The active ingredient for herbal remedies on a mundane level is essential oil. Essential oil is the liquid extract of the chemical essence of the plant. This extract exists in very small amounts but is highly potent. It may take a hundred pounds of plant matter to extract a single milliliter of essential oil. All herbal remedies generally revolve around releasing the essential oil in a plant and then either ingesting the oil in one form or another or applying the substance topically. The plant is a carrier and manufacturer or the oil but it’s the oil itself that contains the healing properties. It should also be noted that some herbs that are generally toxic in any amount can be used for herbal remedies even internally by diluting the essential oil enough so that it’s not chemically present but a molecular signature of the oil is still present in the remedy. On a practical level, the oil is not actually present in the remedy in a chemically measurable amount and thus can do no damage but the vibration or electrical signature of the oil is still present. Often, this is more than enough to be effective.
If you decide to purchase your own essential oil for medicinal use make sure that the plant was organically grown (as pesticides can change the molecular structure of plants) and that the oil was not cut (or thinned) with another substance. This is a very common practice from most essential oil manufacturers because essential oil can be so expensive to procure. Insuring that your oil is “food grade” quality is an absolute must if you’re planning on using the oil for internal medicinal uses. I personally only know of one manufacturer in the United States that produces this quality of oil. Young Living (www.youngliving.com) essential oils are superb quality and they guarantee a food grade oil. However, be prepared to pay for the quality.
The following is a listing of the generally accepted methods of preparing herbal remedies. Please keep in mind that not all herbs are fit for human consumption and not all herbs lend themselves to the same method of preparation for treatment. Refer to a good herbal remedy guide for additional information on specific herb preparation. I recommend the website http://www.botanical.com for an excellent free resource complete with description and homeopathic uses. Another outstanding resource complete with detailed descriptions, photographs, illustrations, chemical analysis and homeopathic remedies is the book The New Age Herbalist as listed in the Resources section of this document. Yet another outstanding resource with a blend of medicinal and metaphysical information is A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year as well as the web site www.botanical.com as listed in the Resources section of this document.