02 July 2015
Herbs: Fast-acting or Tonic?
Herbs are used in two distinct ways. One is in acute situations, providing relief for things like an upset tummy or menstrual cramps. The other is to nourish and regulate organs and systems, revitalizing the body's own ability to maintain overall good health.
The first way is fast. The second often takes time. A robust herbal medicine chest contains both types of herbal remedies. Herbs like yarrow, skullcap, plantain, wild lettuce, motherwort, and lemon balm are usually used for acute situations. It is best to take them immediately at the on-set of the issue and at regular intervals to have the most desired effect.
Tonics such as elder, hawthorn, vitex, astragalus, and reishi are helpful for more long term support for the immune system, the heart, the hormonal system and others. A tonic works best when taken consistently on a daily basis, over three to six months.
Some herbs are both tonics and fast acting. For example, St. Johnswort (also known as St. Joanswort) is both a tonic that supports the nervous system and an herb that is used acutely for viral infections and burns.
Knowing the manner in which to use an herb will help determine how much to have on hand. Taking two full droppers of an extract a day, a 1 ounce bottle will last approximately 20 to 25 days. This is probably enough for most acute situations. Since tonics need to be taken for at least three to six months to see results, a 4 or 8 ounce bottle helps keep the herb at hand, and also cuts down on cost and waste.
Know that herbal tonics require a committment to reap the rewards, and immediacy helps with acute situations. Both are important for herbal remedies to work their magic best.