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 :
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.
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.
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.
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 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.