Could a wild plant help you feel better or help treat allergies or alleviate pain?
There may be a natural solution to a variety of maladies and this book, The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies, may help you find it.
by Leon Pantenburg
Disclaimer: Nicole Apelian is a friend and I’ve been a fan of her writing and teaching ever since she appeared on one of the first seasons of “Alone”. Nobody had any input in this review, and it is strictly my opinion.
My introduction herbal remedies came from an unlikely person, my friend Gordon Cotton. He was an old school, ultra right wing conservative, and probably the last person imaginable to get into holistic medicine.
But after trying everything to treat his arthritic hands, he consulted a naturalist. Mullein tea, combined with other herbs, worked.
It was a born again experience for Gordon. Like many converts, he felt called to become an evangelist.
Mine was an easy conversion. My left thumb, probably from decades of stringed instrument playing, had developed a constant ache. I consulted a doctor and tried a variety of cures, including wearing a plastic brace overnight. Nothing out a prescription bottle helped much. But mullein tea and Diatomaceous Earth cleared everything up.
Author Nicole Apelian, PhD (she is not a medical doctor) has a much better story. Diagnosed with Multiple Scleroses in 2000, she was bedridden and confined to a wheelchair. But herbal remedies worked for her when conventional medicine didn’t. This experience ultimately lead to writing, along with co-author Claude Davis, The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies: The Healing Power of Plant Medicine.
Nicole walks the talk and is one of the most badass survivalists I know. Nicole was a challenger on the second and fifth seasons of the History Channel’s TV series “Alone”. She also stars in the UK documentary series “Surviving The Stone Age”. She is an herbalist, a mother, a survival skills instructor, and a biologist.
The MS diagnosis led Nicole to apply her research skills toward her own personal wellness. Through changes in her lifestyle, and using her own remedies, Nicole went from bedridden to being fully alive.
The book can used for on-site comparisons between illustrations and the actual plant.She is the author of three books, The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies: The Healing Power of Plant Medicine, A Reference Guide to Surviving Nature: Outdoor Preparation and Remedies, and The Forager’s Guide to Wild Foods: Edible Plants, Lichens, Mushrooms, and Seaweeds.
Here are some of the good things about the Lost Book of Herbal Remedies:
Photos: The book is well illustrated with color photos that show plants in various stages of growth. I generally take the book along in my daypack while foraging and compare the color photos with the plants I come across. It’s amazing at the variety of medicinal plants you’ll find while looking for something else.
In addition to the photos, there are detailed descriptions. This assures that your plant identification is not based on just one aspect.
Uses: How each plant is used is very important. At the beginning of the book, various ailments are listed, and then the plants that can treat those are listed. You can, for example, look up “eye inflammation” and get a list of plants and treatments. This is very useful – look up the ailment, then see what plants are in season that can be used.
Recipes: Want to learn to make tinctures, poultices, salves, decoctions, syrups, infused oils, and other herbal remedies? All these discussed in one section. The methods range from simple techniques anyone can do, to complicated dual extraction methods. Detailed instructions assure success.
Application: One of my favorite parts was where the book shows how to make a hasty bandage out of yarrow, plantain and mullein. These plants are available just about everywhere. Being able to cover and protect a wound could be lifesaving.
Well, you could say, it’s nice this book is available, but why not just use an AP on my phone? There are several plant ID APs available, and they will probably work just fine.
And they will. Until the phone battery dies. Or if you get in an area with no cell coverage. Or if the phone gets broken. A phone AP will do everything you need until it doesn’t.
Also, most APs don’t have the cross reference ability this book does. You can look up what plants might work for, say, a toothache, get a list, and start researching.
Nobody is saying that people should completely abandon modern medicine in favor of holistic cures. But it makes sense to use whatever works. And if a natural herbal treatment provides results, why not? Besides, foraged wild plants are usually free for the picking.
It’s just common sense to use the best resources for the situation, and who knows what the future brings? Because (dire Gloom and Doom warning here) someday holistic medicines may be the very best medical option, because they are the only option.
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