Supporting Your Health with Herbal Nutrition

In most parts of the world, food is used as medicine, as "herbal" medicine. In the United States, Dr. Oz and other MD's recently began a return to the medical "root" of treating disease with healthier diets. This change to our current model will greatly reduce trips to the doctor's office and reduce our health care costs as well. You may not respond to spinach quite as well as Popeye, but you will get far more nutritional value than found in "fortified" or "enhanced" products at your grocers.

In addition to increasing the fruits and vegetables that have largely disappeared from the "American diet", we can also take advantage of plants that we think of as "non-foods", e.g. by steeping the corn "silk" or the pits of various fruits for herbal teas. These supposed "non-foods" are actually categorized by the FDA as, "food," and they can greatly enhance our diet by both preserving and revitalizing our energy.

Native plants not only keep mosquitoes away and eradicate reactions to poison ivy (within hours), but they also aid in strengthening our many body systems including: the musculo-skeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, uro-genital and immune systems. These plants can nourish us both to support us in our busy lives and as recovery aids from countless ailments, illnesses, and pains.

Specific examples of what this can mean for you are:

better sleep, calmer reactions to stressful events, better mental focus, a reduction in allergic reactions, less stomach or digestive distress and better muscle function and on and on... and Herbal nutrition can do this as either a stand-alone measure, or in concert with pharmaceuticals!

Herbal-Drug Interactions

Since we currently look to drugs first, it is worth knowing that the biomedical world is concerned by the possibility of negative interactions between herbs and drugs. Fortunately there is far less to be concerned about than feared. The truth is that most all herbal-drug interactions can be avoided, when properly used.

Decisions include: which herbs to take given your drug prescriptions and when to take them. Here's a simple example: herbs that "dry phlegm" should be used with caution when taking drugs with similar objectives such as allergy medicines and anti-histamines and it is generally advisable to take them at separate times. When used with care, such combinations are rarely problematic and often very beneficial.

Beneficial Herbal-Drug Interactions

There are actually an abundance of positive herb-drug interactions and it is well worth capitalizing on opportunities such as mitigating specific harsh side effects of drugs with herbs. Most prescription drugs have side effects of e.g. dry skin, rashes and hives. Well, there are also plants that moisten the skin and clear rashes and eruptions. Sound like a good combo? You bet!
Another way to use herbs with drugs is by choosing those with similar healing properties to your prescription meds as a means to wean off of the pharmaceutical medication. Just as pharmaceutical commercials suggest that you "ask your doctor" if their drug is right for you, I suggest asking your doctor to monitor reductions of those very same drugs, which were originally intended for recovery and not for unending use.

Herbs that aid in focus and energy may actually help you to sleep instead of keep you awake. Likewise, herbs that help you sleep may also increase your energy and mental focus! Imagine having more sleep with better focus and energy instead of a fogged head or sluggish body. This makes more sense in every way you look at it and these herbs can be used with sleep and ADD/ADHD drugs.

In more severe cases, when reducing prescribed drugs, you will want to see your doctor more regularly to be certain that you are not increasing any risk. When given the chance these worlds, "now apart", work great together. The day will come when combining herbs with drugs is the more typical protocol. The trouble is, since herbology is not part of the medical school curriculum, very few doctors have a good working knowledge of herbal nutrition. So how do we integrate herbs into our healthcare?

Picking the Right Herbal Supplements

While I do recommend educating yourself, you will undoubtedly get there faster if you consult a professional. Books or shows like "Dr. OZ" will provide general guidance, but you won't get information specific to you or your family. For this you'll want to consult with a well trained herbalist.

My biased preference is to investigate the depth of knowledge and time-tested empirical evidence found in the more ancient healing systems. As Asians rapidly advanced in the world of science, they wisely chose to continue the use of long proven theories and traditions with hopes of gaining better scientific understanding over time. Conversely, the North American and European herbal traditions have largely vanished in favor of a science-only approach. Additionally, to reach a broader audience, our heavily marketed products tend to overly focus on the biochemistry of the individual herbs and individual symptoms treated.

The Chinese and Ayurvedic herbal medicinal systems have been methodically designing and modifying herbal combinations for limitless health concerns for thousands of years. These herbal formulas are more likely to correct both underlying causes and the presenting symptoms as well - a strategy which typically yields longer lasting results. In fact, many of the "new discovery" products you find in local stores are anything but new. Often they are the repackaging of long proven Asian formulas, with but a single substitution or two. Traditional Chinese herbalists make such modifications daily without a single utterance of the word "Eureka!"

Where Do I Start?

For starters, do your best to eat well, exercise appropriately and get the amount of rest that you require! If you aren't fully satisfied, fortify with natural herbs.

Best of Health,
Bob Thompson, Lic. Ac., MAOM (Chinese Medical herbalist)
www.bobthompsonacu.com


 

Being asked to make a statement about healthy living - as an advocate for all things holistic and beneficial, a lover of nature, a runner, a gym frequenter, a yoga instructor, or more importantly, as a young man who wants nothing more than to live healthily and happily in the constant pursuit of truth, in regards to the body and nutrition, as simply as I can put it, here it is.

Your body is the only physical possession you are guaranteed to have your entire life, and often it seems we are only reminded of how commanding and powerful things like this can be until they come back and hit us.

Have you ever heard the saying,"You are what you Eat" ?

This reveals a very powerful truth that is certainly something you do not want to get hit with.

It is no secret that a healthy balanced diet and adaptive and appropriate excercise are two important keys to unlocking the door to healthy living.

You don't need to know lists of chemicals or unnatural modified nonsense that is used within the production and origination of your food. You dont need to know every hardship and tragedy an animal you ate had to go through. You don't need to know any depth of that to live healthily, you only need to see or experience the direct results and effects of it, and be present to it, and be certian of its cause.

Growing your own food or eating the food grown by someone you know where you know whats going into it and how its grown, is absolutely going to support your certainty in knowing what you will get out of it and how it will effect you. ...and if you're going to eat animals, you should have the backbone to kill it yourself, but also know whats going in to it.

You reap what you sow.

This is a truth, if I ever knew the meaning.

 

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