“Let food be your Medicine and Medicine your Food” Hippocrates
What is herbal Medicine?
Herbal Medicine is the use of botanical extracts and plants in the treatment and prevention of illness. It is the oldest form of medicine known.
The use of herbal remedies may help restore the body’s balance, thus enabling it to mobilise its own healing powers. Specific herbs can tone, nourish and detoxify specific organs, organ systems and improve circulation, thus allowing waste products to be eliminated more effectively and increase the amount of healing into needed areas.
How does herbal medicine actually work?
All foods and plants (basically anything that grows) contain chemicals. And when you ingest plants, your body breaks the plant material down, using everything from saliva to digestive juices, and then your body assimilates these various chemicals.
One of the reasons that we eat food is, for our body to assimilate the phyto-chemical nutrients from the plant. Nutrients that sustain life, like vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, protein, fat, carbohydrates, etc. Without plant nutritional chemicals, we couldn’t survive.
Herbs are also foods, but usually people don’t consume them for food, as they taste stronger. Of course sometimes we do, like nettles, artichokes, dandelion, burdock, etc. These stronger tasting plants taste stronger because they have stronger chemicals in them. This is one way that nature protects us and tells us the difference between food and medicine–raspberries taste great, digitalis does not.
When we ingest these medicinal herbs, the same way as food, we breakdown the plant and assimilate the chemistry in the plant. But, with many herbs it is these stronger medicinal chemicals that we assimilate, instead of nutrients.
So when we consume medicinal herbs by just chewing them or using herbal teas, tablets, capsules or liquid extracts (like tinctures and tonics), instead of nutrition, we assimilate the medicinal plant chemicals or phyto-chemical medicines. Herbal medicine is basic chemistry.