Since standard prescription medicine is so expensive these days, and sometimes the side effects can be severe and dangerous, there has been a rising interest in using herbal remedies instead. In most cases, herbal remedies are generally a safe and natural way to take care of a variety of health problems. Some herbal remedies can be dangerous when used wrong though, and some herbal medicines can also conflict with each other too.
To get the most benefit of using herbal remedies, it’s best to educate yourself on the topic as much as possible. And this brief guide to herbal remedies will help you get started.
Herbal Remedies Have Been Around For Centuries
The first thing to know is that herbal remedies have been around for a very long time. Much of today’s “modern medicine” is actually quite new in comparison. Evidence of herbal remedies being used as far back as 60,000 years ago has been found numerous times by researchers, and there have even been cave paintings discovered which depict herbal medicine. In fact, most of the modern prescription drugs used today were originally developed based on medicinal qualities discovered in plants.
Unfortunately many people no longer believe in the effectiveness of using herbs and plants for medicine, because there is little to no modern scientific studies performed which either prove or disprove most commonly used herbal remedies.
“Scientific proof” is not important to those who have used herbal remedies successfully however, and an entire group of specialists has emerged over the years known as Herbalists or Naturapths. Herbalists study and practice the use of herbs, plants, and natural techniques to treat common medical problems.
Natural Does Not Equal Safe
Some people unfortunately believe that if something is natural it must be safe. And this is a very important first rule to learn. Not everything in nature is automatically safe. Nature is actually quite crafty in this respect, and some of the deadliest poisons known to man are all natural.
One excellent example of this concept is a Rhubarb plant. You can eat tasty, nutritious fruit from the Rhubarb but eating the leaves will cause you to go into convulsions and you could ultimately die from ingesting them.
Other herbal remedies can cause problems in specific situations. There is a very strong natural antibiotic herb known as Golden Seal which is also quite effective at lowering blood sugar levels because it’s a natural source of insulin. Naturally if an insulin dependent diabetic or hypoglycemic were to take this herb they could have serious problems from their blood sugar levels dropping too low.
Herbal Remedies Can Cause Interactions
When you take prescription medications you receive warnings about adverse interactions between different types of medicines. Many people don’t realize however, that you can also have adverse interaction when taking herbal remedies as well.
Ginseng is an excellent herbal remedy for fatigue for example, but if you take it at the same time you’re taking Ephedra – or even while drinking too much caffeine – you could have heart palpitations. And this can lead to a more severe problem such as having a heart attack.
Herbal Remedies Can Have Different Results
With regular prescription medications, not everything will work the same for every person who takes it. And the same is true for herbal remedies as well. Each person has slight differences in their body’s metabolism, differences in genetics, and differences in levels of health or severity of illness. And all of these factors can cause herbal remedies to work differently from one person to another.
Herbal Remedies Can Take Longer To Start Working
Many herbal remedies work with your body to enhance it’s own healing defenses. This often allows your body to actually cure whatever illness or health problem it has instead of simply relieving symptoms of the problem. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for an herbal remedy to take longer to have noticeable effects when compared to prescription medications.
Prescription medicines often treat symptoms instead of the actual cause of an illness however, and this is why they can appear to start working much more quickly than herbal alternatives.
Choose Supplements Wisely
Taking herbal remedies in a pill form is one of the most convenient ways to use them, but all are not created equally. Because herbal remedies have become much more popular in recent years, some companies have released products designed to take advantage of the trends. Unfortunately many of the popular products available on the market today are not as useful for health purposes as they should be, because they contain filler and other non-herb elements. In fact, some of these products contain very little actual herbal material at all.
When purchasing herbs to use for improving your health or treating an illness, you’ll get the best results from buying 100% herbal supplements. These come in gelcap form so they can be swallowed just like regular pills, but the content inside the gel cap is powered or crushed herbal material. You can open the gel caps and pour out the powdered or crushed herb to make teas, poultices and salves, or you can swallow the pills for internal treatments.
Before using any herbal materials or supplements, be sure to check the product labels very carefully. Some products may have additives that make it impossible to use safely as an internal treatment. One excellent example of this is Aloe Vera juice. There are many different products available for sale which have added fragrance, alcohol and other chemicals which would be extremely dangerous if swallowed.