This year, I am introducing a new category to A Farm of Your Home blog, Home Apothecary!
Plant-based remedies and body care have been a passion of mine for many years and something I wish to explore further here.
I am not a doctor or health practitioner. Many plants have long enjoyed a reputation for healing and encouraging wellness. Obviously serious, persistent ailments require the attention of your chosen medical professional.
I believe that health comes from the inside out.
I’m sceptical of miracle cures or silver bullet solutions.
I recoil at the word “detox” and pooh-pooh the latest “superfood” fads.
Our bodies are complicated systems, with layered and nuanced functions that impact on the other.
My medical experience that sparked this interest has been with acne.
Currently, beauty is valued over wellness in our society.
Warped, isn’t it?
My skin was the enemy. And my treatments treated it as such. The medications were aggressive and punishing.
The cost of my acne treatments were often high, both in terms of actual money spent on medications, and the effect these medications would have on the rest of my body.
Many side effects were pretty awful and too numerous to mention.
In many instances, one problem would be solved, and another created.
My acne would disappear, but my skin was so dry and delicate, my eyelids and lips cracked and would bleed at the creases!
Then my dermatologist prescribed cortisones to rectify the side effects of my acne medication. When I tried to come of the cortisones, my symptoms erupted again, worse than before!
I was prescribed birth-control pills at 15 because my acne medication caused birth defects. Plus, birth control pills often made me feel nauseous and gave me headaches.
For a while, I was stuck in a painful feedback loop of compounding side effects and medications.
When consulting with doctors, specialists, dermatologists, I was very rarely asked about my diet or my environment or how I felt.
One dermatologist recommended I get my face sunburned so it would peel which would help with my acne scarring.
Another cheerfully told me to “Eat as much chocolate as you want!” because my diet had nothing to do with my skin.
Obviously, that advice was bonkers.
My acne could have been much reduced with little intervention if those areas had been addressed before reaching for the prescription pad.
Upon reflection, I was likely dehydrated, underexercising, overheating, stressed and eating so poorly that my skin erupted!
Finally, when I was older and much disillusioned with the medical specialist I had seen as a teenager, I tried complimentary, alternative therapy.
I had an enthusiastic naturopath once prescribe a homeopathic course of treatment, that cost a fortune and did squat. When I complained that the treatment wasn’t working, she scolded me for “not believing in it enough!” On the positive side, at least I didn’t experience any nasty side effects!
One frustrating part of complementary treatments is often the lack of scientific studies to support the claims of the product or treatment and resorts to little more than faith-healing. We are often already feeling vulnerable, and that can be exploited, even when the practitioner is well-intentioned.
It is also a problem when conventional medicine dismisses herbal treatments as mere complimentary fluff. Because herbs are indeed potent and by no means benign. To dismiss complementary or herbal medicine as insignificant while also cautioning for toxicity is having it both ways!
Eventually, I came to regard my skin as a bit of a useful social filter.
The superficial people had no time for me, but the genuine people did and were able to see past my acne-mask.
But you know what? Physically beautiful people have neuroses about their appearance too.
It has only been years of living in my own skin, experimentation and observation, that I feel more confident in a whole body, inside out, more than skin deep approach!
I view my body as one large, complicated ecosystem and of course, one tweak over here, will cause an effect elsewhere. I have a very curious mind and like to get to the why of things.
And so I encourage you to do the same. Pay attention to yourself, observe and even record the cause and effect relationships that have an impact on your body. Do your research, approach everything with a cautious eye and look for the evidence.
My skin now is very sensitive. After years of skin-assault, it needs gentle, loving care! I’m in my 40’s and I have wrinkles. Yes, pimples still show up. I know nothing I do is going to wind back the clock and make me look 25 again and that is ok.
Finally, I’m happy
in this skin.
Every Friday, I’ll be sharing apothecary remedies and preparations for you to try. Where possible, I will be sourcing plants from my own garden, and seek out organic, whole ingredients.
When it comes to topical preparations, I think less is more. I will link you to the supporting studies and evidence that support the therapeutic properties of the ingredients. I even expose the treatments that might be popular but lack any credible scientific support. Yes, sometimes I get surprised and disappointed too!
I hope you’ll try the preparations that appeal to you and let me know what you think. If there is anything you would like to try in or want to know about in particular, let me know!
An important part of the A Farm of Your Home Apothecary is our Subscriber Resource Library.
It is here where you can find our Creating Your Own Apothecary Guide. Plus templates, downloads and exclusive recipes that are accessible to A Farm of Your Home Subscribers.
if you don’t have access just yet, dont worry! It’s easy, just sign up using the form below and we will have the password on the way to you almost instantly!
At the end of each apothecary post you will see this…
Information on the traditional uses and properties of herbs are provided here are for educational use only, and is not intended as medical advice. If you have any serious health concerns, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs.
Please, if you have any health concerns, head straight to your doctor. I do!
Be sure to advise them of any herbs you take, even something as seemingly benign as a mug of green tea or a glass of grapefruit juice a day can interfere with prescribed medication. A skilled practitioner should ask you, otherwise, be your own health advocate and be sure to do your own research.