The use of plants to support the body’s healing process goes back thousands of years. It is consistently one of the gentlest, safest and most supportive healing modalities available.
Herbs in their natural state have many properties that are beneficial to us. Plants contain many naturally occurring nutrients and chemicals. They tend to balance the body, to bring a physiological function back into equilibrium with the rest of the body. Unlike isolated chemicals, plants in their whole form have many substances. Herbs typically contain a few primary chemical substances, some secondary substances and some nutrients. The primary substances account for the predominant actions of the herb, while the secondary substances regulate and modify their effects. The nutrients also help to enhance the activity of the herb. Together, all of this accounts for the reduced negative side-effects seen with herbal medicine compared to drug therapies.
Herbal medicines often work indirectly to support a physiological function, that has a flow-on effect for the rest of the body. An example is herbs with bitter qualities often prescribed for digestive complaints. Many people are familiar with Dandelion for this purpose. The bitterness increases digestive acids and enzymes; this enhances the ability to digest foods so symptoms such as bloating and constipation improve. Then because digestion and regularity is better, the body can detoxify more efficiently so skin breakouts and hormonal irregularities improve. Also because nutrient absorption has increased, energy levels and mental clarity increase. Then because the person feels lighter, clearer and more energetic, their mood lifts as well. This is a simple example of how herbal medicine has a balancing and supportive effect on the body; how everything in the body is interconnected; and how a herbal prescription can have multiple beneficial effects.