Herbs as many of us know are plants that are used as medicine. Natural healing is something that is done by a natural process without any external interference in the form of drugs and chemicals.
Though most of the herbal remedies are extracted from plant sources, there are quite a few animal products and mineral products too which are quite commonly used.
Phytotherapy is another name that is given to herbal medicine and it is a science of treating illnesses using various herbal remedies. These herbs have been used as medicines for hundreds of years and if one goes back to history and cultures of various nations the use of herbal remedies is quite common.
For example the ancient Egyptians used herbs in healing functions and also in various ceremonies. There are a number of scripts and sculptures which are testimony to this. Chinese people continue to use herbal medicine as a healing process even today.
In today’s world of science and technology, it is gratifying to see more and more people go in for herbal remedies to cure almost anything ranging from headaches, cold, skin conditions and also some big diseases and illnesses.
There is an herbal cure for almost any medical condition that one can think of. They are also used extensively as a method to prevent diseases and illnesses and they indeed have worked quite well.
However, it is important to take the help of herbalists who are the ones who understand how herbs play a role in treating different types of body ailments.
It would not be out of place to mention here that the body in itself is a small ecosystem on itself. It is made perfectly by god and there is a perfect balance of each and every compound, substances and chemical. When this balance gets disturbed, herbs certainly can play a big role and establishing the delicate balance.
The reason why herbal remedies are used extensively is because they are milder than traditional medicines and they are relative safe with very little side effects. If used in the way they are directed, they are very safe.
Frequent and indiscriminate use of antibiotics can result in our body becoming resisting to it. In such cases it would be a good idea to use herbal alternatives provided the disease is not in a very dangerous stage.
It would be interesting to know more about the different ways by which these herbs can be used to treat various ailments. However, it is very important to choose the right herbals products. These herbal medicines can be taken either orally or can also be applied topically.
There are different types of herbs with separate roles assigned to them. Their uses have come down to us through generations and recent scientific studies do prove that they certain types of herbal cures work very well for specific illnesses.
Ways To Use Herbal Medicine
Topical herbal remedies come in various forms. While some are for external use and applications there are others which can be taken in orally.
For example Salves are preparations that are applied orally on the skin. They are creams which are thick and have lasting impact on the skin. These creamy preparations help the skin to remain moist and they are known to be very effective in preventing the skin from the harmful effects of wind and sun. A few common examples of herbs from which salves are made are St. John’s wort and comfrey.
Poultice is another traditional method where a preparation is made from dried or fresh whole herbs. The herbs are made ready to use by mashing them to form a consistency that is pasty and are applied topically in the affected area. They can also be either heated or moistened before being applied on the skin. They are known to most of use because our grandmothers have used it extensively. They are particularly very good on infants and their tender skin. Roots of the plants are often used to make poultice.
Compress is almost similar to poultice and it is prepared by mashing dried or fresh herbs with the help of water. It is then applied to the skin or made into a small bundle and kept closely to the affected part of the skin. Infused oils are also very common herbal medicines and quite a few oils including extra virgin olive oil is commonly used. It is heated using a slow heating method.
The mixture is usually steeped for a minimum of two weeks and then put in jars once they are strained. They are used very often for treating skin irritations and are also used as massage oil.
Ointments made from herbs are like salves thick in consistency. They are topically used on the skin and are very effective for treating burns and other minor skin irritations. Quite a few herbal remedies are also taken orally because they come in ingestible format. Let us have a look at them over the next few lines.
Infusions are nothing but solvents made from water which is mixed with some crude botanicals. It can either be hot or cold. When they are hot the herbs can be infused easily and hence it is common to see such preparations being made in hot conditions and then they are cooled for future use. It is steeped instead of being boiled. In fact infusions are often considered the weakest of all herbal medicines and preparations.
Decoctions is made using water to boil the herbs and the content is then squeezed on to a container. This kind of juice is quite strong and much more potent than infusions. It is common to see the use of alcohol in decoctions as a preservative. They are also used as additives in certain types of drinks and foods.
Tincture is another form of herbal preparation. It is prepared by allowing herbs to sit in liquids for considerable lengths of time which help them to become more soluble. They are stored often for weeks and months in dark glass containers having ingredients which will make the soluble easily. These ingredients could either be water, vinegar, glycerine or alcohol. When they are put in such liquids for a long time they break and get dissolved. The remaining mixture is pressed and strained. These tinctures are often added to many foods and drinks.
Apart from the above, it is quite common to come across herbal medicines made as syrups, tea, and also in the form of capsules and tablets. In fact after infusions, capsules and tablets are the most common way in which these herbal preparations are made and used by many of us. It is taken the same way as any OTC tablet is taken and it ingested and absorbed by the body. In fine, it is important to find out the functionalities of these herbal medicines before selecting them and using them.