Category Archives: Natural Healing

Making Herbal Preparations 101 Mini-Course from Herbal Academy

Free Making Herbal Preparations 101 Course

Every time I treat myself to an herbal course at Herbal Academy I find myself rubbing my hands in glee. My latest experience, Making Herbal Preparations 101 Mini-Course, was no exception. I signed up during the free enrollment period in July. This course is scheduled to be re-released next year, so don’t despair if the link above takes you to another page.

I have to admit that herbalism in Mexico is challenging. I can’t just order herbs willy nilly from organic herb stores and have it delivered to my doorstop to brew, decoct or tincture in endless delight. Oh, no. That would be too easy. Instead, I have to painstakingly gather information and positively identify plants, flowers, and trees that I didn’t learn about growing up in the Eastern United States.

So, this drawn-out process in my adopted land has undermined some of my herbal concoction confidence. This is where I appreciated the Herbal Academy’s most recent course.

The course was divided into seven lessons. Each lesson had informative readings, printouts and easy to follow videos making this an excellent course for beginners.

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LESSON 1: EVERYDAY HERBAL PREPARATIONS

This lesson differentiated the different types of herbal preparations. There are water-based, sweet-based, oil-based and alcohol-based preparations. The type of solvent you use depends on the application and plant property need to treat whatever it is you are going to treat with herbs.

LESSON 2: EVERYDAY HERBS

Lesson two stressed the importance of treating herbs as medicine. This means knowing how to prepare the herbs, potential side effects, and the duration an herb can be safely administered. You should also know the health issues and life stage of the person taking the herb and any possible herb-drug interactions. Of course, you should also be cognizant of plants that could become toxic with extended use or those that resemble beneficial herbs.

I was delighted to learn that Western herbalism has a similar categorization process to the Mexican culture which sometimes confounds me. Energetics in herbs is based on temperature (cool or hot), moisture (wet or dry) and tension (relaxed or constricted) which in many ways is identical to the indigenous belief system found where I live. So a person with a dry cough would be given a moistening herb to aid the body in achieving balance.

LESSON 3: WATER-BASED HERBAL PREPARATIONS

Water-based herbal preparation is one that combines herbs and water. It could be a tea, wash, enema, infusion or decoction. A cup of chamomile tea prescribed as a sleep aid is an example of a water-based herbal preparation.

LESSON 4: SWEET-BASED HERBAL PREPARATIONS

Using honey as a base for creating an herbal preparation was the topic of lesson four. After all, a spoonful of sugar (in this case organic honey) helps the medicine go down.

LESSON 5: ALCOHOL-BASED HERBAL PREPARATIONS

Lesson 5 demonstrated the use of alcohol such as vodka, brandy, and gin to create herbal rubs, washes, and tinctures.

LESSON 6: OIL-BASED HERBAL PREPARATIONS

Oils can be used to create herbal infusions meant to be used externally or in cooking. Doesn’t rosemary-infused virgin olive oil sound simply delicious?

LESSON 7: EVERYDAY RECIPES

Lesson 7 provided basic preparation instructions for each of the methods presented in the course plus some delightful recipes including how to make a chickweed poultice, violet honey lemonade, fire cider and more. What a fabulous way to end the class.

Having gone through Herbal Academy’s Making Herbal Preparations 101 Mini-Course, I’ve gathered enough confidence to start decocting my own herbal medicine cabinet from locally harvested herbs.

Just so you know, the Herbal Academy is having a Back to School sale with savings up to 25% until September 16. With classes designed for beginners to advanced herbal aficionados, there’s something for everyone!

Herbal Academy Back to School Sale

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Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive by the Herbal Academy with Maria Noël Groves

Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive

Last week I finished Herbal Academy’s Herbs for ADHD, Cognition, and Focus Intensive with Maria Noël Groves. This course was part of the amazing Herbs and Essential Oils Ultimate Bundle that yours truly was also included in a few months back.

So here’s what I thought about this course. As expected, Herbal Academy did not disappoint! The lessons were presented by Maria Noël Groves who is a knowledgeable herbalist. The information was well-referenced and easy to understand, even for those of us that are not herbalists by profession.

The course was divided into three sections.

INTRODUCTION TO ADHD AND COGNITIVE HERBS
In lesson one, the focus was on ascertaining what ADHD is including causes, symptoms, brain function, and common medications. But that wasn’t all. The text and video component (which have downloadable PDFs and transcripts) highlight non-herbal lifestyle changes that have been shown to help those with concentration deficiency as well as an introduction to herbs used for cognitive support.

This was a fascinating section. While the focus was on ADHD, the material presented was also useful for brain fog, focus issues, memory and dementia prevention. Epigenetics was briefly mentioned which, coincidentally enough, is the subject of the book I’m currently reading The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton.

The herbs that have been found to be useful in treating cognitive issues were broken down into:

  • Nootropics, which are herbs that support cognition, memory, and the brain’s nervous system like rosemary.
  • Adaptogens that help the body adapt to stress such as Gotu Kola.
  • Nervine herbs support and nourish a healthy nervous system like lemon balm.
  • Circulation Enhancers support circulation to the brain such as Ginkgo.
  • Stimulants which increase brain and dopamine activity including coffee, chocolate and cacao, and green tea.
  • Calming Herbs that promote a calm-alert state like chamomile.

HERBAL MATERIA MEDICA FOR ADHD AND COGNITIVE WELLBEING
The second session was the meat and potatoes of the course. Here Maria discussed a number of herbs that can be used to shore up cognitive wellbeing, even with children. While many of these herbs are unavailable in Mexico, there were some that are already used in traditional herbal remedies here.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is limoncillo. This herb is used for coraje (emotional upset, anger) and the resulting gastrointestinal and hepatic problems. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is romero. In addition to treating gastrointestinal issues, rosemary is an excellent addition to any diet to prevent Alzheimer’s. Spearmint (Mentha spp.) otherwise known as yerba buena has been in use as a medicinal herb in Mexico since its introduction by the Spanish friars. Who can argue that any tea made from the mint family doesn’t make you more alert?

PUTTING IT TOGETHER – PROTOCOLS AND CASE STUDIES
The third lesson was a review of the material and included a chart with the uses and actions of herbs covered in the course. This lesson was designed more for herbalists or those looking to help people with tinctures, teas, and infusions made from the herbs discussed. There were even several case studies and Maria’s recommendations for each.

If you or someone you love has issues such as the lack of cognitive focus found in those diagnosed with ADHD or suffer from brain fog like I do at times with hypothyroidism, this is an excellent class for you to take.

Herbal Academy Back to School Sale

Right now, Herbal Academy is having their Back to School sale and all courses, including this one, are up to 25% off until September 16th making NOW an excellent time to enroll.

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Natural Healing –Granada

grananda

The granada (punica granatum) or pomegranate is yet another import from Spain. The tree that we planted about 8 years ago is finally starting to produce fruit. It does well in drought conditions typical to La Yacata.

I don’t know about you, but getting at those juicy seeds can be troublesome so I really appreciated this little video.

Granada is the require garnish for Chiles en Nogadas often served during the patriotic month of September.

Naturally, this delicious fruit has medicinal applications.

The bark and root of the granada have antifungal properties. They have traditionally been used against intestinal parasites and to treat, dysentery, and diarrhea.

To rid a body of tapeworms, 60 grams of granada root is boiled in a liter of water. Half is drunk before bed, the other half when you wake up. This is followed up with a 45-gram dose of castor oil. If the tapeworm is not expelled, the treatment can be repeated in a week.

A second herbal remedy for tapeworm is similar. One part root bark for each 10 parts water is soaked overnight. In the morning, boil it down 2 /3. Then, strain. Drink the concoction first thing in the morning before breakfast then 3 ½ cup doses at half-hour intervals. Repeat the process for 3 days. On the third day, take a good dose of castor oil.

A word of caution: Excessive amounts of the bark and root cause nausea and vomiting.

Never fear, other parts of the granada, including the fruit, will not cause such an adverse reaction. Some of it is quite tasty!

The rind of the granada contains three times as much polyphenols as the fruit, including condensed tannins, catechins, gallocatechins and prodelphinidins. It shows promise in treating diabetic nephropathy. The rind is anti-inflammatory and suitable for treating and preventing inflammations of the gastric tract and malaria.

A tea for stomach ailments is made by boiling a handful of the rind, jamaica (hibuscus flower), canela (cinnamon) and membrillo (quince)  in a liter of water for ten minutes. Cool and strain. Divide the dose into three glasses and drink at intervals throughout the day.

Traditional Mexican medicinal use also includes a gargle or mouthwash to treat swollen tonsils, canker sores and inflamed gums that is made from the boiled rind. A piece of raw rind placed directly on a sore will help dry it up too.

The fruit is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antioxidant. This bright red delicious edible has also been shown to be antidiabetic. A glass of pomegranate juice daily lowers hypertension and reduces atherosclerosis. It has properties that protect the kidney as well.

The juice is also effective in treating diarrhea. In Mexico, a mixture of juice and sugar is boiled and given to children a tablespoon at a time for treatment.

Oil extracted from the seeds have inhibitory effects on skin and breast cancers. Pomegranate seed oil has phytoestrogenic compounds and contains punicic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, and linoleic acid.

The leaves are also antibacterial and can be used to make a poultice to treat wounds. Leaf extract contains compounds that protect the brain from injury.

The flower has been used medicinally to improve insulin resistance in diabetics and is anti-inflammatory. The flowers are antimicrobial, antioxidant, analgesic and used in the treatment of mouth and stomach ulcers.

Now you have just a little something to think about next time you are nibbling some pomegranate!

 

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Natural Healing — Yerba Buena

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Yerba buena, (also spelled hierba buena) otherwise known as Spearmint, is yet another herb that came with the Spanish friars and was gleefully added to the indigenous medicinal herb garden. 

Curanderas (healers) add spearmint to make a concoction more palatable but it also has its own medicinal value.

To treat acid indigestion, gastritis, heartburn, and nausea steep dried or fresh yerba buena for 15 minutes. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature. Add limón and baking soda and drink as needed. Nausea caused by pregnancy tea is made from yerba buena flavored with canela (cinnamon). Nausea caused by a hangover calls for a tea made from a spoonful of yerba buena flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Intestinal inflammations are traditionally treated with an infusion of powdered root. Spearmint has a proven antispasmodic effect.

For the most part, yerba buena (good herb) is still used primarily to treat stomach ailments in Mexico, although the herb has other medicinal properties worth noting.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) has been shown to reduce pain for people who have osteoarthritis. The antioxidant properties protect the liver. Regular ingestion improves memory. Spearmint is effective in reducing anxiety and is antimicrobial. Infusions of spearmint have been traditionally used topically as a mild wound wash to reduce the chance of bacterial infections. A poultice of spearmint leaves and a little olive oil is sometimes used to treat burns.

It is both antiproliferative and antidiabetic. It has been effective in the treatment of Polycystic ovary syndrome and hirsutism. Yerba buena has often been used medicinally particularly digestive issues. It has been shown to have anti-obesity properties.

Yerba buena is often used to reduce flem. To make a tea for colds and flu, boil 10 grams of the leaves for each 1 / 2 liter of water. Tea for a headache is made with a sprig of fresh hierbabuena and a few romero leaves (rosemary).

Babies are given teaspoons weak tea made from yerba buena then they have hiccups and are teething. If a baby is colicky, basil, cempasuchil, eneldo (dill), fennel, senna, yerba buena, brook mint, rosa de castilla (rose) are combined in equal parts. Three fingers full (a good pinch) of the mix is steeped in a liter of water.

Yerba buena is a natural food preservative and can be used as an organic insecticide. It also prohibits the growth of certain fungi on plants.

Overall, yerba buena is a good herb to have on hand.

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