Where can I find basic information about using medicinal herbs? Can you suggest any online resources?
Ft. Worth, Texas
There’s a lot of information out there about herbs and supplements and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. But if you’re interested in using medicinal herbs, doing your homework first is definitely a good idea.
Herbs can be used to treat many different medical conditions, some mild and some severe. But as with pharmaceutical drugs, herbal medicines can have serious side effects, especially when you start combining them. In general, it’s always a good idea to do a little research on a new medication before you begin taking it and consult your health care provider—especially if you’re taking other herbs or drugs.
Here are a few resources on medicinal herbs that can get you started. Enjoy exploring!
Two recent MOTHER EARTH NEWS articles are a good introduction to this topic, 12 Essential Herbs and What you Should Know about Drugs vs. Herbs.
For more articles on growing and healing with herbs, check out Herb Companion, our sister magazine, which publishes many articles on specific uses of different herbs.
Another useful resource for information about different herbs is the Web site of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. You can search their extensive database to find good background information on different medicinal herbs, including information on recent medical studies and notes on possible side effects.
To find out more about the latest scientific research on different herbs, a great source is The American Botanical Council. This Web site has extensive information available to subscribers, but also provides a number of free resources to the public.
—Megan Phelps, senior associate editor
Megan E. Phelps is a freelance writer based in Kansas. She enjoys reading and writing about all things related to sustainable living including homesteading skills, green building and renewable energy. You can find her on Google+.