7 Common Questions about Herbal Medicines

different herbal medicines

Herbal medicines have been with us long before we knew what medicines are. Our ancestors used herbal plants and treatments to cure ailments and diseases. We have been witnessing the growth of use for herbal and traditional medicines over the years. There are ew businesses and professions arising from this. Herbalist and holistic medical practitioners are some of the few professions that came up with herbal medicines. In the US, herbal medicine is not a licensed practice even with the availability of courses and practice among herbalists and enthusiasts. These are 6 common questions about herbal medicines to ask yourself before starting your journey to healing.

What is Herbal Medicine?

Herbal medicine is the use of plants and other natural substances to treat a wide range of health conditions. Herbalists are what we call the practitioners of this healing art. There is an extensive history of people using plants as medicine worldwide. This practice continues today and plays an important role in many people’s lives. Herbal medicines may be used by themselves or along with other treatments or therapies. Products like food supplements is a common use of herbal plants or medicines.

What is an Herbalist?

An herbalist is a health care practitioner who uses plants, herbal preparations, and other natural products as medicine. Herbalists are generally holistic in their approach to health care. This entails looking at many aspects of a person’s health with the goal of finding underlying causes and addressing them. Herbal medicine is not a licensed practice in the United States, and there is a lot of variation in education and practice among herbalists. Without a legal definition, anyone may call themselves an herbalist. When choosing an herbalist, ask questions to find one that suits your personal needs.

Why Use Herbal Medicine?

There can be many reasons why people choose herbal medicines. It often comes down to personal choice. The list below enumerates the reasons why people use herbal medicine.

  1. Friends or family members may have recommended it
  2. It may have helped cure someone they know.
  3. A health care professional recommended it.
  4. Other treatments have been expended.
  5. Herbal Medicines are available for purchase without a prescription
  6. Herbal plants can be gathered or planted and can be prepared as medicines
  7. They are looking to transition to alternative medicines from drugs.
  8. Cheap prices of herbal medicines compared with drugs.
  9. They have political or political reasons for choosing herbal alternatives.

What are some disadvantages of Herbal Medicine?

While there are clear reasons why people use herbal medicines, there are risks to it as well. Here are the things you should consider:

  1. Herbal medicines often taste not good thus difficult to take in
  2. Favorable acceptance from the scientific community for herbal medicines is not yet available.
  3. The supply chain for herbal medicines can be inconsistent.
  4. Insurance often does not cover Herbal treatments, and they can be expensive.
  5. Availability of reliable information about herbal medicines can be scarce
  6. There are unknown risks and side effects of herbal treatments
  7. Using herbal medicines and drugs together can have a negative effect.
  8. Gathering herbal plants can sometimes lead to getting dangerous plants.
  9. Multiple ways of preparation of herbal medicines can be confusing.

What Risks are Associated with Herbal Medicines?

It is possible that a person can have negative reactions when using herbal medicines, as is common with other treatments and medications. If a negative reaction manifests, it will be best to stop taking the herbal medicine and research reliable information. To be on the safe side in using treatment with herbal medicines, talk to a reliable herbalist or health care professional about herbal treatments. There are also focus groups online that provide reliable information about specific herbal medicine. Be sure to discern more in choosing your focus groups and take time to read what they are sharing.

Herbal Medicine vs Prescription Drugs 

Drugs are important to the health of many people. This is an important thing to consider when shifting to herbal medicines. Combining herbs and drugs can have adverse effects known as herb/drug infections. Sadly, there is no easy way to know if there is a problem in this regard as there is limited research on the interaction of herbs and drugs. The safest way to know the adverse effects of herbal medicine with prescription drugs is to consult herbalists and other health care professionals. It would also be beneficial to read about herbal medicines through reputable sources like ZenithHerba.com

When to Use Herbal Medicine?

Herbal plants are used to cure a wide array of health ailments. Many herbal medicines are classified as either a food supplement or as a drug. They are also used to treat specific symptoms, health conditions, and other chronic disorders not treated by the prescription drug. In some instances, Herbs are the primary medicine and some for support on therapies. For more serious illness, an informed choice should be made with information from knowledgeable persons like herbalists and other resources. Again relying on useful information should be done more diligently as there can be a lot of false information available.

What to Expect during a Herbal Consultation?

Each herbalist’s consultation may vary depending on their training. This includes how health conditions are assessed as well as treatment strategies.  Initial consultations are often an hour and generally include a detailed intake. This involves asking questions concerning many aspects of a person’s life such as diet, exercise, stress levels, previous diagnoses, relevant lab tests, and health history. Other concerns such as insomnia, digestive problems, or mental health issues may be discussed to get an understanding of a patient’s overall health.  At the end of the intake, the herbalist will generally prepare individual herbal remedies and discuss how to take them. They may also suggest lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes, movement and exercise programs, ways to reduce unhealthy patterns, and other health care treatments. 

Preparation and Application of Herbal Medicines 

There are many types of herbal medicine, and for those new to it, not being familiar with the various preparations can be daunting. Herbal medicine comes in many forms, as there are many methods for extracting the medicinal constituents of each plant. Remedies vary from internal and external use and these preparations define that. Initial difficulty with many medicinal preparations can be their strong flavor. One way to make this easier is to dilute them. If they are too unpleasant, there may be other forms that are easier to take.  There are a number of variables with taking herbal medicine, including the frequency (how often) and quantity (how much) of each preparation. The health condition will determine the strength or dosage of the herbal medicine.

There may be more than one herbal medicine given per consultation. It is important to understand the directions for taking each medicine. If the instructions are confusing, talk to your herbalist about ways to make it work better for you. It can be helpful to set up a schedule, such as taking them around mealtimes. For some medicines (especially for pain and anxiety) the medicines are taken on a regular basis and as needed for symptoms.  If a medicine causes undesirable effects, contact your herbalist. If the problem is not too severe, consider stopping the medicine and then retrying it later to see if the medicine is causing the problem. 

Common Herbal Medicines

Tinctures – Plants extracted in (drinking) alcohol

Glycerites – Plants extracted in vegetable glycerin

Teas – Plants extracted in water; hot water is either poured on the tea (infusion) or the tea is cooked in water (decoction)

Powders – Plants reduced to a powder and taken internally

Capsules – Powdered plants put into a capsule. eg. Bloodroot Capsules

Compresses – A strong tea with a cloth soaked in it and applied externally

Infused Oils – Plants extracted in a fixed oil and applied externally

Paste or Salves – made from solid combinations of oils and wax. e.g. Bloodroot Salve

Preparing of Herbal Medicines  

While it can take time, many people find it satisfying to make their own medicines, such as tinctures, salves, and teas. Many preparations are fairly easy to prepare. Look for reliable information or ask an herbalist for tips. There may be local classes or look for courses online.  If you are gathering plants, it is very important to learn accurate plant identification, and especially to learn to recognize poisonous plants. If you are purchasing plants, search for reliable resources. Your initial costs may be higher from purchasing the ingredients, but you will usually save money from homemade preparations.

To summarize, healing with herbal medicines starts by knowing the answers to the common questions. The internet provides a ton of information about herbal medicines but only a few can be trusted and one of those websites is ZenithHerbal. We only provide information based on Customer Experience and medical articles.

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