By Jean Pollock
Our grandmothers or great grandmothers had knowledge of what God has put at our doorsteps, fields and woods to heal our ills or those of family and friends, but somehow, maybe with the moves to the New World as well as with the advent of modern technology, the knowledge of herbs was lost to them. While modern medicine has saved millions of lives, it seems to have pushed aside the simple wisdom of ages past, which we believe is still applicable. Just as God said “Be fruitful and multiply” and He’s never yet said, “OK, that’s enough, stop!”, He gave us modern medicine, but did not take away the properties and uses of what grows right outside our doors.
Many priests, monks, and nuns of earlier times were very knowledgeable regarding the uses of herbs. Recall their beautiful herb gardens! The Church herself gives us a period of cleansing for our souls the the seasons before the major feasts of Our Lord, Christmas and Easter. If you will but stop and think about it, however, in her holy Wisdom, this cleansing is not only for the soul, but also for the body! To go without all meat and dairy products, as Lent used to be, and without some of these items, as Advent used to be, is very cleansing for the body as well as for the soul! If you will read medieval cookbooks and history books, you will find many herbs were collected for use during this time of year and that they are herbs chock full of cleansing properties (such as dandelions and leeks!) as well as high in vitamins and minerals. God is so good to us! In light of this, we offer a cleansing tonic for use during Advent and Lent.
Consider the history of herbs. Up until about 60 years ago, herbs were the foundation for all medicine! Every doctor used them. The AMA and similar groups, all funded with money from drug companies, are what put the common use of herbs into the background. Whereas mothers used to have at least a general knowledge of what to pick and make a tea of for different maladies for her family, they now have more or less a hazy nostalgia of “my grandmother used to collect that chamomile stuff for the winter”, as if the same herb would no longer work for what Grandmother used it for!
As great as modern medicine can be, it can also be dangerous. Many doctors now treat almost every ill with a prescription for an antibiotic, even if they can’t figure out what’s wrong!
Everyone who wishes to familiarize themselves with the use of herbs, can do so easily. Begin by borrowing a few books from the library and begin reading.