Purpose of a handbook of phytotherapy can not be to list and explain the properties of healing herbs, which are hundreds. Rather, we will try to summarize here - as much as possible - the good reasons that lead us to seek in herbs the natural remedy or support in the treatment of many ailments.
Vademecum phytotherapy: why phytotherapy
Medicine was not born in 1900. This is a simple and objective observation, equally irrefutable. Before synthetic preparations arrived in pharmacies, men treated themselves with what they found in nature, especially herbs and plants.
Today's results of phytotherapy - that is, of healing with herbs - are the result of a thousand-year experimentation that man has done on himself and which has allowed him to distinguish 'what works' from what 'doesn't work'. Herbal medicine is not 'the stuff of healers', it is science. It seems trivial, but it is good to underline it.
Medicine in recent decades has made huge strides and wonderful discoveries that have improved people's lives. This is undoubtedly true, but it should not make us forget that the effectiveness of many medicines is based on the same active ingredients found in herbs and plants, the result of the countless empirical discoveries made by our ancestors. Often the difference between a pill and an herbal tea is in the concentration of this or that principle, and here lies an important point.
The abundance of medicines for all types of ailments and also - let's face it - the modern need to fuel commerce, lead us too often to fight with guns what could be won with a sling. The herbalist Maurice Mességuè, one of the major popularizers of herbal medicine, said that "The true art of healing must be able to use all the resources that nature and the intelligence of men make available to us". As if to say: heavy artillery is fine, but only in cases of real need.
Vademecum phytotherapy: local herbs and exotic herbs
This is another interesting and decidedly contemporary point in our opinion. There are hundreds or even thousands of herbs and plants and some are typical of certain areas of the planet, while they are absent in others. The possibility of accessing all the resources that nature makes available to us - even the most distant - is certainly an advantage, as long as it does not make us forget the treasures we have under our noses.
It is not clear why, we all attribute better virtues to herbs and drugs from distant exotic countries; even if we know them less and they cost more. We all fall for it: the grass of the neighbor is always greener (if the neighbor lives at 3000 km it is even greener) and with the lighter wallet we feel better cared for. But is it really so? In truth, since the world has existed, men have always healed themselves with what they had available around their homes. Do we want to forget about garlic, sage, dandelion and borage?
Vademecum phytotherapy: where and when to collect herbs
This issue is not only important, it is fundamental. Planet Earth is not doing very well and pollution is a serious problem, especially the subtle one made of dust and substances that are not seen. For them not to harm, herbs and plants to be used in phytotherapy must come from collection places that have not been polluted by dangerous chemicals such as chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, industrial waste and so on. Whether it is a field, a garden, a vegetable garden, a forest or a preparation purchased in a herbalist's shop, make sure that the natural remedies you use for your health are not polluted.
If you get the herbs and plants for your preparations yourself (but you must know them well!) You will already know that the best time for harvesting is early in the morning, after dew, in days of dry weather. It is also important to store or dry them properly.
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