In recent years the issue of Alternative
Healing has skyrocketed to the forefront of the medical field. A 2004 government
survey concluded that more than one third of adults use alternative medicine and
One facet of this burgeoning interest is Herbal Medicine.
While it may seem "trendy" to some, Herbal Medicine has been around for thousands of years. In fact,
many of the familiar pharmaceutical medications we use today were originally created from "natural"
ingredients. Drugs like opium (from poppies), aspirin (from willow bark), digitalis (from foxglove) and
quinine (from the cinchona tree.)
Interestingly, the synthetic version of "aspirin" is credited with the
the pharmaceutical industry. A chemist working for the Friedrich Bayer Company
in Germany created the synthetic. The company registered the term "aspirin" as a trademark but Bayer lost the
patent rights when the Allies seized and resold its foreign assets after World War I.
The right to use the term "aspirin" in the United States was purchased by Sterling
Drug in 1918. But even before the patent expired in 1917, Bayer had been unable to prevent their formula from
being copied. Hence, the term "aspirin" has been a generic term in the U.S. ever since.
What we will endeavor to do with this introduction to our natural health
website is provide you with an overview of herbal remedies and subsequently give you an in-depth look
at specific herbal remedies to common, everyday ailments.
Please remember that there is no substitute for advice from a medical
practitioner. The contents provided here should not replace a health and fitness program and is provided for
educational purposes only. You should consult your own medical practitioner before embarking on any program
that affects your health and well being.
History of Herbal
Herbal Medicine is the use of botanicals (plants) either singularly or in
combination to prevent and treat certain ailments and illnesses.
People native to different geographical locations have long used plants and plant
extracts to cure specific maladies. Sometimes referred to as "folk" medicine, it is generally recognized that
there are three schools of research one can follow with regard to the history of these treatments.
There is the study of medicines based on Greek, Roman and medieval sources which
is largely used by Western schools of thought, Ayurvedic which comes from India and the Eastern tradition of
Chinese Herbal Medicine. Rather than separation, these different schools of thought provide more commonality
It stands to reason that most ancient peoples used plants that were native to
their geographical location which provides sound reasoning as to why different schools of thought exist.
All three of these modalities at one time included both philosophical and
spiritual aspects along with the scientific knowledge that existed within a specific time frame. While we are
not here to render opinion, one fact does remain. The same study that determined one third of Americans used
alternative therapies, the same number surveyed showed a dramatic increase in positive results to more than 60%
when "prayer" was included in the mix.
Ayurvedic loosely translates to "knowledge of life." Dating back to more
than 6,000 years ago, Ayurvedic Medicine practiced not just Herbal Medicine, but some of the earliest surgical
procedures as well as inoculation. Over the years Ayurvedic Medicine became increasingly more symptomatic as
opposed to treating the root cause of disease which originally was steeped in strengthening the immune
With all our so-called advancements in the medical field, it's interesting that
physicians are still treating "effect" rather than "cause." The old adage that, "an ounce of prevention is
worth a pound of cure" could not be more true. This is especially true when it comes to natural
Most natural remedies are botanical. Singularly or in combination, the
numbers of herbs available is astounding. We will barely scratch the surface in this guide and we encourage
further research and study.
While this is a presentation on "herbs," we have included other natural, organic
contents. Many of the combinations include both herbs and other sources such as tree bark, alfalfa and
Because there are so many botanicals and combinations, we are using the most
common and should not be construed as the ONLY use for a specific herb.
Additionally, please note that we use the "common names" throughout, as opposed to
the more confusing, latin words.
Let's get right to it, shall we?
On the next page we will talk about Specific Herbs and Their Uses,
covering herbs beginning with A to F.