herbs for health
Many pharmaceuticals are built off and inspired by the primary structures of proteins found in herbs. However, because they are isolating specific molecules, they often have substantial side effects. The medicinal effect of a plant is more complex than just a single molecule. In many cases one part of an herb can be slightly toxic, while other proteins within the same herb act as buffers to balance out this toxic effect and make it edible. In general, herbs are much safer and can be taken for a longer period of time without the side effects of medication.
Another primary aspect of taking medicinals is how they change the underlying structure of the body. By doing so they do not create a dependance on the body, but rather liberate the body from a specific condition. In Western medicine this is not the case as often times the drugs cause severe side effects that need to be mitigated by other drugs.
Teas are a simple, aromatic way to incorporate herbs easily into your everyday life. Below are some examples of teas that can be taken on a daily basis.
Bulk teas are best, as they are most always more fresh than what you would find in a traditional bag of tea, because of this they will have a greater effect and more of the aroma will be retained. I always recommend bulk tea, but if you're on the go, bags will do just fine.
The general rule of thumb for steeping herbs is as follows:
Flowers: 2-3 minutes
Leaves/Stems: 3-5 minutes
Roots: 5-10 minutes
You can steep for longer, the idea is simply that flowers are more delicate and the medicinal properties are extracted within a short period of time. Roots, being thicker and made of a harder substance, take more time to extract the good benefits.
Ginger is a great way to increase digestion, decrease nausea and asset in warming the body. Dried ginger is more warming and spicy, while fresh ginger is less heating. Both are great to use and can be used each day. It's a perfect tea for the morning to get the body going and wake up your digestion.
Peel a fresh piece of ginger with a spoon, removing all the skin. Next, thinly slice the ginger and place in a small pot of water, cover and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and add honey and lemon to taste. Reboil as often as you like. If you prefer the tea to be stronger, simply cook for an additional 15 minutes.
This type of ginger is what you'll find in a tea bag. Because its a rhizome, you can let it steep for a considerable amount of time. If you have bulk ginger, cook the same as above, but for less time as dried ginger can get quite hot in a short period of time. Add honey and lemon to taste.
Tulsi (holy basil)
This tea is not only deliciously aromatic, but yields exceptional benefits to the body. Its taste is similar to that of mint, but more subtle in flavor. Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb, in that it targets and balances the central nervous system. It can be taken in the morning to get going or enjoyed at night to calm down and help with sleep. You can never have too much Tulsi.