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Treating Common Ailments with Natural Herbs

Updated on September 19, 2011

Back to basics with natural herbs

Before the onset of the thousands of pharmaceutical companies mass producing over-the-counter drugs and other medications to treat all kinds of maladies, our ancestors have been using herbs. It is a common sight for most western-- and some eastern-- countries to put down or even completely reduce herbal medicine to an occult or an alternative therapy. This should not be since this so-called alternative therapy has been around for thousands of years, longer than any pharmaceutical company has ever been established.

There are many reasons why we should go back to basics when treating our most common ailments and to improve our immune system. Herbs are not only very effective in treating common health issues but oftentimes, more effective than the medicines produced by the pharmaceutical companies. As the benefits of herbal medicines have gradually increased in popularity, companies are looking at its direction. This has caused an exponential growth in the number of studies and clinical trials to try to understand the hidden magic the herbs contain. And when backed up by studies and scientific proof, it gets easier for the world to accept herbal medicine as something to be reckoned with.

What are the side effects?

What is surprising about herbs is that it has very low side effects when compared with the conventional medicines. This does not, of course, apply to all herbs. Not all of it is considered safe, as with the case of the medicines we have now. If we have doctors to guide us with the dosages and timings, taking herbs must also be supported by a qualified herbalist. Failure to do so would produce adverse results.

When I was very young, around 10 or 11 years old, I tried to practice with the plants we had growing around our house. I boiled almost anything that I could get my hands on, added a bit of sugar for taste and ordered my dad to drink them. As a very supportive father who only wanted his daughter to practice herbal medicine (and practice being a doctor?) he drank all of it including the boiled corn hairs, boiled mango leaves, boiled carrot peels, and other boiled plant species I could not even name. Fortunately, none of them were toxic and I thank my lucky stars that my dad is still healthy and strong.

If I had used one of the toxic plants in the backyard and asked my dad to try them, he could be paralyzed or poisoned or dead as a result. Many plant species have really high toxicity levels and knowing exactly which herbs to choose is extremely important. Some people are also allergic to some herbs and so, once again, medicinal herbalists are the people to go to when you have questions.

Herbs: The Ideal Medicine

An ideal medicine should be something that does not only suppress symptoms but helps the body to heal itself by restoring bodily functions. Herbs do this by prodding our body's natural capability to heal and recover. And since our bodies are attuned to eating and digesting fruits and vegetables, it is very natural to use these herbs which are basically just another vegetable or fruit or spice.

Cost-wise, herbs are very affordable and readily available. For a lot of people, planting herbs in the garden is a hobby and necessity. By growing them personally, one can ensure that the herbs taken in are organically-grown and free. Still, most people still opt to purchase herbs from herbal shops and online stores. These are also efficient and good options.

Because of the growing popularity of herbal medicines, there have been a growth in the number of pharmaceutical companies who concentrate in producing natural herbal supplements in mass numbers. These herbal supplements are equally effective as they also originate from the natural herbs themselves.

Words of caution

For people who have just discovered the effectiveness of herbs for treating common ailments, do not attempt mixing and ingesting herbs without the guidance of a medicinal herbalist. Some combinations can have adverse reactions to the body and this must be avoided at all cost.

When you have purchased or have your herbs ready for picking, there are strict dosage guidelines for every kind of sickness and herb, similarly speaking with the conventional medicines that your doctor prescribed. Also, not all herbs are suitable for every person. If you are pregnant or over the age of 70, consult the medicinal herbalist for further information. If you are experiencing any adverse effects from taking in herbs, do seek professional medical help.

When buying herbs online or in local stores, proceed with caution. Choose the stores and online shops that are stable and have been there for many years and have a lot of customers to vouch for their herbs' quality and authenticity. The right supplier should be chosen.


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I am a big fan of herbal remedies. My mother taught us how to use plants around the yard to make teas for the treatment of different health issues. I have a friend from Singapore who recently introduced me to a special ginger tea used in treating asthyma. She also educated me on the difference between Japanese green tea and what we find in the everyday grocery stores. Wonderful hub!

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 6 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Interesting read, however I was hoping to find a list of common herbs to use for common ailments.

      Perhaps that would open you up to being libel for anyone that tries them and has adverse side effects.

      My favorite herb is the kind you smoke!

    • inaniLoquence profile image

      inaniLoquence 6 years ago from Singapore

      We still laugh when the topic is brought up. The boiled corn hairs were his favourite-- he had to fish out the hair from his throat and in between his teeth just to get rid of them. :) Thanks a lot, theinfo.

      I was reading something about cayenne recently-- or at least about Capsaicin (tis why cayenne has its 'chilli-ness') and it really has spurred my interest in the subject.

      How did you come about reading scientific studies? A hobby? :)

    • theinfo profile image

      theinfo 6 years ago from Northeast Pennsylvania

      wow your father was brave to do that, this topic is super interesting to me, i read studies all of the time, the willow plant, saw palmetto, cayenne, all very interesting. I'm glad you highlighted that not all plants are safe, that's a very common mistake people make!

    • inaniLoquence profile image

      inaniLoquence 6 years ago from Singapore

      Tita Lits, salamat po! It's good to hear that you're looking more into herbal medicine. I agree that Guyabano leaves are fantastic and I was an avid drinker of the guyabano tea when I was still living in the Phils. I just wish Guyabano trees would just spring up everywhere so I can harvest the leaves! :)

      My dad was also recently diagnosed with mild diabetes and I think that I got him that diabetes. I always love to bake and make the Filipino desserts. And if you know what I mean, Filipino desserts are the sweetest and the best! Sugar rush! :D

      I hope that you can effectively manage your diabetes-- and not let it manage you. :)

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines

      Very interesting and useful information. This is very timely for me because I'm off to discovering herbs while shopping in malls. Most are just treated by me as "weeds" in my garden. Yes, I read with care the information stated in every pack before I buy and try these herbs. I'm a great fan of boiled guyabano leaves for my diabetes. Thanks for sharing this, Kabayan!