Herbal medicine has been considered “the medicine for the people” as almost every household has a cabinet filled with healing herbs whether that be herbal teas or culinary spices. People tend to know the basics of herbalism by using elderberry for colds, chamomile for an upset stomach, and turmeric for pain and inflammation.
Every plant that grows on this earth has a herbal action which is a word that explains the medicinal quality of a plant. Many plants have more than one herbal action as there is a synergistic aspect to nature. Some herbal actions are anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, nervine, adaptogen, and emmenagogue.
When using plant medicine, it is wise to learn the herbal actions to know how it’s going to manipulate the body - this is helpful so that you know when you can turn to a herb when in need of specific support. For instance, when considering chamomile, most people use this herb to ease an upset stomach. It helps this concern as one of chamomile's known herbal actions is that it is a digestive bitter. A digestive bitter is a herb that stimulates the gastric juice to release into the stomach which encourages digestion. When this takes place in the body, it tends to ease an upset stomach. However, chamomile has some other actions that are worth considering. It is known to be a nervine, alterative, antispasmodic, carminative, anti-microbial, antiemetic and many more. This tells us that the plant has many more uses to it which means that we can lean on it for other common issues or symptoms that we are experiencing.
They say that the best herbalists know how to use 40 herbs in hundreds of different ways as opposed to a herbalist who knows hundreds of different herbs and only 40 uses. Remember this statement before filling up your medicine cabinet with a variety of different herbs. One single herb had countless benefits in the body!