In the beginning of the recorded history of natural medicine and healing teas were 5000 years ago although medical plants were used earlier. Long before there were any written records there were healers. The healers of primitive times were priest and priestesses, the shamans and witch doctors, the medicine men and women were believed to be able to commune with the Great Spirit of the cosmos. They discovered by trial and error which plants were suitable as food and valuable medicinal qualities. The healing plants were dried and stored for use as needed. Medicinal plants and herbs were used to help the wounded and seriously sick, but were administered along with incantations, frenzied dancing and loud banging of the drums. (Does this sound familiar to anyone?) These activities were to attract the benevolent intervention of the Gods and drive away the negative spirits. The patients were at peace and rested well knowing that the healer had called forth there Gods on there behalf to intercede. So the Ancient healer ended up treating both the mind and the body. They were the original holistic physicians.
In current day, physicians are starting to study the ancient healing systems of both China and India. This is a continued practice of highly refined form of natural medicine that is completely compatible to the human body. Both China and India are based on the strong foundations of healing teas.
Skipping the rest of the history on other cultures and jumping straight to how herbal science went to medical science. The public has almost lost the old ways of medical teas and remedies. People are just now beginning to research the history of the herb and what it can do. Medical science has never lost sight of what Mother Earth has laid out for resources. Over 70 percent of today's drugs are derived from natural substance. Many of these have been used for millennia in the ancient healing system.
For example the drug digitoxin, used as a heart stimulant, comes from the common foxglove (digitalis purpurea). This drug must be used with great care and has many side effects. On the other hand foxglove tea has been used against heart disease for thousands of years. The opium poppy (Papaver somniferous) offers important pain relieving analgesics and narcotics, including morphine, codeine and thebaine, plus muscle relaxers and the age old treatment for diarrhea.
Long before aspirin existed various parts of the willow were used as anti-inflammatory agents and relief from pain. Years ago, scientist confirmed that the salicin derived from the willow family relieves pain, and reduce inflammation and lowers fever. The herbalists knew the properties of the willow and have used it ages before.
That was then and this is now. There are millions of species of plants on Mother Earth. Two thirds of all plant species flourish in the tropical rain forest, yet entire species are disappearing at alarming rates as civilization comes closer to the forest. Fifty thousand plants and animals are being lost each year. There are dedicated people working frantically to save specimens of threatened plants from disappearing rain forest. The National Cancer Institute reports 70 percent of the plants identified as useful in the Treatment of cancer are found only in the rain forest.
Fortunately we still have a wide variety of effective natural medicinal herbs available to us, including many that have survived since ancient times. There are many ways to use nature's medicines. No matter what method is employed, the idea is to release extract, and activate all the useful properties of the plant. For the most part that's accomplished with liquid. In other words, even poultices, and ointments start as teas.
A word of caution is never use tap water. There are too many chemicals in tap water that can interact with and alter the properties of healing tea. If you brew up a cup and find you don't like the taste of a particular tea, be aware that the addition of anything may interact chemically to change the properties of the brew. Even honey will affect the working quality of the tea, but if you simply must add something put a drizzle of honey in it.
INFUSION is term you might hear allot with teas. Infusion is just another name for tea. When you put a tea bag in a cup of hot water, you're making an infusion. This is the easiest and most common way of preparing a healing tea. If you are using loose herbs, the general rule of thumb is to use equal parts. Drink about a pint a day to bring beneficial energies into your life.
I hope you enjoyed the lessons on the herbs and May the Goddess blesses you with good health and happy crafting.
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