Another good question I have been asking myself! As I begin investing more of my free time (which is limited as any mama with a growing family will tell you!) into learning about herbalism I have been questioning why I want to become proficient in using herbs. Aside from a good excuse to be outside, or “owsi” as my toddler says, tinkering in my herb garden, here are a few reasons I came up with then fleshed out with information from those more knowledgeable than myself.
- Self- Sufficiency: This is by far the first reason that popped into my head. I love feeling confident and prepared to be able to help treat minor illnesses at home without having to run out to the drug store or doctor. Knowing what our bodies need and how to provide it to maintain health is a priceless skill to have in this age of toxins, artificial food, and depleted soil.
- Herbs work with your body to heal rather than simply covering up the symptoms. An excellent example, as described in The ABC Herbal is the fact that the common cold IS the cure, which is the reason that doctors have not found a cure for it yet! Most people want a feel-better-quick-fix which is why they stifle the sniffles. By looking at the cold as the cure, you can choose to give herbal remedies to support the immune system, using the unpleasant symptoms as a guide for what to use (i.e. focus on supporting the respiratory system, or the digestive system etc.)
- Herbs are natural. Obviously. You can’t get more natural than something plucked right out of the dirt! Many drugs, such as aspirin, are made from herbs & plants. The drug companies isolate the chemicals, tweak them until the molecules are unique, patent them, and sell them to us for a small fortune! Many drugs also have other artificial compounds added. Personally, I am grateful for modern medicine when it is a definite necessity, but for the most part I would like to be able to go back to the most natural form of the treatment that is effective!
- Herbs are cost effective; I love that herbs are accessible & inexpensive enough to be able to stock up on things that you might need to treat minor illnesses or use preventatively in the future, and I love that they will keep for such a long time when stored properly.
- There is less of a risk of negative side effects from herbs. Many website I researched, including Dr. Axe’s and livestrong.com confirmed that herbs are safer than prescription drugs, and generally have a lower chance of negative side effects. They are gentler on the body, and while that may mean they work slower, they also work safer.
These are just a few of the benefits of using herbs to maintain health and treat minor illness. However, like any medical treatment there can also be concerns. I will repeat this until I am blue in the face; I am not giving medical advice, and I am not advocating avoiding going to the doctor for concerns or stopping conventional medical treatment for problems.
In fact, next we will explore knowing your contraindications and wisely deciding when to treat with herbs and when to stick with conventional medicine.