Herbalist. Raise your hand if you have ever applied Aloe to a sun burn or gargled salt water for a sore throat? What about drinking hot tea with honey and lemon to help break up congestion/cough or eating a peppermint to ease stomach discomfort? How about using lavender scented products before bed to help with sleep? There are TONS of common treatments that we have all done that do not involve swallowing a pill or putting a prescription cream on. Using tobacco on a bee sting, clove for tooth ache, cucumbers on the eyes to ease swelling, oh my goodness I could grow this list this all day. I never considered myself an "herbalist" although I have used all of the above treatments. I thought an herbalist was someone who had mastered the plant world and who concocted tinctures, salves, herbal teas, and poltuces...none of which I had ever done before and quite frankly had no intentions of doing so.
the study or practice of the medicinal and therapeutic use of plants, now especially as a form of alternative medicine.
My personal take on that definition of herbalism is using plants (and/or elements such as salt that this earth gives us naturally in my personal opinion- if you disagree with me that is great too, just go with what you believe) to help fix a problem we have. Making my own "medicine" sounded scary, I mean, I would NEVER attempt such a thing since only doctors should diagnose an issue and prescribe a medicine to treat it, but according to the definition of herbalism I had actually been making my own "medicine" since I was a kid.
I remember burning my hand making cookies with my grandma when I was young. She broke a peice of her aloe plant, cut it open, and put the goo all over my hand. That was part of being an herbalist. Aloe Vera is a plant that has leaves filled with clear goo that is wonderful at healing the skin and forming a barrier. I remember a friend getting stung and their dad took out his dip and smeared it all over her sting which almost immediatley took her pain away. Tobacco is a plant that neutralizes that acidic venom of the bee. Salt comes straight from the earth and it is good for pretty much everything- drying up mouth soars, soar throat, exfoliating skin, and epsom salt has done wonders for us in drawing out splinters and infections. Honey is a powerful natural antibacterial (ever seen mold in honey? Me either.) that also doubles as a barrier that soothes your throat as well as your skin. Lavender is a natural mild sedative which is why the department stores carry a lot of night time products loaded with lavender. So weather you are a level one herbalist and just use extremely common treatments such as aloe on a sunburn or maybe you are on level ten and making your own tinctures, policies, salves, or herbal teas, we are all guilty of dipping our toes into the herbal world!
Now that you know you are more experienced than you thought, you may be interested in trying essential oils. Essential oils are the pure oil inside the leaves of plants that are carefully extracted and bottled. Basically one drop lavender essential oil is about the same potency as one cup of lavender tea. They can be as easy or as hard as you want them to be. The easiest way to use them is to diffuse them either with an actual diffuser that you add water to or by simply adding a few drops to a plug in wall burner (like the night light air fresheners) or the kind with the candle underneath it. Super easy and you get wonderful aromatherapy benefits. If you wanted to step it up a notch you could make a really easy "salve" . My favorite one we make is a lavender "salve" which is made by mixing a few drops of lavender essential oil with melted coconut oil (the 76 degree oil or the kind that is hard at room temperature) and letting it harden back up. We use it as a sleep aid, shaving cream or after shave, daily lotion, headache balm, boo boo cream, and behind the ear for earaches. Two ingredients and two minutes is all it takes. A wonderful athletes foot salve can be made by mixing a bit of tea tree essential oil and coconut oil and if you need a bigger kick just add a few drops of oregano- that stuff kills just about anything lol. You can make a home made vapor rub (for adults- these are hot essential oils meaning they may agitate sensitive skin like on children) by adding eucalyptus, peppermint, and rosemary essential oil to coconut oil. For more great tips and tricks visit our essential oil tab!