How are herbs used and what do they do?
Herbs or medicinal plants have a long history in treating disease. In traditional Chinese medicine, for example, the written history of herbal medicine goes back over 2000 years and herbalists in the West have used “weeds” equally long to treat that which ails us. We are all familiar with the virtues of Garlic, Chamomile, Peppermint, Lavender, and other common herbs.
Interest in medicinal herbs is on the rise again and the interest is primarily from the pharmaceutical industry, which is always looking for “new drugs” and more effective substances to treat diseases, for which there may be no or very few drugs available.
Considering the very long traditional use of herbal medicines and the large body of evidence of their effectiveness, why is it that we are not generally encouraged to use traditional herbal medicine, instead of synthetic, incomplete copies of herbs, called drugs, considering the millions of dollars being spent looking for these seemingly elusive substances?
Herbs are considered treasures when it comes to ancient cultures and herbalists, and many so-called weeds are worth their weight in gold. Dandelion, Comfrey, Digitalis (Foxglove), the Poppy, Milk Thistle, Stinging nettle, and many others, have well-researched and established medicinal qualities that have few if any rivals in the pharmaceutical industry. Many of them in fact, form the bases of pharmaceutical drugs. Mushrooms Medicinal 24 pgs
Research into the medicinal properties of such herbs as the humble Dandelion is currently being undertaken by scientists at the Royal Botanical Gardens, in Kew, west London, who believe it could be the source of a life-saving drug for cancer patients. Early tests suggest that it could hold the key to warding off cancer, which kills tens of thousands of people every year.
Their work on the cancer-beating properties of the dandelion, which also has a history of being used to treat warts, is part of a much larger project to examine the natural medicinal properties of scores of British plants and flowers. Professor Monique Simmonds, head of the Sustainable Uses of Plants Group at Kew, said: “We aren’t randomly screening plants for their potential medicinal properties, we are looking at plants which we know have a long history of being used to treat certain medical problems.”
Unfortunately, as is so often the case, this group of scientists appears to be looking for active ingredients, which can later be synthesised and then made into pharmaceutical drugs. This is not the way herbs are used traditionally and their functions inevitably change when the active ingredients are used in isolation. That’s like saying that the only important part of a car is the engine – nothing else needs to be included!
So, why is there this need for isolating the ‘active ingredients’?
Scientists use the scientific process to establish the fact that a particular herb works on a particular disease, pathogen or what ever, and they need to know why and how it does so.
But, and this is a BIG but, a doctor of Chinese medicine uses the process of choosing and prescribing COMBINATIONS of herbs, which have a synergistic effect to treat not just the disease, but any underlying condition as well as the person with the disease – That is a big difference and not one that is easily tested using standard scientific methodologies.
The problem with this approach is however, that medicinal plants like Comfrey, Dandelion and other herbs usually contain hundreds if not thousands of chemical compounds that interact, yet many of which are not yet understood and cannot be manufactured. This is why the manufactured drugs, based on so-called active ingredients, often do not work or produce side effects.
Aspirin is a classic case in point. Salicylic acid is the active ingredient in Aspirin tablets, and was first isolated from the bark of the White Willow tree. It is a relatively simple compound to make synthetically, however, Aspirin is known for its ability to cause stomach irritation and in some cases ulceration of the stomach wall.
The herbal extract from the bark of the White Willow tree generally does not cause stomach irritation due to other, so called ‘non-active ingredients’ contained in the bark, which function to protect the lining of the stomach thereby preventing ulceration of the stomach wall.
Which would You choose – Side effects, or no Side Effects?
It’s a very simple answer. Isn’t it? The daily news is full of ‘discoveries’ of herbs found to be a possible cure of this or that, as in the example of Dandelion and its possible anti-cancer properties. The point is, that these herbs need to be investigated in the correct way. They are not just ‘an active ingredient’. They mostly have hundreds of ingredients and taking one or two in isolation is not what makes medicinal plants work.
In addition, rarely are herbal extracts prescribed by herbalists as singles (a preparation which utilises only one herb). Usually herbalists mix a variety of medicinal plants to make a mixture, which addresses more than just the major symptoms.
In Chinese medicine for example there is a strict order of hierarchy in any herbal prescription, which requires considerable depth of knowledge and experience on the physicians part. If you are healthy, you will feel better in all areas. Herbs are like vitamins. They are used for many reasons and purposes. Herbal teas are used to cleanse the digestive system, or overall internal body.
Herbs are used as medicines, supplements, etc. It depends on what you want to use the herbs for, which ones you get. You will find herbal teas used to treat common colds as well. Herbs are available to help reduce wrinkles, or other aging features.
Some of the popular herbs include Kava-Kava. Kava is used to reduce anxiety. Kava will help you relax and sleep well. Another herb is Plum Flower.
The herbs are used to treat people who suffer with various illnesses, including migraines, hypertension, cancers, heart disease, gastro intestine problems, common headaches and so on. Emperor is great for the souls who feel restless often. GUI-PI supplements are great for workaholics.
The herbs work to nourish the mind. Eleuthero supports the system by providing you with improved blood circulation. Gingko Biloba is a great herb that increases blood circulation. The herbs will help the lungs function proper, while distributing or promoting oxygen flow, which in turns produces freedom of blood flowing to the brain. Gingko-Bacopa Quick Thinking 60 Tabs
If you have difficulty with joints and muscles, which may be caused by arthritis, bursitis, or some other type of joint, muscle, or spinal disease you may find benefit from tea pills. Inflamed joints cause pain and swelling. You will find Joint specific tea inflammation pills that assist with relieving you of these symptoms.
During mid-age you may take delight in the rejuvenating teas. The teas will help you feel good. On the market, you will find many helpful herbs that promote healthy aging.
One of the better herbs for those suffering with memory loss or forgetfulness is Ginkgo Biloba as it supports healthy brain functions. Gingko Biloba designed to enhance mental alertness is a great herb as well. Brain Energy
How do I find more information about the herbs?
You can find all sorts of herbs you want at most Wal-Mart stores. Herbs are sold in malls, herbal stores, drug stores and so on. You will find herbal supplements online as well. It is good to check out the herbs online, since you will have additional details that help you to learn what herbs are used for. Just remember to ask your family doctor before you take herbs. Some medications work against herbs despite that the herbs come from natural resources.
How do I know which herbs are safe for me to take?
Herbs are natural, so in most cases herbs are very good to take. Herbs rarely cause side effects like many other drugs sold. In some instances however, people have experienced side effects, the cause is not clear. Here is a list of medicinal herbs and plants.
This is why you should visit your doctor first before taking any herbs, over-the-counter meds, or vitamins. For the most part if you find the FDA approved herbs you may not experience side effects. Keep in mind though the pharmaceutics companies are usually backed by greed, which enforces particular people to focus on money, rather than healthy people.
The fact that the primary or principle herb has active ingredients, which has a specific physiological effect, does not mean the other herbs are not necessary in the preparation.
Knowing that medicinal plants are so effective, that these plants potentially hold the key to many diseases, are inexpensive and have proven their worth time and time again over millennia, why is it that herbal medicine is still not in the forefront of medical treatments, and is considered by many orthodox medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies as hocus-pocus.