Herbal Goddess

Discover the amazing spirit of 12 healing herbs with teas, potions, salves, food, yoga, and more

Amy Jirsa

1. Herbs—Theraputic use. 2. Materia medica, Vegetable.

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Book Details
 478 p
 File Size 
 30,455 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 978-1-61212413-1 (ebook) 
 2015 by Amy Jirsa

Versatility is such a highly prized quality these days. It’s a high
compliment to be called a versatile actor, artist, parent, or student.
Well, the herb world is no different.

Plants have been used for medicinal purposes for as long as
we’ve been walking the earth. It just makes sense that different
preparations will offer different results, and that how you prepare
your herbal remedy depends on the situation, the herb used, and
the body part effected. Here is a bit of what you’ll encounter on the following pages.

Discover Herbs and Recover your Power
Herbal medicine, yoga, and natural health are buzzwords we’ve
heard over and over again in recent years. There are many reasons
for this, but I think the key reason, the superhero(ine) of reasons, is
that these modalities allow us to take charge of our own mental,
physical, and spiritual health.

That’s huge! We’ve been giving away our power for so long now
that we didn’t even know we’d lost it. Until now. I mean, look
around you. Nature gives us everything we need — food, water,
sun, raw materials for clothing and for building shelter — so why
not the materials we need for our own health? When we tune in
and tap into these natural resources, we become our own healers,
safely, knowledgeably, and, most of all, intuitively.
Herbalism is our cultural heritage. No matter where our
ancestors came from, chances are they used plants as medicine,
probably without even thinking about it. This knowledge was
instinctual, deep, and common. Sure, there were wisewomen
(herbwives, they were called) who would know exactly what to do in
dire situations, but most families had a stillroom (or home-grown
apothecary) in or near the family hearth.

Yes, we might have lost some of that knowledge along the way,
but the instincts are still there. It’s still in our genes or collective
subconscious. We reach for peppermint when we want to freshen
our breath or cool down, for instance; chamomile when we want to
relax; and tea when we want to wake up. Yup — black, green,
oolong, and rooibos teas are all herbs. In fact, you might be rather
surprised to see so many “non-traditional” herbs in this little volume.

Technically, an herb is any plant that produces seeds, has a nonwoody
stem, and dies down after flowering. But to an herbalist, any
plant that has medicinal, culinary, or aromatic mojo is considered
an herb. Trust me — every plant I’ve included is an herb by that
definition. There’s major mojo here.
I know that, taken as a whole, learning about herbs seems like a
lot of work. The sheer amount of information out there — on
websites, in books, and in periodicals — can be overwhelming. And
when you think of every possible medicinal plant out there? Ye
gads! It is a lot. It’s too much for most professional herbalists, even.
That’s why I’ve limited this book to 12 herbs.

You may be wondering, “How on earth can one herbalist decide
on just 12 herbs?” Well, that choice came down partially to
intuition; I’ve worked with many herbs over the years and these 12
continue to stand out to me as some of the most versatile and
easiest to work with and source. These are my favorite go-to herbs,
the ones that offer a range of solutions for healthy living from the
outside to the inside, from the mind to the body to the spirit. These
are the herbs my apothecary is never without. With these 12 herbs,
I feel confident that I can take care of (almost) anything that might
crop up in day-to-day living. Plus, there’s a good variety here —
some are beautiful, aromatic, and surprising (like the rose); some
are familiar and, perhaps, already in your pantry (like chamomile).
So that’s it: just 12. Easy. Fun. Intuitive.

Sure, there are scads more than 12 herbs out there (enough to
dedicate your life to their exploration, let’s put it that way). But I’ll
tell you a secret: Most herbalists are intimately familiar with a
handful of herbs (say, 30 or so) and we spend a long time getting to
know each herb that we work with. So here’s my suggestion: Try
focusing on one herb at a time, and spend an entire month getting
to know each one. It’s the best way to become really familiar with
how each herb affects you.

Think of the close relationships in your life. Think of the time it
takes to really get to know someone — how much care and
attention that kind of cultivation requires. You don’t take that time
with everyone you run into, but you know when it’s worth it. It’s
the same thing with herbs. They, too, will become more familiar
with time and attention. This is your moment of introduction. And
if you’re already acquainted, this is your time to go deeper. This is
late-night-chardonnay-drinking sisterhood time.

To that end, I’ve supplied you with not only lots of specific
recipes, but also some general formulas throughout the
appendixes. These master recipes will allow you to blend, create,
and invent your very own herbal preparations, from teas and
tinctures to salves and cosmetics; from herbal oils and vinegars to
flower essences. Here you’ll learn the ins and outs of herbal
crafting as you become inspired to build your own personalized
herbal apothecary. You’ll take your health into your own hands,
secure in the knowledge that you are intimately familiar with
every ingredient going into every remedy.

And speaking of your health and your hands — you’ll notice
yoga poses scattered throughout this book, each herb’s spirit
inspiring a yogic posture of its own. I included these because, to
me, yoga is as close to connecting to plant spirits as our bodies can
get. This isn’t a book about yoga, so I’m assuming some basic
familiarity with these poses; there are lots of reference guides out
there if you’d like to explore yoga more fully. Just flow with it; if it
inspires you, fantastic!
And on that note, feel free to read this book in any order. You’ll
find, I think, that this guide becomes a starting place for your
herbal exploration — that learning about these herbs will
springboard learning about other herbs, and your studies will
continue organically, with you creating the course and the
curriculum. I’m giving you the basics so that you can become your
own master teacher and Herbal Goddess down the road.
To my mind, you’re an Herbal Goddess when you find that
moment of inspiration, of inspired action that spurs you to
experiment in your own way and to do your own exploring. To be
an Herbal Goddess means to create your own craft of wellness,
your own traditions, your own heritage while tapping into those of
your sisters — both here-and-now and long gone. Because that
knowledge is never really lost, is it? We may have strayed from the
path of natural healing in recent decades, but herbs have a
mysterious aspect to them — an ancient energy and wisdom. Just
like any source of inspiration, this energy speaks to us.

Herbs have long been a part of spiritual and magical traditions,
and those traditions are intricately woven into their healing
properties and history. In honor of that sister-herbalist-goddess
lineage, you’ll find lots of magical applications for your herbs here as well.
Whether this is all new to you or provides a deeper exploration
of herbs that you’re already familiar with, you will find room to
play here. There are always new avenues to take, even when
heading for familiar homes.
At any rate, read at your leisure, have fun, and explore.
Be bold, be creative, and be healthy.
Oh, and be sure to goddess it up, you divine creatures, you!

Table of Contents
Food & Drink Recipes
Body Care Recipes
Introduction: Discover Herbs and Recover your Power
Chapter 1: Discovering the Sunny Side of Chamomile
Chapter 2: Rediscovering the Most Romantic Bloom
Chapter 3: Detoxing with Dandelion
Chapter 4: Adapting with Holy Basil
Chapter 5: Playing Nice with Nettles
Chapter 6: Healing with Calendula
Chapter 7: Having a Lie-Down with Lavender
Chapter 8: Treating It All with Turmeric
Chapter 9: Keeping the Doctor Away with Echinacea
Chapter 10: The Many Wonders of the Elder Plant
Chapter 11: Versatile and Singular Cinnamon
Chapter 12: Jiving It Up with Ginger
Appendix I: Flower Essences
Appendix II: Herbal Oils
Appendix III: Herbal Salves
Appendix IV: Herbal Tinctures
Appendix V: Herbal Vinegars
Suggested Reading
Photography Credits
Other Storey Titles
Share Your Experience!

The mission of Storey Publishing is to serve our customers by
publishing practical information that encourages personal
independence in harmony with the environment.

Edited by Sarah Guare and Deborah Balmuth Art direction and book design by Carolyn
Eckert Text production by Jennifer Jepson Smith Indexed by Samantha Miller Cover and
interior photography by © Winnie Au, except for those credited .
Photography styling by Sally Staub © 2015 by Amy Jirsa
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