Creating a Modern Herbal Medicine Chest

James R. Coffey By James R. Coffey, 21st Aug 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Alternative Medicine

For thousands of years, people relied on natural curatives gathered directly from nature. In recent centuries, however, modern medicine has supplanted the use of herbal remedies with synthetic pharmaceuticals--many of which have devastating side-effects. Today, there is a growing trend toward learning the healing properties of herbs. This article can help you get started!

Practical Herbology

The resurgence of practical herbology over the past two decades has proven nothing less than phenomenal. With growing dissatisfaction and distrust for Western medicine (and of course the rising cost of vitamins and other supplements), many American and European households that had routinely relied on conventional medicine are now opting to look outside mainstream cures.

More and more people, especially young “enlightened” parents, are exploring the virtues of herbal remedies and deciding to take responsibility for treating their family’s illnesses.

Herbs v. synthetic drugs

Recent studies have proven that many herbal remedies are not the feeble substitutes for synthetic medicines the drug and pharmaceutical industry would like us to believe. In fact, herbs taken in the right form and dosage have been proven again and again to be just as effective as drugs--often at a fraction of the cost, and with far fewer side-effects.

And when you consider that the pharmaceutical industry was founded on the likes of willow bark (the active ingredient in aspirin), foxglove (the prime component in digitalis), and opium poppy (the key ingredient in codeine), we should all stop and ask ourselves why we have come to be so heavily reliant on processed medicines when for thousands of years people cured themselves with natural remedies literally grown in their own back yards. While one shouldn’t expect to randomly take any herb in any dose to cure any illness--there is a specific cause/effect science to this process--it should be remembered that until fairly recently (well into the 1970s for many households) it was common practice to keep various herbs on hand for a number of common ailments--and there’s no reason why this practice can’t be resumed.

Just as there are guidebooks for synthetic drug use and dosage (PDRs), there are a number of reputable and reliable, long-standing herbals on the shelves (M. Grieve, Culpeper, Kloss). But before delving into natural curatives, be aware that just as with synthetic drugs, not all cures work on all people in the same way, and herb allergic reaction can occur. (If you’re allergic to strawberries, you don’t want to use a strawberry tincture as a curative!)

Everyday herbs

To get you started, here is a brief selection of herbs that have been known to be universally helpful in treating a number of common conditions; note that some herbs have more than one positive function. Get to know these and you will begin to appreciate the power of having a modern herbal medicine chest.

  • Garlic is an effective antiseptic for treating cuts and wounds. Garlic incorporated into the diet is known to improve the immune system.

  • Ginger has been used for centuries for treating colds, soothing sore throats, and relieving stomach cramps. It is brewed by several Native American tribes and drank as a calming tea.

  • Gingko, an herb dating to prehistoric times, has been used for centuries to improve memory. (Even the medical community is now touting its effectiveness.)

  • Chamomile has a wide range of uses including curing indigestion, inducing sleep, and calming stomach ulcers.

  • Valerian (which has now become popular with the medical community and can be quite expensive when bought over the pharmacy counter) is proven to act as a mood elevator, can induce sleep (curing insomnia), and raise energy levels.

  • Parsley has been used by pregnant women in various societies for centuries for tender nipples and morning sickness.

  • Rosemary and Sage in combination has been used for centuries to control dandruff.

While this list presents cures for relatively mild disorders, much more serious problems can also be dealt with once you become familiar with herbs and how they affect your body.

Remember, pregnant women should always take very small or diluted doses of herbal concoctions in order to be certain they won’t ill-effect your unborn. (Just because an herb has no ill-effect on a mother does not guarantee that the baby will respond in kind.) It's best to purchase a few herbals (used ones will save you money) and cross-reference curative suggestions. And remember: If one herb does not work for you, simply try another. Those who practice herbal cures firmly believe that nature provides a cure for every ailment humankind attracts. With experience, you will gain the knowledge to know what works for you--and the other members of your family.

If you have any specific questions concerning herbal remedies or related literature, please feel free to contact me at the link provided below. I’ve been a practicing herbalist for nearly 40 years.

Culpeper's Complete Herbal
Back to Eden, Jethro Kloss
A Modern Herbal, M. Grieve
Natural Guide to Medicinal Herbs, Frantisek Stary

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The Classic Herbals
New Discoveries in Natural Curatives
Medicinal Fungi
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Curative Power of Vinegar
How to Prepare a Poultice and Plaster



Herbal Remedies, Herbal Teas, Herbal Tinctures, Herbals, Herbology, Herbs, Natural Curatives

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author avatar James R. Coffey
I am founder and head writer for James R. Coffey Writing Services and Resource Center @ where I offer a variety of writing and research services including article composition, ghostwriting, editing...(more)

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author avatar James R. Coffey
22nd Aug 2010 (#)

Thanks again, Mark!

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