Join Our Members

Objectives of Herbal Medicine

Body Chakras

However, herbalists believe that the activity and therapeutic effects of a plant medicine result from the combined action of the many constituents working together. In other words , "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts". There is evidence that this occurs, and a good example is found in Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis). This plant is used by herbalists to treat heart failure. It contains cardiac glycosides which are similar to those found in the Foxglove (Digitalis spp) but whereas the compounds in Digitalis can be isolated and shown to have pharmacological activity, those in Convallaria show very little activity as isolated compounds, but marked activity when combined in the whole plant. Both act to increase the power and force of the heartbeat without increasing the amount of oxygen needed by the heart muscle. Digitalis is also used extensively in orthodox medicine.

Another tenet of herbal medicine is that some constituents in the whole plant may "buffer" otherwise harmful side efefcts. There are plenty of examples of this occuring as described here:

  • Many orthodox diuretics (drugs that increase the flow of urine and often used to reduce body water content) have the unwanted side effect of depleting potassium in the body. The common Dandelion (taraxacum officinalis), on the other hand, is an effective diruetic as well as a rich source of potassium.
  • Some orthodox anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin, have the unwanted side effect of causing stomach bleeding. Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) contains aspirin-related compounds which reduce inflammation. It is also a valuable antacid in the treatment of heartburn, gastritis and acid indigestion

Self Help

Herbs can be used at home to treat minor ailments and to maintain good health. If you intend to do this a few common sense rules should always be observed.

  • Make sure you have correctly identified the plant yopu want to use. If in doubt seek advice
  • Consult a good herbal to make sure you are not exceeding the recommended dose
  • When taking plants from the wild, make sure there are plentiful in the area. Do not dig up wild plants. It is illegal in some countries to do so without a consent of the landowner and, anyway, they rarely survive
  • Do not delay taking serious or presistent health problems to a doctor or qualified practitioner

Common Treatments

Herbal medicine can treat almost any condition that patients might take to their doctor. Common complaints seen by herbalists include:

  • Skin problems such as psoriasis, acne and eczema
  • Digestive disorders such as peptic ulcers, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion
  • Heary and circulatory problems such as angina, high blood pressure, varicose veins and ulcers
  • Gynaecological disorders such as premenstrual syndrome and also menopausal problems
  • Other conditions include: arthritis, insomnia, stress, migraine and headaches, tonsilitis, influenza and allergic responses, such as hay fever and asthma