Why Not Use An Herb

Part one

The latest statistics show Americans are spending 1.3 billion dollars a year on complimentary medicine including various forms of herb therapy, much to the dismay of The Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association (PMA) and the individual drug companies. Media generated stories backed by the PMA tell tragic tales of death and woe by those foolish enough to use herb therapy; in particular epehedra the caffeine like drug that can when used in excessive dosages over stimulate the heart and adrenals causing serious side effects.

The PMA and hard core traditionalists harp about the need for hard scientific evidence and no one on either side of the fence will argue the gold standard double blind placebo testing of herbs would be good. It will never happen; for two reasons, there’s no money in simple plant medicines that cannot be patented and the physician education system would have to radically change. Besides, the same hard core scientific evidence the PMA states they have upon release of new drugs has in many instances proven to be disastrous. To date the number one reason for hospitalization in this country is still the appropriate use of prescription drugs bar none.

In the simplest of terms using a drug when an herb would do is like using a cannon when a peashooter would work. Herbs are medicines too but because they are organic in nature and their plant chemicals are complete rather than isolated synthetic substances they do not have the number of dangerous side effects. Side effects experienced from an appropriate dose of herb therapy might be mild diarrhea, sweating, feelings of tiredness or fatigue, all short lived. Of course there are true allergic reactions to herbs as well as drugs that cause itching and other skin reactions where caution must be exercised.

Drugs do work and they do have their place. No good herbalist worth their salt would tell you otherwise. It’s just that Americans have become so accustomed to reaching for a drug. They are convenient and they fit our lifestyle- fast. Unfortunately the price you pay for continued long term drug use will be more drugs and higher-powered drugs to offset the growing physiological imbalances the cause.

Herbs used appropriately and in the correct dosages will not only relieve symptoms but work to heal the root cause of those symptoms. They too can be easy to use. You can even find them at the drugstore these days.

If you have not used herbs in the past don’t wait until you have a terrible cold, flu or sore throat to begin your experimentation. Instead invest in an inexpensive herbal reference and educate yourself on their use. Start with simple herbs such ginger for indigestion, garlic and Echinacea for a mild cold or flu or ginseng for mild fatigue.

Just as you would not continue to take a drug after symptoms abate it’s best not to overuse herbal therapy as well. Always buy high quality certified organic herbs and take them only as directed.

Next week in part two we’ll look inside the herbalist’s medicine chest. I think you‘ll be nicely surprised how many common ailments can be addressed with its Spartan contents.

part two

Last week in part one we looked at why Americans choose drugs over herbs in spite of the fact that herbs can and do work well to address the minor aches and pains that go with everyday life. This week we’re going to take a look inside the drug store medicine chest and find out what’s in the herbalist’s medicine chest that will work just as well without the use of synthetic chemicals.

Inside the average drug store medicine cabinet you will find on the average a plethora of different tablets, lotions, creams, cold and cough preparations and various liquid preparations. Inside the herbalist’s medicine chest you will find a lesser number of preparations that can be used for a variety of symptoms.

This is our favorite handout for using herb therapy. I hope that you will reference it often as well.

Till next time, Rebecca.

Download Adobe pdf file of herbalist chart.

Till next time, Rebecca.