I had the pleasure of interviewing Jolene from Wild Creatures Apothecary this past week and I learned so much about herbal remedies and traditional medicine! If you’re interested in learning more, read below for a crash course in herbal remedies.

What is your favorite thing about herbal remedies?
Traditional Medicine is instinctive. I can tell the days I’m stressed and that my blood pressure is high, so I use teas or tinctures for that to help. Or days that my eyes are itching and my allergies are acting up, so I use herbal remedies to help with that. I’ve moved away from modern preventative medicine, which doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to preventative health, it just looks different than taking a pill for this and a pill for that. It’s personalized and centered on my needs for my body and is nature-based. The medical industry, the pharmaceutical industry are trillion-dollar industries and even the supplement industry pulls 31 billion dollars a year. And for what? And they aren’t making this kind of money by healing sick people. So my favorite part of herbal medicine, traditional medicine rather, is that it brings us (and our wallets) back to healing and nurturing our bodies in a way that is most beneficial: simple, natural, and instinctive.

What is an easy tip that a beginner might want to start with?
I started using traditional medicine to heal myself. And that is where I recommend starting. Pick a goal, mine at the time was tackling emotional health. I understood why I wasn’t healthy emotionally but didn’t understand what was happening within my body, physiologically and chemically. Once I learned that then I researched avenues of holistic care. I started working with herbs that nurtured my heart and emotions and fortified my nervous system. Once I felt comfortable there, I moved on to my next goal…and then the next and the next. And now, I consider myself pretty well versed in my craft, enough to bring it to the community.

Some of the most common things that are happening within our society right now are anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness. What herbal remedies would you recommend that people use with these ailments?
Well, there are a ton of herbs that I could recommend to help with these highly common issues. I could suggest Lemon Balm for anxiety and St. Johns Wort for depression and Valerian Root, Lavender, Chamomile for sleep; however, Herbalism doesn’t work that way. While these herbs are great for the issues, they really just treat the symptoms. Let’s look at sleeplessness. There are so many herbs we can use to treat insomnia and put you to sleep, but then I’d be treating you the same way the modern medical world is. I’d have to keep throwing herbs at you to get you to sleep, then your body could become dependent and the cycle begins. What I want to know is why are you having trouble sleeping? Is it heartburn, a bellyache, racing thoughts, stress from the day? Then I want to know what your habits are? What do you do before you go to bed? What do you eat before you go to bed? How does the sleeplessness feel? Let’s get to the root cause, and yes, part of the plan will be creating an herbal tea blend to help you, but the blend will be customized to your particular brand of sleeplessness.

If someone can’t afford to seek out the help of an herbalist like yourself, what are some things they can look for in common grocery store aisles that will work for them?
There were just a few things I would suggest to start with, it would be things like Garlic…I can not stress how important garlic is in your daily diet. I think everyone should have a jar of fermented honey garlic on their counter. The National Institute of Health has a wonderful compilation of the hundreds of studies done in a medical setting regarding the benefits of raw garlic in our bodies. I mean WHOLE BODY HEALTH. Other than that, I bet they have medicinal staples in their spice cabinet. Turmeric (wonderful for pain and inflammation and is also an adaptogen), Black Pepper (aids in the absorption of Turmeric), Cinnamon (for circulation), Rosemary (for headaches), Thyme (cough), Ginger (immune support), Parsley (liver health). The key is education and there is so much of it readily available, literally at our fingertips.

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