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We have used the term 'garden pharmacy' simply because it seemed appropriate to us, as our first thought when things go slightly or radically wrong is 'what is in flower or fruit that I can use, right here and now that will solve or ease my problem'.

 

I must stress up front, that we are not herbalists, naturopaths or homeopaths and will not consult or advise on any medical issue or opinion.

All we are presenting here are our own case histories and the process and methods that we have have used to benificial effect.

There are no third party anecdotal stories that we are so tired of reading over and over as someone decides to copy and paste in an effort to seem informed.

 

We are in a unique position as growers of over 500 varieties of herb to have collected a reasonable amount of information on them as well as being pragmatic enough to simply walk away from an herb that in no way performed as advertised.

We do not make herbal preparations for anyone other than ourselves, so, if it doesnt work, we don't bother anymore and replace it with something that does.

 

The generally used approach towards selling plant based products is one of 'natural' but as many of you are quite aware, the process of extraction from the plant is anything but natural.

 

When you pick an herb and infuse it in cold water, or pluck an Aloe leaf and apply it to your skin, that is reasonably natural but these methods are only possible if the plant is growing at the right time of the year, is free from external contaminants and will allow whole use.

 

Most herbs need to have their theraputic bounty extracted with much effort.

Many herbs need drying and rehydration to break open the cell walls, some will only release their offering into alcohol or glycerine while others need to have the toxins leeched off before they are ready to be used by us.

 

Before using any herb it is important that you research it first with a critical eye.
Information on herbs is everywhere and about 2% of it is great information.
Always look for two or three opinions on the effective use of an herb before using it.
You also need to guage your personal tolerances to any substance.


People who are allergic to ragweed can also be allergic to herbs in the same Compositae family!
That naturally rules out herbs like chamomile and echinacea for them.
Also if you suffer with lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis, you should probably never take echinacea despite the marketing efforts of Herbal Remedy manufactures.

 

Most herbs work slowly and sometimes, they don't work at all, or only on some racially based genomes.
For instance, Horseradish is an herb that most people with a northern British genome can not only tolerate well but actually need for a fully functioning digestive system.
For many from the Indian subcontinent, it is the most effective irritant and can drive them crazy with toilet visits.


So, simply because an herb has a reputation for some use does not mean that it will or even should work for you.
Be discriminating.

 

It is also important to remember that some herbs are quite toxic.
Toxic, as opposed to poisonous.
Most poisonous herbs are only used in modern pharocological practices and have been left alone by mainstream herbalists for centuries.

Toxic herbs require special processing and professional administration and are definitely not for general household use.

 

As the Pharmaceutical industry slowly spreads into the provision of herbal medicines as well as their own cosmic concoctions, many known remedies are being standarized and potentized to a point where the original chemical composition of the plant is non-existant.
Separating the herbal compounds and rendering them as pharmaceuticals, means that the result is toxic in some cases and inert in others.
Either way, it works in their favour as they can either say' I told you so' or 'see,the old claims are just rubbish'.

 

Traditionally, herbs were taken as a medicinal tea.
This is not a quaint antiquated term but an accurate method of extraction for some plants.

An infusion.


 

Infusions are a steeped tea using the flowers, leaves or berries of a plant fresh or dried.


Decoction is necessary when the plant material is hard (bark and roots).
To decoct you need to boil the herb in water for a period of time - usually, but not always, 15 to 20 minutes.


Extracts can be done using alcohol/water mix or vinegar as the extraction liquid.


It is important to remember that many old recipes were created using not only the herbs to hand but also the materials that were available at the time.
So, often a recipe calls for vinegar simply because it was the closest thing to a spirit that was available at that point in history and geography.
It does not follow that being a 'traditionalist' means that the end result is better. Just closer to what it was when we did not have access to many products.


Syrups are decocted solutions with honey or sugar added to the boil to create a viscous mix.


Lotions, often no more than a wash with an herbal tea but now can be made using a base of water, glycerine, cetearyl alcohol, liquid paraffin, white soft paraffin, cetomacrogol, phenoxyethanol, methyl paraben, propyl paraben, commonly marketed as Sorbolene and easily available at the supermarket.


Ointments and Salves are usually the herbal extraction in a base of beeswax or lanolin, often made by slow simmering.


Poultices are another well known form of herbal treatment and still simply means wrapping the herb (usually in leaf form) in a absorbent fabric, bashing it about to crush and release the components and sometimes warming it up in hot water, and wrapping it around the aflicted area.


       
 
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