My personal journey with herbal plants began years before I realized I was interested in making herbal home remedies. After nearly 13 years living in the same place, I spent one memorable summer walking my land and getting to know almost every single herb, plant, and weed growing there. Before that summer, I had always thought that being able to make my own herbal home remedies with the herbal plants growing on the land was something that would be difficult and require a lot of expensive equipment. To my great delight, a copy of The Herbal Home Remedy Book by Joyce A. Wardwell landed in my lap at the beginning of that amazing summer, and I learned how much fun, and how easy, making my own herbal home remedies can be.
While some people enjoy growing their own plants and planting herbs in pots for use in herbal home remedies, there is a lot you can gain from learning how to use the growing herbs outdoors. And learning how to use these plants begins with knowing how to correctly and safely identify the plants that you see outside. While this book is not a definitive field guide to identifying herbal plants, it does offer good descriptions of these plants and exercises you can do to help you learn how to identify them.
Right after I learned how to identify the herbal plants growing on our land, I went away for a weekend to attend a workshop on how to intuitively use them and find more of a connection to nature. Knowing how to maintain this connection has helped me immensely when it comes to making my own herbal home remedies, and in The Herbal Home Remedy Book, Wardell also offers plenty of helpful suggestions to help you create and maintain your relationship with the plants that you may want to use to make your own herbal home remedies. Knowing how to identify these herbal plants is just the beginning: once you know what they are and know where to find them, Wardell suggests that we learn about the reproductive habits and life cycle of each plant so that we know the right time to harvest them, depending on what they are to be used for. There are even herbs that grow in winter included in this book, so you can learn how to harvest them and use them for your own herbal home remedies.
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With all of this in mind, Wardell presents her practices for working with herbal plants from a place of respect and reverence for the Earth. Included throughout the book are stories from the Indigenous people of North America that illustrate the deep connection between humans and herbal plants throughout the generations. My 8-year-old son enjoyed the stories almost as much as I did, as we walked the land together and talked about the healing properties of each of the herbal plants that we gathered.
Now that you have had time to develop your relationship with these herbal plants that grow outdoors in the wild, you’re ready to start gathering them in and turning them into nourishing and healing herbal home remedies. Wardell reminds us throughout the book that creating your own herbal home remedies from herbal plants doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated – in fact, you probably have most of the equipment and ingredients necessary to get started right in your kitchen.
Wardell helps us understand how simple and effective herbal plants can be when used as home remedies. For example, she teaches us how to make a good cup of simple herbal tea. After all, she reminds us, water is good medicine, and water mixed with herbal plants can be some of the best medicine around. Complicated formulas and recipes aren’t necessarily better when it comes to making these herbal home remedies. Wardell shares with us many of the useful and helpful information she’s learned over many years of work with these herbal plants.
What you’ll find in this book:
- Practices to help you begin and deepen your relationship with the many herbal plants that grow outdoors
- A healing herbs list of useful plants that are probably growing right in your backyard
- Suggestions for how to safely and sustainably gather herbal plants from the outdoors with a mind for long-term productive growth
- Tips for knowing when the best time to gather your herbal plants, depending on your intended use
- Information about simple, basic equipment needed to start making your own herbal home remedies
- Simple but effective recipes for making herbal tea, herbal tinctures, herbal tonics, salves, and simple syrups
- Basic guidelines for dosing using herbal home remedies
- Creating and stocking your own home medicine chest and apothecary
- How to use your knowledge of herbal plants to create simple formulas that can be customized for each person based on their individual constitution
- Helpful suggestions for using herbal plants as remedies for a variety of common ailments like headaches, dry skin, burns, colds and coughs, cramps, fevers, indigestion, sleep aids, and intestinal parasites
- A list of references and resources to help you advance your practice with herbal plants
- Comprehensive index to help you find information quickly and easily throughout the book
There are lots of guides to using medicinal plants out there, but I haven’t yet seen one that approaches traditional herbal medicine with such a unique, earth-conscious mindset as The Herbal Home Remedy Book. We can learn so much from Wardell’s gentle approach to herbal medicine and using herbal plants that are growing right outside our door. If you have already begun working with herbal plants to make your own herbal home remedies but have always felt as though something was “missing,” The Herbal Home Remedy Book by Joyce Wardell will show you what you’ve been missing all this time: a mutually beneficial way to develop your relationship with these herbal plants, as well as a greater connection to our place in nature.