Herbalism is the tradition of studying and using herbs for their healing properties. Growing freely in the natural world, the term ‘herb’ refers to every part of the plant, from the roots to the flowers. Herbs have been used for their medicinal properties for thousands of years.Herbalists are those who have studied the uses of herbs and are able to recommend certain herbs to help ailments. Herbalists take a holistic approach to illness, choosing to treat the underlying cause of a condition rather than the symptoms alone.

The use of herbs to treat disease is almost universal among non-industrialized societies. A number of traditions have come to dominate the practice of herbal medicine in the west at the end of the twentieth century:-
1.The Western, based on Greek and Roman sources,
2.The Ayurvedic from India,
3.Chinese herbal medicine.

Examples of some commonly used herbal medicines:
1.Artichoke and several other plants have been associated with reduced total serum cholesterol levels in preliminary studies .
2.Black cohosh and other plants that contain phytoestrogens (plant molecules with estrogen activity) have been found to have some benefits for treatment of symptoms resulting from menopause.
3.Echinacea extracts have been shown to limit the length of colds in some clinical trials, although some studies have found it to have no effect.
4.Garlic has been found to lower total cholesterol levels, mildly reduce blood pressure, reduces platelet aggregation, and has antibacterial properties.
5.St John’s wort has been found to be more effective than placebo for the treatment of mild to moderate depression in some clinical trials.

Ayurveda, also called Ayurvedic medicine, traditional system of Indian medicine. Ayurvedic medicine is an example of a well-organized system of traditional health care, both preventive and curative, that is widely practiced in parts of Asia. Ayurveda has a long tradition behind it, having originated in India perhaps as much as 3,000 years ago. Today it remains a favoured form of health care in large parts of the Eastern world, especially in India, where a large percentage of the population uses this system exclusively or combined with modern medicine.

Bodily exercises, the use of herbal preparations, and Yoga form a part of the remedial measures. The curative aspects of Ayurveda involve the use of herbal medicines, external preparations, physiotherapy, and diet. It is a principle of Ayurveda that the preventive and therapeutic measures be adapted to the personal requirements of each patient.

The Susruta-samhita probably originated in the last centuries BCE and had become fixed in its present form by the 7th century CE. Of somewhat lesser importance are the treatises attributed to Vagbhata. All later writings on Indian medicine were based on these works, which analyze the human body in terms of earth, water, fire, air, and ether as well as the three bodily humours (vata, pitta, and kapha).

What is herbal medicine?
Herbal medicine is plant-based medicine and is potentially the oldest form of medicine we know of. A huge variety of plants can be used in a medicinal way, with each part of the plant having different medicinal qualities and requiring different approaches. Often, both fresh and dried plant parts can be used, but this will depend on the herb.
Herbs are made up of complex constituents that have unique qualities. These qualities can support the body to heal and overcome illness. All herbs will have their own uses and trained herbalists will be able to recommend the appropriate herb for the condition you’re seeking help with.

Herbal medicine can be used in different ways. Water-based preparations are common and can include the following:
1.infusions (steeped herbs in boiling water)
2.syrups (a thick, sweet liquid made with herbs)
3.poultices (cloth wrapped in moistened herbs for localised use
4.decoction (similar to infusions, but often used with harder parts of the plant material)
5.lotions (infusions or decoctions made into a smooth liquid)
compress (a wrung out cloth that’s been steeped in an infusion or decoction)
6.Tinctures are another common preparation in herbal medicine, these are alcohol-based however you can have non-alcoholic versions. Oil-based preparations can be a lovely way of utilising herbal medicine externally on the body.

Herbs can be used singly (known as ‘simples’) or mixed with other herbs to create a formula. Herbalists may recommend a formula they’ve made and used before, or they may make something unique to you.

Is herbal medicine safe to use?
Just like other forms of medicine, herbal medicine will affect the body and therefore has the potential to harm the body if used incorrectly. We should treat them with the same respect as we do conventional medicine, so do keep your doctor or pharmacist updated about any herbal medicines you’re taking.

If you fall into any of the following groups of people, be sure to speak to your doctor before trying herbal medicines:
1.people taking other forms of medication
2.people with serious health conditions, such as liver or kidney disease 3.people who are due to have surgery
4.people who are pregnant or breastfeeding
5.elderly people
6.young children

How long will herbal medicines take to work?
As we are all different biologically, the amount of time our body takes to process and heal when using herbal medicines will differ. Factors that will influence how long it will take to feel better include the severity of your condition, your past medical history and your current state of health.

Speaking to your herbalist about this will help you get a better idea of when you should feel the effects. As herbal medicine is all-natural, it may take longer than conventional medicine, but the effects should be long-lasting with minimal side-effects.

Speaking to your herbalist about this will help you get a better idea of when you should feel the effects. As herbal medicine is all-natural, it may take longer than conventional medicine, but the effects should be long-lasting with minimal side-effects.

What to expect when you visit a herbalist

When you first visit a herbalist, you will have a consultation where they can learn more about you and what you’re hoping to achieve with the help of herbalism. To make up a picture of your health, the herbalist will likely ask about your medical history, your diet and lifestyle, any medication or supplements you take and potentially your family’s medical history too.

Medicines are around us at all times. There are herb, plant, or fungi for any ailment. In our healing process, we look to our herbal allies to support us and nourish us as foods and medicines for the mind, body, spirit, and community. 
The herbal practice is a safe and effective way to maintain healthy bodies and lives, which has increased exponentially over the past decades.
People who know how to grow, sustain, harvest, forage, produce and advocate these natural medicines are the ecological activists for these precious plants, ensuring that future generations will enjoy their many benefits. 

sunita senapati

By sunita senapati

Sunita Senapati, believes that Nature itself is the best physician, a healer and a restorer which calms our mind, soothes our soul and cures our body.

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