Many people ask this question. And it saddens me because not so long ago everyone KNEW that herbal medicine remedies work. Using herbal preparations, day in and day out for everyday ailments. People knew herbs were mild, gentle and low-cost remedies for easing pain and discomfort.
That is until the discovery of antibiotics. Though I still think antibiotics have their place. I believe these medicines should not be the first choice for treatment in every case.
When antibiotics came along, people thought modern medicine would cure all ailments. They lost interest in herbal medicine and home remedies. These were seen as inferior and no longer necessary. In contrast, the new medicines were generally viewed as miracle cures. And over time, most people forgot how to use plant medicines for everyday ailments.
But, we now know antibiotics have their problems. For instance, they don’t do anything to prevent future infections. To begin with, most people thought that wasn’t a problem. After all, we had antibiotics to defeat the germs.
Yet, within a few years of use, doctors found the antibiotics were just not as effective anymore. The first antibiotics stopped working. In other words, bacteria became resistant. In light of this, new antibiotics were needed to continue to win the fight against germs. And as a result, scientists are now struggling to make new ones that are effective.
Perhaps, we will turn back to herbal medicine. Research shows that herbs have a lot to offer in preventing and fighting infection.
Synergy and herbal medicine remedies
Unlike antibiotics, which are single ingredient medicines. Herbs have many, sometimes dozens, of medicinally active constituents. These active constituents work together synergistically. In other words, the benefits of the whole herb are greater than the sum of the individual constituents.
Considering the potential benefits of herbal medicines, these might include:
- direct action against microbes
- stimulation of the immune system
- supportive tonics to the affected tissues
Plus, herbal medicine formulas usually contain several herbs. This means that in each herb blend, there could be many constituents. Not just one single ingredient, such as in antibiotics. This is why bacteria are still vulnerable to the effects of a herb. It is just too difficult to work out how to protect against many constituents all at once.
Myrrh as an example of a herbal medicine
Myrrh is an ancient remedy still in use by herbalists today. This herb is mentioned in the bible as one of the precious gifts given to the baby Jesus. So we know it has been an important medicine for thousands of years. For instance, preparations, both oral and topical on the skin can control infection. Even after generations of use for infection control, myrrh is still an effective herbal medicine against bacteria today.
You might think that myrrh is not still in use. But there are hundreds of commercial products available today containing this herbal remedy. For instance personal care products such as mouthwash, toothpaste and skincare products. As well as medicinal products such as throat sprays, over-the-counter cold and flu remedies, and multivitamin formulas. So, myrrh certainly has a medicinal role in the modern world. As do many other herbal medicines.
Herbal medicine remedies are the oldest form of medicine. In some places around the world, herbs are the only available form of medicine. I hope I have shown that herbs and herbal medicine still have a role to play in our modern world. I suspect they will still be around long after the current antibiotics have stopped working.