Plant Options as Alternative Medicine
Eastern medicine has evolved over thousands of years. During that time, advancements in identifying and using herbal medicine have been a cornerstone in the treatment of numerous conditions and disease. Today, after millennia of trial and error, research and documentation, Traditional Chinese Medicine is still grounded in the usage of herbal remedies and is used as the standard system of medicine throughout China. The practice and use of herbal medicine have grown in popularity worldwide and are typically used as an alternative medicine. Herbal medicine has earned the right to become standard practice treatment, rather than just an alternative.
The word alternative, however, does mean that there are options for those becoming their own healthcare advocate when treating mild to severe ailments. For too long, Americans have put their trust in synthetic, man-made medications that usually just treat the symptoms. The medications usually contain a chemical formula that can be found in nature. Oftentimes, more medications are needed to combat those symptoms. It turns into a revolving use of medicines, all of which are not getting to the root of the issue.
It’s vital that people know their options for both active and preventive care. With close to 12,000 recorded herbal remedies available, it’s surprising that herbal medicine hasn’t become more prevalent here in the West. It’s certainly easier to just take whatever pill, tablet or liquid that’s been prescribed by the doctor. It can take some time and involve some footwork when researching the many different herbal remedies available. But when it comes to taking control of our own health care, it’s worth the extra work to determine how to treat the disease and not simply the symptoms.
Usually used for making a strong tea, herbs are steeped in boiling water for periods lasting up to one hour. The taste is commonly known to be unpleasant but is ingested anyway by hundreds of millions, knowing that the benefits received far outweigh the bitter taste. Again, it appears so much easier to just take a pharmaceutical that oftentimes comes in the form of a pill, where no taste is involved. The decision needs to be based on effectiveness when determining which course of action to take while healing. For many, a little extra footwork and a bitter taste is well worth the positive outcome.
Herbal medicines are widely sold throughout the U.S. but are labeled as a supplement, where no prescription is needed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the usage or safety of the products. Used mostly in the states as a complementary medicine, it has yet to be used as a primary remedy for illness and disease, even though herbal medicine usually targets the root of the condition, rather than just treating the symptoms that accompany specific ailments.
As the healthcare crisis continues to complicate basic care, becoming an advocate for personal treatment is now more widespread. Instead of taking numerous prescriptions, some being prescribed to combat the side effects of other medications, it’s reassuring to discover that natural and time-tested options are available. How does herbal medicine begin to compete with Big Pharma? The answer lies in knowledge. Become familiar with basic herbs, and not just the ones that are perhaps in the kitchen pantry.
Jeffrey Green, MA, is an educator and freelance writer. Green’s studies have led him to the world of plant medicine and its many benefits. His work is centered on educating the public on alternative medicine. Green can be reached at 520-437-8855 or JGreenphduoa@gmail.com.