Learn about the knowledge and use of medicinal plants

If herbal medicine is currently on the rise, we cannot imagine how useful the most common wild plants are to our health. As long as you know botany well, it is possible to find many sources of well-being and health in nature.

Common medicinal plants: the easiest to find

We can cite many medicinal plants that are easy to obtain in nature. We are going to cite some of the most emblematic, capable of maintaining our health field:

dandelion: dandelion roots are used to drain the liver, blood, lymph, kidneys, but the leaves can also be used for this purpose. A good dandelion salad from time to time helps to purge the gallbladder well. The roots will be collected in early spring and the leaves in spring or autumn.

Nettle: it is a very common plant, well recognizable, and which is rich in silica and iron, therefore remineralizing and anti-anaemic. This plant is also a good drainer of the organism. It is delicious in soup, in a pie or in stews.

Hawthorn: the flowers of this shrub are used, especially as a cardiac and nervous regulator, useful in cases of insomnia and hyperservosity.

Burdock: here is a plant that provides a useful root as a skin purifier, skin disinfectant and also as a hypoglycemic, draining venous blood and the spleen.

Quackgrass: this plant, which is called a weed, is a powerful kidney drainer, capable of eliminating the smallest kidney stones.

Finally, wild thyme, which is a species of thyme common throughout France, and whose antibacterial effects are very famous.

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Many other common herbal remedies can similarly help treat the simplest ailments.

City, countryside, where can you find these plants near your home?

Obviously, if you have absolutely no knowledge of botany or if you live in a big city, it is difficult to pick up medicinal plants without taking serious risks for your health. In this case, it is better to go to a pharmacy or organic store to obtain useful medicinal plants.

If you want to collect it in the wild, you must first know the botany. Then join naturalist societies. Learn botany and plant families. Don’t forget that poisonous plants cause more deaths each year than fungi. Indeed there are dozens of deadly plants in nature, causing serious accidents every year, such as oleander, Spanish broom, lily of the valley, foxglove or even aconites. If you hesitate, it’s because you’re not sure when you pick up a plant, so it’s better to go to the store and get what’s on the market.

Then, do not pick up anywhere. Nettles, for example, have the annoying habit of growing in places very rich in nitrates and toxic metals, and polluted by conventional fertilizers and synthetic pesticides. Your nettle soup may then contain more toxins than active ingredients draining toxins from the body. Even in rural areas, attention must be paid to the quality of the places where the plants are collected. Avoid the edges of fields, too exposed to pesticides, unless the crops are organic. Avoid roadsides with heavy traffic and the proximity of railway tracks, again exposed to toxic products.

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How to prepare medicinal plants

When collecting medicinal plants, care must then be taken to ensure that the plant matter is dried or that the plant parts are macerated. You should know first of all that certain plants such as dandelion, nettle or burdock are best eaten fresh rather than dried, because when dried, these plants lose all or part of their medicinal properties.

The macerations are done most simply in alcohol at 45°. You can take a 150 ml bottle, fill it with the plant to macerate, and complete with alcohol. The maceration will last about 1 month. Then, we can filter and keep indefinitely.

Drying should be done in a well-ventilated, dry room, with the plants to be dried spread out well. Plant parts must be turned over regularly to avoid blackening or rotting of the parts to be dried. Drying will be correct after about a week, under normal hygrometric conditions. Once the plant has dried, it must be stored away from light and in a dry atmosphere, in a well-sealed box, because some dry plants can attract food moths and the beetle, a small insect that destroys dried plants. The storage time will be a few years, but the longer it takes to consume the dried plant, the more it can stale.

To conclude, do not forget that caution is always required and that neither medicinal plants nor herbal food supplements replace medication, and that medical monitoring is always necessary.

medicinal plants

Alain Tardif

president of the AMNE, school of naturopathy

Also visit the site of medicinal plants and mushrooms

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