The Benefits of Herbal Remedies – What You Should Know

Did you know that plants have been the basis for medical treatments through human’s history and that herbal remedies are taking momentum in today’s modern world?

I remember that when I was a kid, my mother used to make infusions out of Eucalyptus leaves to treat many ailments related to the respiratory system mainly bronchitis, cough, or flu.

Today, probably the most widely consumed beverage next to water is tea. And believe it, green tea is seen as one the healthiest beverage on the planet. It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body. These effects include improved brain function, fat loss, and other awesome benefits. So, you are possibly already profiting from the merits of herbs.

In this post, we will be discussing herbal remedies, the many forms they take along with their advantages. From muscle pain relief, stress reduction to weight management, the virtues of herbal products are numerous. I will also give you a word of cautions in case you are considering using these products.

Herbal remedies – What to expect?


Even though herbs have been widely used around the world, in teas, vitamins, and natural supplements, and while the benefits of herbal remedies are huge, it is important to understand the basis of herbal medicine.
Herbal medicine is simply based on the use of plants’ seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark or flowers to treat an illness and to assist the functions of the body. These plants’ extracts may come in different forms that you can either consume or apply to your skin :

Juice Beverages 
Yes, of course, we know what juices are. Juices of plants/herbs are simply prepared by crushing the plant into juice. This is an excellent way of getting vitamins and minerals from the plant, but the juice must be drunk shortly after being prepared.

Infusions

Many of us have come to introduce teas or tisanes into their daily routines (wake up to a cup of tea, before/after a meal, before bed, etc.…) not only because they are delicious, but also because they have numerous health benefits. Teas or tisanes are commonly known infusions. They are made with approximately 1 oz. of herb steeped in roughly 16 oz of boiling water.

 

Decoctions 
In contrast to infusions, which involve steeping leaves, flowers, or stems in boiling water, decoctions involve simmering the plant parts (usually roots or barks) in larger quantities of water for longer periods. Decoction remedies often involve complex plant combinations.

Tinctures & Fluid extracts
A plant tincture is typically an alcoholic extract of a plant; meaning that it is made by soaking a plant extract in alcohol. It is an extraction with typically 1 kg herb to 5 liters of solvent. Herbal constituents in this form have a more active effect on the body and are more easily absorbed.
A fluid extract is like a tincture, except that the solute-to-solvent ratio is 1 to 1 (1 kg of a plant extract to 1 liter of solvent). This means a typical fluid extract should be five times stronger than a typical tincture of the same.

Compresses & Directly applied herbal constituents
Herbal remedies might involve direct application of plant parts (crushed, boiled, as ointments or specially prepared in other ways) to an afflicted area of the body.

A compress is a cloth or piece of garment soaked in a herbal preparation and applied to the body.

 

Powders
Some remedies come in the form of dried, powdered herbs that are packed into tablets or gelatin capsules. This is a convenient way to carry some herbs and to take herbs that are unpleasant to taste or smell.

 

Essential oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated versions of the natural oils in plants. The extraction is done with the process of distillation, most commonly by steam or water, where many parts of the plants are being used, including the plant roots, leaves, stems, flowers, or bark. After distillation, the result is a highly concentrated portion of essential oil which contains the true essence of the plant it is extracted from. This includes the smell, but also the plant’s healing properties.
They are one of the most concentrated forms of delivering a plant’s constituent and are generally only used externally and diluted in water, ointments, baths or oils.

The benefits herbal remedies


Wonder why you might want to consider using herbal remedies?

This might come to your surprise, but in fact, many drugs approved worldwide are based on natural products or their chemical imitations. They are used everywhere to treat various ailments from usual and common to chronic and acute conditions.

Herbal remedies are natural products and as such, they inherit the benefits of natural health care. If you haven’t read this Natural Health Cures post, make yourself a joy to look through it.

Herbal medicine is gaining in popularity because of its natural nature and the fact that a lot of people can’t afford to pay for their reoccurring medication. Additionally, given that herbs are classified as dietary supplements, you can purchase them without prescriptions, and the products are easily accessible in most grocery stores.

There are many recommended, safe and effective herbal remedies used to treat skin irritations, digestive problems, inflammation, colds, flu, sore throat, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes just to name a few. Some herbs are primarily used for general health and stamina. I will address this topic in a subsequent post.

Herbal Remedies – Please use with care


Is it all about the “wow” effect with herbal remedies? I wish I could say “yes”, but it is not quite so. Let me warn you that the benefits and ease of access to herbal remedies come with the complexity of choice. You must really be careful about what you are putting in/on your body.

It is most important to work with your Doctor and a qualified herbalist before starting a new treatment.

When taking medication, you should investigate possible interactions with a herbal remedy you may be considering. Be careful about mixing herbs and drugs that have similar actions. Similarly, you should avoid mixing herbs and drugs that have opposite actions.

Only use products that have very strict labeling rules. Stay informed, do your research and always seek advice and get a second opinion. Do not hesitate to read reviews, check for alternatives of the product you want, and compare before committing.

Pregnant or nursing women, children and other people with a special condition should avoid taking herbs without special instructions from a knowledgeable practitioner.

Thanks for tuning in. I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. It will be my pleasure to get back to you if you leave your question or concern below.

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14 Comments

  1. Good article. I really have became a green tea drinking that last few weeks and have been feeling more energetic! My wife uses essential oils. They really seem to work. She has this big book that tells her how many drops of this with this into the defuser. I was feeling sick one night and she mixed some oils up and defused our bedroom while we slept. I felt good the next day! So all this herbs and oil stuff really works!
    Thanks your writing a great article,
    Dan

    • Hi Dan,
      I see naturebest.com as a workshop where people can engage in intensive discussion and activity on the natural health subject and promote it. Thanks for taking your time to comment. It is very much appreciated. I notice you already use natural health products. Hope you will share some secrets with us. In my next posts, I will try to dig deeper into the subject and provide some tricks. Stay tuned in.

      Cheers,
      Thierry

  2. Very informative article on what the benefits of herbal remedies are. I never knew there were so many things you could do with natural ingredients! I’ve heard infusions and essential oils but some of the other options were very interesting as well.
    I also appreciate how upfront you are about needing to consult a medical professional or herbalist before just taking these herbs without thinking. Thanks for this post! I’m going to have to consider natural options more in the future 🙂

  3. I found the article really resourceful. I learned a lot.
    Will definitely need to work on using up some of that green tea reserves I’ve stocked up along the years.
    A quick question though, does a tea bag have a best before date? Meaning, by any chance do you happen to know, if a tea bag can become rancid (or whatever other way one refers to teas that have been stored for too long and that are best to not consume anymore).
    The eldest I have is probably around 4-5 years, maybe 6 years old.

    Cheers and Have An Awesome Day!
    Matiss

    • Hi Matiss,

      Thanks for your nice words about the article. I surely some words of encouragement.

      To answer your question, I will say that tea bags will be fine for at least a year, but even long after that, they are still safe to consume. They just might change color or flavor. They usually don’t have an expiry date by a “best before” date which indicates that they are not in their best quality. But that doesn’t represent a safety issue.

      Hope that answers your question.

      Cheers,
      Thierry

  4. As someone who is also on the path of intrdoucing more chemical free alternatives to my life, I really enjoyed this article. I have started down the path of the Essential Oils but this has opened my eyes to so many other avenues.

    • Thank you, Paul, for your comment. Nature is really wonderful, and we still have so much to learn. We have lost too much of our legacy through the travel of time. In ancient times, more of these natural products were used throughout and efficiently but they became scarce. Let’s promote natural health.

      Cheers !
      Thierry

  5. Hi Thierry,
    Thank you for this very informative article, I am very interested in herbal remedies and have been using them in the many ways you have listed in your article.

    I have had very good results using them myself and for my family.

    Thank you for helping to build awareness because being healthy naturally is definitely the way to go and the benefits are many.

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I am glad to see that you are actually using herbal remedies and have seen good results in them. This path is definitely worth exploring. I will be doing some more research and suggesting actual products.

      What a joy to read about something that emphasizes what you already knew. I hope to bring you new info next time.

      Cheers,
      Thierry

  6. I am such a fan of Green Tea, and I didn’t know there was that much goodness in it so I’m delighted!! What are antioxidants I hear that word thrown around all the time but I actually have no idea!

    I’m looking forward to what you do next this is a great read!!

    I like the pictures too as they really help to spread out the text

    Mike

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for tuning in Natural Health Promotion Studio.
      Hey, there you go “: green tea yesterday, green tea today and definitely green tea tomorrow!
      About these antioxidants. What are they exactly? Well, these are substances that prevent oxidation, a chemical reaction that can produce some type of molecules called free radicals leading to a chain of reactions that may damage your organism. Antioxidants benefit the body by neutralizing and removing these free radicals from the bloodstream.
      vitamin C or E are good examples of antioxidants.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards,

      Thierry

  7. I recently have had some health issues and I turned to herbs and essential oils. I had never thought much about them up until recently. And I can attest that they have been a tremendous help. Don’t know why I did not start using them sooner actually. I see there are so many ways to use and enjoy. You have me thinking about more options, thanks!

    • Thanks! Jennifer, I am actually happy to see somebody’s anecdote about natural health products. I understand where you are coming from. Once you start using some of these herbs, and you notice their potential, you might start questioning why people don’t use them often. But the answer is simple: Most of the time people are not informed, and since doctors’ first recommendations are drugs, these remedies remain unnoticed.

      Cheers,

      Thierry

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