How soon we forget how important a role herbs play in our health. The benefits of these natural remedies are so reliable, they're incorporated in many medicines and treatments, under the chemical name of their active ingredients. Sadly, in many cases the law now prohibits the selling of herbs for any health benefits because that would be practicing medicine without a license. This leaves us with one solution for almost every health problem...an expensive pill.
History Of Herbal Medicine: Pharmaceuticals are not necessarily the answer. For thousands of years, people have relied on herbal remedies for everything. Just in the last couple hundred years, have drugs been the treatment of choice. Even now, with all the medicines available, most of the world prefers the traditional herbal cures and personal attention of herbalists. Herbs like garlic, aloe and echinacea are so commonly known for their benefits, they're included in thousands of products. Some countries have successfully blended medicine and herbs, but most of the West has abandoned herbal medicine as being quaint and amateur.
Herbs In Medicine Today: The arrogance of this position is revealed by the fact that most of the medicines today are mere chemical compounds extracted or duplicated from the active ingredients of the herbs. Thanks to the marvels of modern science, what was effective and relatively harmless when self-administered by the average person, has now been synthesized into something so concentrated it can have extremely harmful side-effects, requires years of double-blind testing, and a doctor with an advance degree and board certification to administer it.
I remember my doctor scorned me for taking Niacin in high doses to help control my blood triglycerides. He stopped that practice and put me on a medicine...my triglycerides doubled in 3 months. Then he changed my medicine to something new, which turned out to be extremely effective. It was a cholesterol medicine combined with Niacin, to control triglycerides. Now that we know cinnamon is effective to control diabetes by lowering blood glucose and cholesterol, they're trying to make an expensive medicine out of that. Now, there's nothing wrong with taking the active ingredients of herbs and making concentrated medicines...what's wrong is preventing people from marketing the herbs based on their known health benefits.
The Law And Herbal Remedies: That's what happens in the USA and in many other countries, where a company selling Niacin, for instance, is prohibited from putting on the label the fact that it controls triglycerides. You can buy cinnamon capsules, but the manufacturer isn't allowed to tell you it's effective in controlling diabetes. This is true of hundreds of herbs. Even when the herb in it's natural form is as effective and much less harmful than the synthetic alternative, the company can't tell you their product is useful for managing, preventing, treating or curing any medical condition. Needless to say, a whole world of inexpensive treatment options is being outlawed and forgotten because of our love affair with the pill.
Health Benefits Of Herbs: I'm not a medical doctor and don't treat anything or prescribe anything. There is very little that ails us today that hasn't been treated at some time with an herb. Because I'm just a regular guy and no expert, I always caution people to seek medical advice from a licensed doctor before using any herb for any health purpose. In the interest of preserving herbal knowledge, we've begun compiling plain-language information on the health benefits, uses and cautions attributed to various herbs and natural substances. Since we don't package or distribute any products, we should be able to continue to provide the information free of charge. That way, although the manufacturer can't tell you, you can still know about the value of herbs and other health supplements.
There really is no question that herbs have played a major role in our health. They continue to do so in their natural form and in the medicines that synthesize their active ingredients. We can all benefit greatly from the rich history of natural remedies and preventatives. If we choose not to forget, we can find great value in using both medicine and herbs as powerful weapons in our fight against illness.