Helpful Healthy Herbs

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Helpful Healthy Herbs: Ancient Healing

Humans have always longed for good health and vitality. Even prehistoric cave dwellers searched for relief from their various ailments. Many ancient Egyptians had arthritis. Medieval people experienced all kinds of infections and sicknesses. And don’t forget the great plague, which wiped out a large part of the world’s population!

What did all these people do before the dawn of multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies with their thousands of synthetic medications?

They turned to the plant kingdom.

Helpful Healthy Herbs Variety

Through trial and error, the earliest humans discovered that some plants have medicinal properties. These properties, they learned, could help to purify, normalize and energize the body. They also found that many plants could enhance the body’s ability to heal itself.

Of course, humans have always looked for other – perhaps more sophisticated – methods to heal illness and promote health. Some of these methods were downright dangerous. Like using leeches to “bleed” a patient. Other methods were ineffective. Sorcery, for example, probably didn’t cure too many sick people…except through the power of suggestion.

Today we have sophisticated surgical procedures and a positively mind-boggling array of chemical treatments. We have lasers, laparoscopes, lithotripsy. Intensive care units, pacemakers and in vitro fertilization. And, of course, we have the countless pills, capsules and injections.

Still, throughout the evolution of medicine, one treatment has remained constant: The use of plants as a natural remedy. Leeching, sorcery and other “weird science” techniques have come and gone, but herbal medicine has withstood the test of time.

In fact, half of all our modern-day drugs come not from a laboratory test tube, but from plants! Aspirin and digitalis are just two examples. Aspirin, for instance, comes from two herbs: White willow bark and meadowsweet. The “modern” decongestant pseudoephedrine was discovered by Chinese herbalists more than 5,000 years ago.

Helpful Healthy Herbs First Known Recordings

The first written record of herbal medicine dates back to the Sumerians – more than 5,000 years ago. After that, we find many other historical traces of herbalism, including Chinese herb books from 2700 B.C., Old Testament references to herbs and a first century A.D. Greek encyclopedia of 500 herbs.

Sixty-seven healing herbs are mentioned in the 4,500-year old Rig Veda, one of India’s four books of wisdom. Herbs were a big part of ancient India’s Ayurveda medicine.

The world’s oldest surviving medical text, the Ebers Papyrus, mentions 876 herbal formulas that were used by Egyptian herbalists. This document dates back to 1,500 B.C.!

When monasteries were formed after the fall of Rome, the Church looked askance at herbs. However, “underground herbalists” flourished…and many of them were women.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used herbs. So did Thomas Jefferson. Likewise for most Native Americans. And the founder of the Kellogg cereal company was a naturopath who frequently turned to herbs in his practice.

Simply put, an herb is any plant that is known to have medicinal qualities. The great advantage of herbs is that they are natural. So they do not produce side effects. However, an herb may cause an allergic reaction, but that’s rare. It’s also possible that an herb may interact with a medication. Check with your doctor before taking herbs if you take prescription medication(s).

How fast do helpful healthy herbs work? Keep in mind, they are not like synthetic medicines. Their primary action is to balance and restore the body’s normal processes. That may take some time. But for the millions of people who have been helped by herbs, the benefits are well worth the wait.

Will herbs work for you?

There is only one way to find out. Discover for yourself what herbs have to offer. Look for their healing secrets! Visit our sister site’s herbal section, Herbal Bytes.

Author: Jeni

Certified by the Professional School of Fitness and Nutrition in March, 1995; honored for exemplary grades. Practicing fitness and nutrition for over 20 years. Featured in the Feb. 1994 issue of "Shape" magazine. Featured in Collage in the spring issue of 1995 Low fat recipe's published in Taste of Home, Quick Cooking, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among others. September, 2001: Featured in "Winning The War on Cholesterol" By Rodale Publishing

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