The use of Herbal medicines has been growing over the last decade. People across are tending towards alternative medicine or herbal medicine. A tremendous public interest in natural therapies has come up in the recent few years in both developed & developing countries.
Nearly 80% of the world’s population living in both are somehow practising herbal medicines & therapies. Primarily called alternative medicine, herbal medicines are now becoming mainstream treatment in countries like the UK, Australia, and the USA.
In India, Ayurveda has always been an integral part of its culture. For Thousands of years, Ayurveda has miraculously served the Indus people and today it serves across the seas. But how reliable are herbal medicines? But first, let us know what herbal remedies actually are.
What are Herbal Remedies?
Herbal Medicines are nothing but plant extracts such as fruits, leaves, roots, stems, etc. These medicines are used in order to treat several health ailments & diseases. It boosts immunity and prevents many diseases in the body. In the case of general health benefits, regular use of herbal supplements boosts that too. Herbal medicines have a history in all the ancient countries across the world. India has a detailed history of Ayurveda and its uses in deadly diseases such as cancer, sugar, arthritis, etc. These medicines can interact with traditional medicines or pharmaceutical medicines. As these are powerful and potent, you must use them with some level of precautions.
Active Ingredients & Herbal Remedies:
Herbal remedies or medicines contain active ingredients in their complex compositions. Experts in herbal medicines still are figuring out the active ingredients of many herbal remedies. Some pharmaceuticals contain only one active ingredient. Many believe that only one ingredient reduces its effects on certain diseases. Isolation makes it less safe also. See the below given example.
Salicylic acid is found in the Meadowsweet plant. This acid is used for making aspirin. Aspirin can cause bleeding from the stomach lining as it has acidic properties. But the Meadowsweet plant contains other compounds that prevent this effect of the acid. Global herbal practitioners believe that the whole plant is better than its parts.
Medicinal Uses of Specific Herbs:
Herbal medicines aim to return the body to its original healthy state. This state keeps your body in natural balance so that the body starts healing itself only. Herbal remedies or medicines improve the body’s healing factor and strengthen different parts and several systems of the body.
Some very common medicines that practitioners use in herbal remedies are as follows.
It reduces the cholesterol level in the blood and reduces the extra fat in our body. Also, the antiviral & antibiotic properties of garlic help to fight respiratory diseases such as cold.
Ashwagandha helps in managing your stress level. Also, it reduces cortisol levels in your body. Ashwagandha is very beneficial in reducing anxiety, and improving muscle memory, and sleep quality.
Triphala effectively reduces inflammation, constipation, abdominal pain, and bowel movement in people with gut issues.
Turmeric is probably the most useful Ayurvedic herb of all time. It has powerful antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties. It gives you a natural glow on your face, heals wounds, improves blood flow, develops immunity against common ailments, etc.
5. Licorice Root:
Licorice is good for reducing inflammation and fighting viruses & bacteria. Experts suggest it in getting relief from sore throat & promoting oral health. It is also helpful in heartburn, bloating, nausea, belching, stomach ulcers, skin rashes, redness, and swelling.
Cardamom is famous as the queen of spices. It is helpful in reducing blood pressure, preventing stomach ulcers, and even increasing the oxygen level in organs during exercise.
Are Herbal Remedies 100% Safe?
Herbal medicines are not medicines but natural supplements. They are dietary supplements and this leads to a misconception that herbal means safety. However you must know some truth about these herbal remedies.
As natural herbs are not medicines, these are not regulated like medicines. There are no rigid tests to prove their legitimacy. They may not work as per claim and there is no authority over them to control them. The herbal medicines may not write the correct composition of their ingredients. Also, there may be some missing ingredients on the list.
Herbal treatments are around us for thousands of years. Mankind across the globe has been using it. This makes a perception that natural means safe. Although it seems very appealing, it may not be true in all cases. Especially when you are already on drugs/medicines. Some herbal medicines can react with medicines and become toxic to the body. Below are some examples.
– Kava is an herb that is effective in reducing anxiety, symptoms of menopause, insomnia, and others. But KAVA is also harmful to the liver. It can damage them severely.
– Many Ayurvedic medicines contain metals in them which can damage our body functioning if used casually.
How to Use Herbal Remedies Safely?
Herbal medicines are surely worth giving a shot. However, you must be smart enough to understand that all of these are not safe. You must not consume any Ayurvedic or herbal medicine without consulting an expert or your doctor. Here are some smart actions that you can take before consuming any herbal medication.
– Be aware of false claims. There are no miracle pills. If you see something too good to be true, be aware.
– Real-life stories may have inspired you but don’t expect to obtain the same results.
– Before trying any product, ask your doctor or the expert, or the provider himself.
– Buy authorized medicines only.
– Pregnant & breastfeeding women must take extra care while using herbal remedies.
– You must not use any herbal medicines in case of surgery.
Herbal medicines have been there for thousands of years. It has a long powerful history right from each ancient civilization. During medieval times when modern medicine practices grew, people forgot about herbal treatments. However, in recent decades, the whole world is going back to natural therapies and medicines. But are they all safe? In this blog, we have discussed herbal remedies, their effects & side effects, and precautions you must take before using them.