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Herbal medicine for beginners Well + good

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Consider this as your 201-level guide to all the different leaves, seeds, powders and elixirs that get so much buzz in the wellness scene – and then find out how you actually incorporate them into your life. So whether you want to enhance your smoothie with natural supplements, or you’re just wondering how to use the cocoa powder in your pantry, you’ll get the information you need here. See everything

A question that herbalist and Supernatural founder Rachelle Robinett constantly gets: “Where should I start with herbal medicine?” If you are curious about the therapeutic and medicinal use of plants, this episode of Plant-based is a great place to start. As any good herbalist will tell you, a cup of tea or a tincture will not solve everything. Herbalism is a whole-spectrum holistic practice, and it’s not about treating symptoms – it’s about treating the whole person and the underlying cause of the symptoms.

“The use of nature as a means of life is not new; it is global and historical,” says Robinett. “We have evolved with plants forever. There are 30,000 medicinal plants around the world that we know of today … [and] we discover about 2,000 more plants every single year. These are plants that can be used as food, as medicine and as both. “So yes, it’s there many categories of plants.

Here, Robinett takes us through the five plants that she believes are the most common and the most helpful. You can read the Cliff’s Notes version below, but be sure to tap play on the video to go in depth.

1. Adaptogens

“I have made many Plant-based episode on adaptogens. So I strongly encourage you to check them out for more details on this category of herbs, “says Robinett. Adaptogens help us recover from stress in a calmer and more effective way and allow us to become more resistant to for that over time, she explains.

Examples: ashwagandha, rhodiola, reishi

2. Astringents

In essence, astringent plants are toning plants – the best known is probably witch hazel. “These are things that we would use as topical treatments or internal treatments on our digestive system,” says Robinett. Astringents also help strengthen the skin barrier and protect the moisture balance.

Examples: witch hazel, rose petals, green tea

3. Aromatic

Robinett explains that these plants are incredibly beneficial for a number of reasons. “[Aromatics] are plants that tend to be perfect to have in your medicine cabinet for beginners or your first tea collection because they just want to help in so many different ways, “she says. Think: Improving digestion, energy levels, relieving cramps and discomfort. and relaxation. of the muscles.

Examples: mint, lavender, holy basil

4. Bitter

“I love this category – I believe in it so strongly and I really believe there is a great future for it,” says Robinett. She explains that the most common way to use bitters is to aid digestion before eating; bitter helps you digest and absorb your nutrients more efficiently.

Examples: arugula, orange peel, gentian

5. Nervous

“Nervine is also my favorite,” Robinett says. “These are herbs that love our nervous system. And these are plants that tend to work faster than adaptogens.”

This is one of the main reasons Robinett loves nervousness: She explains that although adaptogens are good foundation builders, they need to be used for a long time. Nervines work if you need support right away. “The cool thing about nerves is that some of them are plants for use in the daytime, and some of them … you would use at night for sleep or for deeper relaxation if you feel very anxious and need to fall to ro. So there are a whole host of them, “Robinett explains.

Examples: lavender, lemon balm, California poppy

Bottom line on herbal medicine for beginners

“Remember, the place to start is to know the cause of your symptoms. And if you have no symptoms, choose a focus and explore that category of herbs,” Robinett says. As with everything, she strongly recommends starting slowly, consulting your doctor if you are taking any medication, and of course stopping if you notice any side effects.

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