The medicinal benefits of herbs have been known for centuries. Records of Native American, Roman, Egyptian, Persian, and Hebrew medical practices show that herbs were used extensively to cure practically every known illness. The practice has existed since prehistoric times and is used today by up to 80% of the world’s population as a primary form of medicine.
How To Use Herbs As Medicine
Herbs may be used directly as teas or extracts, or they may be used in the production of drugs. Many herbs contain powerful ingredients that, if used correctly, can help heal the body. The pharmaceutical industry was originally based upon the ability to isolate these ingredients, and make them available in a purer form. Herbalists, however, believe that nature provides other ingredients in the same herbs to balance the more powerful ingredients. These other components, though they may be less potent, may help to act as buffers, synergists, or counter-balancers working in harmony with the more powerful ingredients. Therefore, by using herbs in their complete form, the body’s healing process utilizes a balance of ingredients provided by nature.
Are Herbs As Effective As Drugs
Herbs can be of great value when used in a program of self-care and preventive medicine. But because they vary in strength from gentle remedies that can be eaten like food to potential lethal poisons, medicinal plants should always be used under the supervision of a Health Care Professional. A practitioner can advise which of the milder “tonic”" herbs, such as dandelion and nettle, are safe and appropriate for your condition. A number of culinary herbs — including thyme and rosemary, which act as digestive stimulants and antiseptics — may also be used in a preventive health program.
Testing Of Herbal Therapy is Underway
Herbal therapy has been criticized because medicinal plants have not been tested for efficacy according to rigid pharmaceutical standards. However, there’s continuing debate over whether such testing should be performed on the entire herb or only on its active ingredients. Some remedies depend on the actions of several components (or several herbs) working together. Another problem is that sometimes an herb’s active ingredients are not known. Proponents of herbal therapy point out that the pharmaceutical industry grew out of herbal treatment and that plant extracts are still used to make drugs. For example, digitalis, used to treat heart disease, comes from foxglove, and morphine comes from the opium poppy. About 25 percent of today’s prescription drugs are at least partially derived from plants.
HERBS & THEIR USES
Click on each herb name below for info on that specific herb.
"The Herbal Companion: The Essential Guide
to Using Herbs for Your Health & Well-Being"
by Marcus Webb
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