Jen Guise, MH - Pennsylvania

Sometimes wanting to make healthy choices can be overshadowed by too much information.

We live in the information age but we don’t have to be overwhelmed in our quest to take control of our health. Here are some suggestions for keeping it simple:

1. Don’t buy more than one herb for the same thing. There are many herbs that have similar actions, and when I first heard about herbs I bought at least 3 diaphoretic herbs. I could have saved money by only buying one and really learning about it well. Of course, if the first herb doesn’t produce the results you want, feel free to try a different one!

2. Do buy your herbs from a trusted source. We are fortunate not to have government regulations on many herbs, but this comes with a responsibility on our part to make sure that we buy quality herbs. Ask your herb supplier about their quality control measures and whether or not they test the herbs before they sell them, or ask your local Master Herbalist what supplier they recommend.

3. Start with a few good recipes. I found that trying to change my family’s diet all at once was met with more than a little resistance. Instead, pick one thing…like eating healthy snacks. This can be as simple as air popped popcorn covered with flax seed oil and Real salt (yummy!) or raw carrots. Not a snacker? Pick one meal of the day and make it healthy every day, no matter what. Before long it will be easy!

4. Work towards growing your own herbs. This is very rewarding and money saving!

However, while learning how to use herbs I have found that I can get distracted with the growing and forget to use the herbs. So to start, I suggest buying prepared herbs from a trusted source, and start growing just one or two of your favorite herbs at a time.

5. Learn what to ignore. Not to sound rude, but there is so much information about herbs on the internet and much of it contradicts other sources. It can be so frustrating to find an herbal combination that you are excited about using, only to have another source tell you it is poisonous. Then there are the well-meaning opinions of family and friends…My solution? Pick two or three trusted sources at most. I personally find Dr. Christopher’s information to be reliable, so I rarely search anywhere else for information anymore. If Dr. C didn’t write about it, I will check out 2 or 3 other resources that I trust.

Jennifer Guise is a Master Herbalist (MH) graduate of the School of Natural Healing. Jennifer is currently pursuing a degree in midwifery and facilitates an educational club for people in south central Pennsylvania who desire to learn more about herbs as well as support/encourage each other in practicing healthy living (www.herbaleducationstation.com).

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