WHY HERBAL MEDICINES?
ECOLOGICAL MEDICINE and HERBAL MEDICINES
In these pages I will explore topics in ecological medicine. Ecological Medicine integrates nutrition, medicine, herbal remedies, food, care of children, farming and care of the earth under one banner.
photo source: flickr.com/photos/uwdigicollec
CURRENT TOPIC: why herbal medicine?
Herbal medicine is safe and ecological. They are made from plants and have been used for hundreds of years. They have a wide range of healing power, but not as potent (for the most part) as medical drugs which is why they are safer. However, they have several advantages over drugs: for example, they work better to improve resistance and health, and rarely have side effects.
It is important to know that herbal medicine works best when the right kinds of herbs are used. There is a wide range of herbal products available, and the choices are quite mind boggling.
These pages will clarify what to use and why. One can go to CVS and buy something like ibuprofen and be sure that it is pretty much the same product you can buy in Japan. Synthetic drugs like ibuprofen are standardized. Not so with herbal medicine. Unfortunately, products on the market vary in quality and effectiveness. There are some American companies that are very good providers of herbal medicine, and in future articles I will post these.
Herbal medicine are best when made by a company that respects the source of the medicine and prepares it well without losing the potency of the herb. I prefer standardized, organic based herbs that come in gel caps or liquid–easier to digest and often more potent.
For serious diseases always consult a professional herbal doctor. For the general public herbs are used fo br six basic reasons;
1) First-aid. Example, arnica for bruises and muscles aches. Tea Tree oil for external use on skin for a wide variety of problems. Various remedies like echinacea for colds and flus.
2) Immune strengthening. This is very important and one of the great strengths of herbal medicine. Conventional medicine does not use any medicines for this purpose. Herbal medicines increase resistance! These are often found in synergistic formulas, a combination of the best of the immune supporters. For example, schisandra and astragalus (two famous Oriental herbs, both used for hundreds of years: Maitake, and other mushrooms medicines which are very popular in Europe and Japan–also for cancer prevention. Echinacea and various formulas with synergistic herbs. Synergistic means working together and enhancing. Many herbal formulas have been used for centuries because they are effective and good for a specific problem or disease, and it has been found that particular combinations are potent and healing.
3) Detoxification. This topic is so central to Herbal Medicine that it requires several pages, but later. Detoxification supports the liver, the blood and the immune system, and is crucial to maintain health. We change the oil in our cars regularly, We need to cleanse and support the body. Important herbs include milk thistle, dandelion and schizandra. There are many more and a professional herbalist has many in his repertoire for different purposes and diseases. For the general public a synergistic formula will work just fine, especially when run down, traveling, or prone to colds and flus.
4) Stamina and Stress. When overworked, highly stressed and on the move, herbal medicines can support the body: siberian ginseng, aswaganda, astragalus formulas and others.
5) Stress, emotions and nervous system: there are lots of herbs in this category and often best to consult a professional for long term or serious conditions. But for everyday problems popular herbs include St. John’s Wort, Wild oats, ginseng, and for sleep formulas with valerian root.
6) Digestion: a variety of herbs like peppermint and chamomile. Flax seed and prune juice for the bowels. Papaya tablets for digestion.
THE NEXT TOPIC ON HERBS: THE TEN MOST USEFUL HERBAL MEDICINES FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC.