Over 40% of the US Population Now Uses Herbal Remedies
The National Institutes for Health reports that about 40% of Americans now use herbal remedies for illness. Why the switch back to natural medicines?
- People cannot afford to access medical care.
- Prescription drugs are sometimes quite expensive to obtain.
- People are interested in returning to a more natural way of treating illness and disease.
- Herbal remedies can work to better your health without the often harsh side effects of prescription drugs.
- Nearly half of the drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration come from herbs and plants anyway.
I’ve used herbal remedies for illness for many years, along with essential oils. In fact, when we travel, we always take some useful herbal and essential oils with us, and from those we can solve most any health problem that arises while we are away from home.
Are Herbal Remedies for Illness Always Better Than Prescription Drugs?
I would never take the attitude that all prescription drugs are to be avoided. They do often have harsh side effects that we should not ignore, but sometimes a prescription drug is what it takes to get you back to better health. If your doctor prescribes a prescription, ask for the lowest dose she feels is effective, and for the shortest period of time. Ask about side effects. And prompt your doctor to become more knowledgable about herbal remedies by asking if an herbal or an essential oil could substitute for the prescription. Since doctors today are not trained in the use of herbal remedies, the answer might be no – but ask, anyway. Let your doctor know that you want to use herbals if possible, and push your doctor to become more educated.
Why Does Western Medicine Look Down on Using Herbal Remedies for Illness?
In an article by Michael Edwards, a Board Certified Health Educator in Melbourne, Florida, Western medicine turned against herbalists and other healers in the early 1900’s. Here’s what Mr. Edward’s article says:
In the early 1900s, the American Medical Association (AMA) was reformed following the 1910 publication of the Flexner Report. The Flexner Report, supported by the AMA, facilitated new educational standards for medical schools. As a result, the AMA strictly excluded herbalists, homeopaths and Native American doctors from joining. Healers who had existed for centuries were now outcasts from this newly-formed organization. The AMA continues to use the work “quackery” when discussing herbs and tonics.
Sadly, all these years later, Western medicine continues to frown upon what it knows little about. There are signs of change, however, in some medical practices. Some primary care physicians are now offering herbs and essential oils through their own practices. Others are prescribing using herbal remedies for illness outright. We can encourage this trend by always asking, and by seeking out medical practitioners who are open to natural healing methods.
- My own primary care physician recommends dark chocolate as the best cough suppressant, and is reluctant to prescribe cough medicines that contain codeine. Besides the drowsiness that can occur, cough medicines can raise blood pressure.
- One of the surgeons we have used prescribed both bromelain and the homeopathic arnica to reduce swelling and bruising after surgery. Bromelain (an enzyme from pineapple) reduces swelling. Arnica is commonly used to reduce bruising. This same surgeon asked us to eat fresh pineapple and high protein in order to facilitate healing.
Common Herbal Remedies
If you decide that using herbal remedies for illness is for you, make sure to let your primary care provider know what you are doing. Here’s a list of some herbal and essential oils, and some of their uses. Make sure to do your own research and educate yourself about herbals and essential oils. And make sure that what you are using is pure, and high quality as it makes a difference in effectiveness.
- Lemon, lime, orange and pink grapefruit essential oils (EOs) elevated mood.
- Helichrysum helps skin health
- Lavender (lavandula angustifolia) has been used to help heal burns for many years. It’s also calming.
- Clove bud (eugenia caryophyllata) is effective for minor aches and pains.
- Eucalyptus can help clear the sinuses.
- Tea Tree is a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. It is sometimes used in hand sanitizer.
There are many more essential oils and EO blends that are so useful. We use a blend from Nature’s Sunshine called Breath Deep for colds and sinus congestion. We also use another Nature’s Sunshine blend, Essential Shield, to help prevent catching things like colds and flu. We’ve personally used Nature’s Sunshine herbs and essential oils for over 20 years, knowing they are very high quality and effective from our own personal use and experiences.
There are hundreds of herbal remedies available, and the cool thing is that herbals are preventative and curative (essential oils are, as well). What does this mean? It means that they can be used to both prevent ill health and to help cure ill health.
- Garlic helps protect your heart by preventing the buildup of cholesterol
- Red Yeast Rice may also help prevent cholesterol without the side effects of statin drugs
- Ginger can be used for arthritis pain and for irritable bowel syndrome
- Echinacea is a natural way to help yourself heal from cold or flu.
- Milk thistle can be used to help with liver issues.
These are just a few of the herbs that will help you maintain health and cure disease. It’s your responsibility to inform yourself, just as you would do when taking prescription medications.
- Make sure to do your own research and educate yourself about herbals and essential oils.
- Make sure that what you are using is pure, and high quality as it makes a difference in effectiveness.
- Make sure to involve your primary care provider, and push past their lack of knowledge – ask them to become knowledgable and help you incorporate natural remedies.
For solid education and for high quality, tested herbals and essential oils I use and recommend Nature’s Sunshine (this is my own affiliate link). We have personally been taking Nature’s Sunshine products for many years, but more than that, they are a reputable company that tests everything they put in their products. You can read more and order some of the remedies I’ve mentioned on their website.
Learning about and using herbal remedies for illness is one way to be in control and responsible for your own life and health.