Herbal Remedies

I first became interested in herbal remedies while developing a character for one of my stories. During that time I did an extensive amount of browsing, perusing the vast amount of information available on the internet.

I happened upon the Voynich Manuscript, a collection of totally bizarre sketches and notations, the meaning of which remains unknown to this day. If you really want to see some weird stuff you can go check it out for yourself. It’s one of those crazy mysteries that may never be solved.

All of this research was intriguing. However, it wasn’t until my daughter in-law commented on the forsythia growing in my yard that I really got interested in using herbal remedies myself. We were having a dinner party and she couldn’t help but notice the bright yellow blooms surrounding the patio. She mentioned reading somewhere that the Chinese used forsythia fruit mixed with honeysuckle to make tea. It was supposed to be good for a number of things, especially cold and flu. I have always loved the blooms early in spring. But I never knew they produced any kind of fruit.

I looked around my property at the twenty or so large forsythia as well as the sixty foot fence line covered in honeysuckle and realized that if this was true and it really is effective, I may have an abundant resource worth harvesting right here in my own backyard! It suffices to say my curiosity was piqued!

Right away I turned to Google. A quick search using the keywords forsythia honeysuckle tea turned up a ton of information all supporting the fact that forsythia honeysuckle tea does indeed provide health benefits related to cold and flu symptoms and has been used by the Chinese for 3000 years!

According to WebMD, forsythia is used to treat a number of inflammatory ailments ranging from tonsillitis to gonorrhea! It seemed to me throughout my research that the plant has been reported to have numerous healing properties with no reported side effects. That was good news to me!

I continued to investigate and found the website TCM Wiki to be extremely helpful. Heck, I even found a website that tells you how to make Forsythia Soap! That’s something I may try next spring!

Anyway, I set to work gathering the fruit from the forsythia. They refer to it as fruit. But, really they’re little seed pods that develop in clusters along the ends of the branches. I picked them green and dried them in the sun. There was enough to make about half an ounce of dried “fruit”. The next day my granddaughter and I picked a nice basket of honeysuckle flowers. By the way, a pile of honeysuckle flowers smells wonderful! They were also dried in the sun.

I won’t try to explain the healing properties of the tea or offer a particular recipe here. I’m no expert and there’s already a lot of information out there. What I will say is that the tea I made didn’t taste bad at all, although the forsythia did give it a slightly bitter taste. It tasted better hot and fresh than it did chilled the next day. I was not ill at the time so I can’t testify that it made me feel any better. However, I have been exposed to people in our office who have had the flu and so far I’ve been immune. Also, the psoriasis inflammation on my ankle seems to be less irritable.

I’ve decided if I do get sick I’ll give this remedy a try at the onset of symptoms. Maybe it will help me avoid a trip to the doctor. Next I’m going to make a tincture using vodka and local honey! I know it sounds crazy but I’m actually looking forward to getting the flu!

While this post was not intended to be particularly informative, hopefully I’ve at least managed to pique your interest in herbal remedies. If so you can learn a lot on the web. Or pay a visit to your local library or bookstore. I found the books listed below to be a good resource.

The Herbalist

Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies