Through out recorded history, people of various cultures have relied on what Western medical practitioners today call alternative medicine. People use these treatments and therapies in a variety of different ways. The most common form of alternative medicine that is the most widely used is herbal medicines. Herbs have been used for thousands of years through out the world. There are records of the Egyptians using them in 1 600 BC, and scriptures that date back to the Yin dynasty in 1 500 BC (3). These natural remedies can be found in millions of homes in the US and Canada today. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 billion people, 80 percent of the world population, presently use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care (2). There are several benefits to and reasons why people have turned to herbal medicines, different methods in which to use them, the most popular herbs taken for specific problems, and (like with all medicines) cautions you should remember.
Even with all the advances in technology and modern drugs that are prescribed, more and more people are turning back to herbs to help their health. One of the main reasons is that they are gentler and safer than drugs. It’s almost impossible to overdose on a healing herb, and it’s not likely that you’d get addicted to one. They also have fewer to no side effects. Because treatment is so specifically tailored to each person, the treatments prescribed [by the herbalist] should have no side effectsтАЭ (4). Any mild side effects that may arise in the initial stages of herbal treatment can be corrected by adjustments to the herbal formula. Which, when you think about it, is better than drugs prescribed by doctors, that may have potentially serious, and irreversible side effects. When it comes down to it, for many minor, and not-so-minor health problems, herbal remedies work as well if not better than off-the-shelf drugs and standard prescriptions.
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