*Where to Find Really Useful Herbal Medicine Information*
By: Gottin_Himmel
29 June 2019

People seem to be rediscovering natural remedies again. These things go through phases, and the last period of popularity was 20 or 25 years ago.

I think today's resurgent interest in herbalism has a lot to do with a pervasive unease in America and other countries. Fear of societal collapse, civil unrest, economic chaos or war—there is something in the air. And a lot of people are making a good decision to get some training and take back control of a portion of their fates.

There is a lot of herbal lore in print and online these days. Some of it is well researched, but much is regurgitated from small self-published ebooks and repackaged into yet another ebook. For $9.95, you aren't going to get a comprehensive education in herbal medicine.

Internet "herbalists" are known for promoting their favorite plants and products. Others advance any theory you can imagine. There are few who will provide guidance in evaluating the claims and accuracy of the material.

I have been interested in herbal medicine for about 30 years. I wouldn't call myself an herbalist, but I've read a lot. Back in the pre-Internet days, there were some really good books written on the subject. There were just as many pippy-poo tomes extolling the decorative possibilities of lavender and tansy. Lace-embellished sachets and potpourris were "things."

I took my first formal herb class in 1990, taught by a 70-something herbalist who started her own training in 1940 under the guidance of an old-time physician. There was no discussion of potpourri, only practical recipes and therapies to treat nutritional imbalances and chronic pain from imperfectly healed injuries.

I base my own recommendations on the wisdom I gained from the late Evelyn Snook of Mifflin County, Pennsylvania.

Take one or several hands-on herb classes if they are available in your area. Learn to do everything from harvesting herbs at the right time to making a tincture. Find more-advanced classes on matching herbs to specific health conditions—and when not to use them.

Avoid the pricey boutique-type weekend seminars, especially if they tout the astounding properties of a single herb. Soaps, salves and teas containing the featured herb will probably be for sale afterward—at a marked-up price. Run if there are potpourris for sale.

Visit websites such as Mountain Rose Herbs for hard-to-find ingredients and educational recommendations. I am not affiliated with the company, but have found it to be reputable.

Consult the American Herbalists Guild's website. They aren't trying to sell anything. The guild provides straight information on reputable educational courses. You may or not be interested in formal accreditation for its own sake, but a sound educational background can only help if you find yourself serving as nurse, doctor and pharmacist for your family, group or neighborhood.

Evaluate YouTube-based "educational" videos carefully. I'm sure there are reputable educators on the site, but most channels I have viewed tend to be pushing a single herbal product—which you can buy by clicking on an included link. I tend to pass right by those videos featuring wholesome earth-mother types wearing ruffled calico dresses. They are trying too hard, and confuse "marketing" with "believability." Except for these women:

Take more than one class. Read more than one book. These are real medicines that require careful and knowledgeable handling. I wouldn't trust any doctor who read a couple ebooks and hung out his shingle.


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