Herbal medicine in the modern world

Since ancient times, people have been collecting plants for nutrition, health support and treatment of diseases.

Before the advent of synthetic drugs in the 19th century, people were treated with natural medicine. Many medicinal herbs are mentioned in the Bible, including hyssop, frankincense, myrrh, mint, aloe, garlic, cinnamon, and anise, all of which are used in modern herbal medicine.

According to some reports, up to 80% of the world’s population use herbal medicine to some extent. Medicinal herbs contain active substances that help a person not only in overcoming diseases, but also in preventing them. They certainly cannot replace traditional medical care: surgery or antibiotics for serious illnesses, but herbs play an important role in maintaining health. About 25% of all medicines owe their appearance to plants. For example, after studying the medicinal properties of the white willow, aspirin was developed, and the pain-relieving alkaloids codeine and morphine come from the poppy.

There are some diseases for which herbal medicines can replace or accompany the main medicines, but for this you need to consult your doctor. The right mix of herbs can help with chronic inflammatory conditions such as eczema and rheumatism, digestive, urinary and reproductive problems, as well as cardiovascular disease, infections, and immune support. Some herbs have a positive effect on mental disorders such as depression or neurosis and help improve memory.
An important advantage of herbal medicines is that there are fewer side effects compared to chemical drugs, and in many cases no side effects at all. A set of different active substances in herbs often balances their effect on the body.

It is often difficult to draw a clear line between edible and medicinal plants, such as oats and nettles. Each of these plants is used in food and is a medicine. About four hundred years before the birth of Christ, Hippocrates said the famous words: “Your food must be medicine, and your medicine must be food.” After all, it was not for nothing that God created the world so that a person could be treated with natural objects: eat useful plants, walk through the forest, meadows and mountains, drink clean water, breathe fresh air …

Artificial remedies can quickly create the desired effect, but natural remedies not only act on a specific disease – they support the entire body due to the many substances that make up one plant. For example, chamomile tinctures have a positive effect on both the stomach and the nervous system. Ginger treats both nausea and poor circulation at the same time. And there are many such examples. Some mushrooms also have medicinal properties, and bee products are also used.
In each medicinal plant, the highest concentration of nutrients is found in a certain part, for example, in a chamomile flower, nettle leaf, valerian root, ginger rhizome, celery seed and blueberry pulp. Sometimes different parts of the same plant are used to treat different organs or diseases, such as dandelion leaves for the kidneys, and roots for the liver. Other plants are used as a whole.

The easiest way to use fresh herbs is in the form of juice, tincture or tea.

For skin diseases, ointments, creams or compresses can be made from them. But in our modern world, not everyone can go for a walk in the forest or in the field and collect suitable herbs for themselves. It is important not to make a mistake in the choice of herbs, and to know at what time and under what natural conditions they can be collected.

It is impossible to analyze the active substances in the thousands of medicinal plants that are used in traditional medicine, but their effectiveness is increasingly confirmed by science over time. For example, many researchers have proven the therapeutic effect of gingko, St. John’s wort and milk thistle. In Germany, up to 40% of doctors prescribe natural medicines to their patients, such as ginkgo, to treat dementia, cognitive decline, and peripheral arterial disease.
In my opinion, the best scenario is when allopathic (mainstream) medicine works together with natural (complementary) medicine to achieve the most effective result. China, India and African countries have long used both types of treatment. Natural medicine is also very successful in Russia, Canada and Europe. In Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England and France, scientific research on medicinal herbs has been developed. The medicinal properties of native plants are also being studied in Australia.

There are a lot of medicinal herbs, among them there are those that, if used incorrectly, can do more harm than good. Therefore, it is recommended to first make an appointment with a professional herbalist (herbalist), who will select suitable herbs for the patient, and also indicate the correct dose.
I hope that the future of medicine will be based more and more on a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition.