Medicinal Herbs

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Fort Worth, TX(Zone 7b)

Hi Patty, I am just starting to grow herbs for medicine and I got a book called "The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants" and I love it.It talks about many different plants that can be used,even tells how to grow them and how to use them. I am a slow learner so I needed a book that explains in detail how to prepare the herbs and this book is great. It has instructions to make ointments,poultices,creams and lotions along with other preparations. At the back of the book it has a list of problems like allergies and so on, and it tells which herbs to use. The book is priced $39.95 but I'm sure you could find it cheaper, I got mine through a book club and only paid postage(I think).

Ok, I'll stop rambling on now.Hope this helps.


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Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Vanessa, does your book tell anything about nettle tea? I have heard it is good for you, but have no idea why. And do you dry the leaves before using them? I have spotted some patches of nettles, when is the best time to pick them?

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 7b)

Patty, I'm growing wormwood,St.Johnswort,Lobelia,Mugwort,German Chamomile,and Valerian right now but the only thing big enough to do anything with is the wormwood. I am trying to find some herbs for infertility but I have never heard of the ones they talk about.

Mary, it says that nettle is a good Diuretic, Tonic,Astringent,Prevents hemorrhaging,Antiallergenic,Increases breast-milk production and reduces prostate enlargement.

To make a tea you can use 1 tsp dried or 2 tsp fresh leaves to a cup of water (this makes 1 dose)

Standard Dosage is 3-4 each day.

Can be stored covered in refrigerator up to 24 hours.

Young shoots are picked in spring for use as a tonic and a vegetable.
Aerial parts and leaves are picked in summer when the plant is in flower.
Hope this helps.

Lyles, TN

Patty: you asked me about wildcrafting(on the recipe forum) well as slow as I type, it'll take 50 yrs to tell you what I've learned in 50 yrs of doing it. There's lots of things to watch out for; pollution, gov regulation, you gotta really learn the plants before you look for them. Then you have to think about next year, if you harvest too many, what happens etc. I might can help you better if you narrow your scope to one or two botanicals at a time. Bear in mind my usual stock-in-trade is the shade-growing perrenial medicinals. There's so much development going on in Tennessee, I stay pretty busy working just in front of the Bulldozer, so to speak. has a lot of info on wildcrafting, but I'll still be glad to answer specific questions. Starting fri 12 may I'll not be on the board for 2wks. field trip!
One thing that might help is write down right on your calendar when the different wild things bloom, when they go to seed, etc. Then next year you'll know.

This message was edited Friday, May 11th 2:38 AM

This message was edited Thursday, May 24th 2:45 PM

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Allen Park, MI(Zone 6a)

I just had a speaker at our Master Gardener meeting on medicinal herbs.
Her name is Robyn Klein she is excellent. She is an author, teacher etc on medicial herbs. Check out her web site (Sorry I don't know how to add a link to this message)


Wentworth, SD(Zone 4a)

Hi! I am just starting out also, but am taking some classes through the mail just to get my feet wet. Plus I have lots of books on the subject. I am still reading most of them, but here are a few:

Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D.
This book goes into what natural medicine is, different ailments and what can be used, and includes info on modern research.

Indian Herbology of North America Alma R. Hutchens
This book has illustrations of each plant, where it is found and its uses by Native Americans compared to other cultures.

Prescription for Nutritional Healing Phyllis A Balch, CNC and James F Balch, M.D.
This book lists different ailments alphabetically and talks about how to take care of yourself using vitamins, minerals, herbs and food suppliments.

The Natural Guide to Medicinal Herbs and Plants (Barnes and Nobles book)
This book has beautiful color pictures of the plant, seed, and root of each of the herbs. It has a description and what they can be used for along with any important warnings.

Rodales Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs
Lists different herbs and all of their uses. Also goes into crafting and natural dying. There are some really beautiful pictures in this one.

Herb Gardening
This book tell how to garden with herbs. It has a picture of every herb in the book along with uses, variety and culture.

The New Age Herbalist Richard Mabey
This book is a great intro to herbal healing. It covers more than 200 herbs, with all the properties and traditional uses around the world. Tips on using them for housekeeping, skin care, and cooking. It also gives you a general understanding of how the different systems in the body work. There is a section on first aid. Then last but not least there is a section on growing that tells about the seeds of the plants, how to propogate and harvest each plant.
If you can't tell, this is my favorite right now. It covers everything really well for a beginner and gives you a good base to build on.

Sorry if I overwhelmed you. I was just looking at my bookshelves and they are full of gardening and natural healing books. I think I better sit down and start reading them more often. :) Mick

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Lyles, TN

Patty; In answer to your question of Ephedra, I have never grown it, I understand there are 2 species Chinese and Nevada. It might mould in our humidity here, LOL. Would like to hear from someone who has grown it for a period of time, though.
Ginseng, different story. It does well here! Wild ginseng sells for $150.00 a lb and up to $400.00. These would be plants 6, 8, maybe even 15 years old. Anyway, it all grows from seed. Technically you could root a plant, but it's hard to divide any tap-rooted plant. Take the seeds out of the berry, rinse away the pulp to get a higher percentage of first-year germination, some will still take 2 yrs to sprout. Plant in the shade, mulch with leaves, no fertilizer. Wait 6 years, easy!:)
But seriously, Patty, at these prices, I can't afford to take much Ginseng myself. Maybe when I get a little older, I'll need it! ;)

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This message was edited Wednesday, May 30th 2:33 AM

Lyles, TN

Patty~ Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. In answer to your fav herb book question, I have several older ones, many newer books are re-hashed older ones, anyway. Not to be overly sceptical, but we're talking about my health here, so if I see a boo-boo in a new book that I KNOW ain't right, the whole work is suspected of being ill-researched. (yes I know I'm off in the ditch here)
A large book, 5" thick, that I use a lot is called the Ency. of Health printed 1927. The chapter on drugs from that year only has a small inorganic list,(sulfur,alum,chloroform, etc) but pretty extensive list of plant materials w/medicinal properties, even veggies!
Did you know celery affects your rheumatism, for the good? Lemons were used to treat 27 diseases?
Tickles me to see common names for ailments tho, grippe,ague, felon, quinsy,
Also has explanation of the different "schools" of medicine. Today we have MD's, osteopaths chiropractors, naturopaths, back then they had hydropaths, eclectic physicians, plus a bunch more.
Then there's Mrs. Greive's herbal(it's on the 'net too.) There's some good new books too. You just have to draw your own (fuzzy) line between practical and New-age when it comes to herbs.

Durham, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

i always find feverfew leaves eaten between two slices of bread is great for a headache - tastes vile though :/

Lyles, TN

Lilith, you're right about that, but somehow bitter or just plain awful is the word most often used to describe real medicine. I use Goldenseal for several things including sore throat and allergies to pollen, and it's bitter as everything if you get it too strong! But it works. :)

(Zone 4b)

Lavendar, lavendar, lavendar - best for sleepy-heading, and general tension/relaxation. I always put it in a bath, or inside my pillowcase. It's also a good antiseptic, although I've only ever used the essential oil for that purpose, and it doesn't work nearly as well as Tea Tree.

Cave Spring, GA(Zone 7a)

Over the years, I've bought several books about medicinal herbs. My favorite is The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody. She lists several herbs, shows pictures of the parts that can be used, and then tells you what can be done with different parts. For example, for heartease or Johnny jump ups, she advises that aerial parts can be made into an infusion for skin disorders, a tincture for urinary problems, a poultice for skin sores or a cream for skin rashes. Then in the back of the book, she gives step by step instructions and good pictures on how to make infusions, decoctions, tinctures, syrups, infused oils, creams, ointments, powders, and poultices. Another thing that I usually check out in a medicinal herbal is rather or not it advises to drink comfrey tea. During the last few years it has been found that comfrey can cause damage to the liver if it is ingested. If a book advises to take comfrey internally, I don't buy it.

Lyles, TN

Merkat123~ I agree with you on Your "test" of an herbal. (the comfrey thing) I want any new book I buy to be above all an IMPROVEMENT on what I already have on the shelf. Besides, if you can't trust the one thing, then it spooks you on everything else. Thanks for the info re johnny jump-ups, I wondered if the medicinal properties were similar to other Violas, but hadn't checked it out yet....... :)

Durham, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

my mam has a copy of culpeper's herbal which is still valid today. check out the online version here :


Cave Spring, GA(Zone 7a)

Hi Ivey, You're right. If an author is wrong on some things, it makes me doubt the rest of his book. Two other authors who I would trust my life to are Steven Foster and James Duke. Both of them research their their works very carefully. Lilith, Penelope Ody is British also. She studied herbal medicine at the School of Phytotherapy in Sussex and the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China. Linda

This message was edited Thursday, Aug 16th 8:13 PM

Lyles, TN

Sis~ Hi, here's a good site for vet health stuff. At the very bottom is a link for human med. also.
Has every thing you would want to know about pets, farm animals, even zoo animals.

Thank you Ivey''Appreciate the link''Sis'

Durham, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

sis, silly question maybe, but how do you get your cats and dogs to eat garlic? and what other things do you give them to keep them healthy?

This message was edited Thursday, Aug 16th 8:14 PM

Durham, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

thanks for that sis, i will try my best...but my cats are very fussy!


You are very welcome lilith'

Gloucester, MA

Wormwood and Mugwort tea rocks!

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