How to Grow and Make Your Own Natural Herbal Medicines

Making your own herbal remedies will save you a lot of money and also give you the satisfaction of knowing what is in it. We are all very aware of the concealed ingredients in a lot of our daily foods and medicines.

Herbs not only look nice, smell nice but also are good for you and they can lift a meal into something that is very tasty. Herbs can be grown in the smallest of spaces. Most herb seeds are better planted directly into the garden or a deep pot, as herbs don’t like being moved. It causes them to go to flower very quickly, missing out the leafy stage; coriander and salad lettuce are examples of this phenomenon.

A good herb garden is the result of good planning. Consider the shape and direction of the site: is it south or north facing, do you have heavy and clay soil that gets soggy in winter or light sand that dries out too much in summer? Dry-loving Mediterranean herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and sage, prefer a parched, light situation and will thrive well in a window container. Other herbs, such as parsley and chervil, grow best in a nice rich, damp soil and some shade.

Once your herbs have grown, use this method for making your own herbal preparations in your own kitchen. Begin with a clean glass container that has a very tight fitting lid and the herbs of your choice. It is better to use fresh herbs, although those have been kept dry in a container are fine. This is the advantage of growing your own in the garden or on your patio. Fresh herbs are always preferred, but this depends upon where you live and the climate.

Chop up the herbs finely with a knife or blender. Then put in a glass container. Next, pour a quality alcohol over the herbs (the author prefers a malt whiskey), completely covering the herbs in the container. Add more alcohol over the next day or two, as the herbs absorb and expand. A very rough ratio is about 1 part herb to 4 parts alcohol.

Cover the container with a tight fitting lid and place a plastic bag between the lid and the container. This prevents rust particles from spoiling your herbal solution. Shake up well and put the jar in a dark cupboard and allow the herbs to soak for around 4 to 6 weeks. Shake up every 4-6 days. The alcohol will act like a solvent and absorb and extract the active principle from the herbs. Then after 6 weeks, filter the herbs through muslin into another large container. Following this stage, squeeze out the remaining herbal material in the muslin. Now decant the material from your larger container into smaller bottles, preferably dark coloured bottles and store your herbal extracts in a cool dark place. It will remain active for 3-5 years. You have now made herbal extracts very cheaply and basically the recipes for various herbs extracts are all very similar. Also, you can mix herbs in your diet or to get a combined medicinal effect. Try growing your own medicinal herbs, you will be glad you did.

How Effective Is Chinese Medicine? Why You Should Cook Your Own Chinese Medicine Herbs

If you visit a TCM clinic for consultation, most of the time you will get pre-made Chinese medicine in the form of bottles of powder, pills or liquid. This indeed provides some level of convenience to patients since they would not need to go through the trouble of preparing the medicine themselves. As humans, we all like conveniences. However, there are times when we should forgo convenience for the sake of something important, and this is one of those times.

The most obvious factor to account for would be the price. The herbs cost money. The process of making these powder, pills or liquid packs cost money (not forgetting that there are research and development cost hidden in the price as well). The shipment of these medicine cost money. All these add up to a large sum that consumers do not seem to realize. This is because each bottle of powder, pills or liquid cost a few dollars only, but how long do each of these last us? On the other hand, buying the herbs and cooking them would save us much more since one round of cooking the herbs can yield us enough medicinal concoction to last us for a few days and how much would a pack of herbs cost? Probably just over a dollar or two.

Another problem with pre-made medicine is that precisely because they were made before the doctor ever met you, the doctor can only choose the medicine that is the closest fit to the answer for your condition, and not the exact fit. Hence you take a longer time to recover, hence you have to go back to the doctor for another round of consultation and medicine, and hence you spend more money.

Thirdly, because of the way these pre-made medicines were created, their efficacy has been compromised. Pills are usually the grounded form of herbs compacted into one small body. They have to be made beforehand, so they are the least flexible in terms of tailoring them to suit the patient’s needs. However, sometimes herbs need to undergo the cooking process before the essential compounds can become active, and the amount of herbs that can be packed into that small pill is limited, making it harder for effective treatment levels to be reached. Then there are the bottles of liquid medicine. These come in two kinds – the tailor-made ones are done by cooking herbs under pressure for a few minutes, meaning you get diluted concoctions or the pre-made versions that are concentrated but not specific to your body’s needs. Lastly, the powder form also comes in either the pre-packaged form or those tailored to suit your needs. The powder form is either made from grounded herbs or from cooking of the soup and removing the water from it such that powder crystals remain and the addition of water re-creates the concoction again. The tailored powder form is the most ideal form of pre-made Chinese medicine, but it is also the most costly form.

Considering both cost and drug efficiency, I would say that cooking herbs by oneself is the best choice to take if one has the time, as it has the highest treatment efficiency and is the cheapest option available. However, if you do not have the time or want to go through the trouble of cooking the herbs, do not reject the thought of pre-made medicine as we are all human and need conveniences.