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20 Essential Herbs for Do-it-Yourself Home Healthcare
Most of us understand the value of eating and buying local. Taking back our food, goods, and services from multinational corporations and sourcing them from small growers, producers, artisans, and entrepreneurs benefits our families, our environment, and our communities. Heal Local argues that "100-mile healthcare" can be equally valuable in terms of how we treat illness and injury and maintain wellness.
This innovative guide demonstrates that by harnessing multifaceted whole plants, we can rely on homegrown or regionally produced herbs, rather than importing exotics and non-natives. Based on the small apothecary model, author Dawn Combs explains how to:
- Maximize the benefits of homegrown first aid, from increased freshness, potency and effectiveness, to community resilience and local economic growth
- Make home herbal healthcare less intimidating and more attainable, by focusing on 20 herbs to effectively treat most common injuries and ailments
- Implement a local medicine culture safely and sustainably, while protecting and respecting wild plant populations.
Many herbals overwhelm their readers, presenting a list of hundreds of herbs, each with a different purpose. Heal Local empowers readers by showing that you don't need to know everything about every herb on the planet to create a complete home apothecary.
Anyone can be self-sufficient with their wellness, regardless of their previous knowledge, experience or available space.
Dawn Combs is a homestead herbalist and ethnobotanist with over 20 years experience in women's health issues. She began her career with a B.A. in Botany and Humanities/Classics, and later apprenticed with herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. As well as training others in herbal home healthcare, she treats her family's common illnesses and minor injuries with natural therapies, herbal remedies, and appropriate foods. Dawn is a beekeeper, educator, and co-owner of the medicinal herb and honey farm Mockingbird Meadows and its Eclectic Herbal Institute, which is nationally recognized for her signature line of therapeutic herbal honey spreads. Her family was recently recognized by Mother Earth News as one of their 2013 Homesteaders of the Year. Dawn is also the author of Conceiving Healthy Babies.
"[Dawn Combs'] compelling case for re-informing ourselves with ancient healing arts re-connects us to the sheer abundance and provision of our ecological nest. This book will walk you through the process, from initial interest to a home apothecary. Rather than a sanctimonious attitude, Dawn exhibits an appreciative can-do spirit that uplifts individual initiative and respects the awesomeness of natural healing. I hope this book awakens in you a thirst and hunger for medicinal plants in a Heal Local context."
Joel Salatin, from the Foreword
"This is the herb book that I've wanted forever! Dawn Combs gives us the information we need in order to take control of our health challenges. You'll learn to make tinctures and poultices and more, and you'll discover which herbs to use for what ailment; this is an essential book for every self-reliant homestead. No doubt the pages will become smudged and tattered from frequent use in the coming years."
Deborah Niemann, author of Homegrown and Handmade, Ecothrifty, and Raising Goats Naturally
"Increasingly, herbalism is becoming an important local source of health maintenance: in the home, on the farm, and in the community. Herbalist Dawn Combs teaches the reader how to confidently move into this increasingly prevalent and important field. Heal Local teaches a wide range of skills, from the backyard herb garden to twenty basic, safe, widely used herbs, to specific conditions which can be treated at home. This is an excellent introductory book but it will continue to provide insights over the decades. The excellent footnoting makes it a useful book for further research about herbalism and a diversity of related homestead skills."
Matthew Wood MS (Herbal Medicine), Registered Herbalist (AHG)
"An excellent reflection on integrating the western medicine model and local medicine communities, empowering the reader to take ownership of their health and collaborate with their physician, incorporating medicines that may be as local as their own backyard."
Cheri Dinsmore, R.N., B.S.N, President, Harmony Farm
"Humans have always used the plants growing around them for healing. As Combs wisely points out, the simple act of gathering and using a common weed as a home remedy has profound and far-reaching effects, from enhancing our own self-reliance to making our world a better place for all. And I do mean all — from all sorts of people to the plants and other species that also depend upon them. Truly, this book is a practical and accessible doorway to the amazing and delicious world of herbal medicine. Yes, let's add wellness and healing to the rising tide of re-localization."
Betzy Bancroft, RH(AHG), co-director, Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism and advisory board member, United Plant Savers
"May this book live in the kitchens of both rural and urban families, and may it show up at farmers markets as a resource and reminder that now is the time for the local food movement and the local medicine community to be connected."
Deb Soule, herbalist and author, How to Move Like a Gardener: Planting and Preparing Medicines from Plants
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