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The Power of Plants - Danielle Arsenault - TEDxAbbotsford

Herbs are metabolised easily by the body, especially the liver, unlike pharmaceutical drugs which interfere with digestion and liver function, creating toxicity and stress on many organs. The entire physiology is affected by pharmaceutical drugs. Even one tiny drop can create a systemic reaction.

I know this from personal experience!

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However, herbs are natural so it makes more sense to consider them for your health and wellness due to their affinity with the human physiology. Herbs have the ability to work on the root cause of the problem, rather than just treat you symptomatically as many pharmaceutical drugs do. Some medical practitioners may recommend a few common herbs to people but they are really only offering symptomatic relief through one herb rather than drawing upon therapeutic activities of the correct herbs and formulations.

Most pharmaceutical drugs have evolved through the powerful active constituents in herbs, something that surprises many people. This is where medicine began - through nature. However, there are no great profits to gain by using active constituents from herbs alone. Pharmaceutical companies realised this so, over time, as technology and scientific testing became more sophisticated, synthetic drugs were manufactured with the same or similar molecule structure to the original plant source.

This is where side effects occur. Nature, in her cleverness, has evolved a wide array of plants for healing many disorders.

The healing power of herbs

When the most powerful actives are removed from plants to create pharmaceutical drugs, other plant constituents were discarded. This is where imbalance arises. It is created by extracting the most potent constituent from plants like Meadowsweet and Willow Bark, called salicylate. However, a mucilaginous substance within these plants and tannins counteracts the irritant action of salicylate, thereby enabling someone to ingest this remedy the herb as a whole , over a period of time without any side effects.

When aspirin is ingested continually, it can irritate the stomach lining and contribute to bleeding. Both plants also contain tannins, which have an astringent action on the gut mucosa, generating toning and healing activity to the cells at a deep level. Aspirin also interferes with normal digestive acid and enzyme function, unlike the whole plant where its various parts work together synergistically and holistically. Herbalists spend from 30 months to three years studying the pharmacology, therapeutics and physio medicine of Western herbal medicine.

Constituents found in plants include alkaloids, tannins, astringent properties, glycosides, anthraquinones, resin, volatile oil, mucilage, saponins, triterpenoids, berberine, asparigin, phytosterol and bitter principles just to name a few.


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Herbalists and naturopaths have to understand how to formulate remedies and how such actives can work with the physiology of the body. This knowledge allows them to select the correct remedies for your health disorder.

So they need to know if you are taking any pharmaceutical drugs. Some may clash. So please tell your practitioner what you have been prescribed. It is often very frustrating for the patient when the medical doctor will not meet them halfway and even venture to discuss any remedies the naturopath or herbalist has prescribed.

Many natural medicine practitioners would be more than happy to share and discuss protocols if only medical practitioners were more open to alternative viewpoints.


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  • Many people I have spoken with over the years have felt intimidated and frustrated at what they see as narrow minded attitudes and prefer to pay for functional lab tests to assess their health status. After all, we all have freedom of choice! The inclusion of several herbs in a formula works far more efficiently in a synergistic way than just one single herb.

    9 Most Powerful Medicinal Plants and Herbs, Backed by Science

    It takes a few years of training to understand the actives in a wide range of herbs. Western herbalists refer to the Materia Medica, which contains A-Z of all herbs used over hundreds of years. Some may be extinct now but records have been handed down and recorded, as with Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines.

    It is so important to formulate the correct herbs for the disorder being treated and to ascertain the correct dosage.

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    This is where some formulas will succeed against others. You may be given herbs in a millilitre or drop dosage - it really depends on the practitioner you see and their training. Don't know where to find Taste for Life magazine? Click here! This site features images licensed from Dreamstime. Visit the Taste for Life archives! Read our monthly print editions online. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Skip to main content. Search form Search.

    Pharmaceutical Medicine vs. Natural Medicine In recent years, the call for "evidence-based" medicine has been widespread in medical circles and in the media, creating the impression that drugs have better scientific evidence than natural products for safety and efficacy. Health Risks and Side Effects of Pharmaceuticals According to a survey published this year, prescription drugs were the underlying cause of 25, deaths in alone. Yet what are the hidden costs of such widespread use? Pharmaceutical residues in sewer systems affect our water supply, impacting wildlife as well as humans.

    It's often difficult to measure these subtle effects using modern clinical research models. Many scientific studies are destined to fail because of poor design by scientists or physicians who have little or no clinical or professional experience with herbs and natural remedies. Herbal and other dietary supplements often provide benefits that develop over time, in many cases putting them beyond the scope of expensive clinical trials. For example, andrographis and elderberry for fighting colds and flu, as well as butterbur extract for relieving migraine pain, have positive research results to their credit.

    Natural Remedies for Respiratory Discomfort Respiratory tract infections are so common that every person in the United States has, on average, about 2. The Drawbacks of Pharmaceutical Use for Respiratory Illness Although no "cure" for the common cold or influenza virus has been found, patients still take several drugs to try and reduce unpleasant symptoms including coughs, fatigue, fever, and runny or stuffed sinuses.

    Antihistamines Have Side Effects Antihistamines can cause drowsiness, lack of mental clarity, jitters or anxiety, over drying of the sinuses, and increased risk of a more serious sinus infection. Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu Relief Current clinical human studies show that herbs like andrographis and elderberry have antiflu effects, and these herbs have also been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and European medicine to relieve symptoms of cold and flu. Traditional Decongestant Herbs Traditional decongestant herbs like xanthium fruit , yerba santa , platycodon , and peppermint are effective for opening airways and reducing stuffiness that often accompanies a cold or flu, without drying or drowsiness.

    Herbal Antibiotics Antibiotic herbs, like coptis and oregano oil , can help reduce secondary bacterial infections that often accompany colds and flu. Natural Remedies for Pain Management We all experience discomfort to some degree, with the most common pain—headache—suffered by 96 percent of the population at some time in their lives. Corydalis for Pain Relief Corydalis is a small underground stem related to the poppy family used in China for at least 2, years to help remove blood stasis and relieve pain.

    Calm and Soothe Pain with California Poppy California poppy is also popular in European clinical practice for its calming and pain-reducing properties. You Might Also Like Quell Coughing with Herbs. The Power of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Nutrition to Fight Inflammation.