Saturday, October 20, 2012

Herbal Remedies 101

During the Middle Ages, perhaps even earlier than that, medicine as we know it did not even exist but people were falling sick all the time. How were common illnesses and diseases treated then? By various methods of alternative medicine like healing natural remedies, naturopathy, herbal remedies, Yoga and the ancient Indian science of Ayurveda.

Modern medicinal therapies, also known as allopathic medicines, have snubbed and ridiculed natural remedy cures and other forms of natural healing saying that these methods don’t work but alternative cures have been around even before the foundation of modern medicine was laid. Do we really need another proof? Although the mortality rate was higher because of lack of information and resources needed for proper treatment, people still battled against various diseases and survived. According to the World Health Organization, 25% of modern drugs in the USA have a percentage of plant extracts in them – that has to say something about all the good things our ancestors discovered.

Written records of healing natural remedies date back to over 5000 years to Sumerians, who used plants such as caraway and thyme. Ancient Egyptians encouraged herb cultivation and even Hippocrates endorsed some herbal drugs! Of course, Ayurveda has been practiced in India since 2000BC, and India still boasts of a large population base that swears by this ancient form of medicine.

Modern natural remedy cures can be spanned largely across the sciences of Unani, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, traditional African medicine and some components of shamanic herbalism as well. All these sciences vary a lot in their approach. While scientists and doctors advise caution in choosing natural cures, people across the world are opting for natural remedy cures simply because they are natural! Side effects of natural cures are lesser than those of evidence based medicine and natural medicine is almost never tested on animals.

An interesting fact is that there is no allopathic medicine for weight loss but herbs like Phytoberry are extremely effective in curbing hunger. You can look up a lot of similar examples across the internet.

Natural remedy cures are administered in the form of tinctures, tea, decoctions, oils, syrups and extracts while others are also in the form of acupressure and Yoga. Acupressure and Yoga were an ancient form of exercise and healing natural remedies in China and India respectively but are now popular across the globe. People in the west have become particularly fond of both these methods of healing so much so that some universities even offer specialized courses and workshops on these!

While natural remedies are limitless in the scope of diseases that they cover, caution has to be administered when dealing with herbs specifically. Some herbs, if taken in a large dosage, can cause seizures and liver damage. It is always advisable to visit a specialist than a back alley shop advertising miracle cures. Make sure you see the practitioner’s certificates before beginning the treatment. A good way to ensure your safety is by taking references from friends and through the internet. Don’t become the doctor yourself and administer any herbal medicine by reading something on the internet, unless it is written on a reputable site that you can trust.

But let this not dither you from venturing into the wonderful world of natural cures! Who knows when everyday kitchen ingredients might come in handy?

No comments:

Post a Comment