People are discovering that herbs are an effective and comparatively inexpensive form of health care, and their popularity is growing. Herbs treat the body as a whole and integrated system—not a collection of isolated parts. Whether we are concerned about being healthy, regaining health, or moving to better health, the whole of the being—physical, mental, and spiritual—is involved in the process. There is nothing new about the use of herbs to promote recovery, health, and wellbeing. Every culture throughout the world has at some point used healing plants as the basis for its medicine and had a basic healing flora from which remedies were selected.
Throughout history we have relied on plants for both food and medicine; thus has evolved an ability of our bodies to assimilate the bio-active compounds in plants. This evolutionary relationship is important to herbal medicine because the body is accustomed to assimilating the more potent chemicals of herbs within the matrix of the whole plant. Thus, properly and carefully used, herbal medicines can often work with a high degree of effectiveness without many of the side-effects common in prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications.
Food provides us with delicious tastes and smells, and fills our nutritional needs; and herbs nurture our wholeness and well-being. Herbs can be used to support people’s heath and wholeness, to prevent disease development, and to help them stay at their personal peak of vitality. The concept of synergy using a whole plant extract rather than an isolated constituent and a well-chosen formula rather than a single herb for a single disease is one of the foundation elements of good herbal medicine.
All medicines are most effective as a part of a comprehensive, holistic treatment program including diet, positive lifestyle changes, movement, and stress reduction. Such a natural program is most effective when it addresses the underlying causes of imbalance in the body rather than treating the symptom.