Chinese Medicine & Herbalists
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User Guide To Chinese Medicine & Herbalists
Chinese Medicine and Herbalists
As the name would suggest herbal medicine uses natural plants and herb extracts to treat a number of illnesses. Depending on the disease being treated the herbalist can also use products derived from minerals, animal parts or fungus.
It has been noted that a number of plants or herbs used by herbalists have the same basic structure as drugs used in conventional medicine. The use of herbs and plants has been practiced by humans for thousands of years in civilizations such as the ancient Egyptians and Chinese.
The use of herbs to treat illnesses has been long observed in animals that change their diet when sick and eat plants or herbs that they normally would not. These plants and herbs contain various antiviral and antibacterial substances that can assist the body in fighting off an infection or disease.
How Does Herbal Medicine Work
Herbal therapies take advantage of chemicals that are naturally found in plants and weeds. These chemicals are produced by the plants for a number of reasons such as protection against bacteria or fungus attacks or to attract insects for pollination.
Depending on the type of herbal therapy being practiced the plants used and their preparation methods can vary. Herbalists refer to books such as the Chinese "Shennong Bencao Jing" which was compiled in the Han Dynasty and is updated according to the times. Unlike traditional medicine which isolates (and often modifies) a single ingredient or molecule, herbalists will often use entire plant parts such as the leaves or roots. They will also use a variety of plants or herbs so that the active ingredients found in each plant will interact and boost the effectiveness of the treatment while reducing its toxicity.
Herbal treatments may, over a period of time, not only treat the disease but also help to build the body's natural defenses and reduce the chance of the illness resurfacing.
Benefits of Herbal Treatments
Some example herbal treatments might be things such as:
- People suffering from allergies may be able to benefit from the natural anti-histamine found in a number of plants.
- Herbal treatments can be used to aid weight loss with plants that naturally suppress appetite.
Before starting an herbal treatment ensure that:
- The herbalist is associated with organizations such as The Natural Herbalist Association of Australia.
- The disease or illness is not of immediate fatal danger as herbal medicines usually need time to cure patients.
- You check with your licensed medical practitioner to ensure that there are no adverse effects from the suggested herbs.