Herbs forum: How do you track potential uses of various herbs

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Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Birds Dragonflies Ferns Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Apr 17, 2018 5:22 PM CST
I have 2-3 herbal books that I study regularly. I just started compiling a chart of the various uses and properties of herbs, and am quickly becoming overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information I have on hand - let alone what is still out in cyberspace.

I began with a simple Word chart with 3 columns - #1 is the property or specific ailment, #2 is a brief description of what #1 means, and #3 is the plant that may be helpful. I am not attempting to include specifics on how to use the plant, just giving myself a starting point for further research.

So far, I have spent about an hour going through one herb book and have only gone through the A's. So now I'm thinking just do the plants I actually have in my garden, and add to my chart as I add herbs.

Or, perhaps someone has a better method they could share. Thanks.
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Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
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Mindy03
Apr 18, 2018 7:58 AM CST
I am planning to make a database of herbs that grow here and are for specific ailments i have or someone has asked me for help with.
A database would let me put in the herb names both common and Latin, its properties and what it can be sued for. Plus it's engeretics so i can match herbs to the person. I would also include the herbs properties so i could search for those and see which herbs have the one i am interested in.

Name: Chris
Hermann, MO (Zone 6a)
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FoolOnTheHill
Apr 18, 2018 8:34 AM CST
Well, Bonehead, in the interest of saving you time in the future, I'm going to suggest using something relational, instead of word. A database, like Margaret is using. Basically, this could eliminate the need to retype everything if your reference material gets advanced and you want to return data from searches. See, a single plant might have many uses, and also a single use might have many plants. I'm getting ready to leave, but will comment more late this evening. If you use the same software, maybe Margaret can send you hers. Maybe you might even put a copy in a shared cloud site, so others could copy or even contribute (google drive, dropbox, etc).

Just a quick note on using Word, if you continue that for now: I'm not sure if you're adding a separate row for each individual relationship, or are listing all the plants found in column 3 in s single row. If the second, for the time being, as long as column 3 uses a consistent delimiter between plants (such as a comma, semi-colon, or even |), then this can be parsed out later. The delimiter should be a character that is never actually part of the text of the words you are separating. If you aren't entering tons of data yet, just ignore this second paragraph, as retyping wouldn't be the end of the world. Sticking tongue out
[Last edited by FoolOnTheHill - Apr 18, 2018 8:35 AM (+)]
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Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Birds Dragonflies Ferns Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Apr 18, 2018 8:53 AM CST
Thanks for the input. I could likely use Access, which I have about zero aptitude in but did use in my prior workplace, and it is somewhere on my computer. I can work my way around in it, but getting it formatted would be the challenge for me. I do have a niece who uses Access a lot in her line of work (oceanography) and she previously offered to help me set something up unrelated to this project.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Chris
Hermann, MO (Zone 6a)
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FoolOnTheHill
Apr 18, 2018 6:17 PM CST
Access could work very well for this. In the distant past, I helped many end users work with Access, and it sounds like a perfect fit for you for this type of need, especially since you already have some familiarity with it. There are templates that can create a database that can then be either changed to fit your need or referred to to determine how to do what you want.

At least to start, you'll want 3 tables. One that lists the conditions. It can have several columns, but based on what you stated above, start with: the condition name, the description, and a primary key. The primary key is just a number of each item as you add it, and is a better way to handle the relationship between the tables than the name or description. Access will try to add a primary key by default - let it. A second table will list the herbs, including a primary key. You can add more columns to these tables in the future, so no worries Smiling Finally, a third table will list the the primary keys from the conditions table and the primary keys from the herbs table, as well as it's own primary key (3 columns - all numbers). This will list a row for each condition to herb relationship.

You can setup forms to make entering this data clean and easy. There will probably be a bit of a learning curve, but if you look at a template, it might help. As well as some basic queries (again, referring to a template).

I no longer have a license for Access (and don't know what version you have), and unfortunately, I don't think there's an easy and free way to post this to the cloud to share development. However, if your niece isn't familiar with what I've mentioned, let me know, and I think we can try and work something out in private messages or something, so I can get you to the point that you need. Once this basic setup is done, it will make maintaining your information easy, and will also make it easier to change the elements of the data in the future, should that be something you'd want to do. And I'm here to tell you -- if you don't get bored entering lots of data and give up the project all together, you will eventually decide you need to add to it's complexity! ;)

This may be more than you want to take on. You might want to wait see if anyone else already has a database with forms that you can use. If you're feeling adventurous, though, I'll do what I can to support you long distance Thumbs up

Full disclosure: I'm VERY rusty with Access, and it never was a primary development tool for me, but I should be able to convert technical information you encounter into common language to help you out. I'm a retired software engineer/data architect. Don't want you to think I can wave a wand from here, but I'd love to help you get to what you're trying to do if you decide to head down that road Big Grin If you have additional questions about the benefits/drawbacks of other alternatives, I'd be happy to provide you information you need to make an informed decision on what's right for you.

Best wishes! Give me a holler if you need anything.
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
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fwmosher
Apr 20, 2018 9:53 AM CST
One must, of course, bear in mind, that almost all the data on medicinally use of herbs, is anecdotal - and even more so, very dependent upon which Country/ Race the data has been gleaned from, over the years! Herbologists, Holistic Medicine practitioners, Chiropractors, Natural Health practitioners and there are others, peddle extracts of herbs, on a regular basis, some with less than desirable health benefits, in fact, some fatalities ensuing. Another example could be the following: Someone found that there may be a slight blood sugar reduction for Type 2 diabetics if they used cinnamon! So all over North America, health food stores and all or most of the above "practitioners" were promoting cinnamon for same. Hence, diabetics were disregarding proven and tested dietary concerns and regimens and medicines, as long as they whacked the cinnamon to whatever they ate! One should use extreme caution in using anecdotal herbal remedies for proven medicinal ones.
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Birds Dragonflies Ferns Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Apr 20, 2018 10:57 AM CST
Well I disagree. There is hard science that backs many herbal uses. I'm way more inclined to try a plant based concoction before any sort of pharmaceutical. But that's me.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
May 15, 2018 6:02 AM CST
Deb the idea in your first post to start with what you have and then expand to what you would like to try , is a good one .
I do not know your age but the information you have desired to compile and classify is pretty much inexhaustible.

I am not technologically savvy so time spent in the garden is far more pleasant and to my advantage , I just look up the info from books and sights I trust.
once upon a time I knew all my plants their names,properties, and uses but my garden has expanded and my capacity to remember has diminished. Sighing!

Good luck on your project and keep us posted
I for one can still learn from others hard work Smiling
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Birds Dragonflies Ferns Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
May 26, 2018 1:38 PM CST
While I continue to mull this over, I did find this web site which is set up quite nicely.

http://emedicinal.com/default....
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Herbs Moon Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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kittriana
Jul 2, 2018 1:14 AM CST
The plants that are medicinal can be broken down to the ingredient that is within them, if you can locate that info, then you can compile which herbs fit into what categories. You will find that the majority of them are to cause sweats, or use as diuretics. Some plants are also location sensitive, so work differently on peoples systems depending on those folks intake habits...good luck,
Should you go first, and I remain, to walk the road alone- I'll live in Memory's garden, dear, with happy days we've known.
Name: Sheryl Gallant
Fort Nelson, British Columbia, (Zone 3b)
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Providence_North
Jul 17, 2018 8:26 AM CST
I keep it all on the computer. I have a file with pages of ailments, each with a list of herbs to use for it, then I have a file/page for each individual herb with all of its information there.

I'd like to build a real herbal database with Access but just can't be bothered at this point. Time is always a consideration for me, in the summer anyway. Maybe a project for this coming winter...

It is difficult to keep track of it all. I'm going to plant a lot of the herbs that I use next year. I used to grow all my own stuff but have recently moved and have to start new gardens.

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