Herbs generally grow in the wild. They can be taken as food as well as medicine. If used as food they can be taken either raw or cooked. When used as medicine, they can be taken internally in the prescribed formats specific to the ailment, or used as external application as the case may be.
The following should be noted while using herbs.
1 It is best to pluck the leaves early in the morning, preferably before sunrise. For best results use the leaves as soon as possible after plucking. The leaves lose their vitality over time.
2. Pluck leaves that look fresh and luscious. Avoid worm infested ones and ripe leaves.
3. If the leaves are to be stored for further usage, keep the leaves covered with a wet piece of cloth. In case of the whole plant, keep the root immersed in water. Do not immerse the leaves in water for a long period of time.
4. It is ideal to consume the herbal preparation on empty stomach. A time gap of 1 hour would be ideal before taking any food.
5. Do not gulp down the herbal preparation in a hurry. Ideally the herbs should be masticated thoroughly. This helps in easier assimilation by the body.
6. Increase the consumption of the herb in a phased manner. For example, if it is a herbal drink and the suggested quantity is 100 ml, start with 25 ml the first day, then increase to 50 ml the next day etc until you reach 100 ml in a couple of days.
7. Herbs can be taken either raw, cooked or as powder. Consuming raw is considered ideal. Herbs can also be dried and taken in powder form called ‘choornam’ which is the next best thing. Herbs taken after being cooked may not be as effective as the other forms.
8. Herbal juices, pastes etc should be used within 2 hours of preparation. Powder (obtained after drying the herb) should be used within 3 months of preparation. Lehyam, syrup etc should be used within 6 months.
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