Why Herbal Medicine?
Herbal treatments have been around for a very long time! They are probably the first treatments that were available to us.
Herbal Medicine has had both positive and negative reviews in past and present. We wonder about it: Do they work? Are they safe?
In this strange dichotomy, it implies that they may be ineffective and dangerous or helpful and safe. Who will tell us? Who are the experts? Who should we believe? What about the Medical Profession? What is their opinion? What is the general perception? It seems to depend what country you’re in. One the best ways to find out is from people who have had experience, either being on the receiving end or on the administering
In many developing countries, where Western Medicines are expensive, natural means are still more used. Herbs account for the largest body of Medicine worldwide.
Some developed countries also have a tradition of Herbal medicine and this is even getting more and more incorporated into the Doctor’s practice. For instance in Germany, the herb Hawthorn is regularly employed by Doctors for Heart Conditions. Because of Herbal Medicine’s popularity, the German Government has instigated the
“Commission E”, a standard with Herbal Monographs. This organisation documents
the appearance, habitat, uses of various herbs and their indications. It describes herbs that have recognised therapeutic value, how and when they may be appropriate. It’s a great recognition of the Therapeuthic Value of Herbs! It’s interesting to see that the Market is following: Many European Pharmacies carry Herbal Extracts!
Nowadays many herbs are being seriously researched and frequently are found to be very effective at relieving symptoms. One discrepancy that Western Research Methods have with the use of Herbs, is that they are tested on people that may otherwise not have been given these Herbs by Traditional Herbalists. This is because the diagnostic means are different. Traditional Systems take different body and personality types into
account, whereas Western Medicine would offer the same treatment to all. However, many herbs are known to have a particular effect, such as the blood sugar lowering effect of cinnamon, or the circulatory stimulating effect of cayenne pepper...
Thanks to the Communication Revolution and the Internet, we now know a lot more about Herbs, Why and How they work, and which are most effective. We should not forget that most Western Medicine is actually based on Herbal Medicine. For Instance Aspirin is but a synthetic version of a chemical found in several Herbs such as White Willow Bark, and although it has the same pain relieving properties, it has no bad side
effect on the stomach.
There are many Herbal therapies available, whereas with Herbal treatments, there is a Governmental requirement to have done appropriate training if you want to practice as a Herbalist. This involves extensive theoretical knowledge as well as clinical experience. You are best off visiting a Herbalist who has done at least 4-5 years of training.
I always ask myself questions in deciding the course of a Herbal Treatment Program:
Does it work? Is it safe? Has it been tested? Is there a long Traditional use of a Herb or Food? Will it work for that person? Have they been to a GP?
I would always advise to go to a Doctor/GP with any urgent problem, as well as in the case of Chronic issues. I believe in the Complementary nature of Herbal Medicine.
Herbal treatments can be a wonderful way to help regain Health, as an adjunct to Western Medicine. It can be potent and has to be respected. In my view it’s not advisable to use Herbal Treatment without the care of a Trained Practitioner.