Benefits of Herbal Medicine for Better Health & Wellness


benefits of herbal medicine


Table of Contents



If you feel a bit sceptical about using herbal medicine, or if you wonder whether it really works, you are not alone. Many people who are accustomed to treating ailments with conventional remedies are uncertain about trying herbal medicine at first. They find themselves questioning not only whether it is effective but also why they should try it instead of just sticking to conventional medical treatments.

Medicinal herbs contain an incredible number of beneficial chemical compounds that provide a versatile array of therapeutic powers. As an example, native Andeans use whole coca leaves as their number-one medicinal plant. When researchers investigated it to find out why it is useful for treating so many maladies, they discovered that the plant contains 14 bioactive alkaloids. When the whole coca leaf is ingested, receptors in the digestive tract bind to those the body needs at the time.

Herbal medicine is not about rejecting sound scientific facts, nor is it about conjuring mystical spirits to cure diseases, although shamans in many cultures use the same herbs for rituals that others use for medicinal purposes. Instead, herbal medicine is about using safe, evidence-based alternatives to treat the same ailments that have plagued humankind for millennia.

Countless people suffer from problems associated with pharmaceuticals, yet many people in the United Kingdom use herbal medicines for its incredible benefits, and most with no ill effects.

Herbal medicine is natural and noninvasive. It works with your body rather than causing the body to reduce its natural defences and rely on prescriptions. When properly used, herbal remedies can greatly improve health while reducing the risk of side effects associated with drugs. As researchers from the University of Maryland have noted, many herbs are considerably safer than their conventional counterparts. Most herbal remedies have a very low risk of drug interaction or toxicity; instead, they can provide detoxification while protecting the body.

Powerful herbal extracts are used in many of the most toxic pharmaceutical drugs. These same herbs can be dangerous when used improperly as herbal medicine. Digitalis (foxglove), for example, is used to produce digitoxin, which is valuable in treating heart conditions. Though powerfully effective when taken correctly, it has a frighteningly narrow therapeutic index, meaning it can be harmful or even deadly in the wrong dose.

Historians believe that digitalis was first used by Roman physicians. It became popular again in the late 1700s and was used to treat a variety of ailments throughout the 1800s. Today, digitalis is recognized by major pharmacopoeias worldwide as an effective treatment for heart failure.


Top Ten Benefits of Herbal Medicine for Better Health & Wellness

Top Ten Benefits of Herbal Medicine


1. Herbal medicine is effective.

Studies have shown that for many cases, and especially for minor ailments, herbal remedies work as well as pharmaceuticals.

2. Herbal remedies are easily assimilated

Most herbs are readily absorbed by the body. In addition, herbal remedies are more likely to be easier on your body than corresponding medical treatments.

3. Herbal remedies often complement corresponding therapies.

Many herbal remedies can be used to complement corresponding therapies, whether herbal or conventional. They may often be used in conjunction with chiropractic, Reiki, acupuncture, and massage treatments. When you visit a naturopath, he or she will normally provide you with a plan that includes various treatments designed to work in concert with one another.

4. With herbal medicine, there are fewer side effects.

Unlike pharmaceuticals, which usually come with long lists of potential side effects, herbal treatments have few and typically minor side effects that can normally be avoided by cautious use—including discussing their use with a health care provider.

5. Herbal treatments have healed people for thousands of years.

In the grand scheme of things, herbal medicine has been trusted for a great deal longer than allopathic medicine has been in existence. Tried-and-true herbal remedies have been passed down from one generation to the next and are worth using for its many benefits.

6. Herbal remedies are less costly than pharmaceuticals.

High-quality herbs, essential oils, and preformulated compounds typically cost a fraction of the price of prescription drugs. Herbs you grow yourself are almost free, and supplies for making your own herbal medicines are affordable.

7. Herbs contain no added chemical ingredients.

Many pharmaceuticals, including remedies sold over the counter, contain numerous additives, including artificial colours, artificial sweeteners, waxes, and other substances. Herbal remedies are pure and natural.

8. Herbal medicine treats more than just single symptoms.

Many herbal remedies provide peripheral benefits beyond just treating single symptoms. When you drink a hot cup of valerian tea to treat insomnia, for example, you aren’t just taking in a substance that helps sedate you like an OTC sleep aid does. The aroma of the tea and the warmth of the cup in your hands help you relax, help reduce your stress level, and if anxiety is contributing to your insomnia, the valerian helps put it to rest.

9. Herbal medicine provides you with a deeper connection to nature and to others

When you use herbal medicine, you don’t just take a pill with a glass of water and wait for results. Instead, you may smell aromas, enjoy unique flavours, or feel sensations, depending on the remedies you have selected. When you seek assistance from a naturopath or similar practitioner, you’ll find that the interaction is quite personal, with longer diagnostic sessions than typically found with an allopathic doctor, and an overall focus on how you, as a whole person, are feeling.

10. Herbs are sustainable.

Pharmaceuticals require lots of packaging, plus they are manufactured in factories. Herbs sometimes do come in packages, but in all, their ecological footprints are much smaller than those of drugs. The herbs you grow in your own garden are the most sustainable of all.

Bottom Line

If you are suffering from a chronic illness or severe symptoms, consulting with a herbal practitioner can be life-changing. In the event that you wish to treat a serious illness with one of the few dangerous herbal medicines available, it is best to do so under the supervision of a naturopath or a similarly trained physician. If you have unfamiliar symptoms or if you’re suffering from serious pain, a sense of urgency should be applied, and you should seek medical intervention, either from a conventional or herbal-health practitioner.

There are some circumstances under which you can self-diagnose minor illnesses, especially an ailment you’ve had before, and successfully apply herbal remedies that are known to be effective for those specific illnesses. When you feel an itch in your throat and recognize that a sore throat is on the way, you don’t have to go to a doctor to take action. The same is true if you feel a little nauseated while travelling or when one of your children develops a stuffy nose. You don’t need a doctor to tell you that you have a tension headachc__ after all, you experienced the stress that caused it.

Herbal medicine isn’t miraculous. It isn’t meant as a replacement for the best that modern medicine has to offer, such as emergency medical care, conventional drug therapy for serious conditions such as cancer, or surgical intervention. Yet, herbal medicine can be used to complement conventional therapies, especially with the help of an experienced herbal practitioner.

Anyone can call himself or herself a herbalist, so be sure that you look for someone who has extensive training. The American Herbalists Guild is a good source of information for knowledgeable herbal practitioners, but many professional herbalists who provide advice concerning the use of medicinal plants are often not licensed to diagnose or treat diseases.

Naturopaths and naturopathic physicians rely heavily on herbal medicine to treat their patients. It is important to find a naturopath who has attended an accredited naturopathic college. (A word of caution: A naturopath degree can be attained through unaccredited correspondence courses.) Ask prospective practitioners about their training and learn about the scope of their practices as you make your decision about whom to see with important medical concerns.