Herbal Medicine: A Natural Therapy

By Crystal Stevens

Herbal medicine is the branch of the healing sciences that deals with the therapeutic properties and active constituents and their physiological effect on the body. This system, of natural therapy has been tried and tested for generations and has survived into the present time despite the vast increase in the manufacture and use of synthetic medicine. Botanically, the classical definition of herbaceous plants is small, non woody and seed bearing species in which the parts that are above the ground die at the close of every growing season. “Herb” usually refers to the aerial parts (the stems, leaves & flowers) of herbaceous plants.

When speaking of medicinal herbs, all plant species are included, from the smallest weeds to the tallest trees. Medicinal herbs include any plant that contains medicinal compounds that are in harmony with the cellular structure of the human body and are capable of toning and balancing the systems of the body to ensure good health & wellness. These medicinal plants are all around us. Red clover, dandelion, plantain, burdock, stinging nettles, are thought as weeds to some. But these medicinal plants are some of the most resilient and medicinal plants in the region.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “a weed is just a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” This region has some of the most vibrant and medicinal ‘weeds’. Also, we have many prairies in this region and several native prairie plants such as Echinacea, Goldenrod, Asters and St. John’s Wort are medicinal.

There are so many ways to learn about medicinal plants.

  • Local Herbalist Kristine Brown holds Meetups regularly that discuss plant medicine.
  • Cheryl’s Herbs is a great resource for buying medicinal herbs.
  • Elements Herbology in St. Charles is owned by Amanda Canete, who holds regular workshops.

I hold several medicinal herb and foraging workshops throughout the year at La Vista Farm and The Nature Institute. www.growcreateinspire.com.