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HERBAL REMEDIES

Benefits, Precautions and


Research Information

What is so great about herbal remedies?


Herbal remedies have been used for centuries!
Ancient doctors/healers collected information about herbs and developed
well-defined pharmacopoeias to treat a variety of ailments (HSW, 2007).
According to Dr. Weil, Since ancient times, herbal medicine has been used
by many different cultures throughout the world to treat illness and to
assist bodily functions (Weil, 2014).
Written records describing use of plants for medical purposes date back to
3000 b.c. and the same uses have been utilized all over the world.
Did you know that More than a quarter of all drugs used today contain
active ingredients derived from those same ancient plants? (HSW, 2007)

How can herbal remedies help us?


Herbal medicine has been used to treat or alleviate almost every
possible medical condition, for example:

Aloe for burns


Echinacea for colds/flu
Garlic to reduce cholesterol & blood pressure
Ginkgo for circulation and brain activity
Ginseng for energy
Peppermint for nausea and digestive problems
St. Johns Wort for depression and anxiety
Tea Tree oil for fungal infections
Valerian for sleeping problems

What do I need to know before


using herbal remedies?
Even though herbs come from nature, that does not mean they
are safe for everyone and every situation.
Herbal supplements are classified as dietary supplements and are not
tested to prove they are safe and effective.
There is no regulation for manufacturing either. You should look for
GMP on the package which indicates they follow the World Health
Organization recommendations for good manufacturing practices.
Some herbal supplements, especially those imported from Asian
countries, may contain high levels of heavy metals, including lead,
mercury, and cadmium. It is important to purchase herbal supplements
from reputable manufacturers to ensure quality (UMMC, 2014).

Are there any risks in using herbal remedies?


Used correctly, herbs can help treat a variety of conditions,
and in some cases, may have fewer side effects than some
conventional medications.
But because they are unregulated, herbal products are often
mislabeled and may contain additives and contaminants that
arent listed on the label.
Some herbs may cause allergic reactions or interact with
conventional drugs, and some are toxic if used improperly or
at high doses.
Taking herbs on your own increases your risk, so it is
important to consult with your doctor or pharmacist before
taking herbal medicines.
(UMMC, 2014)

Who can help me decide if herbal


remedies are right for me?
Herbalists, chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, pharmacists,
medical doctors, and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine
all may use herbs to treat illness.
For additional information, or to locate an experienced herbalist in
your area, contact the American Herbalists Guild (AHG) at site at
www.americanherbalistguild.com.
To located a licensed naturopath in your area, call the American
Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) at
www.naturopathic.org.

Additional information on herbal remedies:


Mayo Clinic is a respected resource:
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthyeating/in-depth/herbal-supplements/art-20046714
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
(NCCAM) offers an at a glance link:
http://nccam.nih.gov/health/herbsataglance.htm
National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements:
http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/BotanicalBackgroundHealthProfessional/
WebMD has information on drugs and supplements including
interactions: http://www.webmd.com

References:
How Stuff Works! (2007). Herbal Remedies. Retrieved from
http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/herbalremedies/herbal-remedies.htm
University of Maryland Medical Center. (2014). Health Information:
Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide. Retrieved from
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/herbal-medicine
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/herbal-medicine
Weil, A. M.D. (2014). Balanced Living: Herbal Medicine. Retrieved
from http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00469/Herbal-BotanicalMedicine-Dr-Weils-Wellness-Therapies.html