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Friday, November 26, 2010

Why use herbal and home remedies to cure and how to use these remedies effectively?

Using herbal or home remedies might be due to these reasons:

High cost of prescription medication, not having health insurance or severe side effects. Whatever reason may be, there are alternative and herbal options for almost any ailment you may have. Still you need to learn more about the effective use of herbal or home remedies. This article offers useful tips and ideas to use herbal and home remedies to get cure and better results.

Not all herbal remedies work the same for everyone though. Sometimes this is just due to differences in body chemistry. Just as you can be allergic to some types of food and prescription medications while others are not, you can have or not have a response to herbs that others do not.

Often though, the primary problem encountered when using medicinal herbs for health problems, is wrong uses. Many people for instance, will buy herbs and supplements based on savvy product packaging, advertising and marketing. Many hard pill tablets for instance, will have some herbs in them, but that's not all. Those pills often have many other miscellaneous ingredients in them which can counter-effect the herbs. And in many cases, the pills only have a small amount of actual herb in them: Too small an amount to be of any use.

Hard pill tablets don't dissolve well in water or our bodies, so they're not able to be mixed up into tea, poultice or salve form. And if they're too hard to mix into these forms, they're not likely to be dissolved well inside our bodies either, thus they won't do us much good when taking them. If the pills also have very little actual herbal content in them, they're also of little use for medicinal means.

So the first step in learning to use medicinal herbs for yourself or your family, is to learn to buy true 100% herbs. The best kind are those which come in gelatin capsules, and have the ground herb inside them. These can be opened up and the herb powder poured out, or simply dropped into a mixture and after a few minutes the gelcap will dissolve, leaving just the powdered herb.

Part of learning how to buy herbs involves becoming adept at reading the labels. There are many products on the market today which appear to be one thing, when closely looking at the label tells you there's more to the picture.

Reading the labels will also help you understand dosage needs too. Since herbs are sold as food supplements only in the United States, there are no medicinal related dosage instructions on them. Part of learning to use medicinal herbs for medical purposes involves learning which dosages work best for which problems.

Herbs can come in many different dosage amounts too. If you're constipated and decide to take some Alfalfa or Chlorophyll to relieve the problem, you'll have drastically different results if you're taking 60mg instead of 600mg. 600mg is very likely to move your bowels within an hour or two of taking it, whereas 60mg or even 100-250mg might not do the trick.

This same example applies when you're taking herbs to relieve a headache, or kill an ear infection. White Willow for instance, often comes in capsules of 300mg. So taking two of these might work for a headache, but that's not the same dosage as regular Tylenol is. So you may find you actually need three white willow pills if your headache is fairly bad.

The opposite can happen in this respect too though. It's not uncommon to find Cayenne pills which are much stronger than they need to be for taking as a daily supplement. And since they're so strong, they can often make your stomach burn if you take them without food.

Another common problem people have when trying to use herbs as medicine, is a lack of knowledge, or mis-understanding of either the herbs they're using, or the symptoms they're having. This problem is not restricted to herbs and alternative remedies though, we see it happen often with over the counter medications too.

Many women for instance, who have never had a vaginal yeast infection, will go to the drugstore and buy anti-fungal ointment to treat it when they think they have one. This often causes the side effect of making them more susceptible to getting a yeast infection, because the bacteria in their body has had the opportunity to become resistant to the anti-fungal medication she used.

Now to the best of my knowledge, there is no resistance build up effect by bacteria and germs against herbal remedies, but there are plenty of times someone takes the wrong herbs for the problems they're having.

A common example actually, is the use of Echinacea. This herb has become quite popular in the last five to ten years, but many people think it's supposed to keep you from getting sick with a cold or the flu. And when it doesn't, they think using herbal medicine is a bunch of bull. The problem though, is that Echinacea doesn't actually keep you from getting sick. It can help keep you from getting AS sick as you normally would. And it can help you to shorten the amount of time you're sick. But it doesn't normally keep you from getting sick completely.

And again, if you're buying the trendy products which "contain Echinacea" instead of buying actual herbs, you're not going to see much - if any - success from these products.

An example of how some people use the wrong things for treatment, is kidney stones. Most kidney stones are calcium based, and these can be dissolved fairly easily with simple lemon juice. There are several other types of kidney stones however, and if you have one of those kinds, the lemon juice remedy may not work for you.

It's also important to reiterate the importance of being fully aware of what you're using too. If you go to the store and buy powdered lemonade, it's not likely going to have much - if any - real lemon juice in it. In fact, many things called "lemonade" in the store, are actually just lemon flavored sugar drinks. And these will not help with any kind of kidney stones. You must buy and use real lemon juice, or better yet: Real lemons to get fresh squeezed juice from.

There's another very important trend you should know about where herbal remedies are concerned, because we've seen it far to often in recent years and it really causes a lot of confusion for many people.

Garlic is an herb you will see mentioned for use in many remedies. This is because garlic is quite powerful. It is a natural antibiotic, antiseptic, and anti-fungal herb.

The primary healing compound in Garlic is called Allicin. One milligram of allicin has the same potency as 15 standard units of Penicillin. Allicin however, is also the source of the strong smell Garlic has. And unfortunately, it has become popular these days to buy "odor free" Garlic tablets, capsules, pills and liquids. What people don't realize though, is that without the odor, the garlic is almost powerless. Because it's primary healing ingredient has been removed along with the odor. This is unfortunately another marketing and sales tactic. Many people don't want to have "garlic breath" all day long, so the idea of getting all the healing benefits without the smell is quite appealing. It's a waste of time and money though, because again: It will not work if it's odorless. A better option is to eat some fresh parsley or take any other herb which is also high in Chlorophyll, to neutralize the garlic smell.

And last but not least for this part of our series, you need to be aware that some herbs can have side effects, and interactions with other medications - herbal or prescription.

There are herbs which will cause problems if too much is taken for instance. The cayenne example we gave earlier is a common one, if you take a large dose of cayenne in pill form without eating, you will get a burning sensation in your stomach. This hurts for some people.

Other herbs have more severe consequences though. If an insulin dependent diabetic takes too much golden seal for instance, they could go into shock because golden seal is a natural source of insulin. The same applies to hypoglycemics, too much golden seal can drop their blood sugar levels too low.

A popular herb used for hot flashes during menopause is Black Cohosh, and this herb can cause headaches if too much is taken. Other herbs can cause spikes in blood pressure, and there are even some which will cause a pregnant woman to have a miscarriage.

So it's very important to learn everything you can about all the effects an herb has. Often herbs will become popular for just one reason, and no one has any idea the same herb can be used for a variety of other things, or may cause a variety of other problems.

And be sure you learn how to read labels, to make sure you're getting the proper potency of herbs you buy, and to be sure you're not adding misc other chemicals into your system that could be potentially harmful.

Statements made in this article may not be approved by the FDA, and should not be taken as professional medical advice.

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* More articles on 'Herbal remedies'


  1. Nice post. Herbs are used for a lot of things, especially in treating illnesses and diseases.

  2. Keeping a daily record of your supplement use will help to decide which supplements are right for you.

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  3. Knowing the fact that they can cure health problems, you should be sure to use them effectively. Thanks for the info.

    online pharmacies reviews


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