Why people choose herbal medicine

We all know that plants naturally contain valuable and sometimes unique substances. Medicinal preparations containing these active substances can help us feel better and heal faster. The remedies we use in western herbal medicine come from such plants.

Herbalists use whole plants or sometimes just one part as herbal medicine. For instance, we might use seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark or flowers to support the body’s ability to heal itself.

Yes, many herbal preparations can have potent effects. But, most of the remedies we use are gentle, and in fact, many herbs are also foods.

Food as medicine

Garlic, lemon, parsley, pomegranate, bilberries, coconut, pumpkin seed, onion, mustard, horseradish, and cocoa are just a small sample of foods that are also herbal remedies.

Just as your body knows how to use the goodness in foods to keep you healthy, so it is with herbal medication. The human body can use the medicinal properties of these natural remedies to maintain your health or even prevent disease.

Plus, herbal supplements have known medicinal properties that are backed by scientific evidence and traditional use. In fact, people have used herbal therapy for thousands of years to health themselves and improve their quality of life. And it was only when chemists began to extract chemicals from these plants that pharmaceutical drugs became the ‘new medicine’. Indeed, many conventional drugs, such as aspirin, were developed from medicinal plant extracts.

The whole is more than the sum of the parts

Yet, just like whole foods are better for your body, it is often better to have the whole plant remedy than an isolated active ingredient. Isolated constituents are far more likely to cause adverse effects, and that is what we see with pharmaceuticals in conventional medicine.

This is one reason why many people prefer to take plant medicines. People consider them a safer alternative medicine to prescription drugs or other conventional medical treatments.

But, even better, natural remedies offer benefits over and above symptom relief for a variety of health conditions. They contain many nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals that can improve your health. For instance, human studies provide reliable evidence showing they can improve how your body functions. For instance, clinical trials show these phytonutrients might improve your immune system or your memory,  boost your circulation or increase your energy levels.

This is not to say that herbal remedies don’t have potential side effects. As I said before, some herbs are potent. We only need to think of chilli pepper to know this. However, just as certain foods interact with pharmaceuticals, so can herbal remedies. Therefore, it is necessary to take care using botanical medicine if you are taking any prescription medicine.

Who to ask for advice

Doctors rarely learn about how herbal medicine and drugs interact. So, if you are unsure about using any herbal product or herbal supplements, you should ask a medical herbalist for advice.

Medical herbalists have specialist training in the use of herbal medicine in healthcare. They have up-to-date knowledge of herbal treatment, medicinal plants and herb-drug interactions.

Find out more about how natural therapies can help you and your health concerns. Browse the above categories of medical conditions for more information. Or use my contact form to get in touch.

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