A good resource for herbals?


  • Specializes in MCH,NICU,NNsy,Educ,Village Nursing.

Hello All--I was wondering if anyone knows a good website to go to in search of herbals? I'm interested in functional medicine and some alternative therapies, as appropriate, in my new practice as a FNP. I currently live in a part of the world where a lot of if not most standard meds are available, but there is also a bit of herbalism in the villages. I am just in the exploration stages of what's out there & really have no idea of where to begin to look. I will be going to a village nearby before too much longer and would like to have a handle on use of herbs, to help them within their cultural context. Thanks!

nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 5,114 Posts

Can you network with other practitioners in the country, even if they are not rural? They may have experience or knowledge in this area, having seen patients from there or traveled, or read in local resources.

When you get there, you should also build collegial relationships with the local healers, however or by whomever identified, and share knowledge-- ask them to teach you. Then you can go online and learn about the plants they show you, and perhaps relate it to your education.

As an few examples:

Once I had massive edema in my legs on a trip to a Caribbean island, mostly because of the heat, I think. One of the local ladies recommended a vegetable there called dasheen, which, when cooked, tastes just like artichoke hearts. I peed like a racehorse and saw my ankles again. :)

On another trip to Costa Rica, one of my traveling companions was injured when she stepped on a ray in the ocean, had a very nasty and painful deep wound on the sole of her foot. The local lady there had just the thing-- some kind of leaf she picked off a bush, mashed up with water, and applied the paste-- pain instantly gone, and did not return, and wound healed without infection.

On a trip to the Amazon our gang stopped in to visit a local curandero (medicine man). We looked somewhat skeptically at his collection of substances in random cast-off jars and bottles, and accepted his prayers for our good health with smoke blown over our heads. Then he asked if any of us had any health problems. I had an idiopathic urticaria (later diagnosed as thyroid antibodies, of all the damn things) for which I was taking a ton of antihistamines, leukotriene blockers, and other stuff, which kept it under control. Through the interpreter I explained that I had welts and hives. He asked where on my body they occurred, and although they were pretty generalized, I said, "This leg." He got out a jar of this greyish-pink goo and smeared it on my leg from ankle to mid-thigh, and said that would take care of it. I thanked him politely. And the damnedest thing was, for the next 5 weeks, I got hives all over me ...except for where he put that goo on.

Ya just never know. Good for you for being prepared!


1,030 Posts

Specializes in MCH,NICU,NNsy,Educ,Village Nursing.

GrnTea--thanks for your suggestions. Unfortunately my contacts thus far are with the traditional physicians only. However, you did give me an idea--I'll ask one of the national physicians (traditional) and see what answers I get. Sometimes it's a matter of pride for them to not be involved in "that stuff" (herbals), so I don't know how forthcoming they will be, but it won't hurt to ask. And, I may need to get creative and go outside of the medical community.

Your stories are quite interesting. How did you stand that itching!!! I think that would have done me in. Anyway, I know that herbals can work as I just finished a bottle of anti-inflammatories that are herbal (used them for my painful Achilles tendonitis, and they worked. Unfortunately, I can't find them here.) Anyway--you've given me some things to think about and try. Thanks!

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health. Has 10 years experience.

Medscape has a section on herbals and alternative treatments.