What Is Herbal Medicine? And Why YOU Should Care
Have you ever seen a cat or dog eat grass and then throw it back up? As yucky as it can be, that is a natural remedy in action. Animals know instinctively that nibbling on grass can soothe an upset stomach. Humans, like their animal counterparts, have used natural herbal remedies dating as far back as 5,000 years ago in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.
Through trial and error, we’ve learned what works and doesn’t, and these pioneers have passed this knowledge down generation to generation. Even though this knowledge of natural or homeopathic medicine served as a partial foundation for western medicine, many cultures still rely heavily on natural remedies non-urgent, and in some cultures, urgent medical care.
Because there were no labs or pharmaceutical companies to blend and market pills, early humans manipulated herbs in a variety of ways to create tinctures, balms, lotions, oils, and teas that were safe to ingest. As science and medicine advanced throughout the centuries, our understanding of what actually worked and what was mere superstition grew. Today our understanding is advanced enough that some choose to treat all of their ailments holistically, with the help of a licensed holistic practitioner, as opposed to relying on conventional medicine. Herbal medicine, by its very nature, is safe and gentle on your body, and is often a more effective natural health modality, as herbal medicine tends to focus on the body as a whole instead of isolating the illness to one location.
Why YOU Should Care
- I discovered herbs on my own by looking through health food stores + trying teas (nettle was my first foray into this world)
- I’ve since used herbs for practically any ailment- including symptoms of my PCOS, digestive difficulty, mood problems, colds, flus and others issues.
- Now I see not only results in myself but also with my clients, who receive custom herbal formulas from me
- These herbs really do work inside the body, changing physiology. Herbs can stimulate healthy stress response to keep your energy up and to un-fry your nerves. Herbs can also stimulate blood flow and muscle contraction to assist in healthy labour. And the list goes on. . .
- Many herbs can serve the same purpose. You may give one herb to a person who gets amazing results, and the same herb may do nothing for another person with the same symptoms. The reason- energetics. The root cause of one person’s symptoms may be different than another with the same ailments. Your personality, makeup, energy, mojo- whatever you want to call it- effects how you use your body in the world and what will manifest in it. Herbs are simply awesome here.
- Example: Both lavender and chamomile are are calming herbs to the nervous system, and can be used in similar situations. If you are feeling high in the clouds + unable to ground due to excessive anxiety, with some lack of motivation or hopelessness in your energy, lavender is indicated. On the other hand, if you have high anxiety but are more robust in your energy than airy-fairy, and potentially have some digestive difficulty or anger from an overloaded liver, chamomile is indicated.
Innate Wisdom + Tradition
- Herbs are truly the first medicine, and we humans (and animals!) have been using them to heal for thousands of years. I LOVE tradition and innate wisdom, both of which I believe herbs provide.
- Tincture: herbs are extracted into a base, usually of alcohol
- Decoction: used for roots/seeds/barks
- Infusion: used for leaves, flowers and some berries
Herbs Around the World
Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Panax Ginseng: sexy-time, energy, adrenal support
- Ashwagandha: thyroid + adrenal support, energy, mood balance
- Tulsi/Holy Basil: adrenal support, calming, anti-anxiety, uplifting
- Rhodiola: adrenal support, weight management, energy
- Nettle: general tonic with loads of vitamins/minerals, adaptogen for stress and hormonal imbalance, seasonal allergies
- Eleuthero: sometimes known as a ginseng, adrenal support, energy, mood balance