Tag Archive | "herbal remedies"

How Our Ancestors Introduced Herbal Remedies to the Modern World


medicinal-herbs

Without herbal medicine, modern medicine would not be in the advanced stage that it is. Our species has relied on plants for thousands of years – not only for nutrition, but to ease ailments that develop within our minds and bodies.

The parts of an herb have helped us survive disease and pestilence and contributed to our survival for as long as humans have existed. Over time, we have learned which herbs and parts of a plant provide value to our lives and which have the potential to cause damage.

We know that our ancestors used herbal remedies because archeologists have unearthed evidence that they used plant-based treatments all over the world. What’s intriguing is that cultures on a global scale, which had no known contact with one another, all used herbal remedies in much the same way – testing and tracking what worked and what didn’t in the herbal world of remedies.

As time proved some assumptions correct, our ancestors passed the teachings about herbal treatments down through familial lineage. They also created texts to help others study and learn about the techniques used in taking a natural approach to healing.

It was from our ancestral roots that modern-day pharmaceutical companies derived their synthetic drugs today. They work to try to recreate the natural effects herbal treatments deliver to the human body, sometimes succeeding and often failing. Aspiring, for example, was created as a replica of the substance found in willow bark that provides a natural pain reliever.

Botanical treatments do not provide the same side effects that synthetic drugs do, which accounts for the reason why many modern-day consumers are steering away from man-made compounds and concentrating on the return to their roots of herbal remedies and natural treatments. When our ancestors began cultivating plants for their own use, they included herbal gardens that provided immediate access to particular plants they found soothing for their ailments, including aloe, peppermint, mustard, and more.

As the cultures began to merge throughout the years and travelers started exploring the world, ideas were exchanged and treatments one culture found useful were now in the hands of another culture who previously didn’t have access to such findings or even the plants themselves, before trade.

Herbs were so important to our ancestors that they became a part of religious rituals and were highly valued. Today, not only do consumers see the significance in promoting herbal treatments, but doctors are aligning with this way of thinking as well.

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What Are the Different Ways Herbs Can Be Prepared?


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If you’re a follower of natural medicine, then you’ve undoubtedly been confused at some point about the different ways herbs can be prepared for your use in treating certain ailments or disease. There are many ways herbs can be prepared for your use.

The terminology may be confusing, but the processes are simple and allow you to enhance your herbal experience in any way you see fit. Depending on which methods you use in herbal preparation, you may need a scale, blender, (or grinder), glassware you can heat, enamel pots and double boilers that don’t contain aluminum or copper, cheesecloth, a strainer, wooden spoons, and jars with lids.

The first method is an herbal bath. Hydrotherapy is an important aspect of naturopathic medicine. Primarily used for topical diseases, such as skin disorders, herbal baths can be made by adding large amounts of an herb to a cloth bag and submerging it in the bath to mix with the water.

An infusion is another way to consume herbs. Similar to a tea, you pour a pint of boiling water over an ounce of the herb and steep for approximately ten minutes. A cold extract is prepared with cold water, when you add two ounces of herbs to the water and let it sit for up to twelve hours before drinking. A decoction is best used with bitter herbs, so that you can just boil the plant and strain it into a cup for consumption.

If you need to take the herb in powder form, you’ll need to pulverize it using a blender or mortar and pestle. After breaking the herb up into smaller parts, you continue grinding it until it’s in powder form and can be added to foods, drinks, and soups.

Once you have the powder, you can create a tincture by mixing four ounces of the herb to two and a half cups 60-proof alcohol. After the mixture sits in a warm environment for fourteen days, it can be strained and added to water as a tea mixture, or consumer straight.

Sometimes an herb needs to be used topically. Ointments and creams can be created by making adding one part herbal powder to four pars petroleum jelly. If you want to save it for continued use, be sure to add some gum benzoin to each ounce.

If you need a compress of the herb, then soak a cloth in the infusion and apply it to the distressed area. You can create both hot and cold herbal compresses, depending on what the recipe calls for. A poultice is similar to a compress, but instead of using a liquid infusion, you would use mashed up parts of the herb and apply it in a gauze bandage directly to the affected area.

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Many Herbs Are Being Used to Treat Arthritis


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For many men and women, arthritis is a life-altering disease. Swelling of the joints, which causes stiffness and pain, isn’t reserved for the over 60 crowd – it also affects many children in the world, which is why herbal remedies are gaining in popularity.

Alfalfa is commonly used for arthritic treatment, because the tea remedy is effective when taken for two to three weeks with a seven to ten day break between consumption.

The herb Angelica is another arthritis treatment because it contains anti-inflammatory constituents and muscle relaxants as well as natural pain-relievers. This herb is used in a tea concoction as well, with the same frequency and breaks as the alfalfa remedy.

Black cohosh, an American Indian herb used in the treatment of arthritis symptoms, has qualities similar to aspirin as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-spasm constituents.

Boswellia, yet another herb used to treat arthritis, is similar to an over the counter or prescription-level non-steroid anti-inflammatory. It’s better than synthetic drugs, however, because it doesn’t give the user ulcers after long-term use.

Believe it or not, celery is another plant that can be used to treat arthritis. The celery seeds and other portions of the plant contain over 25anti-inflammatory compounds, as well as providing massive amounts of potassium, which is important because a deficiency in potassium is often a culprit of arthritic pain.

If celery isn’t your cup of tea, then how about using the herb Devil’s claw or even Epsom salt? Both have anti-inflammatory properties and can help alleviate swelling and pain, symptoms especially aggravating to someone suffering from the affliction.

There are many other herbs that contribute to arthritic treatment, such as feverfew, ginger, American ginseng, hop tea, licorice, mustard plaster, oregano, pineapple, red pepper, rosemary, sesame seeds, stinging nettle, turmeric, wild cucumber bark, wild yam, willow, wintergreen, and yucca.

Some of these herbs are used topically, as the minerals are absorbed into the skin, while others are ingested internally for maximum benefits. As with all medications or treatment, you should consult your doctor before taking herbs, especially if you’re already on other medications prescribed by your doctor.

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Dandelion – More Than Just a Common Weed


dandelion-flower

Its name originated out of the fact that some believe its leaves resembled the tooth of a lion, but for years the Dandelion has done more than just help bees make honey. While its juices are bitter, many animals consume the plant for various reasons, including its ability to stimulate milk production.

For humans, the benefits derived from the Dandelion are quite different. Some people do blanche the leaves and use them in salads, or eat them on sandwiches and in soups, but the plant also serves some medicinal needs.

Both the root and leaves of the Dandelion are used as an alternative to man-made prescriptions. The most powerful portion of the Dandelion is the milky white juice found within the root itself.

Dandelion has been harvested for centuries and is often most effective when the weed is in its infancy. It was first used as a medicinal treatment in the tenth century, when it was first used to treat liver ailments. Dandelion’s used to stimulate the entire system, but primarily focuses on the needs of the urinary tract.

Aside from the liver, Dandelion is also consumed for kidney disorders. While it can be taken in straight high doses without being poisonous, Dandelion is usually mixed with other agents in patent medicines and herbal treatments alike.

People who have chronic liver complaints over time often find relief in taking a soup made from Dandelion roots harvested at a young age. It’s said to provide a slight laxative effect and helps aid digestion when you have an upset stomach.

Dandelion has been used successfully in the treatment of gallstones and has also been found safe to give to children. The weed is given to those suffering eczema and other topical diseases and has even been known to remove warts when the juice of the stalk is applied as a topical treatment to the affected area.

A Dandelion tea is used to treat various urinary ailments. A single ounce of the juice is mixed with boiling water and then sweetened with honey before being served. The frequency and doses of how much Dandelion is consumed depends on the type of disease you’re treating.

For instance, to treat piles, you would take three wine glassfuls of Dandelion concoction per day, but for a liver and kidney treatment, you would only need to take 1 teaspoonful of a concoction three times a day.

Using Dandelion to resolve your medical issues is a great alternative to depending on high-priced prescriptions, but it’s always best to check with your doctor and make sure it’s suitable for your needs.

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The Cancer Fighting Polyphenols Found in Tea Leaves


04 Tea leaves

The polyphenols are found in the camellia sinensis plants, which are crushed and then fermented into common teas, such as green tea, black tea and the oolong tea. These polyphenols have been extensively studied to determine the extent of their benefits.

The studies showed that they contain about 10 times the amount of antioxidants than what are found in our fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants are a powerful ally in the fight against ailments like cancer.

The ones found in the green and black teas are different than the antioxidants that are found in fruits and vegetables. Green and black teas contain flavonoids, such as the catechins, that can seek out and destroy chemicals that damage a body’s cells, and cause cancers to form.

Tea is also thought to defend against toxic chemicals that we see with inhaling tobacco smoke. They protect cells from these nasty enemies and prevent them from damaging our body’s cells.

Tea can defend against other ailments like blood clot formations, high cholesterol and it can possibly delay the onset of diseases like diabetes. Polyphenols are also known for their aid in weight loss programs and in the defense against halitosis and dental problems.

They can also improve skin conditions and they are possibly linked to aiding in the delay of Parkinson symptoms. The benefits don’t stop there, though. It’s reported that tea can help reduce your chances for skin cancer – and in some cases, by using the tea extract in lotion form, you may be able to block the damage from the sun.

Tea is known to slow the growth of already-formed tumors, it protects your bones from frailty, and even boosts your immune system so you can lessen your chances for colds, throat infections and flu symptoms.

With the results of these studies on the polyphenols, it’s recommended that you drink about 8-10 cups of green or black tea daily in order to reap from their health benefits.

Balance the cups with caffeinated and decaffeinated teas to prevent the side effects of caffeine. Some experts are considering these teas with powerful antioxidants to be healthier than drinking water.

Water doesn’t provide you with the polyphenols that the teas do, which offer us tons of health benefits as well as nutrients. By adding these teas to your health regimen daily, you can increase your chances of a healthier lifestyle and decrease your chances for contracting diseases, ailments and some types of modern-day cancers.

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How Herbs Play a Part in Naturopathy


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More and more consumers are taking their health into their own hands and using naturopathic medicine to treat what ails them. Taking a natural approach, using herbs and other non-synthetic treatments, gives the consumer a whole body healing approach, rather than the dominant single-symptom treatments doctors seem so fond of in modern medicine.

Naturopathy allows you to treat your entire body to put it back on track to good health. It combines the mind, body, and spirit in all treatments so that your internal and mental state gets back in balance and has a stronger ability to stave off infection and heal faster than usual.

For thousands of years, our ancestors have practiced naturopathic medicine because it’s all they knew and had on hand before the culmination of man-made prescriptions took root.

Herbs today are being used in conjunction with spiritual rituals to treat hundreds of human illnesses. Your body was designed to be able to heal itself, as is evident with the natural antibodies you produce when infection strikes. But sometimes you need a boost, and herbs deliver what the body sometimes can’t.

Naturopathy uses herbs to help the body heal faster by boosting its natural abilities, not introducing foreign substances into the body that you eventually build up an immunity to over time.

You’ll notice that if you follow the teachings of naturopathic medicine, you won’t be sent on your way with an herb or two in your pocket to take care of the problem. Instead, you’ll be encouraged to live a better life spiritually and mentally, as well as take care of your physical health in all areas, such as diet and exercise.

Herbs can only do so much healing. If a consumer isn’t willing to take the necessary steps to eliminate bad things from their diet, or implement a positive outlook on life, then the disabilities ailing them will continue to return time and time again.

Those who use herbs to continue on a path to naturopathic treatments are people who believe in non-toxic therapies. Synthetic prescriptions are not natural to the body, and can sometimes produce disabling side effects on their own.

As the medicinal form of naturopathy develops even further over the coming years, you’ll see an increase in the number of other treatment paths who use a whole body approach and believe in treating the person, not the prognosis.

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Using Natural Herbs to Curb Hot Flashes


hot-flashes

For women suffering from hot flashes during menopause and perimenopause, finding a cure is often a long process. But amid all of the synthetic treatments on the market, none compare to natural herbal treatments that have been used for centuries by women in the know.

Hot flashes, which are noted by increased heat and flushing in the face, is common among women approaching menopausal age, and some are afflicted by severe symptoms. Finding relief in the form of natural herbs helps eliminate stress that accompanies the problem.

While hormone therapy is used by many women, others prefer the natural route, taking doses of Vitamin E and Vitamin B to aid in the easing of symptoms. But herbs play an important role in natural hot flash therapy.

Flaxseed, also known as linseed, is used in whole seed and oil form to help ease hot flash symptoms. While there is no hard scientific evidence to back up the support of this claim, women have used it successfully for years.

Evening primrose oil is another herb commonly used to treat hot flashes during menopause. However, this botanical is sometimes accompanied by side effects such as diarrhea and nausea. It’s important to talk to your doctor before combining evening primrose with other medications, such as blood thinning drugs, because it could cause adverse reactions.

Soy products such as plant estrogen, which is found in isoflavones, contribute an estrogen-similar effect to the body to weaken hot flash symptoms. Many women concentrate on using soy-based food products to treat hot flashes, not soy supplements.

Another herbal remedy for hot flash symptoms during menopause and perimenopause is the use of black cohosh. As a short-term remedy, it works well. But side effects can include an upset stomach, so it needs to be used carefully.

With so much controversy in the news about hormone replacement therapy, it’s important that women find reliable natural ingredients they can use to treat various symptoms associated with menopause.

The herbs mentioned here only serve as a small reminder of natural cures you can find to treat a single symptom – hot flashes. There are dozens of other herbs that can help alleviate the other menopausal symptoms women have to endure over the years.

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Depression Is No Match for Herbal Treatments


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More and more consumers are approaching their doctors about getting natural herbal advice for their depression rather than being placed on synthetic anti-depressants. The most common herbal remedy is St. John’s Wort.

The best thing about using an herb in place of a prescribed anti-depressant is that the side effects are fewer in number and severity. You can’t take St. John’s Wort in conjunction with another anti-depressant or with certain other medications, so make sure you consult your doctor if you’re taking anything else before you add St. John’s Wort to the mix.

The NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) is helping consumers get educated about the use of St. John’s Wort to treat depression. They believe it’s best used to treat mild to moderate (but not severe) forms of depression.

What’s not yet known is exactly how St. John’s Wort works to treat depression. It’s believed that it might prevent nerve cells from reabsorbing serotonin, which is the chemical messenger in the body.

It’s been used and studied by scientists in treating mental disorders for centuries, but still remains somewhat of a mystery, even though its effectiveness in treating symptoms of depression such as mood swings, loss of appetite and energy, and sadness has been largely documented.

The reason consumers are turning to herbal remedies such as St. John’s Wort is because synthetic drugs have a high incidence of side effects, such as dry mouth, headaches, sexual dysfunction and insomnia. It’s also a less costly treatment than high-priced prescription medications.

You can buy St. John’s Wort in capsule form, as a tea, or as an extract. You have to be careful about the quantities you use in taking St. John’s Wort, because high level doses can impede the treatment process by causing dizziness, upset stomach, and a sensitivity to sunlight.

St. John’s Wort isn’t the only herb being used to treat depression. Damiana, Ginseng, and Valerian root are also used to improve depression symptoms such as insomnia and stress.

Regardless of which herbal remedy you wish to try in treatment for your depression symptoms, it’s important to get the guidance of a doctor skilled in herbal remedies to ensure you’re ingesting the correct amount and type of herb for your personal needs.

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