Many people in today’s world struggle with chronic pain and inflammation. The food we eat and the toxins we breathe affect our health. Stress and other lifestyle habits contribute to our health. While many people turn to conventional medicine for their health concerns, others choose a more natural solution.
Cultures around the world have used herbs for their various needs. Herbal medicines have been a traditional and beneficial method of healthcare since ancient times. In fact, you’ve probably taken some herbal supplements for cold or flu symptoms.
If you’ve ever considered using herbal medicines, you may wonder if they’re right for you. This article will look closely at some popular herbal medicines and their health benefits.
What Are Herbal Medicines?
Herbal medicines are also known as herbal supplements or herbals. Whole herbal medicines are derived from the leaves, stems, or roots of plants. Some conventional medicines have amounts of plant extracts. However, they are not usually in their purest form. Therefore, they are not as effective as whole herbal medicines.
Ways to Take Herbal Medicine
One of the great things about herbals is that they come in different forms. Capsules, powders, or liquids are a few common forms. Capsules are an easy way to reap the benefits of most herbs. However, some herbs are more effective in other forms, such as:
- Dried and brewed in a tea
- Mixed in bathwater
- Ground into powder or a tincture
- Mixed into gels, creams, or lotions
Adding herbs to your healthcare regime is not recommended for everyone. If you have certain health issues or diseases, your doctor may not recommend herbal medicines.
Why Should I Take Herbal Medicine?
The primary reason people take herbal medicine is to improve their health naturally. For thousands of years, certain plants such as echinacea and ginkgo gilbo have been used. Many people take herbal supplements to boost metabolism, reduce stress, and improve the immune system. If you haven’t been diagnosed with a serious illness or disease, talk to your doctor about adding herbal supplements to your healthcare regime. Below is a look at some of the most popular choices.
Popular Herbal Medicines
If you like drinking tea, you can find ginseng in most grocery store teas. Capsules and teas are the two common ways people benefit from this herb. Many cultures, such as the Chinese, have used this herb for immunity and longevity.
Echinacea is one of the most popular herbal medicines. From treating toothaches to sore throat, this herbal is quite potent. Some people take this medicine to help shorten cold symptoms. Every part of this flowering plant contains natural properties that boost immunity.
During cold and flu season, you may have taken this very popular herb. These days, you can find elderberries in liquid form as well as chewable tablets. Elderberry is a fruit from the Sambucus nigra plant. The fruit part is carefully cooked down and made into throat drops and syrup. Most grocery stores carry this herb in teas and tablets as well.
Elderberry is mostly used for immune health. Many people notice that it shortens their cold and flu symptoms. If you take elderberries, avoid eating the raw fruit since it is toxic.
The maidenhair tree in China is the source of the ginkgo biloba herb. Studies have shown taking this herb may reduce heart disease and improve cognitive functions. You can find it in some tea ingredients or a tincture form.
Turmeric is another popular herbal medicine that is part of the ginger family. If you enjoy drinking tea, you may have noticed trace amounts in several tea brands. Turmeric may reduce inflammation and pain in the body. You can take it in capsules or use the powder form in cooking.
Along with several other herbs, dried chamomile flowers are mostly brewed in tea form. For centuries, many cultures have used it for reducing nausea, stomach pain, and inflammation. There are also other ways to enjoy the benefits. You use the dried flowers in a compress for stomach pains or headaches. The best thing about chamomile is that it’s one of the safest herbs.
What Are the Benefits of Herbal Medicines?
Today, many people consider using herbal medicine to naturally recover from health issues. Even if you don’t have chronic health problems, herbal medicine provides other benefits. Taking herbs that are naturally derived from plants can promote longevity and reduce illness. However, some herbs interfere with conventional medications. Talk with your doctor before you consider taking herbal medicines.
Are There Any Side Effects of Taking Herbals?
Any time you take something new, you should always consult your doctor. Certain herbal medicines have different side effects. Although herbals are found in nature, they are not necessarily safe for everyone to ingest. This is especially important if you’re taking other prescription medication. Talk with your doctor before you begin any herbal regime. Here are a few other safety concerns to keep in mind.
- Watch for allergic reactions – Allergic reactions are your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong. Vomiting, nausea, and headaches are common reactions. If you experience these while taking herbal supplements, stop right away.
- Follow your doctor’s advice – It’s essential to follow your doctor’s instructions when taking any medicine. Taking too much may cause serious side effects.
- Research the company – It’s important to research the company where you’re buying the herbs. Make sure the company has a good reputation and regulates their products.
As with all medications, herbal medicines should only be prescribed by a licensed doctor with experience. A qualified naturopath or herbalist can give you advice on the best ones to take for your health.
Contact Us For An Appointment Today
If you’re thinking about adding herbal medicines to your healthcare regime, our practitioners would love to help you. Dr. Leo is a board-certified physician with experience in herbal therapies. He is passionate about using his knowledge to help his patients naturally recover from illness. Call us for an appointment today and we will help you get your health back on track.
- Mayo Clinic – Herbal supplements: What to know before you buy
- Medline Plus – Herbal Medicine