Every culture in the world throughout history has utilized herbs for both healing and food. In Oriental medicine, where the use of herbs is part of the complete approach to health and healing, herbal formulas were written as long ago as 200 B.C.,…
and are still seen as one of its major therapeutic modalities, which include acupuncture, nutrition and exercise, all individualized for the patient. The foundation for use of herbs was based on the philosophy that health and illness are natural phenomena that need to be investigated and observed, and then treated based on what is observed clinically.
While many herbs are relatively safe for general use, we must remember that herbs and food are medicine. As with any medicine, not all herbs are good for all people. Many common herbs have potential side effects, including wonderful herbs such as turmeric and ginger. Combinations of herbs can cause serious side effects and some may interfere with the effectiveness of Western medications as well.
We utilize herbs such as spices in our daily cooking and may not give any thought to their medicinal value, but under appropriate guidance those same herbs can also be used to treat many illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, common cold, skin diseases, acne, digestive disorders, allergies and pain.
For almost all Western drugs there are herbs or herbal formulas that may be substituted with fewer side effects. The best way to utilize herbs is to work with an herbalist, acupuncturist or naturopath. Extreme caution should be used in assuming that an herb is “good for you” because it has been recognized as having potential for curing or protecting against a disease. Always purchase herbs from a trained herbalist and proceed with caution when taking prescription medications.
Patti Carey is a licensed acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and the owner of Patti Carey, L.Ac., located in Plano. For more information, call 972- 704-3730 or visit PattiCareyLAC.com.