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Herbs don't read books.

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It's the September blog party, and I'm not even late!

A year or five ago a lady had excessive menstrual bleeding. She came to see me one fine day in April, and I'd run all out of recent Capsella tincture. (That's shepherd's purse, in case you're wondering - very good for bleeding).

The problem is, according to all the books, Capsella isn't supposed to work after it's about a year or so old, in tincture. The herb itself is supposed to stay good for even less time: you're supposed to throw it out after about 6 months.

And Capsella is my best herb for bleeding. So I sent her off with some 4-year old tincture (can't get rid of tinctures without official sanction, and the official sanction folks hadn't called yet), telling her that, hey, it's April, I'll get fresh herb in a month, and you can have some of that if this doesn't work.

It's a good thing herbs don't read books, cos she was fine with the ages-old Capsella tincture.

Almost a decade ago a friend was in need of some herbal mental straighteners; he declined to go to doctors, insisting on something less invasive. I had dried St. John's wort (Hypericum), but that had been in its jar for about three years already.

Problem is, again, that (again, according to all the books) SJW isn't supposed to work when it's more than a year old, dried.

(And of course, these days I'd have told him to do megadoses of vitamin D plus megadoses of the B-vitamins, for his depression and similar mental kinks.)

Anyway, I gave him that dried herb, for tea, telling him that it might not work but hey, you can always give it a try, and if it doesn't work we'll try something else.

It worked, of course. Possibly because I had picked the herb ... dunno.

Similarly, I did a week of herbal lectures at one or the other school, and usually, when I do that, I percolate a tincture ... this particular one was of 3 year old dried SJW, cos I wanted to see how that would turn out. The dried herb still looked brilliant, although of course it shouldn't (according to the books). We had had two rainy summers, and this was from the very sunny year before that ... the tincture was far redder than anything I'd gotten off the rainy summer herbs.

Just goes to show - try things out, you might find that the books aren't always right.

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