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Recognizing and picking medicinal plants

  1. The power of nature is in the spotlight. Medicinal plants offer solutions for many small and larger ailments. But how do you recognize medicinal plants in nature, along the shoulder of the road or in your backyard. Where can you pick and where not. What are the medicinal properties of the various plants and what kind of concoctions can you make from them. All this can be read in Renate Hudak's book Medicinal Plants.

Medicinal plants

  1. In June 2014 Tirion Natuur published the book Medicinal Plants by Renate Hudak, price € 16.99, ISBN 9789052109527. Active substances in the plant or in parts of the plant determine the medicinal effect. The medicinal properties of plants have been known to mankind for thousands of years, but scientific analyzes can now also prove this. Modern medicine therefore works with many medicines of vegetable origin or with chemical look-alikes. Because chemical substances can cause hypersensitive reactions, the tendency is to revert to the original plant substances. The healing power of plants also plays a major role in alternative medicine.

Plant Knowledge

  1. Some plant knowledge is essential for a correct determination. To begin with, there is the division into annual, biennial and perennial or perennial and woody plants. More guidance also offers recognition of the family to which a particular plant belongs. This can be seen in the characteristic structure of the flower. Other landmarks are the leaf shape, the leaf position, the appearance of seed or fruit and that of roots. All plants mentioned in the book are registered with the Dutch name and with the scientific nomenclature.

Recognizing plants

  1. What does a plant notice first? The color of the flower! This makes it easier to remember the name of the plant. The author of the book Medicinal Plants has therefore classified the overview of medicinal plants by color of the bloom.

Where to pick

  1. In times gone by, you were soon considered a witch if you were spotted picking plants or herbs. Fortunately, people nowadays look at this differently. Still, you better keep your broomstick handy to get out of the way if you run into a forest ranger. Or, of course, just stick to the rules, because you cannot just go and pick plants with impunity in protected nature areas. Where then? In many places! Gravel areas, railway embankments, along roads, on construction sites and fallow land, scrub, dry grassland, damp meadows, along fields and banks, along hedges and forest edges, peatlands and heaths, on rubbish dumps and rubble areas, in alpine areas on acidic meadows, on branches of trees, planted in gardens or parks, in dry and nutrient-poor places, in sandy-loamy places. The location depends of course on the type of plant. The private garden is also a prime location. Many people do not even know what medicinal plants they have in their house. The beautiful brightly colored flowers of the nasturtium, for example, not only do well as an edible decoration on a salad, but also form the basis for a preparation against bronchitis and urinary tract infections.

Grow it yourself

  1. If you grow plants or herbs yourself, you walk the path of least resistance. You will not easily be able to make mistakes in recognizing the plant. Important, because many plants have a 'poisonous double'. In addition, you can then effortlessly have protected plants that may not be picked in the wild, such as the cowslip. Not everyone has a garden now, but you can also grow all kinds of plants or herbs in pots on an average balcony. Herbs such as basil, sage, etc. are not only useful in the kitchen as a seasoning, but can also be used as a medicinal herb. For example, basil has traditionally been known as a medicine for various intestinal complaints, laryngitis and is said to have a calming effect and even be considered an aphrodisiac. Sowing yourself is a simple job; you can buy the seeds ready-made in bags or harvest the seeds from existing plants.

Active ingredients

  1. The active substances of medicinal plants are divided into various main groups, with an associated global effect:

Processing for medicinal purposes

  1. Within hours of harvesting and collecting the plant parts, you must take action to prepare a preparation for a medicinal purpose or to make a supply for your own home pharmacy. When it comes to harvesting and collecting, you also have to adhere to various rules. The most important of these is that nature must be respected. Renate Hudak's work provides the necessary do's and don'ts. Making tea and infusions in alcohol and oil are the basic forms of preparation, then a distinction is made again between hot tea (infusion) and cold tea, decoction, tincture (infusion in alcohol), infusion in oil, wraps and baths.]

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