Herbs- The foundation of Modern Medicine

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herbal medicine

What is a Herbal medicine?

The term ‘herb’ refers to a plant that has been used for medicinal purposes by people around the world since ancient times. The use of herbal medicines is a common practice in many cultures. Herbs are used for their medicinal properties, as well as to provide a flavor and color to foods or beverages.

History

The history of herbalism is a long one, and the practice has been documented in many cultures. The earliest known written records are from ancient Egypt, China and India. Herbs were used for food as well as medicinal purposes by all these civilizations. In Europe, herbs have played an important role since at least Roman times when they were widely cultivated throughout Italy and Greece.

Active ingredients and herbal medicine

The active ingredient that make up an herb’s therapeutic effect are called ‘phytochemicals’. These phytochemical components include:

• a flavonoids – a group of polyphenolic antioxidants;

• terpenes – volatile oils which give essential oil their characteristic smell and flavor;

• alkaloids – nitrogenous organic substances used by plants for growth and reproduction;

Examples of Herbs used as medicine

Kava kava

It is used to relieve stress and promote relaxation. Kava kava is often combined with valerian root Valeriana ocinalis – traditionally used to calm nerves and induce sleep. However, there is little evidence that this herb works effectively when compared to modern drugs.

Licorice licorice helps to regulate sugar metabolism and reduces high blood pressure. Licorice is sometimes recommended as part of a diet to help control diabetes.

Chamomile

The owners of the chamomile plant contain a volatile oil called azulene which has sedative and anti-inflammatory properties. Chamomile is used for mild anxiety, insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, tension headaches, menstrual cramps, colic in babies, nausea, motion sickness, diarrhea, flatulence, indigestion, and upset stomachs.

Echinacea

This popular herb has long been thought to help boost immunity against colds and u. However, there isn’t enough evidence yet to prove its effectiveness. Echinacea can make diarrhea worse when taken along with antibiotics. Some research suggests echinacea might prevent infection after surgery but more study is needed before this claim can be confirmed. There is no scientific proof that taking echinacea will protect against HIV/AIDS.

Garlic

Garlic is often recommended for its ability to help fight infection and lower cholesterol levels. However, there isn’t enough evidence yet to say whether garlic helps prevent heart disease or lowers blood pressure. There is no proof that eating raw garlic will protect against stomach cancers. Raw garlic contains compounds called thiosulfinates which may irritate the lining of the stomach when eaten in large amounts. Eating cooked garlic doesn’t seem to produce this effect.

Ginger

Ginger is widely used throughout Asia and Africa for treating nausea and morning sickness. In China, ginger is believed to help digestion and relieve gas pain. Studies suggest that ginger may decrease stomach acid production and improve symptoms associated with heartburn. However, there isn’t enough scientific data on this topic yet. Ginger may make diarrhea worse when combined with antibiotics. If you take aspirin regularly, talk to your doctor first before adding ginger to your diet.

Aspirin interacts with ginger.

herbal medicine
Natural herbal medicine, medicinal herbs, roots and herbal medicinal tinctures. Natural herbs medicine

Why people with cancer use it

Some people nd taking supplements easier than using traditional methods. However, this isn’t always true. Some people prefer to work with an experienced herbal therapist who knows about the properties of each herb. This will help ensure that you get the best results.

How do I know which type of herbal medicine to choose?

You should ask yourself whether you want something natural or synthetic. Natural means that it comes from nature. Synthetic means man-made.

How you have it

Some people find it helpful to learn about traditional Chinese medicine before using it. You could ask an experienced herbalist who has studied this type of medicine. Or look online for information about TCM.

Tibetan medicine

In Tibet, herbalism was developed over thousands of years by monks. In recent times, it’s been taken up by laypeople too. It’s based around the belief that everything in nature contains healing properties.

Who should avoid herbal medicines?

People who suffer from allergies or intolerances to certain foods or substances should avoid using these products. Those suffering from conditions that require regular monitoring by medical professionals, such as diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disorders or asthma, should also steer clear of herbal remedies. What’s more, pregnant women shouldn’t consume herbal medicines unless there’s good evidence that it won’t harm the baby.

Using herbal medicines safely

Some people nd that taking supplements improves their quality of life. Others prefer to rely only on natural therapies. You should discuss this choice with your doctor before starting any new treatment.

How do I know which type of herbal medicine will work best for me?

You need to decide whether you want an alternative or conventional treatment. This depends on your personal circumstances. For example, if you’re having chemotherapy, then you’ll probably get better results using conventional medicine.

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