- Topic 1
“A wise man ought to realise that health is his most valuable possession.”
It is said that we are born in one way, but die in thousand different ways.
Herbal medicine is one of the most ancient healing arts. It has always been and will have been the medicine of the people. As far back as the primitive-communal society human suffered from various diseases that shortened his life. But because he fed on products of the surrounding nature, he gradually started to recognize quality of herbs to heal his diseases and those harmful to destroy his enemies or to bag game more easily. No matter which political power, no matter what globalization pressures putting away real-world problems, no matter what is deemed legal versus illegal, not even FDA in all of its regulatory glory can prevent someone from going his way and using nature´s free medicine.
Humans have always lived in symbiosis with plants and plants have been here longer than the humans (than we have). They have learned their lessons and adapted to their environment, and they have produced a beautiful language to communicate those lessons with other plants, animals, and fungi. The chemical compounds that plants produce, their biochemical language, is so complicated that we haven´t even scratched the surface in the thousand or so plants around the world that are used as medicine.
As we move toward a more sustainable world with clean energy production, locally grown organic foods, and nature conservation, we must look at our current model of medicine through the same filter of sustainability. A world that remains totally dependent on high-cost chemical medicines, controlled by multinational pharmaceutical companies whose main purpose is profit, is dependent upon the very institutions that created the environmental problems that are poisoning this world.
The goal of this chapter is to encourage you to use herbs to help yourself, your family and others.
- Topic 2
The Benefits of Herb Usage
Medicinal plants grow everywhere and are easily available for harvest. One day the mankind is going to seek not only how the plants work, but also why they work as natural healing substances. Medicinal plant, or better say drug, is an important raw material necessary for the production of medicines. Medicinal plant is a plant that is capable, due its content, of removing pathological changes in living organisms. These substances are included throughout the plant or in some parts of the plant.
Everyone working with medicinal plants, i.e. including picker or grower, must be at least broadly familiarized with their effects to avoid harm due to ignorance or improper handling.
Every meal presents an opportunity to nourish yourself and powerfully support your health. Adding more herbs and spices into your diet comes with many benefits. They provide essential nutrients, support natural energy, promote healthy aging, prevent diseases, aid in the repair of vital processes, and strengthen healthy bodily functions. And what´s more, when knowing how to use them correctly, it is an extraordinary reward that these “ingrediences” in your kitchen cabinet can have such a dramatic effect in so many areas of health.
- Topic 3
Natural prevention and pest control
Biological control is a method to control pests such as insects, weeds, mites and plant diseases using other organisms. It relies on the natural mechanisms such as predation, herbivory, parasitim and others. However, the method also involves and active human management role. It can be an important component of integrated pest management programs (IPM).There are three basic strategies for biological pest control:
- Classical (importation): natural enemy of a pest is introduced to achieve control
- Inductive (augmentation): in which a large population of natural enemies are administered for quick pest control
- Inoculative (conservation): specific measures are taken to maintain natural enemies through regular reestablishment.
Nevertheless, biological control might have side-effects on biodiversity when any of the same mechanisms attack on non-target species, particularly when a species is introduced without thorough understanding of the possible consequences.
Examples of predators: lady beetles, larvae of hover fly species, some species of entomopathogenic nematodes, but for example cats or barn owls as well
Examples of parasitoids: wasps, flies or birds
Examples of pathogens: bacteria, fungi, viruses
Examples of competitors: legumes, some species of dung beetle
- Topic 4
Herbarium - Wild herbs
Wild herbs are wild plants that are not bred and are not cultivated plants. They grow in the human environment and are often identified as weeds. Unfortunately, this designation is unjustly negative. Thus, the naming as wild herbs is better to judge. Today the wild herbs experience a renaissance again. Many people are more concerned with the wild herbs and keep the cultural heritage high. Especially in the kitchen and as proven home remedies the wild herbs again find more use.