Herbal Medicine

*this article is opinion based and should not be used for individual guidance and is not recommendation for anyone’s personal condition. Seek professional help for individual conditions.

More than ever we must keep the knowledge and skill of herbal medicine alive. Herbal medicine falls under the general category of natural medicine. In natural medicine, the common understanding is that the body is innately wise with all the mechanisms required for healing. Our job is simply to assist these mechanisms when we have temporarily come out of homeostasis, and the ability for healing to occur fast enough on its own. In this case we should apply a holistic approach since we are dynamic organisms, and our dis-ease may have been brought about by so many different reasons. We must address physical contributions; what types, if any can physical exercises or stretches can we use in this condition? We should apply a nutritional approach; what foods, drinks and herbs can we eliminate or supplement with to assist in correcting the imbalance? We should also recognize the mental, emotional and spiritual contributions to the problem. Often times these are the biggest and deepest contributors to a dis-ease.

Herbal medicine is just one of these legs of health and natural healing. A herbalist is a knowledgeable biologist, chemist, pathologist, and botanist all in one. Herbal medicine is still the most trusted, most used and safest form of medicine in many parts of the world. In more “industrialized” societies however, it has become so foreign and almost scary to many people who have become institutionalized to chemical and synthetic allopathic medicine. Fear and ignorance has contributed to slander and negative conjectures towards the science and people who practice herbal medicine.

And so we are not allowed to use certain words or diagnoses because those are reserved for doctors who have gotten their training from medical schools, schools with a heavy foundation in pharmaceuticals. When I was in nursing school, there was a very specific intention made on the first day of pharmacology class. The instructor made two statements about herbal medicine as it relates to drug interactions. He mentioned that herbal medicine was not real and has no value. He then said that it was also dangerous and should never be taken when patients are on prescription drugs (which most people are on). He also went on to list off a couple herbs, licorice and ginseng are particularly dangerous. Now, having worked in the natural health industry for the decades prior, I was not surprised to hear him parroting the dangers of ginseng and licorice. I was also not dooped into believing what he was saying. Afterall, herbs can not do nothing and be dangerous at the same time. So, which is it? I’ve come to understand it is whatever suits the situation in which a person wishes to defame the science of herbal medicine. The study in which led the entire globe to believe the lie that licorice is dangerous came from a study in which licorice extract was used in an extreme amount and led to cardiac distress. Such is the way these studies usually work, with hyped up media to criticize the dangers of herbs, while the average person has to hire a team of researchers to find out about the side effects and dangers of prescription drugs. How many hundreds of thousands of people die every year from properly prescribed drugs? A lot! Way more than the thousands of herbal remedies combined probably.

Can we say that the fear of herbal medicine is irrational? Yes, I believe for many people it is. Can we say that the blind trust for pharmaceutical drugs is irrational? I dare say so.