Herbal medicine, also known under the names of phytotherapy and herbalism, is a well-defined branch of the ancient alternative medicinal system that involves the use of plants and plant extracts to cure diseases and alleviate symptoms. The great healing powers of many medicinal herbs and herbal supplements can never be contested – for thousands of years plants have been successfully used to fight against a wide spectrum of diseases and disorders, and many of these ancient natural cures are still being used today, sometimes in combination with modern medical treatments.According to recent archeological findings, herbal medicine dates back ever since man had first walked on this earth, more than 60,000 years ago. For ages, man has continued to perfect the ways of herbal medicine and has been permanently looking for new medicinal herbs with strong curative effects.The ancient character of herbal medicine is also revealed in the Bible, which suggests the strong relation between man and nature, as well as man’s timely preoccupation with herbalism: “…Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine…” – Ezekiel 47:12. Another Scriptural view on herbal medicine can be found in Ecclesiasticus, chapter 38: “…Honor the healer for his services, for the Lord created him. His skill comes from the Most High, and he is rewarded by kings. The healer’s knowledge gives him high standing and wins him the admiration of the great. The Lord has created medicines from the earth, and a sensible man will not disparage them…”Anthropologists speculate that over the ages, early tribal communities had acquired a good level of knowledge on herbal supplements and medicinal herbs through simple processes of trial and error. This accumulated knowledge was passed from one generation to the other and has been gradually expanded and polished, carrying the print of many distinctive cultural influences: Western, based on Greek and Roman medicinal wisdom, the Ayurvedic from India and Oriental, particularly Chinese influences. Unfortunately, many secrets of the ancient herbal medicine had been lost, and nowadays herbalists are constantly aiming to recover reminiscences of our ancestors’ medicinal wisdom. At present, herbalists, botanists, pharmacologists and microbiologists from many corners of the world have joined forces in an attempt to discover lost medicinal herbs and herbal supplements, as well as new specimens of plants which could be developed for treatment of various diseases in the near future.In recent years, herbal supplements and medicinal herbs have been extensively used for treating diseases in non-industrialized societies of the world, but also in well developed urban societies. Many people have realized the great efficiency of herbal supplements and medicinal herbs and have decided to use them as substitutes for synthetic drugs or as enhancements for modern medication treatments.Used wisely and with care, the right herbal supplements and medicinal herbs can successfully protect against diseases and help in curing already existent health problems. Nature has supplied us with so many natural ingredients with great curative effects, and it would be foolishness not to take full advantage of its offerings. We should make efforts to discover nature’s mysteries and use its provided ingredients to create efficient, safe cures and remedies.
Complementary Medicine is comprised of natural therapies and medicines used to restore and maintain health; in addition to conventional medicine. Dating back to 420 B.C., around the time of Hippocrates, complementary medicine is also considered a practice beyond the realm of conventional modern medicine – naturopathy, chiropractic, Ayurvedic, homeopathy, acupuncture and so many other complementary medicine treatments are steadily in demand and on the rise.Because our bodies are composed of chemical and physical reactions, holistic practitioners affirm that illness is not directly caused by pathogens such as viruses or bacterium; instead is the consequence of the body’s reaction (in an effort to shield and heal itself) to a pathogen. Naturopathic and holistic doctors assist potential clients through complementary medicine by plainly alleviating symptoms of disease.Complementary medicine can help treat most conditions like headaches, sore throats, flu and cold, indigestion, ear infections, dermatitis, urinary tract infections, sprains and strains. Some chronic conditions such as migraines, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, cancer, muscle-skeletal pain, depression, stress, and even pregnancy and childbirth may be treated with complementary medicine as well.Complementary medicine teaches proper nutrition in conjunction with vitamin and mineral supplements. Plants and herbs are commonly used in alternative medicine to treat illness, as well as remedies produced from animals and minerals. Hydrotherapy and hypnotherapy are also utilized in complementary medicine for maximum benefits.
All in all, complementary medicine improves mental, emotional, and physical health. It encourages psychic and spiritual growth, and an overall sense of wellness.If you (or someone you know) are interested in finding life coaching schools, let professional training within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, cosmetology, acupuncture, oriental medicine, Reiki, and others get you started! Explore career school programs near you.Complementary Medicine© Copyright 2007The CollegeBound NetworkAll Rights ReservedNOTICE: Article(s) may be republished free of charge to relevant websites, as long as Copyright and Author Resource Box are included; and ALL Hyperlinks REMAIN intact and active.
One of the oldest forms of health care that has been with humanity is herbal medicine. All over the world, across several cultures,history is fill with evidence that our predecessors used herbs for medicinal purposes. This should not come as a surprise because herbs, unlike modern medicine, are usually safe and do not involve as many side effects.The late twentieth century saw a reemergence of herbal remedies with the popular of herb-based medications increasing dramatically. More and more hospitals are now offering herbal remedies as complementary alternative treatments with conventional medicines. With this increase in public acceptance of herbal remedies, it has become imperative to conduct studies that can help medical science to understand how herbal medicine works by interacting chemically with our internal bodily functions.Though it is normally true that herbs and medications derived from them produce have fewer side effects than many allopathic medicines taken for similar symptoms, it is important to remember that even plants contain certain chemicals that can produce toxicity after long-term use. Also, while plant based medicines are usually safe even they can be abused. Unlike allopathic medicines that have trouble staying in the body for extended periods, herbal chemicals can create residues in the body and over a long time this slow poisoning can lead to sickness that cannot be diagnosed or even death.Just like other medications and food supplements there is always the condition and body type of the individual to be considered before prescribing anything. Many health conditions and complications make it necessary for people with those problems to avoid certain types of herbal medicine.Ask any doctor, they will tell you that it is a very bad and risky idea to mix medications. In certain cases, this applies to herbal medicines as well. They should never be mixed with other herbs (or extracts) and medications. When hospitals offer herbal therapies as complimentary alternative treatments they make certain that the reaction of the herbs will not conflict with the main course of medication administered.This is not something you should mix and match at home. Consult your doctor before making a medicinal cocktail. Obviously, should you notice any symptoms that ring your internal warning bell, please rush to your doctor immediately.One of the things that people often do wrong is attempt to self diagnose minor ailments. This is a classic medical trap that most medical students learn very early. Symptoms are so easy to misread that it is common for people to assume that the minor problem they have is actually some serious, life threatening issue. Conversely, bad reading of serious symptoms as being related to some minor problem instead of the real thing is equally dangerous. Do not attempt to self-diagnose if you are not from a medical background and even then, be very careful.Trying a treatment without understanding the problem will most likely create a whole slew of problems that you never had before. Do not assume that just because you are taking herbs then it does not matter because they will not harm you anyway. Precautions are necessary even with relatively harmless medications.Since herbal medicines have not been properly scrutinized, the values attributed to them are based on broad generalized descriptions that originated thousands of years ago. Ancient texts explain a lot of things but do not actually tell us how herbal medicine works. We just know through experience and observation that they do. In light of this, it becomes difficult to determine beforehand certain medicinal puzzles like:o What can be the possible side effectso What internal complications/medication conflicts can create problemso What is the maximum and minimum range for a safe dose for a specific patiento How many different herbs should be there in each doseo How does a patient or healer know that an overdose has happenedIt is impossible to know how safe a particular herbal mixture is unless you know precisely the exact contents of the mixture along with a breakdown in terms of the number of herbs and the proportional content of each herb. Simply taking too much of it in the hopes that things will work out for the best is a dangerous choice to follow because of certain toxic side effects of the chemicals in herbal medicines.Certain cases were reported in the past where a lack of understanding, like the points listed above, or worse, an overwhelming underestimation of the potency of herbal medicines had caused the medical conditions of people to worsen by several degrees. Some of these people underwent hospitalized, not for their original ailment but just to treat the side effects of improperly administered herbal medicine.Thanks to the modern media hype surrounding natural products as opposed to industrially
manufactured ones, there has developed a tendency for developed nations to think that “natural” and “safe” are synonymous. They are nothing of the sort and it would be prudent to avoid that particular confusion.All this should not discourage you or cause you to look at herbal medicine as something practiced by quacks and fraught with danger. As mentioned earlier, this healing technique has been around for a long, long time and has mostly benefited humanity.When there has been a problem, it has been due to incompetent judgment on part of the healer or an overdose by the patient. With a little care and discretion, anyone can take herbal supplements or medicines.