Medicinal Herbs are a great way to naturally improve your health.
Many doctors and scientists are skeptical of the benefits of some medicinal herbs, and other medicinal herbs and extracts can have dangerous side effects.
None of this should turn you off to getting started with medicinal herbs, however.
This article will provide a few basic tips for becoming an amateur medicinal herbalist.
Start With Plants
You know many medicinal herbs are exotic or strange, but some are the kinds of herbs that we regularly use in cooking food.
Examples of cooking herbs that can also be used medicinally include Garlic and Ginger. These are the safest and easiest herbs to start out with.
Start out with extracts and supplements from plants that you eat rather than plants that you drink.
Even extracts and supplements from presumably tame drinkable plants like tea and coffee can have adverse side effects.
They also have many benefits, so don't be afraid to revisit these plants when you know a little more about medicinal herbs.
Buying From Suppliers
The easiest way to get started with these herbs is to purchase them. While this kind of herb can be purchased from a grocery store, specially prepared pills, oils, and extracts can also be purchased specifically for medicinal use.
These are more potent but are still not likely to cause adverse reactions like more exotic herbs and extracts.
Common medicinal herbs, extracts, and supplements can be purchased from grocery stores or big-box stores, but they are also available from health food and natural remedy stores and pharmacies where you are more likely to find knowledgeable experts who can help you on your journey.
Experts like the staff at natural remedy and health food stores, pharmacists, dieticians, and your primary care provider can help to point you in the right direction toward reliable brands for products and reliable sources of information for your own study.
Growing Medicinal Herbs
Another more hands-on way to get into medicinal herbs is to grow them yourself.
This eliminates the extract or supplement supplier, which is one of the greatest areas of uncertainty.
Many medicinal herbs, including garlic, ginger, and aloe vera are easy to grow at home and starters are easy to purchase.
Garlic and ginger can often be purchased at any grocery store, but if you buy them from a health food store or a local grower they are less likely to be genetically modified or exposed to pesticides.
Leafy plants like aloe will likely need to be purchased from a florist or greenhouse, though the staff at these stores will also be able to give you helpful advice on growing your plants.
The biggest potential downside to growing your own medicinal herbs is that it eliminates the opportunity of extracts.
Extracts can amplify the benefits of medicinal herbs by amplifying their active ingredients, but making them can be difficult and dangerous, especially for a beginner.
Many health food stores and natural remedy stores will be able to sell you empty gel capsules that will allow you to make your own pills from dried herbs, and many medicinal herbs can be made more beneficial by being used in teas.
Before making your own teas, you should talk to an expert or do some independent research to make sure that the tea will be safe to drink, even if it is made from a plant that you know that you can safely eat.
Fact Finding The good news is that because medicinal herbs a big topic these days there are lots of sources of quality information.
Whenever you are researching a specific herb for medicinal use, be sure that any source is written or verified by a medical professional, that it is posted by a reputable organization or government body, or that it regularly cites these people and groups.