Herbs for Healing and Well-Being

Author: Meera, December 18, 2012

For thousands of years, humankind has relied on the healing properties of herbs, plucked in the wild or cultivated in gardens, to treat what has ailed them. Modern holistic practitioners value herbs and plant-based medicines as integral elements in re-balancing the health of their patients and fostering wellness and robust vitality.


Doctors trained in allopathic or mainstream Western medicine traditionally have prescribed chemically based medicines (that usually have side effects). However, Western-trained doctors may also recommend the use of herbs for certain health issues. Always talk with your physician before starting any type of self-treatment with herbs. Keep your physician informed of herbs you may be taking. Herbs or herb formulations can interact or even block the efficacious effect of the medications your doctor has prescribed.


Dr. Andrew Weil, the Harvard-trained physician who pioneered the field of integrative medicine (combining mainstream and alternative medicine) and also wrote several best-selling books, suggests three specific herbs can reduce inflammation in the body–tumeric, ginger, and boswellia. These herbs can be found in specific doses formulated in capsules to make it easy to take the right amount. See, http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA142972/Anti-Inflammatory-Herbs.com.


In traditional Chinese medicine, four herbs play vital roles in achieving a state of well-being. Rosemary stimulates brain alertness, mint aids in digestion, sage supports mental acuity, and parsley protects the eyes. See, http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/mao-shing-ni-lac-dom-phd/4-commonly-used-healing-herbs.


Whether herbs are used dried or fresh, made into a tea, tincture, culinary preparation, or packaged in capsules and other forms, they are often included as part of a larger health-focused program to restore and maintain a balanced, healthy body.


Ayurveda, a healing system used in India since ancient times, utilizes herbs in treatments that can encompass many healing modalities. According to Ayurveda, a balanced, healthy body depends on a strong metabolic and immune system, attained through proper nutrition, exercise, yoga, and meditation (to relieve tension and stress that can accumulate in the body and mind).


Herbs used in Ayurveda are many and include (but are not limited to) andrographis, ashwagandha, black mustard seed, cardamom, coriander, cumin, ginger, purslane (pigweed), tulsi (holy basil), tumeric, and visnaga.


During the medieval period, gardens of priests, convents, and cloisters contained the herbs that members of the clergy as well as ordinary people believed could treat or cure them of their ailments. In the twelfth century, German mystic Saint Hildegard of Bingen wrote about health and healing, detailing medicinal uses of over 200 healing plants.


Although most herbs are fairly easy to grow, take the time to learn about them. Provide for the plant’s needs (water, nutrients, sun or shade requirement). Find out when to harvest and how best to use the plant for your health and well-being. Find out what the negative factors might be in using a specific herb or medicinal plant. When you engage in this type of work, you continue a practice begun thousands of years ago that can have health benefits for you today. But don’t forget to have that discussion with your doctor before taking medicinal herbs.

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