This weekend I was fortunate to attend a medicinal herbs workshop at the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View, Arkansas. If you are not familiar with this park, it’s a fantastic place. They work to preserve the heritage and traditions of the Ozarks, everything from folk music, traditional methods of making soap, brooms, textiles, pottery, wood baskets, buckets, leather, guns, metal goods, and of course, herbal medicine. They offer classes and exhibitions throughout the year.
Did you know that over 82 percent of the world’s population considers herbal, or traditional, medicine their primary means of health care? You might scoff at this, and think it only applies to third-world countries, but that is not the case. In most European and other developed countries, doctors are trained in the use of herbs to treat their patients in conjunction with modern medicine.
Somewhere along the way, we have been fooled into believing that traditional medicine is less effective, less safe, less trustworthy than modern medicine, but that is simply not true. With the rising cost of health care in this country, drug shortages, drug-resistant pathogens, the lack of family doctors, terrible side effects, and the lack of research to develop new drugs (unless they cost $7 or more per pill), the take-over of your personal health care by insurance companies and our government, it is wise to learn as much as you can about treating yourself and your family with traditional medicines. If your grandma could treat an illness or minor injury at home, you probably can too.
The bloodroot pictured above is an at-risk medicinal plant. Used to treat rheumatism, asthma, bronchitis, and other lung ailments, this valuable medicinal is at-risk of being lost due to over-harvesting for shipment overseas, loss of habitat, and urbanization. A great group working to save our traditional medicinal plants is United Plant Savers. Find out more about them, and how you can help, by visiting http://www.unitedplantsavers.org
I am so excited about my new-found herbal knowledge! I will be posting more information about the workshop and some of the wonderful people who are working hard to preserve our traditional medical knowledge and valuable medicinal plants in future posts.