After reading the history of herbs for medicinal use, go to the bottom of the page and choose any of the herbs that are alphabetically listed for your convenience. We have tried to select a variety of different herbs that have been used for centuries and have been scientifically studied for their efficacy. Please feel free to email us with any suggestions for other herbs to include. Just go to the "contact us" page and give us some feedback.
For thousands of years , natural remedies have been used to treat everything from baldness to fatigue, from hemorrhoids to impotence. The use of herbs is one natural approach to health and wellness, as are other modalities such as homeopathy, aromatherapy, acupressure, acupuncture, hypnosis, massage therapy, and chiropractic medicine. Today, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the fastest growing segment of the healthcare industry.
In 1995 The National Institutes of Health established a panel to describe and define complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The panel defined it as “a broad domain of healing resources that encompasses all health systems, modalities, and practices and their accompanying theories and beliefs, other than those intrinsic to the politically dominant health system of a particular society or culture in a given historical period.”
Though CAM is gaining acceptance, some physicians do not include complementary therapies in their practice. CAM approaches aren’t always taught in medical schools, and they aren’t always implemented in hospitals. And despite a growing awareness of the benefits of CAM therapies, many insurance companies are still reluctant to reimburse for these services.
A recent article in The Washington Post asserted: “Demand for natural medicines seems insatiable: Americans now spend an estimated $20 billion annually on herbal remedies for weight loss or to treat back pain, dementia or cancer. Because of growing demand, the number of products has skyrocketed.”
It is because of this increase in usage of natural remedies that the old adage "buyer beware" becomes extremely important. Do research, consult with a CAM professional and be sure that the products you use have been tested for both safety and efficacy. A useful tool for personal research on natural products is Consumer Lab (www.consumerlab.com)
There are many excellent herbal products on the market today. Local retail stores and pharmacies carry a wide variety of herbal supplements. You can save money by ordering products online. Beware of discount brands that you are not familiar with or have not been recommended by a professional. These can contain sub-standard products that have little or no value. Most major brands have internal labs that continually check the efficacy of their products.
Similar to pharmaceutical drugs, not everyone will reap the same benefits from an herbal product, nor will everyone see the same results. You’ll want to consider many factors to get the most benefit from the herbal product you choose. Age, health, medical history, genetics, personality, lifestyle and diet are just some of the factors that will determine the type of herb that’s best for you as well as the proper dosage needed. Most importantly, you’ll want to make sure that the herb you intend to take won’t have adverse interactions with other medications you may currently take.
Purchase your herbal supplements from a reputable source. A 400milligram (mg) capsule of Echinacea, for example, may vary between manufacturers.(there are several types of Echinacea, such as purpurea or angustifolia). The quality of a specific herb could affect the potency of the final product. . A product may be derived from the whole herb or a standardized extract, and it may contain other ingredients that are unnecessary or unwanted. A qualified CAM practitioner can recommend the herbs you may require and quality sources where to purchase these supplements.
Some people become so enamored with herbal products that they reject mainstream medicine completely. This is a serious mistake. Herbal supplements can make a tremendous contribution to healing, but they do have their limits. In general, if there are no positive results within 2 weeks of starting an herbal supplement a physician should be consulted. For some conditions all you need is an herbal remedy: aloe for minor burns, dill for infant colic, or clove oil for fast, temporary relief of a toothache. For others you can mix and match several approaches to achieve results.
Every person who is considering following a complementary or alternative medicine regimen should first research his or her concerns with the website which is the government website for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. There are many research articles on specific herbs, possible interactions with other medications you may be taking and information about different CAM modalities.
Whatever your CAM expectations are, please seek appropriate guidance and check with your primary health care provider before beginning any complementary or alternative program. Your best possible health should be your first concern and that of your CAM practitioner as well.
Choose an herb you are interested in by alphabetical listing:
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