I am my own healer. I have a radiant voice within that guides me.
I can make decisions for myself. I can rely on others as needed, but at my discretion.
It is my body, my health, my balance, and my responsibility to make right choices for myself.
Right choices include working with competent health-care professional when necessary,
allowing friends and family to help as needed, and, above all,
being true to my beliefs, with the wisdom and willingness to change as part of the path of healing.
~Rosemary Gladstar, A Mantra for Home Health Care
The idea that medicinal plants are the medicine of the home, and should be used in every day wellness, is very appealing to me — primarily because I love my garden and my kitchen. But what’s more, I love that my home is becoming a center for helping people prevent and heal illness.
In this fallen world health isn’t something that comes naturally. Ailments and illnesses are just part of life. Yet in my role as a wife, mother, and friend I long to do all that I can to care for myself and those that I love. In fact, that’s why I became a homemaker — and creating a kitchen pharmacy is just part of that journey.
Self-sufficiency, knowledge, and preparedness are all things to which I am constantly seeking and engaged in. Sometimes, I think I should have been born in a different time and a different place! But then I think…no, there is purpose for here and now.
The Differences Between Home-Based and Conventional Medicine
A common misconception is the thought that we must choose between conventional and home-based medicine — or in other words, we think we must be sold out one way or the other.
When helping people prevent and heal illness, we must see that both systems of medicine — although very different — are wonderful in their own right. And, they must work together, in balance, for sustainability’s sake.
Conventional medicine — which is basically modern health care as we know it — is such a blessing during times of sudden illness. It is especially effective:
- during life-threatening situations
- in alleviating acute symptoms of an illness
- when medical emergencies occur (i.e. asthma attacks, stroke, heart attacks, etc.)
However, most treatment plans involve medications that only seem to mask the symptoms of disease and don’t really address the root cause. Although in the situations that I mentioned above, dealing with the symptoms is necessary…it’s just not a long-term solution for health.
Home-based medicine — that which involves the use of herbal remedies, diet, and exercise — is the focus of our series this month and is in desperate need of a wisdom revival. Historically, it was in the home that many non-emergency conditions were treated on a daily basis. Those such as:
- minor wounds
- digestive issues
- chronic conditions
- bumps and bruises
- colds and flu
- minor aches and pains
One hundred years ago, our ancestors – model homemakers — could probably go to a pharmacy in the city, but what they purchased were containers of dried herbs and bottles of herbal tinctures. Yes! That’s exactly what pharmacies sold. Herbs!
Even further back, people possessed the knowledge that allowed them to go out into nature, identify, and gather the herbs themselves. Not only that, but the herbs intentionally grew in backyard gardens and they were carefully preserved and stored.
Likewise, our ancestors knew to maintain preparedness. Jars filled with steeping tinctures, burlap sacks stored with plant materials, and secret family concoctions cooking on the stove were always available whenever a friend or family member was in need. Most of what they knew came from instinct — in large part due to the fact that there was no other way.
They carried the wisdom of experience.
For me, growing in home-based, herbal wisdom is all about reclaiming intentional living. Perhaps the greatest personal gain in using our own homemade, natural remedies comes from the ability to create a more sustainable daily existence, to accomplish simplicity in our lives, to empower, and, over time, to restore health and hopefully save a ton of money in the process.
Today, we find ourselves at a defining moment.
Will we allow the wisdom of our past to be lost forever…or will we take part in reviving it?
Lovely post, I completely agree. Conventional medicine has it’s place, but a healthy lifestyle using nutrition, natural remedies, exercise and relaxation can help to prevent and treat so many minor illnesses. It’s a shame so many people simply reach for the painkillers and antibiotics when they’re ill. xx
Very true, Andrea. There is no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water as far as conventional medicine goes, but I am so excited about applying nutrition and herbal remedies in order to alleviate, maybe even nullify, the future need of their services. It is incredibly empowering to come to an understanding that we can and should take responsibility for our health. The choice is ours! That is a very positive message.
I appreciate your position that it does not have to be ‘either/or’ but can in fact be ‘and/both’. Many pharmaceuticals, perhaps fully a third, were derived from herbal medicines….foxglove/digitalis, willow/aspirin, coltsfoot/robitussin, quinine/for malaria and so forth… Modern medicine has its place. That said, when we take our wellness into our own hands rather than waiting to become un-well, our interactions with the modern medical system tends to diminish, thereby eliminating or at least significantly decreasing the chances of some really dreadful side effects, or potentially life threatening iatrogenic complications or contact with medical Frankensteins such as MRSA which is rampant.
Reconnecting with the wisdom keepers/healers and the traditional ways is a very important skill for any modern home keeper, homesteader, simple liver et.al. Great work!
great post !! Conventional medicine does have its place, but like you said over 100 years ago many of us herbalists today were called the doctores, and when they came to visit, would go out and check out the tinctures, and herbs and mix a little something together. Plus the whole real foods, natural excercise , “wholesome” lliving all contributed to being healthy. for me also it is being as self sufficient and self reliant as possible . Great work look forward to the next in the series
I’m a nurse by training, although it’s been years since I worked. Seeing what herbals can do and getting away from the pharmaceutical industry has been freeing. Great series!
LOOOOVE Your blog! I read it every day and am thrilled your doing this medicinal herbs segment. I aspire to take an herbalist course through Dominion Herbal College in the future. I am just beginning my transitional journey into taking my life back. ♥
Looking forward to reading this series and learning new things!
Terri Betz says
We are all different! My bf will die without his 2x daily pills! I want him around. I never get sick, have never broken a bone or had any health issues ever. All 4 of my children were born at home. For people like us we choose what works for us. Love all your info! It helps us try n decide. Thank you! And people, please make your own, informed decisions!
I love your posts & info! Keep up the great work 🙂
Thank you Heather for your encouragement! It really means so much 🙂
Angélique Dawn says
Thank you Andrea,
I have been following your blog for a short time now and I have to express my gratitude. I see many of my goals in your posts. I have always felt a connection and curiosity for the natural/organic side of living, but couldn’t believe I had it in me to take care- real care of me, and those within my circle. I’ve always wanted to be a full time mom. I want to write part time and invest in my children’s futures. I am single (have been most of my adult life) but I am ready to harness my instincts. To let go of fear- grow up, settle down and become a true homemaker. Like the women you described above. This inspires me to believe that my dreams are possible. With little, consistent steps I will keep learning and growing, and I am certain you will be there along the way. Thank you for sharing your experience, knowledge and intrigue. It was a blessing a stumbled upon your blog just a few months ago.
Joybilee Farm says
Great beginning to an awesome series, Andrea. I’m really looking forward to reading your insights into this topic, which is one of my passions. I love your correlation to home-based living with herbal medicine, the only medicine for almost 6,000 years of human existence. Wise women will learn more about God’s herbs that are for the ‘healing of the nations.’ Too often in our modern society herbalism is equated with witch craft and old wives — instead of being connected with the ‘Wise woman who builds her house.’
Thanks for writing about this important topic from your own perspective. I appreciate your thoughts.
Chris! You are right there with me 🙂 Your comment is so well stated…it’s like you’re reading my very thoughts!
Jenn @ Frugal Upstate says
I really wanted to pin this post into my herbal medicine folder on pinterest–but the only images that came up were your ads. Just an FYI—if you put some sort of photo at the top with the title of the post I bet you’d get a lot of folks pinning & sharing it.