Medical Herbs, Do Herbal Cures Work?

This is a subject of controversy. While many medical herbs do have healing properties, most herbal practitioners are quick to tell you that they are not meant to cure any disease. Most physicians will also tell you while herbs may have value; they are not a replacement for prescription drugs. What do you believe? It makes sense to research whatever herbal treatment you are considering and if you have a serious medical condition you need to use supplements with the approval of your doctor.

Herbs have been in use since the beginning of time, long before there were doctors. Many medications commonly used today are derived from plants. Aspirin, digitalis, opium, and quinine are all derived from plants. Approximately 25% of drugs in use today come from plants. The other problem with herbal supplements is that they are not regulated by the FDA until they are on the market. If they prove to be harmful, then the FDA can step in and remove them from the market, but it’s kind of like closing the barn door when the horse is already out. So called scientific studies may not always be reliable because they are not closely regulated. Even so, the World Health Organization tells us that 80% of the population uses herbal remedies in some form.

There are four approaches to the use of plants as medicine. In undeveloped countries the shaman or magical approach is used. The shaman is said to have powers to use herbs that ordinary people do not have. The energetic approach, such as Ayurveda tells us that herbs act on the energies of the body. The functional dynamics use herbs based on their function. The chemical approach attempts to explain the use of herbs based on their chemical make up. Most modern herbalists do not endorse herbs for use in an emergency situation, but rather believe they improve the health and immunity over the long term.

They tend to focus on prevention and immune support rather than cures.

It is difficult to separate the hype from the truth. Tradition has it that drinking your own urine will cure almost anything. Good luck. Maybe in an extreme emergency.

Medical herbs have value and many doctors prescribe their use along with traditional prescription medications. When you think about it, how many medications actually “cure” disease? They may alleviate the symptoms, control the disease, or prevent it from advancing, but many chronic diseases have no cure. They can only be managed, so if use of herbs can prevent disease in the first place, it may be worth a try.

It's just plain wise to be cautious and consult your physician first.


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