This article was originally written by Parone Dellerb
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Herb is the name for any plant that is used for medicinal purposes or as a spice and for the useful product of such a plant. Typically, the green, leafy part of the plant is used. Culinary art is heavily dependent on herbs as condiments and seasonings. Although plants have always been the major source for medicines & drugs, synthetic medicines have replaced herbs to a lot extent.
Herbs can be stores in the following forms – teas, tinctures, capsules, creams, syrups and oils.
According to botanical sources, a herb is a plant that does not produce a woody stem, or is a plant that dies back to the ground at the end of the growing season.
Mankind has known herbs for a very long time. Plethora of evidences have been found where people in early ages had used herbs for medicinal purposes. Old cultures like those in India, China, Egypt and Greece have known the true value of herbs for treating diseases. People living in present days in these cultures are still heavily dependent on herbs, both for medicinal and culinary purposes. Herbal medicines are known to not offer any side effects on the patients’s body. It is estimated that one fifth of the population living on planet earth still relies on herbs.
Ayurveda from India is supposed to have lived for 5,000 years now, and still stands tallest on the landscape of herbalism. According to Ayurveda, each person has unique body constitution, and each individual is made of five elements – earth, fire, water, air and ether. A person gets sick when one of these elements in the body is disturbed. In other words, the body balance gets perturbed. This disbalance can be restored to normalcy when the person is treated with proper herbal medicines.
According to Chinese herbalism, a human body can be treated with herbs when there is deficiency is some body system. Chinese doctor would then look for the most appropriate herb needed to restore the deficiency, and prescribe the dose.
Today, herbal products industry has emerged on its own. If herbalists’ claims are to be believed, herbs can cure a person from almost all the known diseases, let it be blood pressure, diabetes, insomnia, etc.
Herbs are usually not taken in an individual form, rather as a combination. Herbs are combined to give the benefits needed from each. Remember that in any herbal healing undertaken, diet is also very important. These combinations are not meant to be used in the place of a doctor’s advice. When using an herb or herbal combination to combat an illness or strengthen various systems in the body, it is best to start with a small amount, and then wait a few hours to be sure you are not going to have an adverse reaction, before continuing with the therapy.
Herbs shouldn’t be taken for an indefinitely long period of time, unless otherwise taken for chronic diseases, as body may build an immunity to the herb itself.
Herbalists also recommend the following if you are taking herbs for medicinal purposes – give the same respect to herbs as given to other medicines, taking more herbs doesn’t mean faster relief, one dose doesn’t fit all, and inform your doctor about the herbs consumed by you.