How to Use Herbs for Health and Healing

How Herbs Work

Herbs regulate, cleanse, and nourish the human body. They may have specific effects on physical function, but herbs also nourish and balance many parts of the body at one time.

Why Use Herbs

Because they balance the body, herbs treat the cause of disease, not just the symptoms. When used with knowledge, herbs are far safer than most pharmaceutical drugs.

Infusions are teas made from aromatic herbs. Use fresh or dried herbs or tea bags. Add one tea bag (or one teaspoon dry herb) to a small tea pot. Pour boiling water over the herbs. Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes. Drink. Decoctions are teas made from woody plant parts such as barks and roots. Bring water to a boil. Add herbs, turn off heat, cover and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Do NOT boil herbs. Cool and drink. Tinctures are alcohol or vinegar extractions of herbs. They are more concentrated than teas and capsules (unless standardized) depending on their method of preparation. They can be taken alone, or added to teas, or used in poultices. Capsules/Tablets consist of dried herb material. They may consist of the unadulterated herbs OR they may be standardized according to the concentration of a particular ingredient. These herbs are to be taken internally. Poultices are external applications of fresh or dried (powered) herbs, made into a paste and applied on a piece of gauze directly to the skin. (Herbs in tea bags can be moistened and used as small poultices). Used to treat the skin and eyes. Essential Oils are highly concentrated extracts of aromatic plant oils. They are extremely potent. They can be used on the skin (diluted in a “fixed” oil), the scents inhaled (“aromatherapy”), in baths, poultices, and vaporizers.

General guidelines for dosing herbs (adults):

Teas: 1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon herb per cup water. 1-3 cups per day.

Tinctures: 30-40 drops, 2-4 times per day, taken in water.

Caps: 1-2 caps, 2-4 times per day.

Children’s dosages: (also use for frail seniors)

Child’s weight in pounds ÷ 150 pounds = fraction of adult dose