Herbs are important to over all in health. In Asia, older herbs are consistently used to help aid, and in Europe, they have found their way into mainline medicine. Many herbs are prescribed before synthetic drugs. This change recognizes the value of herbal medicine when used in concert with Western medicine.
Just because an herb is natural does not mean it is safe though and this is why it is imperative to have professional guidance in use of herbs for daily life and issues. Some herbs can be toxic if used in excess or long duration and some herbs can also have bad counter reactions with synthetic drugs. A Holistic Integrative Specialist trained in healthcare is the best person to guide you through the multitude of herbs.
While there are many acute diseases such as cancer that individuals have and lead them to alternative treatments, many look to herbs for basic cures for everyday issues. Herbs when used properly can help alleviate issues without the negative side effects. However, this is usually best for mild cases. When more severe issues arise, doctors and physicians or mental health experts usually turn to synthetic drugs.
Herbs also prove to be excellent for overall health. They can help the body over time be stronger and more resistant to certain conditions as well as treat the entirety of the body. Instead of treating one symptom, herbs can look for the cause and help the overall body from a holistic view.
A holistic view that looks at the overall function does not need to be at odds with Western medicine but can be interwoven with each other. Both are equally important in what they bring to the table. Western Medication utilizes a variety of synthetic drugs and procedures that sometimes can be evasive and produce side effects but in many extreme cases, these more severe responses are key, but this does not mean, less evasive and more holistic practices can be utilized.
Chinese medicine sees health as balance. Yin and Yang when mismatched or imbalanced causes illness. Balancing the inner body’s energy and functions is key. This can be accomplished via herbs, or other alternative practices, including acupuncture or massage. In addition, Ayurvedic medicine of India looks not just to eliminate symptoms but to restore balance to the body and treat the entirety of mind body and spirit. This philosophy is indeed correct. Balance of body systems and finding root causes of issues is critical for long term health.
With these things in mind, this blog will look at a few herbs that can help with basic issues. Again, these herbs are best used for mild conditions and always under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Self treating and utilizing herbs without direction can be dangerous and lead to side effects if on other medications. It can also cause issues if uses too much or too little over a certain period of time. Some herbs require strict adherence to when to take it and how long to take it , as well as if to take it with food or not. Hence it is important to remember that when utilizing herbs, one listen and follow directions to achieve maximum results and safety.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental issues. Anxiety is due to stress but is an over reaction to stress. It can exist also when the stressor is no longer present and cause worry and fear when no issues exist. Most Western doctors may prescribe a variety anti depressants such as Luvox, Prozac or Zoloft. Others may prescribe benzodiazepines. Overprescription of these drugs for mild anxiety is unfortunate when herbs that are more holistic and mild on the body exist.
Kava is the natural anxiety reliever. Kava reduces anxiety, improves functioning and has no addictive properties. Most take 100 to 250 mg three times daily to deal with anxiety, however long term use of Kava can is not good for the body. Kava should not be combined with any benzodiazepines. This natural remedy derived from the Pepper Trees of Fiji and South Pacific Islands should be the first choice for mild anxiety before any hard synthetic medications.
Hypericum or St John’s Wort is another effective herb against anxiety and as well as depression. Again, when utilized for mild episodes, this herb can prove to be beneficial but should only be applied under professional supervision. This herb possesses at its very substance extracts that can enhance three neurotransmitters in the brain, namely serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. It also lowers cortisol. The herb takes 4 to 6 weeks to start to take effect and any lowering of doses on synthetic drugs should be withdrawn only at the supervision of a healthcare professional as one looks to replace synthetic with herbal treatment.
Anxiety creates a tense state. It causes the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and cortisol which in turns increases blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. These reactions are necessary during fight or flight but can cause long term issues. Activating a calmer state, or the para sympathetic nervous system is key. Hence, many look to sedative to find a more relaxed state. The herb Valerian plays a key role in helping people find that natural relaxed states without the synthetic side effects. Valerian Can help one sleep, reduce anxiety and nightmares and reduce the need of sleeping pills. Chamomile also like Valerian can help one find relaxation and sleep and is commonly used as a tea.
Chronic stress kills and those seeking a better life style against stress look to a variety of ways to negate its negative effects. Meditation and other stress management strategies are important but also herbs can play a key role in helping manage stress and strengthening the body. Adaptogens are types of herbs that can help the body fight chronic stress and maintain overall health that stress eventually deteriorates. As an Adaptogens, herbs must meet three requirements. First, they must be harmless over long term use. Second, they must increase resistance to stress and third, it increases mental and physical performance. It helps balance give overall holistic health.
Fitting this description is Ginseng. Ginseng has a long time reputation for anti aging. Ginseng is also key in improving oxygen and blood sugar metabolism and immune function. Ginseng also helps lower cholesterol and can help prevent heart attacks. It helps stimulate the adrenal gland and cortisol functions that are burned out due to stress. Ginseng hence is not good for those suffering from anxiety. Asian Ginseng is the strongest of the Ginsengs are recommended for older individuals, while American Ginseng is meant for younger individuals who are over worked or burned out. American Ginseng is considered “cooler” on the body.
Aging is an issue for everyone. Organs and physical functions cease to work as well as we get older but herbs can play a key role. Ginseng as shown plays a role in helping one age, but also in Chinese medicine, Ginkgo. Ginkgo is derived from some of the oldest trees on earth remaining unchanged in China for thousands of years. Ginkgo helps blood flow to the brain and has many properties that help the restore functions to the nervous system. Studies have shown it help minimize effects of Alzheimer Disease. Ginkgo hence is great for the mind and memory.
A holistic view on life with herbs and other alternative practices is becoming more mainstream everyday. Double blind studies have been done with all the herbs discussed above with promising conclusions. The history of these herbs have never been doubted but when tested via empirical scientific methods, they still prove the test of time. They, as in Europe, should be utilized more in the United States. Western medicine should not feel threatened by alternative health views or application of other herbs or strategies. They can only complement Western medicine and help for a better fullness of life for all.
If you would like to learn more about holistic medicine or would like to earn a Holistic Integrative Specialist Certification, then please review the program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as Holistic Integrative Specialist. Most who enter are nurses or healthcare professionals who look to harmonize Eastern and Western ideals in medicine and help others make wise choices in utilizing the benefits of Holistic Medicine.
It is extremely important to find trained healthcare professionals in this field to help guide individuals who are seeking cures or better ways of life through herbs or other alternative therapies. Guidance is key to protect the patient and give them the proper and professional guidance in understanding how these herbs work in unison with Western methods.
To learn more, please review these articles
Please review AIHCP’s Video on Holistic Nursing
Please review the article from Health Line on Kava Kava
Please review the article from Nourish by WebMD on Ginseng