Medical herbalism: What is it exactly?
herbalism is when plants, flowers and natural substances are used as
medicines to assist in maintaining your body's physiological balance.
Medical herbalism relies upon the various curative qualities of herbs,
trees, flowers and plants to assist the body in the natural healing
process when you are ill. Herbalists believe the body contains within
it the power to heal, possessing a healing energy referred to as the
"vital force". In a very holistic way, this vital force works
constantly to maintain our total health by maintaining physical,
mental and emotional balance. It is believed that the vital force may
be weakened by such things as poor diet, pollution and stress. Medical
herbalists see the symptoms of disease as your body's natural tendency
for the vital force to attempt to restore or maintain harmony when
under the threat of illness. Symptoms are actually the body’s attempt
to fight the illness on its own. These basic concepts of holistic
healing are some of the fundamental theories associated with medical
Medical herbalism and the use of herbal remedies:
medical herbalism, herbal remedies are used to assist the affected
systems of the body in fighting illness and disease. The herbs are
used in a very holistic way to help alleviate disease but also to keep
it from reoccurring, detoxify the system, and also to build up the
immune system to improve the body's homeostasis, which is the state of
keeping your body in perfect balance.
Practitioners of medical herbalism also combine their understanding
and knowledge of herbs and natural healing with more modern scientific
developments similar to your medical doctor. They're usually trained
in the same examination techniques as your doctor and have extensive
medical knowledge of your body as well. Many of the herbs currently
used have been known for many centuries and have now found a new role
in our modern world. Aloe Vera has been traced back to the fourth
century BC, where it was believed to be a part of Cleopatra's beauty
routine, and now has been identified by Western researchers as the
best treatment for burns associated with radiation. It is now known
much more definitively what some of the herb’s basic properties are
and how they work together to assist the body’s healing systems.
Practitioners of herbalism have always believed that the entire herb
is greater than its individual parts. Their understanding has been
that the entire herb is more effective because the dominant
ingredients are backed up by secondary ingredients that add to the
effectiveness of the herb without dramatic side effects. This more
holistic understanding of the necessary use of the entire herb as
opposed to synthesizing its components is referred to as “synergism”.
example of the benefits of synergism of the entire herb over the
synthesis of the more dominant components to treat illness is in
comparing garlic with antibiotics. Antibiotics kill infection very
effectively but also kill the good bacteria resulting in an imbalance
in the necessary microorganism, flora in the gut. This imbalance has
been known to exacerbate yeast infections such as thrush. In contrast,
garlic is a natural antibiotic that stimulates Flora to work more
effectively resulting in a lower risk for yeast infections.
Medical herbalism conclusions:
of medical herbalism is not a science of the dark ages but should be
an adjunct to modern medicine. As new medicines are continuously now
being developed from their natural origins in trees, bark, flowers and
plants, there is beginning to be more recognition of the credibility
of understanding and utilizing medical herbalism to assist in the
science of modern medical treatment.
up next: Medical herbalism: How does it work?
Some of the information adapted from Alternative Healthcare: A
Comprehensive Guide to Therapies and Remedies-
Additional Information and
webpage by Paul Susic MA Licensed
Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate