The stars of this book are the plants, trees, and flowers themselves. They are endearing, beautiful, mysterious, fundamental, and primitive. The delight and uses of their seeds, roots, bark, color, and form are phenomenal and, set among the rest of the intricate web of nature, they are truly miraculous. This book is not only about the plants, however, it is also about a combination of natural healing methods, healthy lifestyle, and the use of herbs as potent tools for natural healing.
Were this simply a book on herbal medicine, it would be dangerously easy to see plants as a direct substitute for conventional drugs. But although it is often possible gently and carefully to substitute one for the other, on the whole it is best to use herbs as an integral part of life, combining them with a wealth of other lifestyle choices and thus preventing and balancing disorders or diseases
Why Try Herbalism?
Medical science took a big leap forward in the United States and Europe after World War II with the introduction of a whole collection of drugs, including beta-blockers, anesthetics, antidepressants, steroids, and antibiotics, to name but a few. Some remain extremely useful, especially the anesthetics, some painkillers, and antibiotics, when used in highly selective situations.
Medical technology also took a big leap and, although some discoveries are now readily accepted as being useful and noninvasive, much new technology seems to have been designed simply to make lots of money for the manufacturers, while some is positively destructive, invasive, and life-threatening
The Roots of Herbalism
Archaeological evidence tells us that during their time as huntergatherers, humans collected and consumed approximately one hundred to two hundred different plant species in any one year. The diverse chemical compounds in these plants would have greatly protected the immune system and stimulated digestion more efficiently than does our modern diet. Not only did human kind flourish on this diet, but so did the animals that people subsequently consumed. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the “animal foods” of today
As a natural healer, my aim is to empower and reeducate people within the home, using nature in all her forms, with her foods and herbs as allies, in order to remedy disease and rebalance the system. It is always very exciting to fi nd like spiritsI have met them in many countries, including Britain, the United States, all over Europe, and India.
These people and places have all shaped and molded me, but I was perhaps most greatly influenced by Dr. John Christopher, who for his time was a pioneer of modern herbalism and helped instigate and shape the American herbal renaissance of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Not a week goes by without my thoughts and gratitude going out to him.
I am especially grateful that I am legally allowed to practice as a herbalist in Britain as a direct legacy of laws passed by Henry VIII and, more recently, through the work of the Med i cines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the British Herbal Medicine Association (BHMA), and the European Herbal Practitioners Association