an herbal ABC part two: 45 tools of the trade

this entry is the second part of a glossary-type series on herbalism.  if you missed the first part, 50 herbal actions, check it out!  so, let me tell you how persnickety i can be—i have agonized over this list, trying to think up five more things so that i’ll have another list of 50, but i realized this morning that that would defeat the point 🙂  you either need things or you don’t, and there’s no point adding crazy crap to the list just for the sake of a number….still….50 would have been nice!

so a few caveats before i give you the list.  first and foremost, this is not to be understood as a list of things that you have to have if you’re interested in herbal medicine; rather, this is a fairly exhaustive list of the kinds of things you might think about possibly acquiring.  you can be an herbalist with nothing more than a hand to pick a plant and a mouth to stuff it in, but it sure does help to have some tools.  also, i want to note that thrift stores and garage sales are prime locations for acquiring a lot (if not most) of these tools.  pick things up cheaply and little by little.  trade for things.  the one place that i would suggest investing is in a good knife.  books are also very important, but that’s more a game of quantity than one of quality (since better books don’t necessarily cost more). Read the rest of this entry »

an herbal ABC part one: 50 herbal actions

one thing that you will notice, as you start to learn more and more about herbs, is the insanely specific vocabulary associated with the actions of different chemical constituents on different parts of the body.  some folks don’t like these words, preferring a plain-speech approach to describing the actions of herbs.  because i’m a bit of an etymology freak though, i actually like sniffing out the hidden latin and greek roots in words and thinking about their meanings, so i do use these words when i can.  you don’t have to memorize this stuff (i’m still working on a lot of it!) but it is preferable to have some reference information handy when reading through herb profiles.  some of the words in this glossary (like antacid) are words that most folks are familiar with, and some of the words (like galactogogue) are completely alien.   some of the words denote actions that we want to avoid (like abortifacient) and others (like anti-inflammatory) are actions that we would like to encourage. Read the rest of this entry »