As we can see in recorded ethnographic materials 19th century, Slavic had no particular difference between eatable and medical using of herbs. The same plant could be used both as remedy and as food depending on the way of treatment. So may be this could not, of course.
In this introduction we will speak only about medical using of plants by our predecessors. We will not mention sacral aspects since we are preparing another special article about these aspects.
So, what benefit of medical plants can get the modern human? Why the people are using herbs meanwhile they can take a lot of preferences of the drugs, recommended by contemporary physicians? Even, there are a lot of medications made of plants!
The answer was clear for a person of ancient culture: it is impossible to decompose a living being for component elements. “The whole is more than sum of its parts” thought people in that time. It is impossible to create artificially a plant as well as to reach the clinical effect in vitro witch nature riches in vivo. That is why a potion made by herbalist of natural plants is more vital than synthetic drugs.
Moreover, one of pharmaceutics targets is extracting from raw herbs some active agents. Preparation thereby acts more heavy and side effects occurs more often and evidently.
Today we are shall speak about basic principles of medical herbs collection and usage.
To gather herbs is better while the weather is warm and clear, if something different is not prescribed. Flowers are better to collect at the beginning of florescence. Herbage is better to collect before they begin to flower or during the flowering. Seeds and fruits are gathered in a period between they became mature, if something different is not prescribed also. Roots and rhizomes – in late autumn an early spring, cortex – in late spring.
Of course there are some exclusions.
If an herb is not using immediately after being collected it should be kept for future use. There are several ways for laying-in but the most typical are drying and alcoholic extraction. Also we can mention some other methods such as oil extraction, conservation with honey, strong alcohol, vinegar or wine, freezing, preparing of ointment etc. Each of them need special competences.
The optimal place for herb drying is a volume beneath a roof which is dry and hot by the sun of summer. If you don’t have such conditions it is possible to place herbs in a shadow of a tent for a day time and keep from wet. In general it takes about 3 days.
Roots and rhizomes is recommended to cut for fragments about 10 cm. Rhizomes additionally ought to be cut lengthwise to dry more carefully.
Dried plants, roots and rhizomes is better to store in dry, ventilated, dark and cool place. A storage life for most herbs is 1 year and 2-3 years for roots and rhizomes, but is better to renew your herbal stock every year.
Our recommendation is to collect each plant in its biotope. I.e. don’t take heliophilous plants near swamp or shadow places.
Let’s speak about rhizomes of one the most harmless and useful plant, Elecampane Inula, botanic name “Inula Helenium”, collected and prepared as described above. It is known that the elder is the plant the more powerful it is.
Inula in Russian “Devyasil”, “Somnit” and some other folk names, in Russia the plant is spread over European part, South Ural, Siberia. Rhizomes are gathered in autumn after fading. In my opinion, the older plant is the more powerful is rhizome.
There are no poison parts in this plant. The rhizome of Inula is large, easy for drying, storing and remedy preparing. Also this plant is recognizable and not seldom in field. So I recommend you to enter the world of medical herbs with this plant.
The Inula was mentioned in almost each Herbal till 20th Century. At least one of Russian Herbals even describes its sacral action: “It exorcises preternatural essences”.
Inula is a marvelous as general tonic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory.
So, for what kinds of illness Inula is used?
1. For treat uncomplicated bronchitis and tracheitis, as expectorant.
2. Subacid gastritis.
3. Depressive condition.
Surely Inula is recommended for using as total health-supporter for season depression.
Look forward for future receipts! And please note that using of herbs can not replace of doctor’s recommendations.
Ps Please note: “AMOR NON EST MEDICABILIS HERBIS! =)