Before antibiotics and pharmaceuticals became the norm for treating conditions, herbal medicine was used to mend the body. In fact, Ancient Chinese and Egyptian writings about medicinal plants date back to as early as 3000 B.C. Nowadays, while natural medicine is used in different ways around the world, herbal remedies have seen a resurgence.
From your mum’s theory that garlic and ginger cures a cold, to your favourite Instagrammer’s activated charcoal smoothie recipe, using plants to heal is no newbie on the block!
From root to tip
Herbal medicine is extremely versatile. It uses parts of plants or plant extracts to make natural remedies. The leaves, flowers, bark, berries, nuts or roots of a plant are either fresh or dry depending on the treatment required. Interestingly, we encounter herbal remedies more frequently than we think!
The great thing is these natural remedies may help improve, prevent and treat conditions including:
- Cold, flu and infections
- Asthma and bronchitis
- Stress, anxiety and depression
- Inflammation and burns
- Migraines & headaches
Herbalists & naturopaths
Herbalists and naturopaths distribute most of the herbal medicines we see here in Australia. These practitioners will often prescribe plant-based remedies in a range of forms. Depending on the diagnosis, a herbalist or naturopath will determine what works best for you.
Some of the different forms include:
- Tonics and syrups
- Powders mixed into juice or water
- Gargles and mouthwashes
- Skin lotions or scrubs
- Steam inhalations with oils or infusions placed in boiling water
When we think of herbal medicine, we’re quick to jump to various stereotypes in our minds – usually a barefoot, tree-hugging hippy! However, any person anywhere in the world can take advantage of nature’s healing properties.
So if you feel skeptical about holistic health practices, fear no more. Herbal medicine is safe, natural, healthy and could be just what you need to feel good again!
Is it safe?
As with everything we consume, pharmaceutical or otherwise, the right amount is crucial to ensuring herbal medicine’s success. As such, it’s important to make sure you visit a trained professional when starting out on your natural healing journey.
Does it work?
Herbal medicines are a great alternative for anyone who feels that pharmaceutical drugs are no longer helping them to achieve their health goals. That being said, it’s becoming more and more common for herbal medicine to be validated through clinical trials and scientific research.
Alongside this, improvements in quality control and authenticity allow herbal medicine alternatives to be more reputable than ever when it comes to treating and preventing any illnesses.
Herbal vs medicinal drugs?
Especially relevant here is that many modern medicines have chemicals and compounds derived from plant sources. Additionally, a massive 1/4 of all pharmaceutical drugs on the market actually include plant ingredients. So it comes as no surprise that herbal medicine is a great way to improve your health and wellbeing.
While using pharmaceuticals and herbal remedies together is encouraged, please consult your GP regarding any medical concerns. In fact, your GP should also be informed of any natural medicine supplements or remedies you are planning on taking, especially if you are taking other medications.
Want to give herbal medicine a go? Avaana can connect you with a herbalist or naturopath near you!