Nov 16

To Herb Or Not To Herb?

Herbs have been the primary source of medicines for thousands of years.  Nearly every drug that medicos have created to date originated with an herbal formula that was then re-engineered by chemists into a man-made substance.   In fact it has only been in about the last 150 years that man-made pharmaceutical drugs have been used in lieu of herbs by even medical doctors.

To herb or not to herb?  That is a question that we need to answer for the sake of our own and our family’s health.

First let’s make sure that we are all talking about the same thing.  An herb in this case is any naturally occurring plant that can be used for curative or remedial purposes.  This includes most of what we call spices as well as many fruit and vegetables.  Herbs have concentrated chemicals that have an effect on the body.  The only difference between an herb and a spice is that you use spice to flavor your cooking and you use herbs to heal some adverse circumstance in the body.  Other than that they are pretty much the same plants.

A few years ago an MD told a friend of mine who was having an asthma attack “If you walk in here blue, I’m not going to mess around with garlic, I’m going to save your life.  When that’s done I will tell you that medical science knows too little about asthma to effect a cure without serious side effects and that you should see a homeopath or naturopath.

This doctor was making quite a bold statement.  It was made long enough ago that he could have had to endure serious consequences had the AMA regulators overheard him.

The patient did take the medical treatment and then did go directly to a homeopath.  That treatment also helped, but she actually became well when she took whole food and herbal products that cleared up the underlying factors that were bringing the asthma about.

But there are many, many cases of people who have used herbal remedies and whole food products without getting this kind of result – where people said afterward, that they should have gone to the MDs sooner.  So, what’s the deal?  How come some people have miracle cures with herbal remedies and others don’t?

I don’t believe that any herbal failures are the fault of the herbs and here’s why.

When you have a medical emergency and it is a true emergency, the ER staff don’t mess around.  They find out very quickly what’s going on.  It is the job of the triage staff to determine the priority that incoming patients are handled in.   If someone comes in bleeding or with chest pain that could be a heart attack, they go to the head of the triage line and there is probably no waiting for them at all, while another person may wait for hours.  This is a very critical step that the medicos have right.

They go all out and do whatever it takes.

While some of us may have different ideas about which medical procedures are good for you and which are not, I would not personally refuse a jolt from the defibulator if I was in cardiac arrest.  This is not about the procedures, it is about the viewpoint.  If you need to save someone’s life, you need to save someone’s life.

Once you have accomplished that you can then look at how to get their general health built up and to prevent further such occurrances.

But when was the last time you went to a natural doctor who went all out and gave you an enema, filled you with a ton of garlic and enough echinacea and vitamin C to kill a horse?  When have you ever had a natural doctor throw you into a bath tub filled with hot herbs while force feeding you strong herbal teas?

Personally, I know of only two natural doctors who operate in this manner. They are both known for having miracle cures.

Now I don’t mean to bad mouth my natural colleagues, but many practitioners in the natural health field are just not aggressive enough.  We tend to be nicer and gentler than some other folks. And this is fine when you are dealing with people who just need a bit of sorting out.

But the natural health community has another problem.  The fact is that most herbal remedies which can be easily purchased are too weak to really even be used in any but the most gentle of health programs.  They just don’t make these herbal formulas with enough bang.

There are a few manufacturers of whole food herbal remedies that do give their products quite a whollop.   The three herbal pharmacies that I know of which do produce high quality and high strength herbal remedies are American Botanical Pharmacy, Southern Botanicals (you can purchase from either of them on line or at their stores) and Mediherbs (distributed in the US exclusively by Standard Process.)

But you also need to have an herbologist or natural doctor who is willing and able to take the plunge when someone in their care has an urgent situation to handle that may take more than a gentle approach.

To herb or not to herb?  I say yes.  Herbs and whole foods are the answer to great health.  The dosage and strength of those remedies must be up to the job that they are being asked to do and the health practitioner must know his stuff in order to pull it off.



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