As you are interested in herbal medicine, you should learn as much as possible about the type of soil in which plants thrive, the colour of the flowers, the number of petals, and so on. This study of plants is termed Botany. There have been many books written on Botany, perhaps you could borrow some of them from your local Public Library. Try to read as many of these books as possible and any books dealing with Herbal medicine that are in the Library.
You might purchase some books dealing with Wild Flowers, armed with these you could venture out plant hunting, and see if you can identify some of the plants that are described and illustrated within these books. You could concentrate on many of the herbs that occur within these articles Even if you live within a town or city, it is surprising the number of wild flowers you will find, some growing within cracks in kerbstones and paving slabs, and brick walls where the mortar is decaying. There are of course, public parks, botanical gardens, museums of natural history and local plant nurseries. These are all worth a visit. There is of course the open countryside.
Should you visit a local nursery or nurseries, you might decide to purchase several herbs to study closely. You could keep them in pots on a windowsill within your house. As you are commencing on the first steps of a career in Herbal Medicine, it might prove rewarding to purchase a number of medicinal herbs, especially if you have a garden. Sometime in the future you may be faced with a medical emergency and some of these herbs might be of use in the healing formula. Every month or two you might purchase another herb or two or, you might wish to grow them from seed. Each year you would be able to harvest your own medicinal herbs. When thoroughly dried you could keep them in glass jars in a cool, dry, dark cupboard.
There may be other ways of learning about plants, for instance, there may be evening classes at a local school or civic centre, and these might be conducted by a local botanist. Such a course usually includes field trips. Such trips consist of going into the countryside and finding the plants. Your tutor, if he sees that you are very keen to learn, may be prepared to assist you when the classes have finished, and he or she may know some of the medicinal properties of the plants.
Good luck in your study of Herbal Medicine. The Actions listed below of Herbs will be learned as you progress in your studies.
Some definitions within Herbal Medicine
This is a system of Medicine that relies on non-poisonous plants as the source of its healing remedies. It was the major system of medicine throughout the World prior to the Industrial Revolution. Today, it is classed as an alternative healing therapy to the orthodox allopathic medicine (chemical drug medicine). Todays Herbal Practitioners use remedies that have been tried and tested over thousands of years. Herbal remedies are used to strengthen and stimulate the vital force, to counteract disease, unlike orthodox medicine, which is used to attack directly the symptoms of disease. The term herbal medicine is used to denote the professional practice of herbalism within the United Kingdom and is officially recognised in the Medicine’s Act of 1948. However, there is no official State Registration in force at the time of writing. Practitioners of Herbal Medicine use both modern and traditional systems of diagnosis.
This is a term used mainly upon the Continent of Europe and is being used more frequently in the United Kingdom and the United States. It is virtually the same in meaning as Herbal Medicine.
Botanic Therapy can mean exactly the same as the preceding definitions. However, it can also be interpreted in the following way. Botanic Medicine can be a mixture of Herbal and Homoeopathic Medicine. In this system, the Homoeopathic portion of Botanic medicine, is composed of potentised plant medicines, that are in the main poisonous plants. Potentisation dilutes the plants to the degree where the poisonous principle of a plant is harmless. A study of Homoeopathic law is necessary to understand how that system works. Botanic therapy is more effective than plain herbal therapy.
Actions of Herbs
An agent that induces, or causes abortion, or causes a premature expulsion of the foetus.
An agent used to produce absorption of exudates or diseased tissues. Used quite often in the sense of counteracting the acidity of the stomach and bowels.
An agent that has detergent properties. (see detergent).
Having a hot biting taste, or causing heat and irritation when applied to the skin or mucous membrane.
An agent that is added to a remedy to assist or increase the action of that remedy.
An agent capable of favourably altering and changing unhealthy conditions of the body, and tending to restore normal bodily functioning.
Restorative foods or herbs.
An agent that relieves pain without causing loss of consciousness.
An agent that causes anaesthesia or unconsciousness.
An agent that lessens sexual function and desire.
An agent that quiets, relieves or kills pain.
An agent used to neutralise acid in the stomach and intestines.
An agent that averts or destroys the growth of micro-organisms.
An agent that prevents the formation, or aids in the removal of catarrh, prevents the inflammation of the mucous membrane.
An agent that prevents or reduces colic, helps to prevent spasmodic pains in the stomach, bowel and intestines.
An agent that improves or prevents poor digestion.
An agent that prevents clotting in a liquid, i.e. As in blood.
An agent that combats and arrests diarrhoea.
An agent that counteracts a poison.
An agent that destroys or expels intestinal worms. (See also, Vermifuge, Vermicide and Taenicide.)
An agent used for relieving oedema or dropsy (old word for oedema).
An agent that reduces or suppresses perspiration.
An agent that counteracts nausea and relieves vomiting.
An agent that reduces or suppresses urinary calculi (stones) or dissolves any already present.
An agent which counteracts periodic or intermittent diseases or fevers (malaria).
An agent that reduces inflammation.
An agent which prevents or reduces fever and relieves the body temperature.
An agent used in the prevention or treatment of scurvy, a source of Vitamin C.
An agent used for destroying or inhibiting pathogenic or putrefactive bacteria.
An agent used in the treatment of rheumatism.
An agent that relieves cramps and spasms.
An agent that stimulates the appetite.
An agent that tones up and stimulates sexual activity.
A substance that causes contraction and firming of the tissues.
An agent that prevents the multiplication of bacteria.
An agent that soothes a cough.
An agent that increases the rate of the body’s metabolism (Enzymes, hormones, vitamins and trace elements).
An agent having a mild calming or sedative action.
An agent that has an effect on the heart.
An agent that lowers the heart’s action.
An agent that increases the heart’s action.
An agent that aids in the elimination of flatus (gas) from the stomach and intestines.
Agents which promote evacuation of the bowels. They can be subdivided into the following types:-
APERIENTS or LAXATIVES. These favour a gentle movement of the bowel.
CATHARTICS. These induce a more copious evacuation of the bowel.
PURGATIVES. These occasion repeated and watery evacuations. They are sometimes referred to as DRASTICS.
An agent capable of burning away tissue.
An agent used to lower the vital activity of the brain.
An agent used to increase the vital activity of the brain.
An agent which increases the excretion of the bile into the intestines.
An invigorating and stimulating medicine, food or drink.
An agent used to produce superficial inflammation of the skin, in order to relieve deeper inflammations.
Agents used to soothe and protect irritated mucous membranes or other tissues.
An agent that removes obstructions.
An agent that destroys foul odours.
An agent that purifies the blood.
An agent that cleanses wounds, boils, ulcers, etc.
An agent that promotes an increase in perspiration.
Ferments and acids which aid in the solution and absorption of foods.
An agent that dissolves or removes tumours.
An agent that increases the secretion and flow of urine.
Agents which destroy the noxious properties of decaying organic matter.
Agents that produce abortion.
Agents which promote the expulsion of the contents of the stomach by vomiting.
Agents which facilitate and regulate menstrual flow.
An agent which is softening and soothing to inflamed parts.
Agents which cause sneezing and promote nasal secretions.
Agents that are biting and caustic, used for dissolving, corns, warts, etc.
Esculent is an item that is edible as food.
An agent that is used for the treatment of skin eruptions and diseases.
An agent that facilitates expectoration. It encourages the expectoration of pulmonary secretions.
An agent that abates and reduces fever, generally by increasing the evaporation of perspiration.
An agent that increases the secretion of milk in the nursing mother.
An agent of plant origin.
An agent that destroys red blood cells.
An agent which arrests haemorrhage.
An agent having an effect on the liver.
An agent used for the treatment of skin eruptions, ringworm, etc.
An agent that causes purgation producing large watery discharges.
Agents that cause an increase in blood pressure.
An agent with the ability to induce sleep.
An agent with the ability to cause a reduction in the blood-sugar level.
An agent having the ability to reduce blood pressure.
An agent which dissolves calculi (or stones) in the urinary organs.
An agent which ripens, or brings boils, tumours and ulcers to a head.
Soothing to inflamed parts.
An agent which causes dilation of the pupil of the eye.
Agents that cause the contraction of the pupils of the eye.
An agent that produces vomiting.
An agent that causes death of tissues.
An agent that acts specifically on the nervous system, allaying nervous excitement.
Agents which facilitate assimilation and improve the condition of the tissues.
An agent used to treat discharges of the eye.
An agent that hastens childbirth by increasing the contractions of the uterine muscle.
An agent that relieves chest infections.
An agent that induces and promotes labour at childbirth.
An agent that induces cooling and allays thirst.
An agent that brings unduly contracted tissues to the normal condition.
An agent that resolves and reduces tumours.
An agent that stimulates circulation and causes redness of the skin.
An agent that lowers functional activity.
An agent that increases the secretion of saliva.
An agent that relieves and counteracts cramp.
Agents which induce sleep.
An agent that causes sneezing.
An agent that promotes the functions of the stomach and improves appetite and digestion.
Agents that arouse the nervous sensibility.
Agents that produce profuse perspiration.
Agents that arrest haemorrhage and bleeding.
Agents that kill tapeworms.
Agents that impart a full vigour and stronger acting power to the system.
An agent that narrows the blood vessels.
An agent that widens the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.
An agent that produces blisters.
An agent that destroys worms.
An agent that expels worms, without necessarily destroying them.
Agents that promote the killing of worms.