second year only). Used raw, in stir fries, or
  • Found in pour quality disturbed ground, open

Burdock (cont.)
  • Root contains high levels of inulin, may help
    blood sugar stabilization
  • Leaves as poultice or compress used to heal burns
    (including from hot pepper oil)
  • Leaves as poultice quickly heal skin abrasions

Practical Use
  • Case studies and examples

Medicine or Food?
  • In traditional herbalism plants are used for both
  • Substantial healing can occur by nourishing the
    body or systems of the body
  • Many herbs occupy both roles
  • The nourishing herbs are far less likely to have
    unwanted side effects
  • Weeds in Michigan are often higher in available
    nutrients than conventional foods

Nourishing herbs
  • Nutrient rich
  • Bio-available
  • Generally considered safe, side effects uncommon
  • Dosage and strength less important
  • Tend to be local, whole, and common
  • Large amounts used, in contrast to medicinal
  • Includes tonics
  • Supportive to body systems
  • Long term use is usually beneficial

Nourishing Herbs cont.
  • Internal use
  • Infusions
  • Water based
  • Vinegar based
  • Whole plant
  • Cooked
  • Raw (salad)
  • External use
  • Compress
  • Poultice
  • Salve

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Medicinal Herbs
  • Dosage and strength important or critical
  • Tend to utilize more toxic parts of plant
  • Stimulate or sedate
  • More likely to have side effects
  • Are often plants that are less common, or rare
  • Long term use is generally discouraged
  • More extensive knowledge is needed to use safely
    and effectively

Medicinal Herbs cont.
  • Internal Use
  • Tinctures
  • Extracts provided in capsules or other
  • Standardized components of plants
  • Drug preparations derived from plants
  • Injections of extracts
  • Capsules (not necessarily effective)
  • External Use
  • Poultice, compress, bolis
  • Salves

Herbs can be used for
  • Acute conditions
  • Chronic problems
  • Prevention
  • Nutrition
  • System strengthening
  • Easing transitions
  • Repair
  • Substitutes for drugs
  • Psychiatric effect
  • A complement to conventional treatment
  • To relieve symptoms of conventional drugs or

Acute Conditions
  • Sudden menstrual flooding
  • History includes large fibroids and heavy periods
  • Used blessed thistle under the tongue to arrest
  • Flooding stopped within minutes, MD consulted
  • Similar use by midwives for hemorrhaging after

Chronic Problems
  • 53 year old female with congestive heart failure
  • Heart attack at age 46, ongoing treatment fro
  • Diagnosed with staph infection following heart
  • Treated with broad spectrum antibiotics with no
  • Treated with additional antibiotics with no
  • Used 30 drops of echinacea every 3 hours, in
    water, with improvement of symptoms in two hours
  • When echinacea was stopped, symptoms returned
  • When echinacea was continued, symptoms decreased
    within hours
  • Echinacea was used at ten drops a day until death
    7 years later.
  • Any time the 10 drops a day was skipped for more
    than 2 days, symptoms returned

Chronic Problems cont.
  • Case Study 21 year old female
  • Had been diagnosed and treated for mononucleosis
  • Had been past active phase for more than two
    months when consultation occurred
  • Client reported continuous symptoms of fatigue,
    general depression, and was unable to return to a
    full time schedule as a UM student
  • Client used 10 drops of Echinacea tincture a day,
    in water
  • Within two weeks, this client reported greater
    alertness, ability to return to full schedule, no
    fatigue, and no depression
  • Client directly attributed recovery to Echinacea
  • No other therapies or changes were made during
    the time period in question

  • 5 year old girl, 38 year old female
  • Both have daily exposure to kids at day care and
    are frequently ill with colds, ear infections,
    and pink eye.
  • Low dose of Echinacea used long term 2-3 drops
    for the 5 year old and 10 drops for adult.
  • Both experience marked decrease in frequency and
    severity of illnesses.

  • Infusions provide readily absorbable nutrients,
    vary with herb used.
  • Nettle urtica provides protein, calcium and iron.
    Esp. helpful for anemia, pregnancy (3rd
  • Red Clover mineral rich
  • Oatstraw appears to provide trace minerals
    helpful for endocrine system, some evidence
    affects fertility
  • Anecdotal information is very positive for using
    specific infusions to help with allergies,
    infertility, poor nutrition, blood sugaring
    balancing, and many other problems.

System Strengthening
  • 35 year old female
  • Sub clinical hypothyroid condition suspected
    based on symptoms (include. always cold, weight
    gain, sensation in throat, moody, depressed)
  • Use 1 tsp bladderwack seaweed daily
  • All symptoms improve within 3 weeks
  • Bladderwack is suggested fro both hypo and hyper
    thyroidism. Contains thyroxin.

  • 42 year old female post surgery complete
  • Removed from hormone therapy after cancer is
  • Trouble sleeping, hot flashes, and mood swings
    for over 3 months
  • Uses 10 drops motherwort tincture at night, all
    symptoms resolved within one week.

  • 42 year old female experiencing significant nerve
    pain following needle biopsy on lung, lasting
    more than 4 months
  • St. Johns Wort oil applied topically
  • Pain decreased within days, continued to progress
    with continued use
  • See related article on nerve regeneration

Substitute for Drugs
  • 32 year old female with plantars warts
  • Had previously tried surgical removal and topical
    drug therapies with painful results and return of
    the warts.
  • Applied a homeopathic preparation of Thuja salve
    for two weeks and warts were gone, after more
    than 6 years they have not returned

  • 43 year old male with SAD diagnosed by his
  • Had difficulty using light box treatment
  • Wanted to stop prescribed SSRIs, stopped on his
  • Symptoms made much worse
  • Took St. Johns Wort tincture 20 drops 2x day
  • Positive effect within three days of use

Complementary to Conventional Treatment
  • 23 year old female with ALL treated with
    chemotherapy drugs
  • Used milk thistle extract during each treatment,
    as well as 2 x a day 20 drops in water
  • Liver tests consistently came back normal
  • Nursing staff questioned her about her high
    energy levels and unexpectedly good liver
  • My later conversations with her medical team
    confirmed their initial surprise, and their
    belief that the milk thistle was a significant

A few examples of times to not use herbs
  • Over tired pregnant woman with cold - rest and
    simple instructions
  • Bone marrow transplant - avoid immune stimulant
  • Self treatment of symptoms without considering
    cause - estrogen replacement
  • Cleansing and purifying - contrary to basic
    anatomy and physiology
  • Removal of skin tags - leave the intentionally
    damaged area alone, heal it after

Other ideas
  • Learn 1-2 plants per year
  • Learn each plant thoroughly - were it grows, why
    it grows there, what parts are used, when are
    they harvested, what it tastes like, and how to
    prepare it for maximum benefit.

Dogs harvesting herbs
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