What is Herbal Medicine?
Herbal medicine -- also called botanical medicine or phytomedicine -- refers to using a plant's seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. Herbalism is Traditional Medicine that has been used by many cultures throughout the ages. It is becoming more mainstream as improvements in analysis and quality control along with advances in clinical research show the value of herbal medicine in treating and preventing disease. Although in conventional medicine it is often called alternative medicine, at Alliance Wellness Center we believe in Integrative medicine and know that it is complementary to many forms of medicine.
What is herbal medicine used for?
Herbal medicine is used to treat many conditions, such as anxiety, arthritis, asthma, depression, eczema, high blood pressure, insomnia, hormonal imbalances, premenstrual syndrome, stress, migraines, menopausal symptoms, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, back pain, and cancer, among others. Herbal supplements are best taken under the guidance of a trained health care provider. A recent study found that 90% of arthritic patients use alternative therapies, such as herbal medicine. Using herbs and spices that have disease-preventive effect in foods is one of the best ways to take advantage of their healing power. For example, it appears that the daily use of the spice turmeric in curry dishes is one reason elderly people in India have one of the lowest rates of Alzheimer's disease in the world. Some common herbs and their uses are discussed below:
This is only a brief overview of some of the many safe and effective herbal remedies.
Are Herbs Safe?
Some herbal supplements, especially those imported from Asian countries, may contain high levels of heavy metals, including lead, mercury, and cadmium. It is important to purchase herbal supplements from reputable manufacturers to ensure quality. At the Alliance Wellness Center, we only purchase herbs from companies that do rigorous testing and follow Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards. If you are pregnant, nursing, or are on medications please tell your provider. While herbs are safe for most people, it is important in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that the client is thoroughly evaluated first by looking at the tongue, taking the pulses, along with constitutional factors that are considered before the patient is prescribed herbal medicine. During the coarse of treatment, or as different symptoms arise, a formula may need to be changed. It is important to remember this if you are buying herbs or supplements from a store or online that it is important to consult with your herbalist to make sure that it is still appropriate for you.
Who is using herbal medicine?
Nearly one-third of Americans use herbs. Unfortunately, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that nearly 70% of people taking herbal medicines (most of whom were well educated and had a higher-than-average income) were reluctant tell their doctors that they use complementary medicine.