Terms of the Trade 2: Alterative

In the simplest sense, alteratives are those herbs that restore function to the body by way of the metabolism, through increasing both eliminative functions and also through increasing the absorption of nutrients. While they effect the entire metabolism, they can be said to especially effect the kidneys, liver, lungs, skin, bowels and lymphatic system. Alteratives are the well known “blood cleansing” herbs of yesteryear, so often depended upon to restore well being after a long winter of potatoes, salted meat and little fresh green food. I have heard some people say that we no longer need “blood cleansers” since we have access to fresh food year round and are no longer effected by so many seasonal restrictions. Yet, it seems to me that...

Terms of the Trade 1: Diffusive & Permanent

In the process of becoming familiar with herbalism, it’s easy to feel confused by jargon that, while clearly obvious to those using it, tends towards being something of an insider’s tongue. This can cause beginners to feel alienated from group discussion that could be educational and intimidated by what should be common sense concepts. Because of that, I’ve decided to start a series of posts called “Terms of the Trade” that will provide a simple definition of the term(s), and a sample context in which it might be used. I don’t plan to make this complex or exhaustive, but for it to serve as a clear introduction to those unfamiliar with, or confused by, herbal terminology as well as a refresher course for more experienced practitioners looking to refine their...