Three Reasons To Incorporate Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicine has been around since the beginning of time. It is a natural form of medicine that comes from the earth. In the ancient days, herbal medicine was the main form of treatment to prevent, treat, and cure illness. However, it seems herbal medicine is still holding on strong. People are talking more about using "natural remedies" to address health concerns.
As an Acupuncturist, I get a lot of inquiring looks when I mention I use herbal therapy as another modality in my practice. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), herbal therapy is typically the first step in the healing process with the following therapies being acupuncture and cupping. As the saying goes, "If you are having a health issue, there is an herb for that." Herbal medicine is used in TCM to balance the energy system of an individual. It is believed in Chinese theory, that the body is treated as a whole and not just the symptoms; treating the body and the mind simultaneously.
Herbs in TCM consist of medicinal and food herbs. Medicinal herbs are the ones that target a certain ailment or condition. Where as food herbs are incorporated through diet and nutrition. Each herb has specific properties or actions in what it is being used for. These are taken into consideration when tailoring a group of herbs together.
Regardless of this ancient medicine being around for thousands of years... more like 6,000 years, so many are still skeptical of the herb power. So allow me to dive into three main reasons why herbal therapy isn't so scary.
1) Gentle on the body
The herbs used are gentle on the body. The herbs or herbal formula chosen are tailored to each individual's specific needs. The body takes what is needed for healing and will utilize it as it should to regain balance to what ever disharmony is currently goin on. There are always questions concerning possible side effects or contraindications with pharmaceutical medications. Which there are a few known mild side effects when taking herbs, such as bloating, diarrhea, and nausea. Those symptoms are rare. If that happens, the herbal prescription needs to be adjusted to something a little more compatible to the individual. It is also rare but there are a few herbs which may not be taken with certain prescription medication. However, the trained practitioner would know to avoid these herbs if that were the case.
2) Healing on a deeper level
The healing process with herbal therapy works internally, healing from the inside outward. When the body is distressed or overwhelmed with inflammation, there is a whole war going on internally that we are not aware of until it is too late. At that point, we experience symptoms of joint pain, rashes, headaches, fatigue, anxiety...etc. When we begin to incorporate herbs to help assist the body in the cellular fight, the body is armed with the right weaponry. Not only will the physical symptoms begin to dissipate but so will the mental and emotional.
3) Vitality and longevity
When the body feels good, so do we. Herbal therapy assists the body in what it does naturally; heal. In some studies, it has been shown that herbal therapy can help to slow down aging, improve circulation, correct digestion, and reduce oxidative stress. The biological machine we reside in can only work as good as the stuff we put in it. If the balance is regained, the body will work at its optimal function allowing us to live our full potential.
Herbal therapy is not as well known with Western medicine, however, its popularity is returning. Most people talk about looking for an alternative route with medicine and this is a great start! Work with a trained herbal practitioner who is able to walk you through the healing process as well as assist you on your healing journey.