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There's an age-old power behind medicinal herbs and their intrinsic ability to not only heal the body but to consistently maintain overall wellbeing.
From childhood to our adult years, herbs and other plant medicine are there to enhance our lives. They help promote high energy levels and awareness, combat a plethora of diseases/illnesses, and overall, they're your immune support's greatest ally.
The thing about herbal medicine and medicinal plants is you can approach this health asset simply and without much complication. Adding a particular herb or plant to your diet, depending on the benefits you seek (and with doctor consent when needed), is super straightforward!
There are several methods to consume medicinal herbs and medicinal plants. One isn't necessarily better than the other, but they present certain pros and cons that you might want to consider. To best match your needs and lifestyle, here's how to take herbs and the various ways you can implement some form of medicinal, holistic medicine within your life.
How to Take Herbs
Holistic health is a keystone to our active, healthy lifestyles. Salty Shreds is how we share this passion with you!
When I say 'how to take herbs', I'm referring to the different methods for consuming these various forms of medicinal plant medicine. When it comes to herbal medicine, the most common ways that the health benefits of plants are transferred into the body include:
- Herbal Infusions & Concoctions
Chances are, once you get into medicinal herbs and start building out your own holistic medicine cabinet, you'll utilize many, if not all, of these methods of medicinal plant consumption. But for now, here's what to know about each, their benefits, and why you might prefer one herbal consumption method over another!
Herbal Infusions & Concoctions
Soak plant material in hot water, and you've created a holistic, hydrating form of herbal medicine that takes no time to make and tastes lovely.
What is an Herbal infusion/Concoction?
When speaking of an herbal infusion, you can really just think of 'tea'. However, there is a difference between what is known as 'true tea' and herbal tea.
True tea refers to any tea made from the Camellia sinensis plant, which includes common ones like green & black tea. Herbal tea, on the other hand, is really known as an infusion or concoction, where herbs and other edible plant materials (not derived from a true tea plant), like bark and roots, are left to steep in hot water.
But, with that said, it's easy to just think of this as tea, for the end result is a warm, flavorful drink with tons of antioxidants and a wide range of unique nutrients often ignored in a standard diet.
Difference Between Infusion/Concoction
As another side note, there is a difference between an herbal infusion and a concoction. An herbal infusion is a tea made with the flowering, fragile parts of the plant, such as the leaves, flowers, or soft stems.
A concoction, however, features a tea made with the more robust parts of medicinal plants, such as the roots, bark, or seeds.
How to Make Herbal Infusions
Many herbal teas come prepackaged in tea bags, allowing you to reap the benefits of any herb you choose effortlessly. Simply allow the tea bag to soak in boiling (sometimes just hot) water, allow it to steep for the recommended time, and get sipping!
However, it's really fun and easy to make your own herbal infusions, especially as a healthy eating activity for kids. All you have to do is choose any combination of dried herbs, place them in a loose leaf tea infuser, and allow them to steep! The fun here is choosing/creating any blend of herbs you wish and experimenting with different health benefits and the associated flavors.
You can even let them sit in mason jars, which look really pleasing, overnight for a more potent herbal medicine.
Why Choose an Herbal Infusion?
Opting for an herbal infusion is a great introductory form of holistic medicine to feel the power of plants, and those passionate about holistic remedies will agree that these are a keystone form of herbal consumption because:
- They take very little time to make.
- You can enjoy health benefits on the go, all day long.
- Massive variety; so many herbal infusions for so many health benefits!
- Herbal infusions taste lovely
- Kids love them! (Only children over 2 should consume herbal infusions without caffeine; always chat to your doc.)
- They are super hydrating
- It's affordable!
Tinctures are a powerful addition to any holistic medicine cabinet, a way to consume high amounts of medicinal herbs in one quick-and-easy dropper full.
What is an Herbal Tincture?
A tincture is a concentrated herbal extract. Made by soaking various parts (bark, leaves, seeds, etc.) of medicinal herbs and plants, typically in alcohol, a tincture is a powerful form of medicinal herb consumption.
Most often, you will take one to a few drops of your tincture per day for consistent consumption of healing plant chemicals, and this is typically done by adding a dropper full to a few ounces of water, a smoothie, or tea. Or, in times of sickness, tinctures are a great way to consume high amounts of particular herbs quickly and efficiently to combat with immediate immune support.
How to Make an Herbal Tincture
If you go into any health food market, you'll see an isle full of tinctures with every plant compound imaginable.
That said, tinctures are super easy to make if you're one to enjoy doing things yourself or want yet another fun, holistically-educational activity to do with your surf groms!
There's a bit more to it, but overall, all you really need to do is soak the desired parts of your plant material in alcohol or vinegar for a few weeks, strain/bottle the liquid, and wallah!
Why Choose an Herbal Tincture?
Herbal tinctures are an excellent, potent method and a sure-fire answer for how to take herbs. You'll enjoy the benefits of this consumption method because:
- Tinctures are highly effective and one of the most powerful forms of herbal medicine delivery, absorbing the benefits directly into the bloodstream and bypassing the liver.
- Tinctures can be made with one or many plants to customize desired benefits to your liking.
- They're quick and easy to take!
- You can add them to other healthy drinks for an extra immune boost.
- Tinctures have a very long shelf life.
Herbal cosmetics allow us to replace the harsh chemicals in most commercialized cosmetic products with those that provide both external and internal health benefits. A total win-win for your skin and the overall wellness of your entire family!
What are Herbal Cosmetics?
Herbal cosmetics are defined as "the beauty products which possess desirable physiological activity such as healing, smoothing appearance, enhancing and conditioning properties because of herbal ingredients."
So, yeah! They're cosmetic products, like face washes, lotions, and bath products, featuring herbal ingredients.
Most ingredients aim to heal externally, such as to help treat acne or eczema, but some are even absorbed into the skin for internal healing as well, CBD a favorite.
How to Make Herbal Cosmetics
Yes, you totally can make them, as there are plenty of recipes for herbal lotion, herbal acne treatment, and other herbal topicals. But let's be honest. Most of us aren't taking the time or have the ingredients necessary to make herbal cosmetics, and chances are, we'll be buying them from health stores.
With that, just pay special attention to the ingredients used and the specified herbs. Your goal is to avoid chemicals, opt for organic, pure ingredients (such as beeswax, aloe vera, or natural clays), and, of course, no animal testing!
Why Choose Herbal Cosmetics?
Herbal cosmetics aren't just the best way to rid of nasty carcinogens in most skin or hair care products, but they're some of the most effective ways to heal a plethora of skin conditions without harsh chemicals.
This is a straightforward consumption method for medicinal herbs, allowing you to specify exactly your dosage and desired type of medicinal plant to provide your body with a surge of health benefits in one simple swig of H2O.
What are Herbal Pills/Supplements
An herbal pill or supplement is a ground-up herb or other plant substance turned into pill form and taken orally by mouth. They provide clear dosage instructions, which is helpful for understanding how much of a particular herb you can take, and it's easy to add into your daily routine.
How to Make Herbal Pills/Supplements
You can make your own herbal pills by grounding up dry herbs in a herb grinder or mortar and pestle and using an at-home capsule machine to seal your supplements. I suggest using organic, vegan gel capsules.
That said, it's far easier to purchase these from your local markets because of dosing measurements and overall simplicity.
Why Choose Herbal Pills/Supplements
Having a few supplements of your favorite herbs is ideal for:
- Quick and measurable herbal consumption.
- Safe dosing.
- Consuming a variety of herbs.
- Busy families who don't have time to make other herbal remedies.
- Tasteless herbal consumption.
- Combating acute & chronic illness.
Medicinal Plants to Powder!
You'll often see medicinal plants offered in the form of powder. This is the way to go if you're looking to amp up your smoothie game or center your holistic journey around a certain health food, such as flax powder, matcha powder, acai powder, and so much more.
What are Medicinal Powders?
Medicinal powders are medicinal plants turned into powder form to dissolve in liquid for easy consumption. They can also be added to certain recipes, especially baking, to enhance nutrient density in your favorite snacks.
How to Make Medicinal Powders
You can make medicinal powders by grinding up certain dried plant materials or seeds in a food processor, but there are plenty of organic options to choose from on market shelves that taste wonderful and add variety to your holistic health regime.
Why Choose Medicinal Powders?
Medical powders are an excellent means to complement the other forms of herbal medicine and an effective means to provide the body with much-needed vitamins and nutrients. Powders often feature medicinal plants and fruits, less so herbs, further promoting variety to your diet.
Powders are perfect choices for:
- Enhancing a smoothie.
- Creating routing! Did you get your daily scoop yet?
- Adding variety to your diet.
- Creating healthy drinks that actually taste good!
- Adding color to your diet.
- Consuming high amounts of a particular health food.
And so much more.
So, with so many effective options to promote a healthy and happy life, how will you make herbs a part of your lifestyle?
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