Today I thought I would talk about the future of medicine and it’s impact on all of us. To give you a little background, I have always been interested in the power of herbs as healing plants, and fascinated by how the body responds to different things and heals itself. I went through a short period after having children where there was so much pressure to do the “right” thing medically that I did all the well-child checkups, vaccinations, and prescribed medicines. I found out the hard way that the conventional approach may not be the best.
Our family doctor, a very medical person in every sense of the word, has always been appalled at homeopathic treatments and not vaccinating children. He gained respect for me when he found I would research medical issues and present good argument for my side when he struggled to figure out what was wrong with our youngest child (who had celiac sprue, which we didn’t yet know) and I was able to research tests and potential culprits and was proven right. He has seen first hand how my choices of treating the children have improved their health, although he has been somewhat baffled by the results, as in his mind they shouldn’t work better than the medical interventions he would have chosen. With all this said, I took one of the boys to see him with a major ear infection that I felt required antibiotics (I don’t have my medicinal herb garden yet) and told the doctor how I was treating myself for one. He paused, then told me that I may very well have something valuable in learning homeopathic treatments since with new legislation being passed there will be few, if any, doctors at the start of 2012, himself included.
Wow. That stopped me cold. No more doctors?! It would seem the federal government is going to make it almost impossible for doctors to actually treat patients, and the risk of fines and jail are going to make doctors shut down their practices. The really sad part of this is that there are times when we need the help of doctors, to determine what is wrong, and sometimes to treat the problem. I am not of the opinion that we can do everything from our backyard herb garden, and it’s bothersome that help will not be there when we need it. Never the less, there are things we can do to help us fend for ourselves and heal our bodies. In recent years, I have found very little need for the doctor, with very little illness I have been unable to treat from home, so I have hope.
One of the best things you can do is ensure you have a good, balanced diet to make your body healthy and strong. A garden of any sort is quite important, as are cooking with very basic ingredients and not eating refined, additive filled foods. The second most important thing you can do is study homeopathic treatments. Now, I would also suggest that you study homeopathics that you can find locally or grow yourself. The reason I say this is that shipping is going to become very regulated on medicinal herbs, and will also be quite costly. There are most likely local plants available for nearly every ailment of the human body if you know what to look for. Invest in good medicinal herb books, especially ones that show local wild plants and tell you how to use and prepare them. Books on wild edibles would also be good to have on hand, and in fact many healthful herbs and wild edibles over-lap.
I have allowed my education of medicinal plants and wild edibles lapse as I have gotten busier, but am planning to renew my research and practical application of them. As I do, I will share on here, and I would challenge you to go out as I do and find these plants for yourself if you they would be available in your area. Learn the plants, their uses, and preservation one by one so that you have the knowledge to help yourself and your family in the future.
For today, let me introduce you to the elderberry. It has amazing benefits as a food and medicinal plant. The flowers are through for the season, but berries are plentiful this time of year. The shrub-like trees grow on roadsides and in moist areas near ponds and lakes. Try finding some this week, and harvest the berries to make tonic to fight winter colds and flu. It’s a great antioxidant, and free if you know how to find it. You can buy the berries or syrups, but they will cost you a pretty penny. The berries can be dried or frozen for later use, made into jams, jellies, and juice, covered in vodka to make a health tonic, dried and used as tea or added to muffins, breads, and cereal. The flowers make a great drink in summer that works to boost your immune system, and made into a tea for drinking or to be used on your skin as a toning agent. If you have this shrub on your land, treat it as a dear friend, just don’t eat the leaves or unripe berries as they are poisonous. If you would like to see how I make elderberry tonic, you can see it here. Mountain Rose Herbs has a good video about making a syrup with a shorter shelf-life, fine if you dry or freeze berries for use in the winter. Here is a great video on making elderflower cordial.