Ruby Pryde - Mar 16 2021
Taking a proactive approach to wellness with herbal medicine.
For thousands of years, cultures have been using herbal remedies such as plant seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark and flowers as a means to assist their body in helping to fight and prevent disease, build their immune system and better their overall quality of life.
Using plants to assist in bringing the body back into a state of equilibrium is definitely not a new way to recharge and revitalise when it comes to your health, with herbs found in burial sites dating back as far as 60,000 years.
In recent years, there has been an incredible shift from a predominantly Western driven medical focus, to one that integrates the strengths of both Western and Eastern traditions. The likes of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Indian Ayurveda, two of the more popular Eastern models, are being further intertwined into our modern health system, increasingly incorporated by healthcare professionals to support Western therapies.
Not only does this help us address health issues as they arise, but leaves us more empowered than ever to take a proactive approach to our health and wellness.
So why go herbal?
As Western medicine advances, more and more people are turning to medicinal herbs to avoid the overconsumption of pharmaceuticals like pain killers, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics, which if used in excess, can be damaging to the body. Particularly in situations where they’re not actually needed.
Ironic, don’t you think? And whilst they most certainly have their place, they are often over prescribed and over consumed.
Comparatively, herbal medicine takes a more holistic approach to improving and maintaining an individual's health. Rather than isolating a problem, holistic health works with all ‘bodies’. Including the physical, emotional and energetic bodies as opposed to just the physical.
Working with the whole body provides a more long standing solution to ensuring our health is kept in tip top shape, working to treat the root cause of dis-ease (a lack or imbalance of ease within the body).
Unlike Western medicine, which generally works to mask or hide symptoms, herbal or holistic medicine is far more interested in how the symptoms we tend to see as ‘normal’ are more often than not, our bodies' way of showing us that something isn’t quite right. Whether it be headaches, allergies, consistent run down, brain fog, eczema or even mood swings - herbal medicine doesn’t just mask these bodily responses, but deals with them at their root cause.
How effective are they really?
Criticism towards herbal medicine often speaks to the fact that it can take longer to see desired results. And whilst that may be somewhat true, when taken consistently, herbal supplements are said to address not only existing illness and disease, but support a better quality long term wellbeing.
The benefit of herbal medicine though? Being natural, there are far less side effects to taking herbs than there are when it comes to Western medication. Not only this, but herbs generally have a broader spectrum of benefits.
Let’s take turmeric for example. Whilst one may be taking turmeric for its ability to help fight a nasty cold or flu, turmeric also works as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal. As a result, it not only helps to recover from a nasty cold, but can help to promote a healthy gut microbiome, and holds a range of important antioxidants.
How can we start integrating more herbal medicine?
The world of herbal medicine may feel a little overwhelming and somewhat daunting, so starting small is a great way to wade in and test the waters. We recommend working with herbs that you’re already familiar with and might already be consuming on a regular basis.
Doing a little research on each, what their properties are and how to incorporate more of it into your diet will allow you to integrate slowly as well as work out what herbs work for you, and what herbs don’t.