Herbal Space with Miriam Kwari
Hello friends and welcome to herbal space. This week we are starting on a list of herbs that we might find useful in our day to day lives. We will do it in stages from A to Z and hopefully you will find the information handy and most of all interesting. But before we do that, let me clarify on the confusion that was caused by the adjacent articles in last week’s publication.
My son, Ryan whom we made reference to in that article is very well and now in Lower Six Form at a local private school. The cancer he suffered from was leukemia and for a long time we were up and down in hospitals until someone introduced us to herbal supplements, including graviola, while he was undergoing treatment in India.
That article where he is a small boy in hospital was published in May of 2013. Now, he is a strong and healthy boy. It was from that experience that I moved from teaching to be who I am today, a trained herbalist.
And now, back to the new business of the week. This is a column where we share information on herbs and learn how to use the plants and flowers around us to heal as well as help complement conventional medicines.
This is why l said last week, that nature is the pharmacy. So here goes:
List of herbs and their uses? I’ve often needed a quick a reference myself in the past to look up a particular herb and find their uses. This week we list several common herbs and the medicinal properties of each along with how you can use them. I hope to make this your one source for finding information about your favourite herb/s.
If you are looking for some easy to grow herbs be sure to also get in touch.
The aloe plant has an abundance of medicinal properties and has been used for centuries for this reason. I personally take it as the mother of all herbal medicines because of its many uses.
The aloe plant is relatively easy to grow; it is a succulent plant and therefore does not need much watering. Let’s take a look at some of the medicinal properties of this herb.
The most common uses of the Aloe in the home is for treating burns, wounds and skin conditions. The real magic of the aloe vera plant comes from the gel inside the leaves.
To extract this use a sharp knife and take off the thick skin on the outside of the leaf.
The part you are after is the clear inner gel, sometimes referred to as the inner fillet, because you are sort of filleting the leaf.
When used on minor burns you should run the affected area under cool water for about ten minutes before applying aloe gel.
Continue to apply the gel several times per day for both burns and skin conditions.
If you are using the Aloe gel for lowering blood sugar levels take about one tablespoon daily if taking it orally.
The aloe plant makes it an excellent choice to have in your herbal first aid kit.
When using Aloe you want to be sure not to apply it to open wounds. Also be careful when processing the leaves. As I mentioned above you want to make use of the clear gel part, and stay clear of the yellow sap that oozes out.
While not a big deal when applying to the skin one should be aware of this yellow sap when taking aloe gel orally.
This yellow sap is called aloin and if ingested will act as a laxative, if aloin is used for prolonged periods it can lead to depletion of electrolytes and dependence for normal bowl function.
Remember to consult your medical practitioner or herbalist on the proper way to administer or ingest herbs.
Next week I will slightly deviate from our list of A-Z herbal plants and talk about juicing veggies. It is a basic practice that we all need to adopt for good health in our families.
Remember to enjoy the good benefits of graviola. Let the leaves be your medicine and the fruit, your meat.
The writer Miriam Kwari is a herbalist from Mutare and can be contacted on +263 773378571 or 12 Herbert Chitepo Street Oasis Building, Mutare.