Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to Gain the Benefits that Herbal Remedies Provide (Guest Post)

Herbal remedies have been used by humans for thousands of years, before recorded history. The modern human population has revitalized the use of herbs as medicine as many people seek alternative, safer and more natural treatment for a wide variety of heath disorders.

What are Herbal Remedies?

Using a plant’s berries, seeds, bark, flower, leaves, or roots for medicinal purposes is considered herbal medicine. Herbal therapies were used by indigenous cultures and were also developed into medical systems such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. Advancements in clinical research concerning herbal medicine have resulted in this form of medicine becoming more widely accepted by people in the modern world.

Safely Using Herbal Remedies

While clinical research has created much greater quality control and analysis of herbal remedies, it’s important to understand how to correctly use herbal medicine in order to avoid any potential side effects. In general, herbal medications result in far fewer and less harmful side effects than conventional pharmaceutical drugs. However, the effects of herbal remedies should not be disregarded. It’s the powerful nature of many herbal medications that allows them to provide so many healing benefits. At the same time, some herbs can cause side effects when ingested. Be sure to do your research to thoroughly understand how a particular herb should be used. 

There are herbs—such as peppermint, ginger, and chamomile—that do not produce any side effects at all. Peppermint is an effective remedy for alleviating nausea and for soothing an upset stomach. Ginger also works to soothe stomach upset, and can be beneficial in reducing car sickness or morning sickness (in pregnant women). Chamomile is an ideal remedy for anxiety and for relaxing the digestive system.

Other herbs—such as comfrey, sassafras, and senna—must be used with a greater amount of caution since these herbs can cause serious side effects if used incorrectly. It is important to consult with your doctor before taking herbs that are known to cause severe adverse side effects if taken with certain medications or if taken improperly.

What Can Herbal Medicine Be Used to Treat?

The list of health disorders that herbal medicine can treat is extensive. Herbal remedies can be used to treat chronic fatigue, asthma, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and much more. If you have a particular health disorder that you’d like to address, chances are that you will find a number of herbs that will help you treat the disorder. 

The following herbs are just a few examples of common herbs used to treat health disorders. You’ll notice that most herbs can be used to treat more than one problem.
  • Ginkgo Biloba offers numerous benefits, which is why it is among the most popularly used herbal medicines used in the United States. Ginkgo Biloba is believed to improve memory and overall brain function. The herb is also an antioxidant that assists in the fight against free radicals in the body. 
  • Valerian root is useful for treating sleep disorders and mild forms of anxiety. It has also been used to ease physical tension and pain.
  • Echinacea enhances the body’s natural autoimmune response. By using this herb on a regular basis during cold and flu season, many people are able to avoid cold and flu symptoms all season long.
  • Goldenseal works to ward off bacteria, and, therefore, helps in the fight against respiratory infections, colds, and sinusitis. This herbal remedy has also been used to treat ulcers, sore throats, sore gums, and some types of vaginal infections. It is recommended that goldenseal only be used short term, since side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, may occur with extended use.
  • Ginseng is used as a popular herbal remedy that is believed to assist the immune system response. There are herbal remedies that combine ginseng and Gingko Biloba, and this combination is thought to improve brain function.
There are many benefits to using herbal remedies as long as you learn to use herbs correctly. Herbal medicine is much less expensive that conventional medication, tends to produce less adverse side effects, and does not require a doctor’s prescription. When used correctly, herbal remedies can resolve a number of medical disorders and improve your overall health.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon and writing for ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

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