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What Are Natural, Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies?

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The adjective “natural” is used widely and many times loosely in our culture, in association with a variety of dietary products. One of the definitions of natural is something that pertains to nature, having undergone little or no processing, and containing no chemical additives or synthetic substances. Natural or alternative medicine, therefore, falls outside the realm of conventional (Western) medicine. Examples of natural medicine would include but not be limited to traditional Chinese medicine (herbs), Ayurvedic medicine (Indian), and homeopathy.

The usage of natural ingredients found in herbs to treat viruses, pain, inflammation and disease has evolved over time in different cultures, apart from conventional medicine. Herbal remedies are typically sold as tablets, capsules, powders, teas, extracts and fresh or dried plants.

What is an herbal remedy?

Herbal remedies are produced from plant’s seeds, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal or therapeutic purposes. Herbs may be used individually or combined to produce the remedy specifically formulated to treat and relieve the given symptoms or ailments.

Many conventional or “western medicines” that are readily available and prescribed today were derived from plants. The use of herbs for medicine and healing has a long history dating back to ancient cultures including Chinese, Egyptian, Indian and African.

Examples of mild medicinal herbs would be chamomile, hawthorn, and peppermint. Examples of stronger herbs would be belladonna and digitalis. Today, herbal supplements are classified as dietary supplements by the U.S. Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).

What are homeopathic remedies?

Homeopathy comes from the Greek words for homeo, meaning similar, and pathos, meaning suffering, and uses remedies made from extreme dilutions of plant, animal and mineral substances. The theory is, if using a substance that at full strength would cause certain symptoms, then that same substance can be used at a highly diluted level to treat symptoms related to that substance.

In simpler terms, this can be stated as the principle of like cures like. Instead of treating each symptom a patient may have with different medications, a single homeopathic remedy is prescribed to treat the patient and all of the symptoms. The relief from the symptoms is achieved by stimulating the body’s own defenses to promote healing. Small dosages are used to activate the body’s natural defense system, while using too much will aggravate the condition.

Homeopathy is used for a range of health concerns, from wellness and prevention, to the treatment of diseases and conditions such as allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, digestive disorders, ear infections, headaches, and skin rashes.

To sum up, natural or herbal or homeopathic treatments are considered alternative healthcare approaches that focus on treating the cause of the illness or ailment, rather than just focusing on the symptoms.

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Source by Alan Clement

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