Herbalism : Medical Botany Herbalism

Herbal Medicine is,- The study or use of medicinal herbs to prevent and treat diseases and ailments or to promote health and healing. – A drug or preparation made from a plant or plants and used for any of such purposes.

Herbalism, also known as medicinal Botany (a neologism by Dr. K. Seshagirirao, University of Hyderabad, India), medical herbalism, herbal medicine, herbology, botanical medicine and phytotherapy MedBotanics. All plants produce chemical compounds as part of their normal metabolic activities. These can be split into primary metabolites, such as sugars and fats, found in all plants, and secondary metabolites found in a smaller range of plants. The secondary metabolites may have therapeutic actions in humans and which can be refined to produce drugs. The word drug itself comes from the Swedish word “druug”, which means ‘dried plant’. People all over the world have used indigenous plants for treatment or prevention of various ailments dating back to prehistory. The first generally accepted use of plants as healing agents was depicted in the cave paintings discovered in the Lascaux caves in France, which have been radiocarbon dated to between 13,000 – 25,000 BC. Over 80,000 species of plants are in use throughout the world. Herbal Medicine is considered primary health care in China. There are hundreds of herbal remedies. An experienced practitioner can offer a comprehensive holistic approach to health.

Examples of some commonly used herbal medicines:

• Artichoke and several other plants reduced total serum cholesterol levels in preliminary studies.
• Black cohosh and other plants that contain phytoestrogens (plant molecules with estrogen activity) have some benefits for treatment of symptoms resulting from menopause.
• Echinacea extracts limit the length of colds in some clinical trials, although some studies have found it to have no effect at lower dosages that are normally given by herbalists.
• Garlic lowers total cholesterol levels, mildly reduces blood pressure, reduces platelet aggregation, and has antibacterial properties. It also has strong anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
• Grapefruit seed extract as a natural antimicrobial has minimal effectiveness as an anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal herb.
• Hibiscus sabdariffa Traditionally used for hypertension.
• Nigella sativa (Black cumin) is a general medicinal plant used for diverse ailments such as cough, pulmonary infections, asthma, influenza, allergy, hypertension and stomach ache. The seeds are considered carminative, stimulant, diuretic and galactogogue. It is often taken with honey. Seed powder or oil is externally applied for eruptions of skin.
• Pawpaw used for insecticidal purposes (killing lice, worms), as well as cancer treatment and viral infections.
• Phytolacca or Pokeweed is used as a homeopathic remedy to treat many ailments. It can be applied topically or taken internally. Topical treatments have been used for acne and other ailments. Internal treatments include tonsilitis, swollen glands and weight loss.
• Peppermint tea for problems with the digestive tract, including irritable bowel syndrome and nausea.
• Rauvolfia Serpentina, used extensively in India for sleeplessness, anxiety, and high blood pressure. The first proven allopathic medicine for high blood pressure was extracted from this herb.
• St. John’s wort, has yielded positive results, proving more effective than a placebo for the treatment of mild to moderate depression in some clinical trials.
• Valerian root can be used to treat insomnia.
• Feverfew can be used to treat migraine headaches.
• Saw Palmetto can be used for BPH.

• Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar can be used to treat acne.
• Green tea may have an anti-cancer effect (“Inhibition of mammary tumorigenesis in the C3(1)/SV40 mouse model by green tea” Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2007 May 5.) and can heal scars faster.
• Lemon grass can lower cholesterol.
• Honey can be a solution for cholesterol.
• Stinging Nettle FreshSpecific for hay fever and allergic rhinitis. Also for vaginitis, rheumatoid arthritis, stomatitis, eczema, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, asthma and gout. Tones up the mucous membranes especially where excessive mucus and inflammation are present. An alkalizing diuretic.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy (homeopathic medicine) is a form of health care that developed in Germany. Homeopathic practitioners are commonly called homeopaths. The term homeopathy comes from the Greek words homeo, meaning similar, and pathos, meaning suffering or disease. Homeopathy is an alternative medical system. Alternative medical systems are built upon complete systems of theory and practice. Homeopathy seeks to stimulate the body’s defense mechanisms and processes so as to prevent or treat illness.

History of Homeopathy:

In the late 1700s, Samuel Hahnemann, a physician, chemist, and linguist in Germany, proposed a new approach to treating illness. This was at a time when the most common medical treatments were harsh, such as bloodletting, purging, blistering, and the use of sulfur and mercury. At the time, there were few effective medications for treating patients, and knowledge about their effects was limited. Hahnemann was interested in developing a less-threatening approach to medicine. The first major step reportedly was when he was translating an herbal text and read about a treatment (cinchona bark) used to cure malaria. He took some cinchona bark and observed that, as a healthy person, he developed symptoms that were very similar to malaria symptoms. This led Hahnemann to consider that a substance may create symptoms that it can also relieve. This concept is called the “similia principle” or “like cures like.” The similia principle had a prior history in medicine, from Hippocrates in Ancient Greece–who noted, for example, that recurrent vomiting could be treated with an emetic (such as ipecacuanha) that would be expected to make it worse–to folk medicine. Another way to view “like cures like” is that symptoms are part of the body’s attempt to heal itself–for example, a fever can develop as a result of an immune response to an infection, and a cough may help to eliminate mucus–and medication may be given to support this self-healing response.     Hans Burch Gram, a Boston-born doctor, studied homeopathy in Europe and introduced it into the United States in 1825. European immigrants trained in homeopathy also made the treatment increasingly available in America. In 1835, the first homeopathic medical college was established in Allentown, Pennsylvania.   Homeopathy is particularly popular in Europe and India, although less so in the USA, where such therapies have been subject to tighter regulation. Stricter European regulations have also been implemented recently by the EDQM.

Homeopathic Remedies:

Treatment involves giving very small doses of substances called remedies that, according to homeopathy, would produce the same or similar symptoms of illness in healthy people if they were given in larger doses. Treatment in homeopathy is individualized (tailored to each person). Homeopathic practitioners select remedies according to a total picture of the patient, including not only symptoms but lifestyle, emotional and mental states, and other factors. Most homeopathic remedies are derived from natural substances that come from plants, minerals, or animals. A remedy is prepared by diluting the substance in a series of steps. Homeopathy asserts that this process can maintain a substance’s healing properties regardless of how many times it has been diluted. Many homeopathic remedies are so highly diluted that not one molecule of the original natural substance remains. Remedies are sold in liquid, pellet, and tablet forms.

Homeopathy and side effects:

Homeopathic medicines in high dilutions, taken under the supervision of trained professionals, are considered safe and unlikely to cause severe adverse reactions.

Homeopathy Scientific controversies: Research studies on homeopathy have been contradictory in their findings. Some analyses have concluded that there is no strong evidence supporting homeopathy as effective for any clinical condition. However, others have found positive effects from homeopathy. The positive effects are not readily explained in scientific terms. Homeopathic formulas are based on the theory that even when a remedy is diluted with water to the point where no starting material remains, the water will retain a “memory” of what it was once in contact with. Homeopaths assert that the therapeutic potency of a remedy can be increased by serial dilution combined with succussion, or vigorous shaking. This dilution is often repeated such that there is no active molecule present in the solution. Because of this, homeopathy is often characterised as a mystical belief system that depends on faith from practitioners and patients, and therefore distinct from conventional medicine which is generally supported by scientific evidence.

Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is thought to date back to the healing practices of ancient Greece and Egypt. Many religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and others have attributed trance-like behavior to spiritual or divine possession.

Hypnotherapy is defined as, the treatment of a variety of health conditions by hypnotism or by inducing prolonged sleep. Hypnosis is a process in which critical thinking faculties of the mind are bypassed and a type of selective thinking and perception is established. Although some individuals experience an increase in suggestibility and subjective feelings of an altered state of consciousness, this is not true for everyone. Benefits of Hypnotherapy Hypnotherapy is used in a number of fields including psychotherapy, surgery, dentistry, research, and medicine.

Hypnotherapy is commonly used as an alternative treatment for a wide range of health conditions, including weight control, pain management, and smoking cessation. It is also used to control pain in a variety of such conditions as headache, facial neuralgia, arthritis, burns, musculoskeletal disorders, childbirth, and many more. Hypnotherapy is being used in place of anesthesia, particularly in patients who prove to be allergic to anesthetic drugs, for such surgeries as hysterectomies, cesarean sections, certain cardiovascular procedures, thyroidectomy, and others. Dentists use hypnotherapy with success on patients who are allergic to all types of dental anesthetics. Hypnotherapy is also useful in helping patients overcome phobias.

Kinesiology

Kinesiology is the study of the anatomy, physiology, and mechanics of body movement, especially in humans. So it is the study of human movement, from the point of view of both mechanical action and anatomical structure.

British Parliament Definition of Kinesiology”Kinesiology, literally the study of body movement, encompasses holistic health disciplines which use gentle muscle testing to monitor information about a person’s well-being. It originated in the 1960’s, combining Western techniques with Eastern wisdom to promote physical, emotional and spiritual health. Kinesiology identifies factors which block the body’s natural healing processes. These dysfunctions are rectified by attention to reflex and acupressure points, the use of specific body movements and nutritional support. Kinesiology can relieve pain, stress, muscular and nervous disorders, detect allergies and nutritional deficiencies, assist with psychological and learning problems, stimulate energies and release untapped potential.”

According to Kinesiology philosophy, there are flows of energy within the body that relate not only to the muscles but to every tissue and organ that go to make the body a living, feeling being. Also, the body has natural healing ability and it always work for the highest good of an individual, but sometimes it may require to be helped into a better posture to enhance this ability. Kinesiology looks beyond the symptoms; it neither treats the diseases nor diagnoses them. Kinesiology is related to the imbalances in the body’s energy.

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