Herbal Remedies

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I recently read the book Herbal Healing for Women by Rosemary Gladstar. In the opening sections of the book, Gladstar described herbal healing as a tradition and skill that was passed down through women for most of time. She identified herbal healing as a feminine form of healing in contrast to modern medicine, which tends to be more masculine. She explained that both types of healing are necessary and useful. Herbal healing may be more preventative or have a slower but more sustained healing process than the quick and strong effects of medications. 

This book inspired me to take this new journey of learning about herbal healing with my daughter. We’ve started by learning the names of some herbs and noticing plants outdoors. Our first “medicine” to make was St. John’s Wort oil. We ordered our St. John’s Wort from Mountain Rose herbs. We smelled the dried herbs and touched them and looked at them. Then, we put the herbs in olive oil and “let the sun cook them” (solar infusion). We watched our mixture each day and marked off the days on the calendar until it was time to strain out the herbs.

Then, we read this list of uses for St. John’s Wort oil. We have mostly used our “medicine” for dry skin and and small wounds. Lilia often thinks of it and decides to use it on her own. Our biggest success story is a black eye that Lilia got when she walked into the middle of a field hockey game and got hit in the eye with the ball (she had been warned several times, but alas…). She put the oil on the wound not long after it happened and several more times in the next 24 hours. The area hardly bruised at all and healed very quickly!

We are just beginning this journey, but Lilia and I are having fun and bonding through a shared interest that involves all our senses. In contrast to princesses and fashion and make-up, this herbal learning feels like a femininity that runs deep and connects us to creation and to compassion for one another.

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