Herbs have been used to treat disease, even before the evolution of man as a species. Animals often chew certain plants to induce vomiting or treat other conditions. Shamans, or tribal healers, most likely observed this behavior and produced a base of knowledge about what herbs and plants were more effective and passed that knowledge down through the generations. In addition to treating disease and injury, the body of knowledge included ways to use herbs to improve nutrition and improve mental health.
The use of herbs for medical purposes should be regarded with respect. Even though it may appear that the basics and cure for diseases can be learned relatively easily be aware of the fact that plants may contain chemicals and other substances that con prove dangerous if they’re not recognized and treated respectfully. Carelessness or excessive use of some herbs can result in a genuine health hazard.
Way Too Much Information On Herbalism
Herbalism has only recently reemerged as an accepted practice in the contemporary western world despite its ancient history. In most European countries, once medical schools began training doctors in large numbers, the practice of herbalism fell into disfavor. In fact, many of the witch trials of the Middle Ages involved women who were actually herbalists. However, herbalism continued to be practiced uninterrupted in almost all non-industrialized countries and continues to be the favored method of treating disease in many regions of the world.
As European cultures became increasingly city-based, modern medical practices began to gain ground. Gradually, herbalism faded from general use and was confined to the poor and to those living in rural areas far away from practicing doctors.
Studies in the United States on the effectiveness of the herbal remedies have been sparse. However, in 2004 the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine began funding larger studies. In Europe, more studies have been made and herbal remedies are more widely accepted. For example, St. John’s Wort is an herb that can serve to control mood and was a widely accepted remedy for depression in Europe long before it gained favor in the United States.
Herbal medicine is an ancient practice going back to prehistoric times. It is still widely used in the world. The study of medicinal herbs and their properties ultimately led to the creation of modern medicine, through mass synthesis of naturally occurring, healing compounds. Like conventional, pharmaceutical medicines, herbal remedies are supported by scientific study, and most carry a risk of adverse effects and drug interactions.
Although many of our most popular medicines have been prepared from plants, including quinine, codeine, and digitalis, scientists have only lately begun to come back to plants as sources to develop new medications. However, the use of plants to create medications shouldn’t be confused with true herbalism which uses the plants themselves as medication.
Herbal medication can be provided as a tea, where herbs are steeped in hot water. Herbs are likewise used in poultices. To infuse steam or smoke which is breathed by the patient. Breathing the smoke from burning sage, for example, has been used as a cure for asthma. Camphor is a plant whose smell is familiar to all those who have used Vick’s Vapor Rub. Breathing the scent of camphor helps clear the sinuses.
Eucalyptus is another old time remedy that has been used for centuries. Used in most all cough drops on the market, it is an excellent expectorant. Also used as a deodorant, and antiseptic wash, a stimulant, and all kinds of cold symptoms and the flu. It has also been used for bronchitis, sore throats, lung disease, and may serve as a wash on burns, wounds, and ulcers to prevent infections. The oil is commonly used, and can be achieved by boiling the leaves in water and condensing it till only the oil is left. You can also breathe the vapors while steaming or apply the oil to the affected regions, such as the chest for cold symptoms.
Garlic is another herb that has exploded on to the place in the last 30 years or so. Used for a multitude of ailments, garlic is easy to find, cheap to buy, and splendid in all kinds of food. It can serve as an antispasmodic, to help digestion, as a diuretic, helps all of the digestive organs and helps fight intestinal worms. It has also served as for chronic bronchitis. To fight intestinal infections. The most popular uses during the past decade or so are to help with cardiac health. Garlic is excellent for lowering blood pressure, increasing blood flow, counter acting arteriosclerosis, as a blood enema, and also helps reduce cholesterol and the likelihood of heart attack. For these reasons I would say that garlic is a must have in every home. One can take a half tsp. Of the juice thinned with water 2 to three times a day, however garlic can now also be located in pill form or the crushed cloves can be added to food.
Ginger has been used by Asians for countless centuries for all kinds of stomach ailments. It is used as an appetiser, to aid in the digestion of proteins, as a stimulant and contributes to cleanse the system through perspiration. Ginger is also served to ease sore throats, and help ease upset and sour stomach. Given their use of medicinal herbs, such as ginger and garlic, in their food, it is no surprise that Asians tend to be fitter than Americans. Take ginger either in an infusion of ½ tsp. Powdered dried root stock with 1 tsp honey in 1 cup of water, or add 1 tsp. Fresh ginger root to your food once daily. Ginger can also be present in a dried crystallized form that can be eaten before meals.
Because plants contain such powerful chemicals, there is a certain risk associated with herbal medicine. Dosage, for example, is hard to standardize and control since two plants of the same species might have completely different degrees of the chemical compounds necessary for healing. Also, herbal remedies can interact with more traditional drugs that a patient might be taking.