Herbalism, or the use of plants and herbs for medicinal purposes, is both the oldest and newest kind of healthcare. Used by ancient cultures like those of Greece and China, today this holistic approach to medicine is viewed as the safer and more environmentally-conscious alternative to synthetic drugs churned out by the pharmaceutical industry, commonly referred to as Big Pharma.
People seek out herbal remedies for many reasons, ranging from prevention to care for common ailments, and even as a substitute for prescription medications like pain relievers and anti-depressants that have dangerous side effects and can be highly addictive.
One way to incorporate herbs or plant-based medicine into your diet and health routine is by taking herbal supplements, often in the form of powders or capsules. These can be purchased online, at specialty stores, and some can be found in regular grocery and drug stores. Common examples include echinacea to reduce cold symptoms and ginger to ease nausea. While traditionally delivered as tinctures and powders, both now come in pill form, and ginger is even available candied. Garlic is used to treat cholesterol, liver disease, and mild infections, while St. John’s Wort acts as a natural mood stabilizer for people suffering from stress, anxiety, and even depression.
Herbal cigarettes are popular as a tobacco cessation aid and an alternative to using real cigarettes, but ingesting herbs through inhalation was used by Native Americans and in traditional Indian, or Ayurvedic, medicine for respiratory and lung health as well as to treat digestive issues. Inhalation was used in Ayurvedic medicine as a way to deliver the healing benefits of an herb directly without having to go through the stomach. Native Americans used mullein to treat coughs and other respiratory issues, and today can be found in organic and safe cigarettes along with ingredients like Gotu kola, an Indonesian remedy known to promote mental clarity and calm. There are tons of teas and herbs designed to medicate and help you relax as you inhale each herb for faster effects than a pill or drink, plus you can wrap these plants in a hemp wrap to make sure the entire cigarette is organic inside and out.
Another ancient form of ancient medicine that is still used today is that of the infusion – straining herbs through hot water – or, as it is more commonly known, herbal tea. Herbal teas can be made with herbs, spices, fruits, and other ingredients to create specialized blends for specific ailments. Many organic, healing varieties of medicinal tea can be found at local grocers as well as specialty shops and have benefits ranging from the preventative to the curative. Rosehip and Rooibos teas are high in vitamin C and anti-oxidants, while chamomile and lavender teas aid in the treatment of insomnia and panic disorders, and can even help ease the symptoms of a panic attack.
In the midst of the growing opioid epidemic in the United States, increasing numbers of prescriptions for anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, and the potential dangers of manufactured drugs, it is no wonder so many people are turning to methods of healthcare that have been around for thousands of years. Even medicines like aspirin have safer alternatives; meadowsweet contains both the salicylic acid that makes aspirin so effective (and damaging to the stomach), as well as tannin and mucilage which protect the stomach lining from the acid’s negative side-effects. Herb-infused supplements, cigarettes, and teas can be used by those who are battling ongoing diseases, everyday illnesses, or anyone who wants to be more health-conscious.
Herb-infused supplements, cigarettes, and teas can be used by those who are battling ongoing diseases, everyday illnesses, or anyone who wants to be more health-conscious.