Herbs and Aromatherapy – The More You Know

 
 

The use of natural medicines via herbs and essential oils isn’t new. People have been seeking out traditional remedies for life’s daily needs for years. What people need to be aware of in regards to herbs is:

  • the Latin name of the plant,

  • what they should be using,

  • how much and how long they should use it, and

  • are there any safety precautions or pharmaceutical interactions you need to be aware of.

Too often people take things on blind faith because they heard of a friend who used something with success or read about it. The issue with this is that people can take things beyond a medicinal dose and may end up with a negative reaction(s). The new thing I see on social media is people consuming turmeric daily for relief from arthritis. Excess use of turmeric can result in: digestive issues, headache and nausea, and skin rash. While this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take turmeric, it does means that you need to take personal responsibility in researching how to utilize it based on your personal factors.

For herbal use, the best thing you can do is invest in a few books. One in particular that I recommend is Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. She does an amazing job of discussing how to integrate plants in to our daily lives, includes useful recipes, descriptions of a number of herbs, and how to make them into infused oils, extracts, infusion and more. While she does list some of the safety precautions, Rosemary doesn’t list what pharmaceuticals might have an interaction with specific herbs. This is not an oversight on her part because that type of information is a separate creature entirely.

For drug/herbs interactions, searching the internet does not provide the entire picture. If you are interested in including herbs into your daily life, I urge you to purchase Francis Brinker’s book, Herbal Contraindications and Drug Interactions – Plus Herbal Adjuncts with Medicines (purchase the latest edition). This book covers a significant amount of herbs and what you need to be aware of. With these two books, you can easily look up recipes in one and check with the other to make sure it’s safe and right for your use.

Having covered herbal use, we can now move to essential oils and aromatherapy. Essential oils can be utilized via steam, diffusion, inhalation, topical application, and internal consumption. Internal consumption should only be suggested by a certified aromatherapist who has extensive experience with this practice.

The things you need to pay attention to is with essential oils is:

  • not to use them neat (undiluted),

  • not to ingest them without appropriate guidance,

  • the Latin name of the plant,

  • what you should be using,

  • how much and how long you should use it, and

  • are there any safety precautions or pharmaceutical interactions you need to be aware of.

I recommend you purchase one of these two books to familiarize yourself with the appropriate use of essential oils: 1) Home Aromatherapy: A Step-by-Step Guide on Using Essential Oils at Home, Julia Lawless, and 2) The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oil Handbook for Everyday Wellness, Nerys Purchon and Lora Cantele. Both authors do an excellent job of presenting all of the pertinent information you need to know before exploring the world of essential oils.

While all of this may seem a bit overwhelming at first, don’t get discouraged. The more you become familiarized with the checks and balance of herbs and essential oils the quicker you can find the right solution to your needs.

Until next time, discover the power of your journey to wellness!

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Kitchen Cupboard Underground is a weekly blog on home remedies and natural wellness. Find 100% natural, wellness and personal care products Made for You and delivered to your door at BotanicalTherapy.com.

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