We encourage you to seek out a clinical herbalist through The American Herbalists Guild (www.americanherbalistsguild.com). Get a referral for a holistically minded medical doctor, nurse practitioner or naturopathic doctor in your area - one who has a specific background in herbal healing. In Midcoast Maine, Dr. Dan Einstein (www.holistic-einstein.com, 207-470-0499), who is a medical doctor, herbalist and anthroposophically-trained doctor sees clients at Avena Botanicals.
Here are a few resources for getting familiar with the world of herbs.
Biodynamic agriculture is such a vast subject and not necessarily quantifiable. I can only speak from my personal experience as a biodynamic gardener. I have been working with the biodynamic planting calendar since 1986 and using the biodynamic preparations on our farm since 1998. We work closely with the daily lunar and planetary rhythms in all of our seeding, planting, watering and plant collecting activities. For me, working in rhythm with these cosmic forces means we strive to be aligned with forces we cannot see but that we emotionally and spiritually sense. The quality of our soil and compost is enhanced by the biodynamic preparations which in turn affects the health, flavor, and vitality of our herbs. Many, many visitors and customers comment on the beauty and peacefulness of our gardens when they visit and on the effectiveness and special qualities they feel when they ingest our remedies. I believe that the biodynamic practices and the prayerful way we work contribute to the quality and effectiveness of Avena's remedies.
I dedicate a whole chapter on biodynamics in my latest book, How To Move Like a Gardener, as a way to help people understand biodynamic preparations.
A single extract contains one herb. A compound extract contains more than one herb. Often 3-5 different herbs are part of a compound extract and they enhance each other's beneficial properties.
The best way to take a liquid extract
Place the liquid drops in 1/8 to 1/4 cup of room temperature water and drink. We recommend you pause before taking your herbs and reflect upon why you are using them. Give thanks to the plants for offering you their healing gifts.
The best way to brew a cup of herbal tea
To make a cup of tea using fresh herbs: place a handful of the herbs into a glass, enamel or stainless pot, cover with cool water and lid, and slowly heat until steaming, but not boiling. Turn off the heat and let infuse 5-30 minutes. The longer your tea infuses, the stronger its flavor. Compost the plant material.
To make a cup of tea using dried leaves and flowers: Boil 1 cup of water. Place 1-2 Tablespoons of dried herbs into a tea pot, glass canning jar or tea infuser. Pour the hot water over the herbs, cover with a lid or small plate, and let infuse for 5-15 minutes. Strain and compost the plant material.
To make a cup of dried, chopped roots: Place 6 tablespoons of chopped, dried roots into a glass, enamel or stainless pot. Cover with 4-5 cups of water and simmer for 20-30 minutes, covered. Turn off heat, strain and compost the plant material.