I have been on a journey this past year and have been studying herbalism at Herbal Wisdom Institute in Prescott Valley. My instructor and founder of the school is Kris Vaughan. She has been an inspiration to me. Her passion for herbalism has been life changing. If you would have told me a year ago that I would be talking to plants and asking them for their medicine, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Herbalism is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the use of crude plant material such as leaves, flowers, fruit, seeds, stems, wood, bark, roots, rhizomes or other plant parts, which may be entire, fragmented or powdered. The term herbalism refers to the long historical use of these medicines to support the healing function of the body. Because of the long tradition of using botanicals to promote health, the use of herbs is well established and widely acknowledged to be safe and effective.
I have learned about plants/botany, essential oils and aromatherapy, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, flower essences, culinary herbs, honey and the process of making herbs into tinctures, teas and more. The power of the plant is so amazing. I have actually talked with the plants while on hikes and in my own backyard. I have studied woman’s health, men’s health, infants’ and children’s health, as well as the respiratory system, immune system, cardiovascular system and digestive system.
Herbalists come in many varieties: practitioners, growers, wild crafters, medicine-makers, manufacturers and/or teachers. Whatever path an herbalist chooses, he or she retains a core belief in the power of plants and a love of nature and the environment. Herbalists embrace the recognition that God created this planet just for us and the plants for our use. My passion focuses on the culinary herbs. I love cooking with herbs and celebrating that delicious food also supports the immune system. Hippocrates was to thank for the famous quote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” which was translated to “food is medicine.”
Here are a few of my favorite herbs and their actions:
Basil (Basilico) Occimomum basilicum
Many naturopathic doctors prescribe basil in treatment of diabetes, respiratory disorders, allergies, impotence and infertility. This may be because basil contains cinnamanic acid, which has been found to enhance circulation, stabilize blood sugar and improve breathing in those with respiratory disorders.
Rosemary (Rosmarino) Rosmarinus officinalis
The herb has been hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties. Rosemary was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system and promote hair growth. Another great member of the mint family.
Garlic (Aglio) Allium sativum
The healing properties of garlic are wide and varied, ranging from antioxidant, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties to cancer-fighting and immune-boosting activity. Because of its healing properties, raw garlic has been used as a medicinal plant to prevent— and in some cases treat or even heal — various health complaints. Although almost anyone can benefit from eating garlic, those who are looking for a natural way to reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, asthma attacks, bouts of cold or flu, abnormal hair loss or some skin conditions are likely to reap the most health benefits by regularly eating garlic. This is a natural wonder drug.
Tumeric – Curcuma longa
It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. It is antiviral, antidepressant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and has many other actions. This herb supports and can prevent: cancer, candida, Alzheimer’s disease, eye disorders and many other conditions. I love it in coconut milk with a little honey and black pepper. My coconut latte.
How many of you are backyard gardeners and enjoy the taste of fresh picked produce and herbs? Perhaps you visit the Prescott Farmer’s Market weekly and purchase herbs and produce there.
I have an herb garden at our office. Please do come in and see it at 119 Garden St. We are one block South of Prescott College off Gurley St. I have culinary herbs, floral herbs and more. My learning curve has taken an amazing jump into how I can help my family members, clients, friends and community members with their health and wellness needs. This service will be another great addition to The Natural Healing Garden Wellness Center. Massage Therapy is our prominent modality along with other great services. QCBN
By Debbie Maranville
Debbie Maranville is the co-owner of The Natural Healing Garden Wellness Center.