My guest this week is Carolyn Thomas from Homesteading Family. Carolyn and her family share about the homestead lifestyle. She shares, teaches, and inspires other homemakers to create a more sustainable home. One of those aspects is the use of herbal medicine.
Carolyn reminds us that God has truly provided us everything that we need, including giving us resources to help heal our families. Herbal remedies are one of these resources. Herbs heal cuts and scrapes, as well help fight off an on-coming cold with something as simple as a cup of herbal tea!
It may sound intimidating, but for beginners, growing herbs can be as simple as a small pot of basil on your kitchen counter. In this podcast, you will learn the importance of herbal medicine, where to begin, and how to get your kids involved. I think you will be encouraged.
Pour another cup of coffee or tea and be encouraged for the next 30 minutes. The resources mentioned in this podcast can be found below.
Please do leave a (5 star ) rating on iTunes. That is how other homemakers find this podcast easier.
This podcast covers:
- First, Carolyn shares why and how she first began using herbal medicine
- Then, Carolyn teaches us where to begin and how to use herbs within our homes
- In addition, she helps us navigate the difference between herbs (and dosages) compared to over-the-counter medicines
- Next, Carolyn shares if herbs are effective as over-the-counter medicine, and when these pharmaceuticals are necessary
- After that, Carolyn gives us advice on safe herbal remedies for someone who is just starting out and the easiest herb to start using (she also shares her favorite de-stressing herb for moms)
- Finally, Carolyn offers a free resource guide here for beginners interested in using herbal medicine
Where to Find Carolyn
- Healthy Healing at Home – Carolyn’s Free Online Herbal Medicine Class
Please share, if this would encourage another.
Jennifer Ross 0:21
Ladies today I have with me Carolyn Thomas she is with Homesteadingfamily.com, and we are going to be talking about herbs, herbal teas, herbal medicine and herbal remedies. Welcome, Carolyn,
Carolyn Thomas 0:32
Thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited to be here and to talk about one of my absolute favorite topics in the entire world. I’m so excited to be able to just have this discussion today.
Jennifer Ross 0:47
I’m so glad you’re here. So I want to start with asking how you got started.
Carolyn Thomas 0:55
My mom had this amazing love of learning things. And so she was always learning something new and instilled that love in every single one of her children, including me. And so I remember this time, when I was about 12 years old, in my mom decided she was going to learn about herbal medicine. Now, I’ve got to say it didn’t end up going very far for her at the time. But she bought a book with herbal remedies in it. And I remember opening up that book for the first time and it was like magic on the page, I got so excited to see these herbs that I knew were out in my yard. And they did things and it was like this moment that I realized, God gave us everything we need right there around us, we just have to open up our eyes, and ask him for the wisdom to be able to use it and to use it properly and to his benefit. And I just got so excited. But then, you know, I kind of grew up, I played with it a little bit, I grew up and went to college, you know how things go, you get kind of sucked off into normal life and life gets busy. And so it wasn’t until our first child was born that I really got serious about this, I knew it was always back there, it was always kind of brewing. But when I started thinking about my first child and how we wanted to handle health in our family, I, you know, I kind of was ruminating on health and quickly realized that I’ve seen some very interesting patterns in my life growing up with people around me. You know, not only did my mom have this amazing love for learning, but she was she had this amazing way of bringing bringing a biblical worldview into everything she did. And just it created this amazing common sense about her and the way she handled things. So she always took the stance that God knew what he did when he created that created us. But we saw a lot of chicken noodle soup. She just was very common sense of very practical. But as I had my own child and I started thinking through this and what I wanted to do, I realized that I had a lot of friends that I had watched from the time we were in elementary school and their mom had handled things in a different way. And every time they get sick, they would take them very quickly to the doctors, and they would have medication and it was you know, medication after medication. And before long, you could see the results of that in their bodies. And now we were you know, all getting married starting to have children. And those same friends were often very ill and had long term health problems. So I knew intuitively when I had this baby that I wanted to do everything I could to help them have this really robust health as they became an adult so they could do whatever it was that God wanted them to do in their lives, and not be hindered with these health problems. And so that’s when I really, really dove into learning about herbs. Now this was all really helped along by the fact that we were dirt poor, like we had no money at all. So there was this really practical element of you know, if I can grow it in the front yard and do it myself, I think that’s a really good option. And you know, I love it the way God uses our circumstance sometimes to drive us outside of the box thinking you know, and make us really kind of brainstorm as to other options and open our mind up to what he might have for us. So that was really what started getting me into herbs and then you know it just snowballed from there. What I really found is that when I first started learning, I was very quickly overwhelmed by the amount of information that was out there. And, oh, it’s just it. There’s a lot out there. And it’s a lot to take in. And so it got really complicated really fast. And I had to work through that before I really started to get some traction,
Jennifer Ross 5:38
So how do you use herbs in your own family at home.
Carolyn Thomas 5:42
So now we use them for all sorts of things. They are definite number one go to when anybody starting to get sick. But aside from that, we also use them to keep us healthy. We use them for cosmetics for household cleaning supplies for, you know, just eating, sometimes we use them just for snacking on and I have this beautiful cottage garden now right outside of my kitchen door that’s just filled with culinary and medicinal herbs. And the kids love being in there. They walk out there and they know which plants they’re allowed to eat from freely and which plants to leave alone. And they’re always asking me Mama, can I go snack in the herb garden, because it’s really fun to have those amazing flavors. So we love using them for just about everything we can find a use for them for.
Jennifer Ross 6:35
That’s awesome. Yeah, like I said, Before this, I was watching that one of the videos that you have on YouTube, and that garden and all everything that you’ve got out there, it’s just beautiful.
Carolyn Thomas 6:46
Thank you, it’s, you know, something that I recommend for everybody who’s interested in getting into herbs is trying to grow a few, even if it’s just a pot in the kitchen, you really get a better feel for them. If you’re actually growing them and watching them grow, you really get to know them in a different way. So it’s a fun thing to do. And it’s amazing thing to do with children because they just connect with them from such a young age.
Jennifer Ross 7:09
Yeah, and how awesome like you grew up kind of growing up with that. And even if you hadn’t, you can do that with your own kids. So they, you know, when they get to be older they can do that their own kids. So yeah, I love that type of education.
Carolyn Thomas 7:21
Yeah, even even my three year olds know how to take care of all of their scrapes, and booze and bee stings or anything like that out in the yard. Because once you set that family culture, the older ones just naturally start taking the younger ones. And it just kind of pervades the whole family culture. And I’m excited to know that my grandchildren and great grandchildren will probably be grabbing little leafs of planting and chewing it up and putting it on their bee sting.
Jennifer Ross 7:49
Exactly, yep. So how effective are herbal medicines compared to like their drugstore counterparts? how effective are the herbs,
Carolyn Thomas 8:04
we have to remember that herbs are very different than pharmaceuticals. So herbs, use natural compounds to nourish your body so that your body is able to heal itself. So this is very, very different than a pharmaceutical drug, whether it’s over the counter or prescribed, where it’s going to use some synthetic compounds in order to force your body into an action, whether it needs it or not. So this is this is really key to understanding herbalism. Because if you go to the pharmacy and you grab a pain pill, and you take one dose of that you are going to see an immediate effect, you’re going to feel it and you’re going to say wow, look, this is working. The problem is all that is doing is masking a symptom or dealing with a symptom, you’re really just managing symptoms of a disease or a health problem. If you take an herb though, you’re gonna go and you’re gonna take a dose, and the likelihood is, is you’re not gonna see any difference at all. And if you stick with it, you take another dose and another dose, you know, maybe you start to see a little bit of a result. But it takes a while to actually nourish your body to be able to heal itself. So, you know, we’ve got to make sure we’re comparing apples to apples here when we’re thinking about it because you are not, in most cases, going to get the speed of the result from the earth that you would from a form of pharmaceutical. The difference though is that when you’re all done taking it with an ERD, you’re going to be healthier, and your body’s going to be closer to a balanced health. Whereas when it wears off as a pharmaceutical, you’re right back to where you started if you stop taking it. So I’m not to mention that you might have all sorts of other things in your system, then that has to detox after it. So in the long run, herbs are substantially more effective, then pharmaceuticals in in most cases. Now, I do want to say, I do feel like there is a place for pharmaceuticals in our world, I’m very thankful for them. I’m glad they’re here. I’m glad that we have antibiotics when we need it. I’m glad we have doctors when we need it. problem is that most people run very quickly to the pharmaceuticals, instead of giving their bodies the nutrients that it needs to heal itself and just get over the problem and bring yourself back to health instead of continuing to chase down health problems that you just keep kind of dodging the real answers for when you’re using the pharmaceuticals.
Jennifer Ross 10:49
Well, I’m glad I asked that. Because I don’t know very much about herbs. having you here was good for my audience, but kind of selfish too, because I do want to learn more. I want to teach my kids more. So my next question was about dosages. How are herbs different compared to over the counter pharmaceutical that maybe like you said, maybe they’re not even apples to apples?
Carolyn Thomas 11:10
Yeah, you know, thinking about herbs, you really have to change your mindset from what we’ve been trained with pharmaceuticals, we all have an ideology, we all have this mindset that we have, when it comes to pharmaceuticals, about how we dose things, how we take things. And when it comes to herbs, you really have to let that go. And we have to think of herbs is a lot more like food. Now, there is a category of herbs, we call them low dose botanicals that are very powerful. And they would be considered poisonous or dangerous. And those are out there, I wouldn’t recommend starting with those types, I would recommend starting with the safer herbs that you can take regularly, and then start thinking of them as food. You know, I like to say that, you know, it would be great as a mom, if you could decide you’re going to feed your family once a week and have it just take care of all the food needs for the entire week when that’d be a nice treat. But it doesn’t work, we need to feed our bodies regularly three times a day, maybe snacks and just continue nourishing. Um, and the same thing is true with herbs, you need to continually be putting them into your body in order to see that nourishment that you need from them. So that means that you probably need to be taking herbal medicine between every two hours, to you know, three to five times a day, for most cases. Now sometimes even more than that, if you’re looking at an acute case, like somebody’s getting sick right now, or we’ve got this problem right now, you might even be taking it every 15 minutes. Now, you’d never do that with a pharmaceutical, that would just be crazy, you’d end up in the hospital really quickly. But a lot of the herbs back to the food analogy, you wouldn’t have any qualms. 10 minutes. The same is true of these good, safe herbs that we want to use for our family.
Jennifer Ross 13:18
Now that makes a lot of sense. I think you’re right, that whole mindset shift. So you’ve got me thinking here a little bit. If you have something coming on, you’re going to start taking some herbs more as like maintenance and preventative?
Carolyn Thomas 13:35
we do both, we take our regular dose of herbs that are just kind of like you could think of them as just your daily vitamins and keep your body healthy. But then if you start feeling your very first sign of something, you know, not going wrong. I like to tell moms especially if you say these words, you need to take note and it’s I don’t know why I feel this tired. That that is like should set off red flashing lights that I’m about to get sick if I’m not careful and proactive here, because that is the feeling of your body on full alert with its immune system on full attack. You don’t feel it yet. Maybe you don’t have a sore throat yet maybe you don’t have a cough yet. But your body knows that it’s happening. And so whenever you hear yourself say now you know if you were up with the baby all night long, you know exactly why you were that tired. It makes sense to to that type. But if you start going, gosh, why am I so tired. That’s when you really need to kick into action and give your body the support it needs to fight things off. And you know, depending on what it is you might be fighting off that could be a little bit different. But there’s some general things that are always good to be taking in that circumstance. That can be the elderberry syrup, maybe some garlic and at the very beginning at naisha can be Really, really powerful.
Jennifer Ross 15:02
You know, it’s funny, you mentioned echinacea. And I don’t have it myself, but I’ve got some from the health food store and my entire family got sick. Last week, it lasted about two weeks. Except for me. I was the only one the 10 people in my house, and then my daughter lives next door and for people in their house. So yeah, and then my other daughter ended up getting it out of 18 people, I was the only you who didn’t get it. So we all were taking vitamin C to but it must have been the explanation.
Carolyn Thomas 15:34
Yeah, it’s actually incredibly powerful. If you especially if you catch it right at the beginning, at the very, very first sign or the very first ticket or right when you say I don’t know why I’m so tired. If you start right, then it will actually stop a large amount of things that that wants to break through your immune defense.
Jennifer Ross 15:52
I believe it I started taking it when one of the first kids got sick, I thought, okay, we’re leaving in a week, and I don’t want to get sick. And that’s when I started it. So that must have been.
Carolyn Thomas 16:03
Jennifer Ross 16:05
The kids weren’t as cooperative. They don’t like the flavor. But
Carolyn Thomas 16:10
well, they don’t all have to taste awful. Although sometimes, when my kids are asking for more and more elderberry syrup, I started thinking about switching to a tincture just to slow them down, because I think they like it for the flavor more than for its benefit. But there are some good options just to help with the kids. Because I know that can be really challenging. We have 10 kids at home. So we are very well versed with getting some of these things down at their their throats and getting them to actually take them. So
Jennifer Ross 16:42
so for someone just starting out, you talked a little bit about not taking certain herbs, if you don’t know a lot about it. How safe are herbs for someone that really doesn’t know much.
Carolyn Thomas 16:54
In general, herbs are incredibly safe. In fact, when you look at the numbers, I don’t have any to quote right now. But for a training that I did, about two years ago, I looked at the numbers. And in that particular year, zero people in the United States had died from herbs or supplements, where as the number of people that had died from correctly taken pharmaceuticals was through the roof, it was a huge number. In fact, I think in that particular year, it was like the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. So you know, we’ve got to put this in comparison, we are very, very comfortable with reaching for a bottle of something from the pharmacy shelf, and putting that in our mouth. And we don’t even realize how dangerous those things are. Whereas herbs in general are very, very safe compared to that. Now, I do want to qualify with that and say there are poisonous herbs out there, there are dangerous herbs out there, there are herbs that you can harm your health with drastically. But a majority of the herbs are actually very, very safe. And what I recommend for people to do is to start with the herbs that are safe. There are herbs that are incredibly family friendly, everybody can take them, they don’t have contra indications with medication, they’re they’re very, very forgiving herbs to get started with. And just because they’re that safe doesn’t mean that they’re not effective. In fact, sometimes there’s some of the more effective herbs. And I think that might be because people feel very comfortable with them. They know they’re safe, so they’re not afraid to take them in the amount that they need. But they can be very, very effective. Now. At the end, I’m actually going to share a link to a free training that I have on taking this a little bit further and learning about herbs and in that training. I have a list of 20 completely safe family safe herbs and their regular uses. So and that’s a completely free training. So I’ll make sure that you guys get that link at the end of this episode.
Jennifer Ross 19:08
That’s awesome. Yeah, I know you you’ve piqued my interest. Definitely. And I know everyone’s thinking okay, what are some of those safe herbs? What’s one combination maybe that a beginner could easily use or you know, the best easiest herb to start with.
Carolyn Thomas 19:24
That I love to recommend especially to moms. This is this is my friend this are particularly is lemon balm. Lemon balm, especially if you like the lemon flavor is amazing in so many different ways but where I think it comes in really, really handy is with stress relief and anxiety relief and rest. Just going out and smelling the herb in your gut. If you haven’t growing fresh will make you just immediately kind of go. It’s gonna be okay. And we all know those moments, five o’clock dinner hour for me that’s, that’s when I just need to be sipping on some lemon balm tea, because the kids are running around, everybody’s getting hungry, and there’s so much still to be done. And, you know, but the amazing thing is, is lemon balm is also very powerful as an antiviral, it’s a really, really good for all sorts of amazing things. So if you have to start with just one herb, that would be the URL that I would really recommend. It’s a very safe, it tastes great, it makes a good ice tea, a good syrup, a good hot tea, you can pretty much do it, you can just about eat it plain and cat. In fact, my children love to take about two leaves of lemon balm and one leaf of stevia that will have growing in the garden and just chew on it. And it kind of just tastes like a Lemon Drop. It’s an amazing place to start.
Jennifer Ross 21:03
For people who are thinking about starting herbs, stuff like that. Can you grow them anywhere? I know, this isn’t a question we talked about earlier that if you live in a small area, or you live in a cold area, what can someone like that do?
Carolyn Thomas 21:23
wherever you live, there are herbs that are going to be cultured to grow in that environment really well. And I find it so fascinating. This is just another testimony of God’s amazing provision for us. That, you know, people often come to me and say which or which job should I use for this or which or should I use for that. And I tend to say the earth that you have around you or the earth that you have access to. Because if you think historically, we didn’t have this worldwide commerce that we have now you couldn’t just jump online and go get Chinese herbal medicine from across the world, you had to work with what grew in your area. So you may have had one herb in your area that worked really well for a set of symptoms. But 200 miles away, they had an entirely different herb that worked really well for that same set of symptoms or that same health problem, because God’s given us what we need right in our area for you know, all of what we need. So you can learn to grow herbs wherever you’re at in climates. But herbs are also really well, you know, adaptable. So there’s a lot that you can start with. That way, I would recommend starting with some of the more Tinder annuals that just are easy if you’re not used to growing things, and that’ll give you a nice start. And they’re a lot simpler to take care of. So something like a holy basil might be a great place to start and get to know herbs that you can grow in a small area.
Jennifer Ross 23:00
Okay, well, thank you great ideas. So now that everyone is listening, wants to do this, like I do, theraflu and Tylenol and all that, you know, we’ve got that on hand. It’s simple and easy. But for moms who want to begin using herbal medicines, how challenging is it? Is there a learning curve,
Carolyn Thomas 23:19
there is definitely a learning curve. And you know, this comes with everything. When we take back responsibility for anything, we also, you know, end up having the responsibility to learn about it. And I think it’s so important to be reclaiming responsibility for our family’s health. We’ve kind of given it away to the experts at this point, you know, and said, somebody else can worry about that. And I think we’re finding culturally that that’s not really working for us, we’re having health problems that aren’t being answered by the medical community, because maybe we’re not as involved in the process as we should be. When you step into that role, though, you have a lot to learn, you’re taking on a lot of responsibility. And it’s a really, really important thing. I really want to bring out one point and this is probably the number one mistake if you end up watching many of my videos or going through this free training, you’re gonna hear me say this probably regularly. When you think about pharmaceuticals, you don’t sit around and go, hey, there’s a new drug out on the market. I think I want to get some and I’m gonna play with it. And maybe, maybe I’ll try it here. Maybe I’ll try it there. What you do is you figure out your health problem you’ve got to deal with you go to the doctor and the doctor says here, you know, here’s this thing that you should take. One of the biggest mistakes I see an herbal ism is that instead of trying to figure out the health problem, we’re going to get to So we focus in on getting to know the herbs. Now it’s a great thing. And you’re gonna want to do that eventually. But this ends up wasting a lot of time and being what I call a dabbler instead of an effective home herbalist, when you instead, turn the tables around and say, You know what, the number one problem that my family faces, is, let’s say it’s getting the seasonal colds or we’ve got kids in the house. And every time we go to the grocery store, we come home and somebody ends up with a head cold, it’s just driving me crazy, I need to fix this, immediately start building a medicine cabinet that your family is going to use regularly, instead of ending up with this collection of medicinal herbs that you still really don’t know what to do with and you’re not sure when to apply on or when not to. So it’s really important to choose your health problem. Before you choose your herbs, it’s gonna save you a lot of time on this learning curve. For example, let’s say we say we really deal often with that common cold problem in our family, what I recommend people to do is to actually sit down and think about all the different symptoms that you have to deal with during that cold. Now you kind of make this decision, I’m not going to deal with any other health problems with herbs right now, until I’m kind of on track for dealing with these common colds. So just pick one thing at a time and deal with this one thing at a time. And always make sure on your list of symptoms that you’re dealing with that you also think about the root cause of the problem. In the case of a cold, it’s a virus of virus broke through your immune system. So we need to deal with actually attacking the virus. But we always want to think about strengthening our immune system to. So then we’ll take the steps to go through and find the right herbs or the right remedies for those symptoms that you actually have in your house for the problem you’re going to deal with regularly. And then you have to make sure you get the herbs, you make the remedies and you label them appropriately. So you know exactly what to do with them when you get sick. Because, you know, this is a very common thing, you get them and you make them all up, you’re so proud of your remedies. And then you sit and you wait for somebody to get sick. And you’re like, Okay, I’m waiting, I’m waiting, will somebody Hurry up and get sick. I know, we’ve dealt with this problem every two months until this moment. And by the time somebody actually gets sick, you forgotten what to do with these things. So you have to make sure that you have labels on them that tell you exactly what to do. I also really recommend creating a protocol sheet for everything you deal with. So you’ve got your remedies that you’ve created, you need to have a sheet that you write it all down one sheet where you can refer to and say, Okay, now we did get this cold, I made up three remedies. What do I do now that I’m sick? Here’s all the information right here this just is going to fast track that learning curve. I know it sounds like a lot of work all at once. But you’re going to end up seeing results and actually having usable herbal medicine that’s tailored to your family in a very, very short amount of time. And it’s really going to speed up your results.
Jennifer Ross 28:50
Such good advice. I love it. I’m so glad that you’re here talking to us. It’s funny people say that homemaking is mundane, but No it isn’t. Look at what you can learn.
Carolyn Thomas 29:02
Yeah, well, you can tell I’m highly passionate about this, I get so excited talking about these things. Because I wasted years when I first started trying like getting this herb and getting that I’ve been getting another book and another book and I just felt like oh, I’m never I’m never going to get anywhere and then inevitably somebody would get sick. And I would be in this scramble like quick, make something out of all these herbs. And because of being reactive like that I was never very effective. And so I’d always end up grabbing for the over the counter medications and it just drove me crazy. I thought oh, I’m never gonna get this. And it wasn’t until I prayed about it took a step back that God was like, it’s not the herbs, the herbs are great. It’s the way you’re using, like get your act together. And let’s actually make this systematic instead of this like random shotgun dabbling approach that we’re throwing at it and as soon as Did that, but the results were drastically different.
Jennifer Ross 30:04
That makes a lot of sense. Alright, so anyone who is interested in including me on where to where to go, how do you learn more? What What resources do you offer?
Carolyn Thomas 30:15
I do have a complete masterclass where I take people through all the steps of creating this type of system in their home with very simple, easy to find herbs that are very, very safe for the whole family. But I also have a free training called healthy healing at home, where I teach you how to make these decisions yourself, how to research the herbs, how to find the remedies, and how to know when to say, hey, the herbs aren’t working, I need to move on and go get medical help. I think that’s a big part of safely using herbs is no one to move on, you can find that training at homesteadingfamily.com/hhh for healthy healing at home. And again, that’s a free four video series. So you should get a lot of great training out of that.
Jennifer Ross 31:12
That’s awesome. Thank you. Is there anything else you would want to add? Before we leave
Carolyn Thomas 31:17
just that this is a worth wild pursuit, it is always a good thing to learn a new skill like this and to not only empower yourself and bring back responsibility into your home, but also to empower your children and your family around you. Robust health is a thing that we’re seeing disappear in our culture, and it’s very few people can claim that they have that. And that is a gift that we need to take seriously giving to our children wherever it’s possible. Sometimes it’s not possible. And it’s not within our power. But wherever it is. We need to take that seriously. So this is such an important topic. And I really hope that everybody will at least jump in and try a little bit and reduce the dependency on those over the counter pharmaceuticals.
Jennifer Ross 32:10
I hope so too. Thank you, Carolyn.
Carolyn Thomas 32:12
Thank you, Jennifer.
Jennifer Ross 32:18
You were blessed by this episode. I encourage you to go over to iTunes and leave a rating and review because it helps other homemakers find this podcast as well. Thanks for being here. And as always, we’re not in well doing
Transcribed by https://otter.ai