About Herbalism and Herbalists
Herbalism is the body of knowledge about plants and using them to heal. An herb is a plant found to have healing properties. An herbalist is someone who spends as much time learning about plants and their healing properties as a pilot does learning to fly or a dancer does learning to dance. They also learn about all the ills that can afflict humans (or, sometimes, animals) and how plants can help.
Some of them are working very hard to keep old knowledge from being lost while others are trying to find new healing plants and new ways to use plants to treat some very terrible diseases.
Some say that God put a cure for every ill on the planet in the form of herbs.
The Herbs Sara and Nellie Used to Make Salve
Comfrey leaves are enormous. If you are a small person they can be as long as your arm and wide enough to wrap around it. When you break a leaf or stem open it oozes with a sticky, slippery sap. It smells very fresh and green. Pioneers brought it to North America and ate it for a spring tonic just like some used dandelion. It's covered with rough, prickly hairs. Like yarrow, its good for bruises. So good, that if you apply a poultice as soon as you hurt yourself you can sometimes avoid a bruise all together. It can grow to be 5 feet tall. It's very tenacious.
To Learn More about Herbs
Begin by identifying the plants that grow where you are. You can keep a notebook and make sketches of the plants you don't know, then look them up at the library or on the internet. You need to be 100 percent sure of the identity of a plant before using it either for food or for medicine. Once you think you know. Check with an adult that knows a lot like the people who work at garden stores. Then, research the medicinal and food uses for the plants you find. Spring dandelion leaves are good in salad, for instance.
It smells foresty and has leaves like feathers. It generally blooms in June but if heat comes earlier or later than normal it can bloom earlier or later. One of its old names is "woundwort" because soldiers used to use it for cuts from sword or knife. Modern herbalists use it for anything having to do with blood. It kills germs and stops a cut from bleeding. It also helps heal bruises. It grows to about 2 feet or 30 centimeters.