How To Learn About That One Magic Herb…

how to learn that one magic herb

A few years ago I was lecturing at a convention. Between lectures, I manned a booth and visited with folks about herbs, and peddled my books and herbal concoctions. A lady walked by the booth. She gasped when she saw me and ran over to me and gave me a hug.

Do you remember me?” she asked. I told her I didn’t but that I’d love to hear about it.

Several years ago you told me to take lemon balm for my migraines.” she said.

Then suddenly, the memory came to me very clearly. I’d been lecturing at another convention a few years previously. The event was held in a university convention center. It was a strange building and some of the rooms were quite hard to find. The event organizers had poked me into one of those strange, hard-to-find rooms for my lectures. About 15 minutes into one of my lectures, a door opened behind me and a lady stepped into the room in front of the class and was standing right next to me. Embarrassed, she immediately sat down in the front row to try not to be disruptive. As I lectured, I could tell that she wasn’t where she wanted to be. She was looking at her little map of the building obviously wondering how the heck she had ended up in the class with the herb guy instead of the one she was looking for. She looked at her watch occasionally as if she was amazed at how long I could yammer on about weeds and such. But then she started really paying attention.

After my lecture, there were lots of folks with questions. She stood in the back of the group. When everyone was done asking their questions, she came up and asked me “Are any of these plants good for migraines?

I started to answer and something odd happened. Every time I started suggesting a plant, I felt like a wet blanket was being thrown on me. “Feverfew often….no you don’t want feverfew” “Willow can….no not willow.Skullcap is….no that’s not it.” It was really an unusual experience and not what typically happens when I’m answering a simple herb question. Then suddenly, I heard myself say “You should try some lemon balm. Come down to my booth and get yourself a tincture of lemon balm and see if that helps.”

The reason I remembered the story when she mentioned lemon balm for migraines is that I’d never used or even read about lemon balm being used for migraines before meeting her. And yet, that idea came into my mind with such force that it came flying out of my mouth before I could even think about it. Of course, she knew none of this and went down to buy herself a bottle of tincture from the nice man that gave the wrong lecture in the room she got lost in.

So what happened?” I asked. “Did the lemon balm help you?

Doc,” She said, “I’ve had migraines two or three times a week since I was a teenager. Two or three days a week, for decades, I would lie curled up on my bed in such pain that I could hardly function. My husband and I finally found a medication that would work about 75% of the time but the pills were $75 each” (Note: I assume that’s how the drug company came up with the price…if the pills had worked 100% of the time they would have been $100…but I digress).

She continued. “That first night I got up to use the restroom. I saw the tincture sitting there on the sink and took a dose. My migraines usually started first thing in the morning. The next morning I didn’t have one. The same thing happened the next night, and the next. I didn’t have a migraine for a week. That was odd. I didn’t have one for a month. That was unheard of.” She smiled at me and then said. “Doc Jones, I haven’t had a migraine ever since I started using that wonderful plant. I have planted lemon balm in my yard and we have become dear friends.”

I was so pleased (not to mention relieved) that she had had such a good outcome. I’d often thought about the experience and wondered if the lemon balm I’d recommended (without really knowing why) had done her any good.

As an herbalist, I often have experiences like this where an answer just comes to me. I think in this good lady’s case it was all a setup and that the Good Lord intentionally got her into a room with a fellow that had at least heard of lemon balm. And, once He got me to quit yacking about all of the other things that weren’t going to work for her, it was pretty easy to make me mention that simple little plant that could change her life.

So, how can we get some plants and medicinal plant knowledge into our brains so that inspiration or our own good sense can pull the information out when we need it? Well, there are lots of good ways. We can read books, or watch YouTube videos or attend classes or plant walks or just talk to folks that like herbs.

It may seem like a daunting task to get a lot of herb info into our noggins but the fact is that it’s an easy process. Just take one plant at a time, read about it, use it, plant some in your yard. When you understand that one a little, learn about another one. Soon you’ll know ten, then twenty. And, honestly, if you really knew ten or twenty, you could do a tremendous amount of good with them.

This week, I’m doing an in-depth presentation on YouTube about Burdock. If I could only know five herbs, burdock would be one of them! It’s an amazing plant and one of my favorite medicines for countless things. I’ll also be doing a YouTube webinar on using herbs for skin conditions If you have skin, you’ll really want to participate in that one.

If you like what you see in my books or my YouTube videos or blog articles, you’d also really like The HomeGrown Herbalist School. It’s a comprehensive, online course with no time constraints of any kind. You’ll have lifetime access to the material (which I’m constantly adding to). The course is absurdly inexpensive for what it is. Why so inexpensive? Because I’d rather make ten herbalists than one. :0)

Speaking of the school, It’s on sale right now for Mother’s day. You should sign up with your mom, or wife or daughter, or some other person that has a mother. It’d be really fun and give you some amazing tools. Heck, somebody might even hug you once in a while for changing their lives with a cute little weed.

23 thoughts on “How To Learn About That One Magic Herb…

  1. Wendy says:

    That is the best advice anyone can put into practice when leaping into learning something new. Take one herb – or whatever it is you’re studying – and do as you suggest, Doc. Soon, the list is lengthy and you find yourself reaching for remedies as if you’ve known them all your life. It is a satisfying, comforting feeling to know what you know – particularly about the natural world of healing. You are a sage inspiration. Hugs…

  2. Laura says:

    Hi Doc. I would love to know what the other four herbs are on your list of “If you only know five herbs…” Thanks!

  3. Deb Horner says:

    I cook with those magic herbs, and try to grow them (my gardening skills are rusty). While I’ve never tried lemon balm for migraines (and yes, I’m also plagued with them) I did get a daith piercing about 7 years ago. That magic earring reduced my migraines from 3-4 per week to 3-4 per year. I’ll take that bonus, and I never even think about it unless it gets twisted in my hair. For some reason, I’ve always cooked with rosemary – rosemary is for remembrance said Shakespeare – and I seem to not be plagued with dementia at this stage. My dad died of complications from it, and high blood sugar and lack of mobility. I’m working on reducing all of those through a good diet and plenty of walking. I may plant some lemon balm – I do love the smell, and it might do well in my strawberry jam recipe.

  4. Michele Nutter says:

    I want to share a strange (and similar) experience I had last week. I have had some pretty rough issues for several years (increasingly worsening) with anxiety and chest pain. As I studied, I decided to try Lobelia. It changed my life–and I thought we were done there… Last week I had a dream that I won’t get into, but upon waking–and I mean literally “as” I woke up–I heard the word “Crataegus”. I woke up and thought….”Hmmmm, Crataegs is Hawthorn….and that’s a heart herb. Why would I hear that word?” As I’ve studied I’ve found that Hawthorn does more than tone the heart and that it may, in fact, be something I should use. I have a bottle of your tincture in my cart and am only waiting a bit to see if there are other items I want to add before purchasing. I am definitely getting this tincture. I’m learning to trust those little nudges I get about herbs.

    • Mindy says:

      Hi Michele, Crataegus is also the name of a homeopathic medicine that helps with heart issues and Arteriosclerosis (since it’s made from Hawthorn)
      From my experience herbs heal tremendously but occasionally I need a homeopathic for a quick response.

  5. Linda says:

    In November 2019, my husband and daughter had a nasty cold and cough. I had them taking some herbs and they were improving but my husband’s cough and lung issue was hanging on. Then one Sunday we pull up to our gate and there is a piece of Usnea hanging on the gate. I took it and opened the gate and when I got back in the car, my husband asked what I was doing with the tree beard. I looked at him and said, “it is Usnea. You need usnea”. He said ok whatever. When we got to the house, I pulled out a “lung expectorant” blend and low and behold, it had usnea. He added that to his regimen and cleared up. Yes, trust that little voice and the gifts that are left for you.

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      Well Linda, that’s a great example of two really important voices to listen to…the one you heard in your heart and the one your husband heard from his good wife. :0)

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      That’ll work. :0)
      For smaller issues like a mosquito bite or bee sting you can even just chew plantain and make a “spit poultice” and put it on the sting.

  6. Connie Schrader says:

    I had a wonderful experience with burdock tincture. I was working in the Bountiful temple one evening and found myself running up and down the stairs several times that night. Typically I use the elevator but was in a hurry. My knees are a bit sensitive at best. Arriving home that evening my left knee was quite sore and swollen. I felt burdock could help……don’t know why but did. I applied the tincture several time before retiring. The next morning the swelling was gone as well as the pain. I am so grateful for herbs!

  7. Linda says:

    Are there any cautions with burdock or other herbal uses if you have unfortunately already had your gallbladder removed when young and clueless?

    • Dr. Patrick Jones says:

      Nope. You don’t need a gall bladder to benefit from burdock…though they are quite handy for other things. :0)

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