Common weeds, like dandelions, nettle, elder berries and hawthorne grow in abundance in many regions of the country, and can be used for a variety of herbal remedies, that some claim work just as well as over-the-counter drugs. Did you know dandelions are fantastic in a salad and are a highly effective diuretic? Ginger counters nausea? Or, that feverfew is great for a tooth-ache?
Think it's all just a bunch of hocus pocus?
"If you can boil water, you can utilize the herbs all around you,” says Lata Chettri–Kennedy, Flower Power owner and resident Greenwich Village Green Witch, a.k.a. herbalist extraordinaire. “Just drop the loose herbs in a mug, and enjoy. The most beneficial things grow in our backyards, so a plain green lawn is very depressing to me."
Kennedy says that it's more ecological to use locally grown herbs rather than pharmaceuticals. “When you cut and dry a plant, (your) taste(buds) immediately trigger the natural, medicinal effects,” she says. “In pill-form, so much energy has gone into irradiating and re-formulating the herbs that they've lost their essential essence to packaging." Not to mention, they lose their eco-friendly preparation and disposal.
Composting your used herbs or dropping them down the garbage disposal is an eco-friendly alternative to hazardous pharmaceutical waste disposal, whose toxicity moves from landfills and sewers into the local water supply.
To woo the object of your desire this Halloween, Kennedy recommends brewing up the following potion: 1/2 ounce damiana, 1/2 ounce Siberian ginseng, 1/2 ounce ashwagandha, 1/8 ounce licorice root and 1/12 ounce prickly ash bark combine to make the ultimate love potion/aphrodisiac.
Story by Nicole Zerillo. This article originally appeared in Plenty in October 2008. The story was added to MNN.com in July 2009.
Copyright Environ Press 2008