You’ve probably heard about herbal remedies before and how they can treat a variety of health problems with fewer side effects than conventional medicines. Like many, you might have thought they seemed too good to be true or you’ve simply passed them off as quackery or voodoo medicine. While all of that is perfectly understandable, if you invest some time to learn about these natural alternatives, you’ll be surprised to learn how effective, affordable and beneficial herbal remedies can be to your health.
So now that you’re interested in herbal remedies, what are they and how do they work? Quite simply, herbal remedies are the original and most traditional form of medicine, with thousands of years of practice backing up their claims. Using ingredients found in nature, particularly from plants and from some animal life, herbal remedies are effective in treating a number of common ailments and promoting the overall health of the body. And as with conventional medicine, there are multiple uses for each specific herb and so many applications that entire books have been written to describe and teach the cures made possible through herbal remedies.
Plants are the primary source of herbal remedies because many of them contain chemical properties that are beneficial to the body’s health. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that even commercial pharmaceutical offerings often list plant products among the ingredients in their drugs. One example is saponin, a chemical compound that’s often used to treat heart conditions and is believed to have some cancer fighting properties. Known for its detergent, or cleansing characteristics, this herb like many others can be toxic if misused. Tannins, another plant compound, can help slow the bleeding of wounds and some types also possess strong antimicrobial properties. As with saponin, tannins can also be harmful if not administered properly.
Once you have discussed your needs with an herbal expert or your doctor, you’ll want to decide how to take your chosen herbal remedy. Herbal remedies are often administered as teas and tinctures. Although most people are familiar with herbal tea, some may not be aware that a tincture is actually a concentrated liquid extract of an herb. It is also possible to eat many kinds of herbs fresh from the garden, either alone or as part of a meal. Some herbs can be processed to use as compresses, creams, poultices, salves, and essential oils. Herbal remedies are increasingly popular these days and are commonly found in commercial stores in capsule or tablet form for greater convenience.
What exactly should you expect to gain by using an herbal remedy? Known to boost overall health and immunity, herbal remedies can treat a wide variety of chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, digestive problems, memory problems, cardiovascular disease, and acute conditions such as skin problems and colds. However, if you’re already taking medication, discuss your herbal remedy treatment options with your doctor, as some herbal remedies have been known to interact negatively or decrease the effectiveness of some prescription drugs. Also, just because herbs are natural, they’re not necessarily safe, especially in large doses. For best results, meet first with a trained herbalist or naturopathic doctor.