the search for answers to many illnesses people are
once again turning to nature. Plants that offer true
healing, without the side effects of man-made pharmaceuticals,
are being reconsidered.
The beauty of plant medicine is the fact that plants
are available to all of us. The 19th Century priest
Sebastian Kneipp stated, 'Many people die whilst the
herbs that could have cured them grow on their graves.'
The plants we need for healing are nearer to us than
we think. Here in Dorset we find medicinal plants
in abundance. As soon as you step away from exhaust
polluted roadsides, you find Yarrow, Comfrey, Meadowsweet,
Nettle, Dandelion, Burdock, Hawthorn, Cleavers, Lungwort
and Willow; to name but a few.
In many gardens you will find Peppermint, Lemon Balm,
Thyme, Garlic, Golden Rod, Mullein, Parsley and Fennel.
With these plants we have already a collection for
preventing and curing colds and flu, skin problems,
stomach upsets and indigestion. Among them are also
plants to strengthen liver and kidneys, lungs and
bronchi, and the heart.
Lemon balm is a pleasant remedy for curing insomnia.
Drinking Thyme tea helps to relieve a ticklish cough.
The basic way to use these remedies is as an infusion.
Chop one or two teaspoonfuls of Lemon Balm,Thyme or
Yarrow into a cup, pour boiling water over it and
leave to infuse for about ten minutes. Drink when
The hawthorn bush provides us with flowers in spring,
with leaves during summer and with berries during
It is a beautiful tasting tea that strengthens the
heart, helps to reduce blood pressure and improves
circulation in coronary arteries with no harmful
A tea made with meadowsweet will reduce and balance
stomach acid, reduce inflammation and thin the blood.
It must not be used when taking Warfarin or other
blood-thinning medication. Meadowsweet contains salicylic
acid. The blueprint of this chemical has been copied,
produced synthetically and is sold as Aspirin.
The most common side effect of this synthetic aspirin
is intestinal bleeding. However, if you drink a cup
of meadowsweet tea you would enjoy the benefits of
natural salicylic acid but without the adverse reactions.
The secret lies in the fact that a plant contains
not just one chemical but a group of compounds.
Meadowsweet also contains tannins and mucilage, which
protect the lining of the intestine. The future of
many medicinal herbs is threatened by European legislation,
which intends to impose quality and safety guidelines.
Quality and safety are of paramount importance but
the reality of these guidelines will lead to the loss
of many medicinal herbs whose efficacy has not been
established by Double Blind Studies.
The value of many of these herbs is based on anecdotal
evidence gathered over not hundreds but thousands
For the sake of human health, the range of plant medicine
should be extended and researched, not restricted.
The more plants a herbalist can use safely, the better
the chances of curing illness, without creating new
conditions in the form of side effects.
The knowledge about plant medicine must be kept alive,
handed on and applied. If this knowledge disappears,
we will become more and more dependent on pharmaceutical