The first question is why would any one use healing plants instead of medicine? The simplest answer is, because they work. They also have the benefit of being able to work with other medicines with little or no danger of interactions or side effects. Healing plants work differently than medications do, they work at a cellular level which means they are working on relieving the cause of the disease. Most medications treat symptoms.
There are three ways to take herbs for the maximum effect according to most herbalists. As an infusion, as a tincture, or as the whole herb. For clarification, a tea would be called an infusion because it is made from the dried herbs. Teas are actually a better source of the healing compounds of the plants verse the powdered herb in capsules as the hot water serves as a solvent to extract the medicinal properties of the herb. They are however, weak in action compared to tinctures.
Tinctures are made by soaking the fresh herb in an alcohol and water solvent for a specific amount of time which releases the medicinal properties. Taking whole herbs gives the best chance to heal. The reason is that all though we have studied herbal medicine, researchers still do not know which component of a herb actually has the healing property.
Before you begin any serious endeavor into treating your body as a whole with herbs, consult with a trained herbalist, homeopathic provider or holistic practitioner. Most herbal remedies take a three to six month period to show marked results.
Some typical formulas that are found to be helpful for the body (especially those suffering from auto immune diseases) are as follows:
Astragalus is a Chinese herbal formula (available in US and produced in US. This formula is available pre made in many health food stores. It works to treat the breakdown of immune functions. It is thought that the formula actually can reduce stress in any person taking it on a regular basis. There are three plants in this compound that work positively in supporting the function of organs and glands.
Schisandra has been used in Asia for the spleen since before the time of Christ. It is effective for any one recovering from an illness. It also assists with depressed adrenal gland functions that results from stress. It is also used to help with the liver. In one test it had a cure rate of 76 percent with patients that had infectious hepatitis when used over an extended period of time. The dried fruit schisandra is available at most Asian food stores.
Astragalus enables the immune response to balance out and is the main herb used to enhance interferon production and secretion. You can either buy an astragalus tincture from an herbal store or it comes in the dried root which you can make a cup of tea from.
Ligustrum is a compound that nourishes and tones the liver and kidneys. Its rejuvenation action is especially helpful for tinnitus and dizziness.
Ashwaganda is an ayurvedic herb well known in India that helps to protect the body from the physical implications of stress. It is safe, effective and is not overstimulating like some other compounds. It helps with sleep and arthritis as well.
Gotu kola is a perennial plant native to India and has been used in India since prehistoric times to treat skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and varicose ulcers. It is also promoted to improve the effects of chronic fatigue.
Ginkgo is a Chinese traditional herb that most every one has heard of. It is shown in new research to increase cardiovascular circulation, cerebral circulation and brain function.
Garlic is a favorite with physicians and herbalists alike. It helps with stomach problems as well as warding of colds and flu. It encourages the growth of certain bacteria in the intestines with killing of many of the organisms that are harmful. It lowers cholesterol levels and can balance blood glucose levels.
Chamomile is probably the most widely recognized relaxing herb in the Western world. It will calm nerves and help you sleep better. But it also helps with digestive problems and nervousness, motion sickness and colic pains.
Lavender helps calm and assist the nervous system that often results in headaches.
Rosemary is not only a spice but is also a circulatory and nervine stimulant which can smooth out the digestive process, treat head aches and mild depression.
Valerian is used to relieve anxiety and when mixed with passionflower works wonders for insomnia.
St John’s wort is also a herb which helps with mild to moderate depression.
Peppermint is ancient treatment for the flu and colds that still works today. It also stimulates the bile in your stomach and stimulates digestion.
Fennel can calm the stomach while relieve stomach and intestinal distress. It can also ease bronchitis and coughs.
Ginger is a plant that has been known to stimulate the appetite but it can also help with fevers and digestive problems.
Slippery elm is great for calming the stomach and encouraging bowel movements.
Ginseng has been used for centuries in Asia and in China they begin to take it daily by the age of forty to slow aging and prevent illness. The Chinese still believe that ginseng can fight cancer, prevent heart attack and lower blood pressure. There are a number of variations of ginseng from Siberian to American, each having something in particular that they help in addition to the overall benefits of ginseng.
This is only a tiny fragment of the herbs that are useful to anyone’s body to promote general health. A word of caution, always consult with your health care provider before starting any herbal remedy plan.