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10 Essential Herbs
10 Essential Herbs
Description
About the Author

Lalitha Thomas is an educator and consultant who began her practice with herbs as a child, caring for sick and wounded animals. For over thirty years she has studied and tested her applications with clients and friends, and trained hundreds of students in her herbal “magic.”

Foreword

A decade ago, the author of this book contacted me by mail. At that time, I wondered about her single name (Lalitha is the author’s legal, one-word, and preferred name, although for ease of listing we have attached the second name, Thomas, to this publication. – Editor.) and the term she kept using. “Herbistry,” which for me was tantamount to having one of my students run his or her fingernails across a chalkboard. But I gave her the information she wanted and heard no more from her until now.

Some things still haven’t changed. But a lot else has. She still goes by one name only, and likes to drag her fingernails across the black-board: “herbistry” keeps popping up throughout her book. But aside from this, her extensive knowledge relative to the botanicals she has elected to write about is quite impressive to say the least. If I, as a respected medical anthropologist and author of numerous books on medicinal plants myself, have used the logo “give dignity to weeds” to describe my work, then she is entitled to the handle “someone who gives plants personality and feeling!”

It shows in how as well as what she writes about. These various herbs come alive on the pages, colored not only by her own sensitivities, but also fully endowed with the dynamic energy of her very capable expertise. Lalitha has no sheepskin diploma from the usual North American herbal correspondence school (of which there are several). But she has graduated from the hills and dales, forests and mountains, and meadows and prairies of Mother Nature U. These were the classrooms in which she studied ardently and diligently, applying herself well to the tasks at hand.

In clear and concise terms she takes the guesswork out herbs. Under her reliable tutelage even the most novice users of botanicals will soon become qualified enough to use those she covers in a safe and effective way. That is saying a lot considering just how many other herb books are out there at present. Even myself, who can claim an even three dozen books on the same topic to date, must reluctantly admit that I’ve had my share of “dogs” along the way. But for Lalitha, this being her first book, it’s true winner in every sense of the word! A reliable gem for consumers to place confidence in, and a marketing reward for the publishing house which decided to issue her work.

My congratulations to you Mr. Thomas (yes, she does have a last name) on a job well done! Botanical medicine in this country will benefit from your book for years to come.

Introduction

ATTENTION READER! If you are a skimmer who avoids Introductions, you will want to make an exception in this case. There are some important opinions here (all time) about the nature of the material in this book, that will definitely help any hopeful, do-it-yourself home herbalist to proceed with confidence and the proper mood.

HOW IT ALL STARTED TASOLEI began in my early twenties experimenting with herbistry while in college. That put me in touch with large group of people almost every day. All of us, strangers and friends alike, seemed to get ill and stressed out frequently, and we automatically responded either by going to a doctor (if we had funds), or riding out the health storm on our own (if we had no funds). In either case the typical colds and flu seemed to last the same amount of time re-occur at all-too-familiar intervals.

I was specially frustrated with the money spent and the lack of real results gained from allopathic health care.

One winter a nasty flu started knocking my friends out by the class-loads, and many of us were losing much-needed work hours. I was in the mood to do something definitive for my own health, especially something that was not the usual allopathic approach. So I went to a local herb stone an bought small packets of three well-known healing herbs – goldenseal, myth, and Cayenne. I had read a lot about these herbs and felt confident that my first serious experiment would be a success. What I lacked in knowledge at that time (since I had not yet begun my serious apprenticeship as an herbalist) I made up for in enthusiasm. Beside, I was a little desperate, feeling ill from the usual flu symptoms of fever, body ache, nausea, congestion and intestinal upset.

I mixed the herb powers together and began taking half-teaspoon doses in a little water every three hours or so. It tasted very bitter (and was hot from the Cayenne) but I didn’t let that stop me and it was a good thing too, because I started feeling better by the end of the first day and I noted that, in any case, this was a much faster response than the usual medicines produced.

The next day I felt so good that I decided to try out the formula on my friend Bob who had the same symptoms. I gave him a packet of the mixture and told him how to take it, without bothering to tell him what it was. Just like me, he also began feeling much better by the end of the first day. When he took some of the powders to work and began giving them out to sick buddies, they too got the same results and some even suspected that my friend was giving out illegal drugs!

One friend finally asked what this seemingly magical potion was. Because I felt a little mischievous I pretended to have a secret family herbal formula, and declared that the ingredients couldn’t be divulged. Yet no one believed me, and I kept hearing rumors all around campus and at various work places about a miracle drug powder.”

A week later when Bob returned to ask more powders, I found out he was selling my remedy to his work partners for a fee befitting a “secret miracle drug.” Even at a high price it was substantially cheaper than the usual fees for doctors and prescriptions that buyers were used to, and it seemed to work much better too.

All though this experiment was unscientific, the results were widespread enough to cause me to investigate herbistry further. It was a great feeling to have successfully taken my health into own hands, and I wanted to find out more about how it all worked.

In my 15 years as a professional herbalist (I didn’t start counting until I Kent what I was doing), I have learned the medicinal uses of dozens of plants from whatever climate I found myself in, from New England to Arizona. I have owned my own herbal remedy company, called Weeds of Worth, which marketed formulas I prepared myself. I have taught and lectured about herbs and their uses to hundreds of students and professionals, and have herbalized myself and others in first-aid offices, kitchens, at the scene of highway accidents, in classrooms, forests, deserts, foreign countries, and on restaurant floors. I have seen people and pets of all ages and descriptions with health needs from life-threatening to humorous be helped substantially with herbistry. (Am I sounding like the proverbial snake-oil salesman yet?) Though all this adventure I have found that there are Ten Essential Herbs that can take care of almost any of the usual health needs that arise in daily life and travels.

These Ten Essential medicinal herbs are, for the most part, readily available anywhere in the world, from American grocery stores to the open-air markets of India or Mexico. So even if you find yourself in a remote village in Nepal and need help for infected bug bites, food poisoning, colds, flus, cuts, scrapes, foul moods or whatever – you can almost always find some of the Ten Essential Herbs and be back on the trip in good shape. At home the Ten Essentials can be kept on unprepared in these matters, you may be amazed to find out how many of the Ten Essentials are already in their spice cabinet or refrigerator.

Limiting the choices of herbs to the Ten Essentials makes this approach to health and beauty-care a simple and practical one. Like many of my students, you may have been intimidated about learning any herbistry in the past because of a fear of being overwhelmed with the sheer number of herbal choices offered in most herb books, seminars and lectures.

Another hesitation about learning to use herbs for health stems from our upbringing in a culture that emphasizes the allopathic medical model and the “giving over” of health care to professionals who, we are taught, are always more “in-the-know.” (Any trip to a pharmacy in my growing-up-years, especially if I were ill, tended to reinforce in me the idea that there were simply too many choices among all those pills, powders, lotions, liquids, etc. for me to be trusted with. It seemed clear that handling my own health was an impossibly complex and possibly dangerous thing – and what could I know about it anyway?) these learned health attitudes persist and often show up particularly strongly when we first entertain the idea of learning a little self-help herbistry.

Ten Essential Herbs is based on the holistic approach to health care – one which views individual symptoms in relationship to the whole bodily system. The allopathic medical model, on the other hand, uses a specific drug to suppress or alleviate a specific symptom while often ignoring the need to balance the body systems as a whole. For example, a painkiller is commonly prescribed for a headache, regardless of its cause. In herbistry we would look to discover whether the headache was caused by indigestion or a congested liver, etc. We would use herbs to relieve the congestion or balance the digestion, thus quickly relieving the headache without undesirable side effects.

The approach I take in my system of Ten Essential Herbs is simple enough for children to use. Children have been a particularly inspiring group of students for me. I have worked extensively with teaching them how to begin identifying and using the medicinal plants that grow in their own back yards. Insect bites, scrapes and bumps are quite common, and children love the feeling of confidence they get from knowing how to handle these situations as a part of their daily activities rather than as a big scary problem. Even a two-year-old toddler can learn to tape a slice of Onion onto an insert bite or bruise, or to get out the People Paste (a powdered herbal mixture; see People Paste Appendix A) an mix a bit for a cut or small burn.

Contents
Forewordiii
Introductionv
How To Use This Book
Chapter 1 :General “How-To” of Herbistry1
Chapter 2 :Cayenne31
Chapter 3:Chaparral59
Chapter 4 :Cloves97
Chapter 5 :Comfrey117
Chapter 6 :Garlic153
Chapter 7 :Ginger201
Chapter 8 :Onion225
Chapter 9 :Peppermint245
Chapter 10 :Slippery Elm269
Chapter 11 :Yarrow297
Appendix A :People Paste327
Appendix B :Honey333
Appendix C :Resource List335
Appendix D :Herb Buyer’s Guide338
Appendix E :Travel Kit Guide340
Appendix F :Echinacea342
Appendix G :General Use Chart354
Index358

10 Essential Herbs

Item Code:
IDL048
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2003
Publisher:
ISBN:
8124203989
Size:
8.5" X 5.6”
Pages:
383
Price:
$26.00   Shipping Free
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About the Author

Lalitha Thomas is an educator and consultant who began her practice with herbs as a child, caring for sick and wounded animals. For over thirty years she has studied and tested her applications with clients and friends, and trained hundreds of students in her herbal “magic.”

Foreword

A decade ago, the author of this book contacted me by mail. At that time, I wondered about her single name (Lalitha is the author’s legal, one-word, and preferred name, although for ease of listing we have attached the second name, Thomas, to this publication. – Editor.) and the term she kept using. “Herbistry,” which for me was tantamount to having one of my students run his or her fingernails across a chalkboard. But I gave her the information she wanted and heard no more from her until now.

Some things still haven’t changed. But a lot else has. She still goes by one name only, and likes to drag her fingernails across the black-board: “herbistry” keeps popping up throughout her book. But aside from this, her extensive knowledge relative to the botanicals she has elected to write about is quite impressive to say the least. If I, as a respected medical anthropologist and author of numerous books on medicinal plants myself, have used the logo “give dignity to weeds” to describe my work, then she is entitled to the handle “someone who gives plants personality and feeling!”

It shows in how as well as what she writes about. These various herbs come alive on the pages, colored not only by her own sensitivities, but also fully endowed with the dynamic energy of her very capable expertise. Lalitha has no sheepskin diploma from the usual North American herbal correspondence school (of which there are several). But she has graduated from the hills and dales, forests and mountains, and meadows and prairies of Mother Nature U. These were the classrooms in which she studied ardently and diligently, applying herself well to the tasks at hand.

In clear and concise terms she takes the guesswork out herbs. Under her reliable tutelage even the most novice users of botanicals will soon become qualified enough to use those she covers in a safe and effective way. That is saying a lot considering just how many other herb books are out there at present. Even myself, who can claim an even three dozen books on the same topic to date, must reluctantly admit that I’ve had my share of “dogs” along the way. But for Lalitha, this being her first book, it’s true winner in every sense of the word! A reliable gem for consumers to place confidence in, and a marketing reward for the publishing house which decided to issue her work.

My congratulations to you Mr. Thomas (yes, she does have a last name) on a job well done! Botanical medicine in this country will benefit from your book for years to come.

Introduction

ATTENTION READER! If you are a skimmer who avoids Introductions, you will want to make an exception in this case. There are some important opinions here (all time) about the nature of the material in this book, that will definitely help any hopeful, do-it-yourself home herbalist to proceed with confidence and the proper mood.

HOW IT ALL STARTED TASOLEI began in my early twenties experimenting with herbistry while in college. That put me in touch with large group of people almost every day. All of us, strangers and friends alike, seemed to get ill and stressed out frequently, and we automatically responded either by going to a doctor (if we had funds), or riding out the health storm on our own (if we had no funds). In either case the typical colds and flu seemed to last the same amount of time re-occur at all-too-familiar intervals.

I was specially frustrated with the money spent and the lack of real results gained from allopathic health care.

One winter a nasty flu started knocking my friends out by the class-loads, and many of us were losing much-needed work hours. I was in the mood to do something definitive for my own health, especially something that was not the usual allopathic approach. So I went to a local herb stone an bought small packets of three well-known healing herbs – goldenseal, myth, and Cayenne. I had read a lot about these herbs and felt confident that my first serious experiment would be a success. What I lacked in knowledge at that time (since I had not yet begun my serious apprenticeship as an herbalist) I made up for in enthusiasm. Beside, I was a little desperate, feeling ill from the usual flu symptoms of fever, body ache, nausea, congestion and intestinal upset.

I mixed the herb powers together and began taking half-teaspoon doses in a little water every three hours or so. It tasted very bitter (and was hot from the Cayenne) but I didn’t let that stop me and it was a good thing too, because I started feeling better by the end of the first day and I noted that, in any case, this was a much faster response than the usual medicines produced.

The next day I felt so good that I decided to try out the formula on my friend Bob who had the same symptoms. I gave him a packet of the mixture and told him how to take it, without bothering to tell him what it was. Just like me, he also began feeling much better by the end of the first day. When he took some of the powders to work and began giving them out to sick buddies, they too got the same results and some even suspected that my friend was giving out illegal drugs!

One friend finally asked what this seemingly magical potion was. Because I felt a little mischievous I pretended to have a secret family herbal formula, and declared that the ingredients couldn’t be divulged. Yet no one believed me, and I kept hearing rumors all around campus and at various work places about a miracle drug powder.”

A week later when Bob returned to ask more powders, I found out he was selling my remedy to his work partners for a fee befitting a “secret miracle drug.” Even at a high price it was substantially cheaper than the usual fees for doctors and prescriptions that buyers were used to, and it seemed to work much better too.

All though this experiment was unscientific, the results were widespread enough to cause me to investigate herbistry further. It was a great feeling to have successfully taken my health into own hands, and I wanted to find out more about how it all worked.

In my 15 years as a professional herbalist (I didn’t start counting until I Kent what I was doing), I have learned the medicinal uses of dozens of plants from whatever climate I found myself in, from New England to Arizona. I have owned my own herbal remedy company, called Weeds of Worth, which marketed formulas I prepared myself. I have taught and lectured about herbs and their uses to hundreds of students and professionals, and have herbalized myself and others in first-aid offices, kitchens, at the scene of highway accidents, in classrooms, forests, deserts, foreign countries, and on restaurant floors. I have seen people and pets of all ages and descriptions with health needs from life-threatening to humorous be helped substantially with herbistry. (Am I sounding like the proverbial snake-oil salesman yet?) Though all this adventure I have found that there are Ten Essential Herbs that can take care of almost any of the usual health needs that arise in daily life and travels.

These Ten Essential medicinal herbs are, for the most part, readily available anywhere in the world, from American grocery stores to the open-air markets of India or Mexico. So even if you find yourself in a remote village in Nepal and need help for infected bug bites, food poisoning, colds, flus, cuts, scrapes, foul moods or whatever – you can almost always find some of the Ten Essential Herbs and be back on the trip in good shape. At home the Ten Essentials can be kept on unprepared in these matters, you may be amazed to find out how many of the Ten Essentials are already in their spice cabinet or refrigerator.

Limiting the choices of herbs to the Ten Essentials makes this approach to health and beauty-care a simple and practical one. Like many of my students, you may have been intimidated about learning any herbistry in the past because of a fear of being overwhelmed with the sheer number of herbal choices offered in most herb books, seminars and lectures.

Another hesitation about learning to use herbs for health stems from our upbringing in a culture that emphasizes the allopathic medical model and the “giving over” of health care to professionals who, we are taught, are always more “in-the-know.” (Any trip to a pharmacy in my growing-up-years, especially if I were ill, tended to reinforce in me the idea that there were simply too many choices among all those pills, powders, lotions, liquids, etc. for me to be trusted with. It seemed clear that handling my own health was an impossibly complex and possibly dangerous thing – and what could I know about it anyway?) these learned health attitudes persist and often show up particularly strongly when we first entertain the idea of learning a little self-help herbistry.

Ten Essential Herbs is based on the holistic approach to health care – one which views individual symptoms in relationship to the whole bodily system. The allopathic medical model, on the other hand, uses a specific drug to suppress or alleviate a specific symptom while often ignoring the need to balance the body systems as a whole. For example, a painkiller is commonly prescribed for a headache, regardless of its cause. In herbistry we would look to discover whether the headache was caused by indigestion or a congested liver, etc. We would use herbs to relieve the congestion or balance the digestion, thus quickly relieving the headache without undesirable side effects.

The approach I take in my system of Ten Essential Herbs is simple enough for children to use. Children have been a particularly inspiring group of students for me. I have worked extensively with teaching them how to begin identifying and using the medicinal plants that grow in their own back yards. Insect bites, scrapes and bumps are quite common, and children love the feeling of confidence they get from knowing how to handle these situations as a part of their daily activities rather than as a big scary problem. Even a two-year-old toddler can learn to tape a slice of Onion onto an insert bite or bruise, or to get out the People Paste (a powdered herbal mixture; see People Paste Appendix A) an mix a bit for a cut or small burn.

Contents
Forewordiii
Introductionv
How To Use This Book
Chapter 1 :General “How-To” of Herbistry1
Chapter 2 :Cayenne31
Chapter 3:Chaparral59
Chapter 4 :Cloves97
Chapter 5 :Comfrey117
Chapter 6 :Garlic153
Chapter 7 :Ginger201
Chapter 8 :Onion225
Chapter 9 :Peppermint245
Chapter 10 :Slippery Elm269
Chapter 11 :Yarrow297
Appendix A :People Paste327
Appendix B :Honey333
Appendix C :Resource List335
Appendix D :Herb Buyer’s Guide338
Appendix E :Travel Kit Guide340
Appendix F :Echinacea342
Appendix G :General Use Chart354
Index358
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