Friday, November 09, 2012

Become An Herbalist Outside Your Front Door

Burdock and Day Lilies in summer

In August of 2007, a couple of homesteaders moved here to upstate NY from Texas. They were members of the Homesteading Today community and when we knew they were moving here, they joined our NY Homesteading forum. Jamie and Jeffrey became fast friends with our group. They had many plans and went right to work on their new homestead. They were living in a house they bought, while they built the underground house they were planning. I won't go into all the details, but they didn't build their house and instead moved to Missouri. Jamie and I have stayed friends though.

Plantain grows all over the yard

The first time Jamie came to my house, she had asked if I would show her the various wild plants that grow in New York state. I have always said that it is best to use the plants that grow around your home. That way when you need them, they are close by, easy to get to. I showed her the various ones growing right in my yard, plantain being the most plentiful that year.

Cherry Bark

Later on, I told Jamie about The Christian Homesteading Movement, which is local and teaches many courses on various homesteading activities. She went up there and met their family and learned many different things. One thing about Jamie, is that if she needs to know something, she finds the source to teach her. So it was with much interest yesterday, that I went to her new post on her blog and read, How I Became An Herbalist For (Almost) Free. Jamie is a very talented writer, as well as honest. Whatever she says, you know it is the total truth.

Willow growing along the road and creek near us.

Becoming aware of the wild plants in your area of the country is common sense. Why run to a doctor to take  medicine that has all kinds of side effects, when you can take care of it yourself, with no side effects? My husband will not take even an aspirin. He has been known, to pull over to the side of the road and pick a piece of willow bark when he had a headache. Just chewing on it, seemed to make his headache go away. At home I usually brew it in a tea.

It is fairly easy to start learning how to recognize the different plants. I use A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Of Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guides). It has excellent pictures and information. It is easy to use and since it is small, you can carry it with you. Make a list of the plants you see growing around your home and then read about them in the guide and on the internet too. Next spring you can start experimenting and see which ones you like. It is best to do this before you need them. And if you never use them on a regular basis, it is still important to learn about them now. In case the time comes when you have no other choice, you will know what to do. Learn how to find and identify them. Learn when and how to harvest them. Learn how to use them, including how to make tea, infusions, salves, herbal vinegar or tinctures with them. You never know what lies ahead. The time to prepare is NOW! Your family's life could depend on it.

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2012  Kathleen G. Lupole
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