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Using Herbs and Herbal Remedies as Medicine

Perhaps one of the more difficult aspects of herbalism to teach is the art of medicinal formulation. Part of creating an effective medicinal formula is instinctual; you have to have a sense, an inner knowing or knack, of herbs, and an ability to recognize how they harmonize with one another.

In addition, it is critical to be attuned to the individual the formula is being prepared for as well as having an understanding of the particular imbalance or illness the person may have. Understanding illness, how the disease affects the body, and the signs of the illness are important when formulating as well. It is no simple task to teach and takes a while to master. However, formulating your own blends is a valuable and necessary craft of the herbalist and there's no time like now to begin to master it.

The first step, understanding the unique properties of the individual herbs, is fairly simple.

You've been doing this throughout your herbal studies. By reading, researching, and experimenting with the herbs, you're acquiring the necessary information about each herb that allows you to understand its energetics and how it works.

Discovering "how" herbs harmonize and work together is a bit more challenging. Everyone wants a book that gives this information. But it's not that simple. There are so many factors that effect how herbs blend and their synergistic effects on one another. I can always tell a reader of "Back to Eden" or any other of the numerous old herb books by the list of herbs they intend to blend together in to 'formula'. If it's a cold they are creating a formula for, the tendency is to look up "cold" in Back to Eden and write down a list of the most familiar herbs. This is not what makes a good formula. A formula consists of several different herbs or components that are well matched though may have actions quite different than one another.

Though most people are able to formulate quite effectively by "instinct", by that 'knack' or inner knowing of how herbs work together, as a 'student' of herbalism, it is helpful to understand this process. I've included a technique I adapted from a technique I learned from William LeSassier many years ago and have used successfully to teach others how to create effective medicinal herbal formulas. Making an herbal formula is an intuitive process refined and developed to understand the essence and the physical manifestation of plant life in relationship to human life. The more we understand herbs as a way of life the better our ability to combine, blend and create formulas.

Things to Consider When Creating a Formula :-

  1. Do not get carried away by adding too many herbs into the formula just because you don't know when to stop. A few herbs wisely selected will be more effective than a collection of herbs haphazardly thrown together. However, a good formula can just as well be created from 25 herbs as 5 if you know why and where to include them in the formula.
  2. It is best not to mix roots and leaves together in a medicinal formula, as they require different methods of preparation. Please note there are exceptions to this rule.
   
   

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