Suggestions for Use
As you seek to improve your health
, or help others in need of care, you make decisions based on experience, available information, and values. Our aim here is to educate, offering brief summaries of traditional uses for the plants, and highlighting some of the possibilities that have emerged in the research. Neither the traditional information nor the research findings are complete or perfect. No guarantees are possible for any kind of diagnosis, prevention, or treatment. Ultimately we all depend on plants
for food, and for maintaining the balance of the planet. The traditional view holds that the amazing diversity of plant foods and herbal allies that sustain and delight us are signs of the mysterious generosity of the universe.
Here are a few suggestions, as you explore healing with plants.
▪ Check in with your doctor or health care provider.
They’ll have their own biases, but don’t keep them in the dark about what you’re taking, especially if you’re adding herbs to medications they have prescribed for you.
▪ Be cautious!
Start with small amounts. What’s harmless for others may not be for you. Allergies to common plant ingredients, or to entire plant families, are not so rare. Pay attention to your responses to what you ingest—keeping a journal may help.
▪ Be consistent
enough with herbs intended for long term use to see if they help over time. Some herbs are best understood as special foods, safe dietary supplements.
▪ Avoid extended use
of herbs intended for short term programs (for instance, strong detoxification, or dealing with an active infection).
▪ Do your homework.
Your quest for information should not stop here! Use botanical names as you search, since different plants sometimes share identical or similar common names. Some of our favorite sources are listed below. Read everything critically!
All peer-reviewed journal studies are not equal. A Modern Herbal
, Maude Grieve’s 1931 compendiumCulpeper’s Herbal
,1653 English classic David Hoffman’s Herbal Materia Medica David Winston’s Resources Native American EthnobotanyThe Naturopathic HerbalistPubMed
, the National Institute of Health database