Herbology

Do you believe in the power of Mother Nature's pharmacy?

Herbology applies herbs to a person's body for medicinal purposes. A huge number of medications and drugs have been developed through the study of plants and their essences.

The health effects of some herbs are very well established, and there is good reason to believe that, among the ones that have not been exhaustively studied, more remedies are still to be found. Take the herb peppermint, for example: many doctors and registered nutritionists will tell a patient to drink peppermint tea for digestion following a meal. The same is said for a bit of ginger root made into a tea. Herbology remains a very effective alternative therapy for many; however, it's an area of health management that deserves continued research and development because there are likely many more natural remedies that we are not taking advantage of.

Many herbs do have real effects on the body and mind - for example chamomile is known to help with stress relief and also to be a good sleep aid. The problems arise in the absence of conclusive studies: the purported benefits of many herbs are unproven, and some may even be dangerous. Many patients feel it is safe to self-prescribe, sometimes putting their health at risk. As well, producers of herbal remedies don't face the same rigorous regulation of dosage levels and quality. The end result is a situation where people around the world are ingesting things they know little about, the effects of which are difficult to foretell. For every person who benefits from herbal remedies, there may be half a dozen who are hurting themselves. Basically the onus is put on you!

The principles underpinning herbology are very good: plants are medicines from Mother Nature's pharmacy. This reasoning explains the fears surrounding the depletion of the earth's rainforests - that we may be losing plants which could be the key to cures for many of our unsolved illnesses. But every consumer should approach herbology, and any other treatment, with a healthy dose of skepticism. If you wouldn't pop a pill handed to you on a street corner, you shouldn't take an herbal remedy without first thoroughly researching its effects and the source of the substance.

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