Hello all, this is my blog about health, wellness, and alternative medicine. In it i write about my random thoughts and try practice what i have learned about various remedies and treating illnesses. I will give you all advice so you can avoid contracting degenerative diseases and paying for expensive prescription drugs. As this is my first post and i cant think of anything to write about, i thought i would just talk about one of my passions: herbalism. What is herbalism you ask? Well its quite simple: the use of plants as medicine. This form of alternative medicine has been around since the stone age and it still widely practiced today. about 30% of prescription medications use herbs in them as their base ingredient. For example: over the counter aspirin is made from salicylic acid which comes from willow tree bark. Although herbalism isn’t very popular in the west, it is still widely used in Asia and other poor countries were people live below the poverty line and cannot afford expensive prescription drugs. It is most widely practiced in India, which actually has a governmental body that oversees the distribution and use of herbal medicine. The most well know practiioners of herbalism are the native americans. The various tribes together had knowledge of over 3000 different species of plants. The tribal healer was known as a shaman who had special powers. The medicine that the shamans provided were said to have specials powers to heal the spirit.
The most common way herbal remedies are administered is by the use of tisane teas. The herb is boiled and sometimes has to be diluted to a certain extent. These tisanes are made using various methods, such as: infusion, steeping, decoction, and maceration.
The more powerful type of herbal remedies are called tinctures. Tinctures are basically ethanol and the plant mixed together. Tinctures can prepared as liquid or dry type extracts. Some modern day herbalist use other things like maple syrup instead of ethanol as a base. The type of base liquid used is important because it has an effect on the herbal extraction.
Topical herbs are less commons but still useful. These are called “essential” because they carry the scent of the plant inside them. Essential oils are made by steam distillation, expression, or a solvent extraction.
Many people who are staunch believers in prescription drugs consider herbal remedies to be “hogwash”. Unfortunately there has been little research on the effectiveness of plants as a source of medicine. The cancer research center states that there is currently “no evidence of herbal remedies providing relief to cancer patients”. There have been few clinical trials related to using herbs to treat cancer. The most well known remedy would be the magnolia, which was discovered by the Chinese and is used to treat things like dementia, heart disease, and tuberculosis.
There is a great deal more to herbalism than just this of course, and the above paragraph just barely scratches the surface. If you want to learn more about herbalim than check out Mastering Herbalism by Paul Huson. This is a good book for someone who is just a beginner, but it is somewhat out of date. It was written in 1974 an is more of a general guide that covers Shakespearean era herbs only. The main thing i like about it is the practical recipes it contains, as these will show you how to get started with adding herbs to jams, soups and teas.