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HERBAL MEDICINE

Herbal Medicines And Human Body

The use of plant remedies to strengthen weakened body systems, control symptoms, and boost the bodies owns healing powers is perhaps the oldest form of medicine. Herbalists maintain that the natural balance of compounds in plants provides a more effective means of restoring health than synthesized, single-ingredient drugs, as prescribed in orthodox modern medicine.

No one knows how or when people realized that plants could be used to treat disease, but herbal medicine probably developed from the use of plants as foods, partly by a system of trial and error, and parody from knowledge gained by people living close to nature that has been handed down through the generations. With the development of science, it become possible to isolate plant compounds and to fire out which chemicals in a plant have particular actions. These chemicals were duplicated in laboratories to produce what we now regard orthodox medicines. Work by medic researchers has given herbalists a wider understanding of why herbs have particular effects on the body. But this insight has not changed the way herbalists work.

Herbalists have always believed, and continue to believe, that using whole plants, which contain a huge variety of compounds, is the idleway to help strengthen the body’s healing povers and to help restore any imbalances within the body. Although a plant may be chosen primary]for the action of one ingredient, the other con-pounds in the plant—or in several plants in combination remedy—may limit or enhance the main action, prevent side effects, or act in a generally nutritive way. Some herbal products contain several active compounds in an extract from the whole plant. Others contain only one or two compounds that have been isolated from the plant. A standardized extract contains know amounts of one or more active compounds.

CONSULTING A PROFESSIONAL

Herbal remedies can be used to treat many common ailments, as well as to enhance immunity and energy. Although they are suitable for self-enactment of many minor conditions, it is always said to seek advice from a professional practitioner of herbalist. When you visit an herbalist, he or she will ask about your medical history, paying especially close attention to your diet and lifestyle. If necessary, the therapist will perform a physical examination. Having assessed your condition, the herbalist then looks for the root cause of the problem, trying to find out where any imbalance in your health could have occurred. The practitioner believes that until this is addressed, the underlying problem will not be resolved, although it may be possible to alleviate or sup-press the symptoms.

The herbalist will give dietary advice, suggesting changes that may help the patient better deal with the stresses of life. He or she may then recommend a blend of herbal remedies specially suited to your individual needs.

USING THIS THERAPY AT HOME

Medicinal herbs lend themselves well to home use, and many of them are easy and fun to grow in your backyard or window box. However, it is important to recognize that they are medicines some can be taken safely in large amounts; others cannot. It is also very important to be certain, if collecting herbs yourself, that you collect the right plants. The best way is to learn this from an expert. Never consume an herb unless you are absolutely sure that you have identified it correctly.

Herbal remedies should generally taken until symptoms disappear. If this does not happen with in two weeks, if the condition worsens’ or if any other unexpected effects occur, stop taking the preparation and seek medical help.

TAKING HERBS BY MOUTH

Many herbs are available from health-food stores as tablets, capsules, or tinctures (extract in alcohol). Follow the dosage instructions the package, starting with the lowest dose.
The traditional way to take herbs by mouth in the form of teas. Herbal teas may be drunk hot or cold. Dosages for teas vary according to your age and health, but the usual amount for adults is on cup three times a day Elderly people should take half this dose. Seek professional advice before giving herbs to children under 16 years old.

USING HERBS EXTERNALLY

You can buy a wide variety of herbal creams, lotions, and other products for external use. These can be convenient when you need a remedy for immediate use, as for first aid. However, preparing your own can give greater control over the ingredients. Some herbal applications are not available commercially.
• Herbal baths provide an easy and pleasant way of gaining benefit from herbs.
• Steam inhalations: You can use fresh or dried herbs. Make a strong infusion of the herb in a ceramic or glass bowl. Place your face over the bowl with a towel over your head, and breathe in the steam.
• Compresses: Herbal compresses are helpful in the treatment of sprains and bruises, to cool fevers or inflammation, and to soothe headaches.
• Poultices: Commonly used to draw pus from ulcers or boils, herbal poultices can also ease nerve or muscle pain. Make a poultice from fresh or dried herbs.