Using Herbal Vitamins To Fight Disease

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Using Herbal Vitamins to Fight Disease
Herbal medicine has a long history in treating various diseases and disorders. Used as medicinal remedies from ancient times to the modern day, plants offer interesting opportunities for treating a variety of conditions. Also known as plant medicine or botanical medicine, herbal medicine involves using the components of a plant—its roots, stem, flowers, seeds, etc.—for their medicinal qualities. In theory, herbal medicine encourages a balance of the body.

As such, herbalists attempt to treat diseases holistically. Even today, it is unclear why certain plants have particular effects on certain diseases, and it is made more complicated by the fact that herbalists use large pieces of plants rather than smaller isolated compounds.

Still, herbal medicine has grown in popularity in recent years as people have sought out remedies for their medical issues with less of a feeling of chemical intrusion (as with conventional medicine) and fewer side effects.

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Common Uses
Because of the tremendous variety of plants available for medicinal use, there is potential to use herbal medicine to treat any number of conditions, from arthritis to memory loss to digestive problems. There are few cases in which herbal medicine is able to provide a complete cure for major disease, but there are many health benefits to a variety of herbal medicines.

One of the more well known plants used for herbal medicine in recent years is the ginkgo plant. Consuming ginkgo has been shown to improve circulation, which has wide-ranging health benefits. Herbalists promote ginkgo mostly as treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (as better circulation helps slow memory loss) and also leg circulation conditions, but it has also been used to treat glaucoma and degenerative eye diseases.

Anxiety and feelings of nervousness have a few remedies in herbal medicine. Some have turned to Valerian root to help with sleeping problems, as the root is a natural tranquilizer. The root is especially popular for this use because it is a fairly gentle medicine, with less probably for addiction or feelings of drowsiness the morning after use.

Kava kava and St. John’s wort, meanwhile, have been shown to improve mood and decrease depression. St. John’s wort has been most effective in cases of mild depression, while kava kava has been used to treat a wider variety of nervous conditions.

Many plants have been shown to have a variety of positive effects. Milk thistle, for example, promotes better liver and gall bladder health. Goldenseal, ginseng, and Echinacea all boost the immune system, with varying levels of effectiveness in fighting the common cold and various bacteria and parasites.

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Safe Use and Research
These medicines can come in a variety of forms, including teas, syrups, pills, and rubs, and their availability depends largely on the given medicine, as some are widely available in pharmacies whereas others are less available.

While some herbs are fairly easy to get in stores, it is important to remember that these treatments involve chemical processes and as such should be treated with the same care as would be given to conventional medicine. Those considering using herbal medicine should be sure to consult a doctor or herbalist before using any type of herb or plant, because most react in different ways to other medications or conditions. Using herbal medicine with other medications can lead to serious health effects.

Also, because herbal medicine still falls outside of the traditional category of medicine in the United States, the lack of regulation is such that some medicines still have unknown effects. Herbal medicine can be effective in certain situations, but those considering using it should make sure to do the research necessary for understanding all of the effects of each medicine.
Valerie Johnston
About the Author:

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

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