Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Herbs And Alternate Treatments - Things You Might Want To Know

Today, a large percentage of Americans are turning to natural herbs and supplements as an alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs. However,when it comes to the natural herbs or herbal supplements business, we are always told about the positive effects of herbs; very seldom have we been told about their negative side effects. The truth is, there are indeed a few myths and realities of herbs which I will be sharing today.  After reading this article, hopefully, you will be more inclined to do your own research before you use future herbs or supplements.

I will first begin by sharing one of the most popular myths and several realities of herbs that we ought to be aware of. Next, we will look at some of the positive and negative effects of herbs and alternative treatments. Finally, I will share some rather interesting statistics on alternative practice.

Myths and Realities of  Herbs

Herbs are natural, so they are good for humans and animals, and they are all safe.

There are several plants that will make an animal or human very ill, others will even cause death!
If you own a horse, you should know about the dangers of Privet, Ragwort, Foxglove, Acorn, Hemlock etc.
There are also other natural plants such as Marijuana, Poppy, Tobacco or even, to a lesser extent, Coffee  that could hardly be classified as harmless. One part of a plant can be poisonous while another part isn’t.
Sometimes a particular plant may be poisonous to one species of animal yet safe to another. The effects of "herbs" should never be underestimated! Stats Source: Growing presence of complementary and alternative medicine, JAAPA 2000;5:89

Herbs and Alternative Treatments - The Positive & Negative Effects

Creation Perspective

Prior to God creating all living creatures, animals, humans etc, He had provided everything in abundance for them, so that they could all live comfortable. In other words, living things were all provided with everything that was necessary for their survival.

As far as medicinal plants and herbs are concerned,God knew beforehand that animals and humans were likely to get ill at some point in time, so He went ahead during creation and provided all the herbs that were vital for all possible illnesses. The earliest men had to take care of their illnesses with herbs, and so did the animals of the Jungle, from the time of creation up until today.

The Danger of Herbs
However, the fact that herbs are natural and curative, that doesn't mean they are all safe for animals and humans -- some medicinal herbs are very harmful under certain conditions. As I have already mentioned, there are even several plants that can make an animal or human very ill; others will even cause death! For example, the long-term use of chaparral and comfrey is also known to be associated with hepatoxicity (liver poison). 

The Usefulness Of Herbs
Despite  the known harm that some herbs can cause, no doubts that many herbs have been used for medicinal purposes with effective results, since the early days of human existence. In fact, many modern drugs, including digitalis, atropine, and narcotic derivatives, were developed from plants. For many decades asthma and bronchitis were treated with the medicinal herbs - Chinese Fir.

However, it wasn't until the late 1800's when scientist discovered it contained Ephedrine, a substance used in modern medicine, in the treatment of pulmonary disorders and allergies. Also, the bark of White Willow tree had long been used to relieve pain, even before scientist discovered this. Scientist were able to isolate the active ingredient from the bark of the White Willow and did a few lab work with it to produce acetylsalicylic acid. Today,acetylsalicylic acid is the main ingredient of Aspirin.

The formulation of drugs today, is simply due to the advancement in science and technology. Modern medicine today, is either prepared by the development of a synthetic chemical ingredient, or by identifying and removing a specific active compound  from a plant and then preparing it artificially to obtain a true version of the real compound which has the desired pharmacological effect.

Alternative Practice
Although most medicine practiced in United States is allopathic or osteopathic, worldwide, approximately 70% to 90% of health care is delivered by what would be considered alternative tradition or practice. Findings from research revealed that 94% of HMO professionals believed that meditation, personal prayer, and other spiritual practices can speed up medical recovery of ill patients. As far as medical cost cutting is concerned 74% of them believed these practices may have an impact on containing the cost of care. In addition, 83% believed that some practices, such as relaxation and meditation, should also be a standard part of formal medical training.

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