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BLENDS By Mim Beim

There are thousands of herbs used by a myriad of herbalists worldwide including those in the Indian (Ayurvedic), Native American, European or Arabic traditions and in traditional Chinese medicine. All are wonderful, all are therapeutic. Here are some of my favourite blends.


have been a naturopath and herbalist for over 20 years. I absolutely love the way herbs both enhance our well-being and

treat illness. In this regard they are unique. For thousands of years people have munched on therapeutic plants to ease their aches and pains. Even animals have an instinct for herbs. The elephants in Sri Lanka seek out gotu kola leaves, which also happen to be recommended in Ayurvedic medicine for longevity and memory. All ancient civilisations have used herbs for medicine, from the Babylonians to the Greeks, Egyptians and Chinese. Although the tradition of herbal medicine

may have been intertwined with myth and old wives’ tales, modern herbalism has kept up with the times. As more herbs are put under the microscope, we are finding that they stand up to rigorous scientific investigation, confirming their centuries of use. For instance, St. John’s wort, long used for those of a melancholy or nervous disposition, has been reported in medical journals to be as effective as antidepressants but without the side effects. In fact, doctors in Germany write out several million prescriptions for St. John’s wort each year. As a rule, herbs are less toxic than pharmacological drugs, but they also may take longer to work. Good health is more than merely the

absence of disease. A patient may come in with a clean bill of health from their doctor, nothing amiss on their blood tests, but nevertheless do not feel one hundred per cent. Herbs increase our inherent ‘vital force’, the spark within, helping us feel bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Herbs work to improve and assist the body’s innate functions, rather than override them. For instance, I use echinacea to improve the functioning of the immune system, helping my patient to resist infection. Other herbs, including the ‘tonic’ herbs, such

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as Siberian ginseng, licorice and withania, have the ability to help the body return to its inherent homoeostatis, or equilibrium. They can be as helpful in an overactive (hyper) state as in underactive (hypo) states. For example, the Ayurvedic herb withania is an excellent remedy for improving energy, as well as helping you to sleep. In the 21st century, when people are

yearning to connect with the earth, what better way than to use plant medicine? Herbs are the way forward for our health and our planet. They have few side effects, improve the body’s ability to heal itself, are biodegradable, sustainable and delicious too! A couple of cups of herbal tisane each day

is a simple way to improve your health and well-being.

BLENDING As a herbalist, I usually create a blend of three or more herbs. We call this ‘synergy’, where the sum of the parts is greater that the whole. Combining several herbs that have a

similar activity or work on a certain organ or system in the body will bolster the other herbs, better than using one herb on its own. For example, if I were to treat a

patient with a sore throat, I might use a combination of licorice, echinacea and thyme; licorice because it is soothing to mucus membranes lining the throat, echinacea because it is anti-inflammatory and helps the immune system, and thyme because it is antiseptic.

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