Join the herbal revival. Herbal medicine has been on the back burner of the health industry for many decades. Not because something better was discovered or because herbs were ineffective, but because pharmaceuticals were marketed as modern miracles compared to old-fashioned herbal remedies. Marketing ploys trumped common sense and people turned to doctors and prescription medications for everything. Now people are turning back to herbs for part of their overall health care.
Medicinal herbs are natural foods with medicinal properties. Unlike over-the-counter and prescription drugs, medicinal herbs address the symptoms AND causes of a health problem without side effects. As medicinal herbs nourish our bodies, they help to balance and regulate bodily functions. Most medicinal herbs are gentle. They can be specific to a particular condition or used as a tonic to promote whole body health. Medicinal herbs have almost no harmful side effects when used in moderation although like most things in life, if taken in excess herbs can cause negative reactions.
Some people are allergic to certain herbs so start with small doses and work up as needed. Allergic reactions to herbs can happen due to allergies like hay fever or because the herb has been contaminated. Allergies can also occur when the herb has started to mold. Always purchase herbs and spices from reputable dealers or grow your own. Look for herbs that are whole or in big pieces rather chopped into fine particles. If you can, choose whole herbs over capsules.
Herbs work in the body to nourish everything from the skin to the brain. They act slowly to support the body and reverse damage. Sometimes the synergy obtained from a combination of herbs is the best solution. When treating a cough, an herbalist may recommend several herbs such as wild cherry bark, mullein, and eucalyptus. Each of these herbs works on a different part of the body to soothe, heal, and protect. No two people are alike. Using a combination of herbs helps to ensure that the patient receives the greatest chance of recovery. If one doesn’t help, maybe the other one will!
Beginning herbalists should stick to one herb at a time. Learn about one herb before moving on to the next. Use blends once you gain experience.
Certain herbs act as catalysts and should not be used alone. Examples include capsicum, lobelia, sassafras, mandrake, tansy, snake root, wormwood, woodruff, poke root, and rue. These potent herbs enhance other herbs to bring about specific results and are usually not used alone.
It is best to rotate herbal remedies. Take one herb or a blend for a couple of weeks and then switch to another herb or another blend -- or discontinue for a week and then start again. Most herbs work best when used only as needed. The dosage should be reduced and discontinued as the condition improves. There are exceptions such as taking feverfew to prevent migraine headaches. Feverfew helps stop migraines from occurring and should be taken on a daily basis -- before the pain ever starts. Even then, it's best to take a rest from medicinal herbs every once in a while -- perhaps during a fast or cleanse.
Broad-based super-foods like green drinks, seaweed, garlic, cabbage, onions, and bee products can be taken daily -- these super foods are very effective in stimulating the body’s immune system and need to be added to the daily diet. No breaks are needed but common sense is required. Do not overdo or you could end up with diarrhea or gas.
The value of an herb stems from the complexity of the whole plant. Once various properties are separated or extracted, much of the original benefits can disappear. Herbs contain elements that work together. That is why one individual herb can be used to treat many different problems.
Herbs do not work like drugs because they are not isolated chemicals. Their value depends on many factors including species, freshness, soil, drying methods, and weather conditions. Herbs work best along with a good diet, lots of clean water, and a clean life style.
* Always consult with your healthcare provider before using any herbal remedy especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking other medicines.
"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling, herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
* Note - the information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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