Apr 25, 2012

Herbs Gone Wild

Ancient Remedies Turned Loose
by Diane Kidman

I've always been kind of skeptical of herbal medicine, probably an attitude I absorbed from my family (my dad's a doctor). But the more herbs I plant in my garden, the more curious I am about what else they can do besides feed me. I know from my experience with one cup of mint tea, what strong effect plants can have on the body. So when I saw this offered as a free e-book I thought I'd read it and learn something.

Herbs Gone Wild is a very light, easy read that introduces lots of herbs and their medicinal uses. The author makes it sound simple to use various plants you might find in your yard or further afield, to treat many simple ailments ranging from the sniffles to aches and pains, upset stomach, even migraines. Of course, she cautions to always seek a doctor's advice and to use the smallest does of herbal remedies when starting out with them. I was surprised to find I recognized a few I've actually used before without hardly thinking- putting aloe on burns, or baking soda paste to soothe a bee sting (my mom always used that one). Teas sound simple enough; making your own salves and tinctures a bit more complicated but when you read her directions even that doesn't seem too hard.

One that made me raise my eyebrows was about a weed I've been trying to eradicate from my lawn: plantain (no, not related to fried bananas). Kidman says that if you crush a leaf and put it on a splinter, the sliver of material will work its way to the surface. My kid seems to get splinters often. And trying to get them out with tweezers (or worse yet, a needle) means dealing with lots of squirming, screaming and begging. So the most recent time she got one in her finger I suggested we try this little remedy, and picked a leaf of plantain off the lawn. She was intrigued. We secured it over the little splinter with a bandaid, and guess what, by morning the splinter was gone. Hm.

So, I'm keeping this one around. It's the second book I've ever read on my kindle, and I was pleased to make lots of use of the highlighting feature. There was something odd about the formatting- twice as much spacing between the paragraphs than necessary- which I found annoyed up to the end of the read, but other than that I'm finding it easy to adapt to reading on the electronic device. Not that I think it will ever replace physical, paper books for me. But for those I can't find elsewhere, it's great.

rating: 4/5 ........ 130 pages, 2011

4 comments:

terra said...

many of our medications are artificial replications of plant substances. herbal medicine is creaping into western alleopathy more and more every year. even dad doesn't object to natural treatments.

Jeane said...

Yes; I though most medicines were actually derived from plant compounds, don't they keep saying there might be a cure for cancer in some undiscovered plant in the rain forest?

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Peter S. said...

Hi, Jeane! Do you know of this show from BBC called Grow Your Own Drugs? I think you will love this show, as it features how to make your own medicine from herbs that you can actually grow in your garden.