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Herbs - 1

Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine

Herbal medicine has been a neglected field in the United States for quite a few years.

It is important to understand that, most of the time, herbs should not be used as drugs, but as nutritive substances to stimulate certain tissues or organs. Their use is principally in cases of disease and is not usually appropriate for use in health. The reason for this is simply that the stimulus might eventually become a burden and begin to wear down the energies. Drugs, on the other hand, are always a burden and from the beginning wear down the life force. For this reason, they must not be taken without proper consideration of all aspects of their nature.

WHAT IS DISEASE

"Disease is an effort of nature to free the system from conditions that result from violating the laws of life. In case of sickness the cause needs to be ascertained. The question needs to be asked, "Have I done anything to bring this condition about?"

The laws of life need to be understood. After the cause has been discovered, we need to change the condition.

Disobedience to the laws of our nature brings about disease. Many are disturbed in mind which causes physical illness.

Understanding how to re-establish right conditions in the body so that the condition does not get worse is very important.

Disease never comes without a cause. The way has been prepared, disease invited, and through disobedience to the laws of life, disease is manifest.

Laws of Our Nature

The laws that control health utilize the simple things in a proper way. These are free to all and can be easily obtained if one puts forth a little effort. It involves getting pure air every day; sunlight; pure water; proper dress; correct posture; sound rest every night (and every day); peace of mind; temperance - abstaining from anything injurious, and using the good things with restraint; aerobic exercise (outdoors is best); proper diet; and trust in divine power.

Germs and viruses are not the primary factors in disease. When the body becomes weakened because of disobedience to the laws of health, germs take advantage of our weakness and attack us.

When we learn the laws of our bodies we will find that disease is caused by three factors:

  • Ignorance of the laws of life
  • Negligence of the rules of healthful living
  • Willful disobedience; living for pleasure instead of living for health

Dealing with sickness requires us to look at the whole person; the physical, mental, spiritual, and social areas. Now it gets clearer why we should not use herbs as drugs. Herbs fit mainly in the physical area, but the whole person needs attention.

Buchu is a diuretic and helps carry stones and gravel out of the kidneys and urethra.

Juniper berries have properties that help to relieve urinary tract pain.

Cleavers, corn silk work on the kidney area.

A hot tea acts more quickly. Usually for a tea, if it is powdered use a teaspoon per cup, but if it is in a cut and sifted form, use a tablespoon per cup, depending on the severity of the case.

When making pills use a binder to hold the powder together, 10 parts of the formula to one part of the binder. Slippery elm can be used as a binder.

To make a pill for a man who has pain in the bladder on urination, with bloody urine, some gravel, and a slight fever of infection, proceed as follows:

Use 3 parts of an antibiotic herb (perhaps goldenseal)
Use 2 parts of an herb for stones (perhaps gravel root)
Use 2 parts of a pain herb (perhaps juniper berry)
Use 1 part of a diuretic herb (perhaps buchu)
Use 1 part of a soothing herb (perhaps marshmallow root)
Use 1 part of an astringent herb (perhaps shepherd's purse)

  1. 10 parts total of active ingredients

Use 1 part of a binder (use slippery elm)
Put all the herbs together and pulverize in a blender or seed mill. Then mix with enough liquid to make a dough-like consistency. For the liquid, you may use a tincture of one of the herbs you have used, or you may use water. Mix a little liquid at a time to make the dough. Then roll the pills in your hand. Use about 1/8 teaspoon of the dough. Make the pills as large as the person can swallow. Put the pills on a cookie tray and bake at 200-250° for 15-30 minutes to completely evaporate the water or alcohol. The pill will bind as soon as it gets hot. The person needs to swallow about six pills. If they are hard to swallow, dip them one by one in olive oil and they will go down more easily.

An infusion is a tea made by putting the herb (leaf, blossom, or stem) in a container and pouring hot water over it, and letting it set for 15-30 minutes.

Roots and barks and seeds require a decoction, meaning you have to simmer for 15 to 45 minutes to extract the properties.

TINCTURE

Tinctures are usually made with a 30% alcohol base. To make a tincture to help enhance the immune system and have antibiotic properties, select echinacea, goldenseal, gotu kola. Use 5 parts echinacea because echinacea is the best immune enhancer known. Use 3 parts of goldenseal, 2 parts of gotu cola. Determine on paper which herb property to give the major and the minor roles. Echinacea was chosen as the major property. Weigh out the echinacea and then the goldenseal (a lesser major role than echinacea). The minor properties will be the stimulant, which will be gotu kola. Weigh these out to get 6 ounces of the herbs. Use a wide lid jar. Put the herbs into the jar and pour the alcohol over the mixture. Use a total of six ounces of herb to one pint of alcohol. It has to set for fourteen days in a cool, dark place. Twice a day you must shake it. After 14 days, take a funnel and pour into bottles. It is good indefinitely.

To get the alcohol out of the tincture: Take a cup of hot water, drop the amount of tincture you are going to use into the hot water, let it set for 5-10 minutes, and the alcohol will be evaporated.

For productive coughs with much mucus, mullein would be number one property, pleurisy root would be number two, and coltsfoot in the minor property. A catalyst would also be needed that would be a stimulant but also a sedative and carrier to the lungs, and lobelia would be a good choice. Depending on the severity of the patient, you can make a tea of this. It could be 3 1/2 parts mullein and 3 1/2 parts pleurisy root. You could take 1 1/2 of coltsfoot and 1 1/2 of lobelia for the other properties. If making a tea you would take 1 tablespoon per cup. This could be given 4-6 times a day.

Working with children: one third or one half the adult dose, one or two times a day.

Megadoses are needed at times because of the severity of the case.

Tinctures are only used for emergency medicines; they are strong medicines and normally are not used for general purposes.

Syrups

Most syrups use chickweed, licorice root, wild cherry bark, comfrey root, horehound, mullein, Irish moss, coltsfoot, fennel, and marshmallow root. Those herbs are very good in cough syrups.

How to make the syrup:

Add two ounces of herb or mixture of herbs to one quart of water (You can use one of the above herbs or a mixture of all of them; they are all good for the same basic purpose.). Simmer the herbs with the top of the kettle off to concentrate the properties. Simmer it until you get one half the amount. Strain that while warm and add 2-4 ounces of honey or vegetable glycerin to it. This is a preservative. Sometimes we like to add about 400 I.U. of vitamin E as the preservative will not allow it to go rancid. Make it for use within two days, as the herbs tend to lose their properties. Make the syrup every two days for irritation of the throat, stomach, etc. Simmering the liquid down to about half may take 4 or 5 hours to get a quart down to a pint. Most of the herbs are not leafy but are root or stalk types.

With a cough, the syrup is used to expel the mucus but mainly it cools down the inflammation. Licorice root, wild cherry bark, the comfrey root, and the Irish moss are more popular as they have a good flavor. Add a little fennel to it and strengthen one way or the other. Remember that you need 2 ounces of the mixture you use to one quart of water and simmer it down to one half the amount.

Liniment

Fluid herbal extract applied to the skin in cases of strained muscles, tender joints, as in arthritis, or inflammations of the joints or muscles.

How to make a liniment:

The essential oils, like wintergreen and eucalyptus, act as a carrier of the medicinal properties. They carry the herbal properties deep down into the tissues.

Example - liniment to help with pain:

1 ounce valerian
2 ounces of white willow bark
1 1/2 ounces wild lettuce
1 ounce of kava kava
1/2 ounce ginger
1 pint olive oil

Ginger is used because all the others are pain relievers and ginger is a stimulant or catalyst. This helps carry these properties quickly and lets them work better.

Using 1 pint of olive oil as your base (rubbing alcohol or vinegar can be used but tends to dry the skin), add 4 ounces of the dry herb mixture (either powdered or cut and sifted herbs), and submerge the mixture in the olive oil and let them set for 7-14 days. Shake it at least two times a day. As a fragrance and promoter of pain relief, add 10 drops of oil of wintergreen and 10 drops of eucalyptus oil. Put at least 200 I.U.s of vitamin E to the formula as a preservative. Keep in a cool dark place in an amber bottle.

Simple liniment can be made out of wintergreen and eucalyptus.

For massaging or muscle cramp areas, arnica liniment is good also. When an olive oil base is used it makes a very good liniment to relieve muscle spasms, etc.

SALVES

This salve should be kept on hand as it is great for rashes, infectious sores, athlete's foot, and psoriasis. Use one pound of herb or mixture of herbs to one and a half pounds cocoa butter or fat to four ounces of beeswax. The warmer the climate, the more beeswax needed. In the winter you won't need so much beeswax. Use vitamin E in the salve as a preservative.

Recipe:
  • 10 ounces of cocoa butter (coconut oil) in a kettle and warm until liquid.
  • Add 2 ounces of goldenseal, 2 ounces of echinacea, 1 ounce of calendula and 1 ounce of comfrey root mixture.
  • Put on low and simmer for four hours. The medicinal properties come out in the oil.
  • Take it off the fire, let the oil cool down completely. You then put it back on the fire and warm it up to a liquid again.
  • Strain the herbs out of the liquid oil.
  • Add 4 ounces of lanolin and 4 ounces of beeswax, cut up in slivers. It will mix with the oils. Then add 1 ounce Aloe vera oil.
  • Add 400 I.U.'s vitamin E to that mixture. Mix well.
  • Put the mixture into jars. This will keep up to six months.

Note: Marigold plants; use the leaves, stalks, and blossoms. Cut them up and use six ounces of that herb to a pint of rubbing alcohol. Let it set for 14 days, shake it twice a day and pour it up into small jars and store in a cool, dark place. It will kill ringworm within three days. Impetigo is also killed.

Boluses

Astringent herbs draw, antibiotic herbs kill germs, and demulcent herbs are soothers and healers. Make it the same way as a pill.

Take 10 parts of herbs and one part of slippery elm. Make each bolus a quarter or no more than a half inch in diameter and one inch in length. Roll them out and put them on a cookie sheet. Put it in the oven at 250° for 30 minutes or more, until they become completely dry.

You can also make these boluses for ovarian cysts. Some of the herbs that are used are white oak bark as an astringent herb, and sometimes witch hazel is used with this. Bayberry bark is also used, but witch hazel is the number one astringent herb. Slippery elm, in combination with flax seed, is excellent as a demulcent. Marshmallow root is also good, as is comfrey root. Remember the major and minor properties desired are astringent, antibiotic, or demulcent.

A pad must be worn to avoid staining clothing and linens. It needs to be worn through the night. Boluses are used as well as douches of white oak bark and goldenseal and myrrh, etc. This is a good treatment for endometriosis also.

Itchthammol is what is used most for endometriosis as well as for fibroids. It is a natural product. Make a bolus of it. You can use slippery elm as a binder with the ichthammol or you can make what is called a cloth bolus. Take cotton cloths, cut them into two inch strips that are a half inch wide and cut enough to make about a quarter of an inch thick. Stack them up on top of each other. Then take some clean string, tie it in the middle. The string should be at least 10-12 inches long. Submerge the tied stack of cloths in ichthammol. It will fold up, making a half an inch. Holding the string in one hand, insert the folded cloths against the cervix if possible. This is very good for endometriosis.

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