Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Nature and Herbal Plants for Better Health

Plants engage in a real alchemy drawing from the soil vital nutritive substances which they store and convert into food. They are therefore a natural reservoir of precious elements.

Plants like human beings, have their own particular preferences and characteristics so we must know to look for them and learn to recognize them. This is more difficult than recognizing the people we often see.

Nature is the best gardener in the world, but with the chemical invasion of the world we must be very cautious in gathering plants. Never gather plants that are grown on cultivated land or in orchards; they may be well poisoned and in any case they no longer remain as nature created them.

The soil that feeds them is saturated with chemical fertilizers and synthetic hormones intended to destroy weeds. They are also repeatedly subjected to a fall out of equally poisonous insecticides.

You must gather your herbal plants far away from civilization. There are still areas uncontaminated by human intrusion and waste lands, valleys and mountains to satisfy those who have a liking for herbal infusions.

The Ayurveda books such as Susruta and Charaka pay much attention to the gathering of herbs. Herbs should be gathered at the right moment.

Even the great Western herbalist Dioscorides has said that before all else, it is proper to use care both in the gathering of herbs during the correct season and in storing them.

It is according to these rules that medicines either do their work, or become quite ineffective.

The moon is the closest planet to the earth and most rapid in its motion. It has a great influence upon plants and all other living things when it waxes and wanes every month.

The curative components contained in plants vary according to the age of the plant, the time of picking, the nature of the soil and the climate. Hence the cardinal rule that must be followed by us, is that they should be gathered at the moment of full maturity. It is best to gather herbs on a dry and sunny day. You should not start to pick them too early in the day, nor continue too late. The herbal roots must be pulled out after the rains. Even handling of herbal plants needs a certain amount of care. You should not squeeze or crush the flowers and leaves you' gather, because if they become warm or bruised they will be less effective.

Herbs are ruined mainly due to the careless way in which they are gathered. You should not remove too many leaves or branches from the same plant.

If a plant is stripped of too much bark or leaves it will die. You should refrain from taking too many roots within a limited radius as it is the mainstay of the plant.

In collecting herbs you should also have a choice of plants. The ancient Ayurvedic Acharyas have laid down that a wild plant is always better than a cultivated plant. Choose plants that have the most fragrance, taste and colour. Also select plants which are healthy, bitter, and not attacked by pests or disease.