Monday, September 22, 2014
Lately I'm trying to learn what I can about making home remedies. For serious ailments, I stick with doctors. I would not, for example, try to treat an asthma attack with herbs, and one of my boys has epi-pens at the ready at home and at school for his peanut allergy. But for common complaints that drugstore medicines, in my experience, don't really help (trouble falling asleep, a worn down immune system, a cough in the night), I'm looking into the hedgerows and fields. I'm starting out simply and carefully, with easy remedies like chamomile and elderberry syrups, rasberry leaf tea, lavender compresses and hawthorn berry leathers.
When I first started looking to see what medicinal plants grow around me, I was thrilled at the sight of the ubiquitous purple flowered thistles everywhere-"I'll never buy milk thistle extract again!" I thought. But upon more careful inspection of the plants I'd seen, I realized that they weren't milk thistle at all. Similarly, cow parsley and deadly hemlock look very similar. So I'm using lots of caution as I go. It'll likely take me many seasons of watching the flowers, berries and leaves around me come and go before I try anything more advanced than an simple tincture or decoction. But it's exciting to realize just how much healing power is out there, every year, in those humble hedgerows.