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The Healing Power of Herbs
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by Ruth Maddocks

"For every ailment on earth, there is a healing herb," so speaks the wise grandmother in Double Luck, a Chinese memoir written by a local Morro Bay restaurateur Lu Chi Fa. Our grandmothers did indeed know the herb for each of what ailed us, but with modern medicine, we've quickly turned our power to heal over to doctors and the pharmaceutical industry. For thousands of years, herbs have assisted in the healing process for a variety of problems such as the flu, colds, hay fever, headaches and hormonal balancing to name a few. Herbs help regulate and maintain the systems of the body and aid in preventing illness. Herbs work slowly but effectively in the body’s systems, but their effects are more subtle than medication. It is important to take them consistently over time, as this is the way that natural medicines work.  Some of the most commonly used medicinal herbs include calendula, elder berry and flower, hawthorn leaf and flower, burdock & dandelion root, ginseng, ginger, astragalus, gingko balboa, peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm and lavender.

lavenderHerbal teas are probably the most common form of taking herbs. Infusions are made by heating flowers and leaves and decoctions are cooked longer for roots and berries. Herbal teas are gentle and soothing and make a great daily regimen for improving our health. Tinctures are concentrated extracts usually made with alcohol to insure the maximum extraction and preservation of the herbs. Tinctures, when taken under the tongue, are assimilated directly into the blood stream so they are the strongest, most immediate herbal remedies that exist. Taken before meals, tinctures go directly into the bloodstream and are 5-7 times stronger than teas. The use of medicinal extracts and herbal teas are growing as people turn to more natural ways of healing.