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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Essential Guide to Home Herbal Remedies: Book Review


I was very excited to be sent the The Essential Guide to Home Herbal Remedies to review.

Admittedly, I am hot a huge herbal remedy user, but I do use some already.  I spray the girls' hair regularly with water mixed with tea tree oil and lavender oil to keep lice away.  I use oregano oil to treat a sore throat (I haven't found it prevents colds or flues though), and I use tea tree oil for bug bites.  I am in love with making an Epsom salt and lavender bath to soothe my muscles when they are sore.  I was hoping I would pick up a few more ideas for using these types of products.

Unfortunately, I found this book very disappointing.  I don't see myself using very many of these recipes. 

I will start with what I do like.  In the first section, there is a table of vinegars (and I am a huge lover of vinegars!) and their various health benefits.  Unfortunately, many are varieties I have never seen (pineapple vinegar? honey vinegar? whey vinegar?).  There is also a table suggesting different herbal essential oils for bathing.  At the back of the book there is a handy guide to herbs with photos of each one, description, uses, etc. 

The first thing I don't like is that a lot of these potions have a lot of sugar and/or vodka in them.  Not my first choice for so-called 'healing' agents.  Many of these recipes are also silly.  An anti-colic tea made from aniseed, fennel, caraway and coriander seeds that you let your child sip??  My daughter had colic from age 3 weeks to 3 months...you can't make an infant that young sip anything, let alone warm tea!!

There are also some fairly ordinary food recipes in here that seem out of place in an herbal home remedy guide.

Some of these remedies are backed by science - like using fenugreek seeds to promote lactation - but many are not.  I was particularly interested in the virility tea for men, since I work in the infertility field.  Unfortunately, I researched all the ingredients (organic parsnip, angelica root, lovage root, stinging nettle root, and speedwell) and there are no studies showing any evidence of efficacy except for one that suggests lovage (because of its high quercetin content) may help reverse damage to sperm caused by Agent Orange.  Um, not sure how many couple trying to conceive for whom that would be relevant...

Anyways, I might crack open this book from time-to-time, but I don't expect it will be getting dog-eared.  Nevertheless, if you are more into alternative therapies than I am, you might want to have this book on hand to guide you on how to use various herbs.

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review but all opinions on this blog are my own.