Essential Oils, Dried Herbs and De Materia Medica
The Materia Medica encyclopedia of therapeutic properties is the recognized authority for historical information about the medicines used by the Greeks, Romans and other cultures of antiquity. Dioscorides, the author and a surgeon in the Roman army, lived in first century Greece. His profession took him throughout the Roman Empire and when not tending to the sick and wounded he spent his time seeking out plants and minerals, researching and documenting their properties.
Plants have been used for medicinal purposes long before recorded history. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian papyrus writings describe medicinal uses for plants as early as 3,000 BC. Indigenous cultures (such as African and Native American) used herbs in their healing rituals, while others developed traditional medical systems (such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine) in which herbal therapies were used. Researchers found that people in different parts of the world tended to use the same or similar plants for the same purposes.
Though the 5-volume Materia Medica has remained in print in various languages through the centuries, it enjoys a “re-discovery” and surge in readership every few decades, or so it seems. Discoveries in science provide data that supports these ancient truths and new technologies open doors to new ways to exploit them.
Homeopaths, Naturopaths, Nutritionists and even Aromatherapists reference Dioscorides work regularly as the definitive source for natures healing powers. Working with both psychological and physical indications this ancient, natural science has come full circle. Today there is growing appreciation for the healthful benefits of natural extracts.
In the early 19th century, when chemical analysis first became available, scientists began to extract and modify the active ingredients from plants. Later, chemists began making their own version of plant compounds and, over time, the use of herbal medicines declined in favor of drugs. Almost one fourth of pharmaceutical drugs are derived from botanicals.
In this modern new age we must adjust. The Internet of Things. Artificial Intelligence. Robots, drones and instant communication. The accelerating rate of change can be very stressful on our body. Many of us have been returning to nature in one way or another for our grounding. As we walk for exercise we re-acquaint ourselves with our neighborhoods. We grow some of our own food in the summer and try to buy more produce from local farmers when available. For our replenishment we find greater comfort in mother nature and her abundant gifts.
Dried herbs can refer to anything from Rosemary to Mary-Jane, providing relief and repair that our sciences are only now beginning to measure. While many people prefer the convenience of essential oils, modern vaporizers also allow for easy conversion of hand-picked and dried herbs from our own communities, turning dying flowers into healing vapor. Each has its own properties and benefits. Some require direct inhalation while others provide a pleasant, calming effect throughout the room.
When shopping for a vaporizer think ahead to the uses you might have and select a portable or desktop vaporizer based on your needs. A portable will convert herbs to vapor for direct inhalation anywhere. A desktop unit can provide a calming atmosphere in the office or home, and with a balloon attachment the vapor can be captured and saved for direct inhalation when the need or desire arises.
Vaping the Herb
Marijuana has slowly shed it’s public image as an escapist drug and new laws are being written almost daily to keep up with it’s worldwide acceptance as a useful alternative to more debilitating drugs used to combat illness. New studies confirm its usefulness in treating psychological disorders such as anxiety, epilepsy in children, lung tissue repair and glaucoma. Marijuana has moved front and center in the natural health movement. Here’s a link to an article from 2014 with a more exhaustive list of benefits of vaporization to healthful living. The magic in marijuana seems to be mostly concentrated in a compound referred to as CBD (cannabidiol) and many patients find vaping to be the most economical alternative. The advantages of vaping include less waste, no carcinogens and no lingering smell.
The Green Alternative to Combustion
Mother nature has been providing it’s potent and rejuvenating properties long before even the ancients. We just keep finding newer, gentler ways to exploit her. A vaporizer is an essential cornerstone in todays holistic lifestyle. Whether you’re a fan of Bach (Bach Flower Remedies that is) or Bob Marley, a vaporizer may bring you the relief you’re looking for in the most natural of ways. As Dioscorides famously said: “Nature will never follow people but people will have to follow the laws of nature.”