Why Herbal Remedies Sometime Fail
by N J Howell
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Do herbs really work?
Have you tried herbal remedies without success? Do you wonder if herbs really work or if they are just a gimmick? First of all, if you bought cheap herbals, be aware that there may have been very little of the actual advertised product in the capsules. The FDA has cracked down on supplements that sometimes have less than 2% of the active ingredient, and rightfully so. That's something I applaud the FDA for doing. So, first things first, make sure you are taking a standardized supplement with a verified percentage of the active ingredient.
Why herbs sometimes fail:
Some herbal remedies are, quite frankly, useless. However, this is not because the herbs themselves are useless but because of errors in harvesting or processing for formulas. If the herbs are not processed correctly, they may lose all natural potency. Herbal remedies are most potent when they are synergistic plant formulas, not extracted and concentrated single components from within herbs.
The first consideration in buying herbal remedies is whether or not you are buying from a reputable company, known for good practices in harvesting and processing herbs and not using harmful chemical ingredients in fertilizers or pesticides. Organic or wild-crafted herbs are best. If these issues aren't addressed in the brochure, on the bottle or by the person selling the formulas, ask about where and how the herbs are gathered and processed.
The second consideration in evaluating the effectiveness of an herbal remedy is how soon you need to see results. Please realize that herbals do not work like prescription drugs. Most prescription drugs are aimed at alleviating symptoms or acute conditions. Few, if any, address core issues which underly and prolong the chronic condition in the body.
Assume you may need between six weeks to six months for herbal remedies to sufficiently support the body long enough to help your body start to heal a chronic health condition.
This is probably the most misunderstood aspect of natural healing vs. prescription drugs and why herbal remedies would not be my first choice for someone in a crisis situation, where immediate results are needed to avoid a life-threatening situation. A drug for heartburn works fast but you have to keep taking it because, though it has stopped the heartburn, it has not stopped the underlying cause. Similarly, a drug for controlling high blood pressure creates a false balance that must be maintained by continued use of the blood pressure medicine. The underlying condition has not been corrected.
Understanding why herbal remedies are radically different than chemicals and drugs:
Herbal remedies are not a quick-fix! A potent antibiotic or prescription drug that is aimed toward controlling symptoms will definitely seem to have a more productive short term effect than any herbal remedy. The truth is that it is fairly easy to address symptoms, short term. The approach of the herbalist, naturopath, homeopath or other wholistic health practitioner, is to address the underlying, core causes of illness. Rebuilding the body takes a lot longer than just addressing immediate symptoms.
So, how long do you need to take herbals to see a result?
That depends on the health challenge and desired goal. If symptom relief is the main priority, herbal remedies may initially disappoint. Herbology is not as concerned with alleviating symptoms as it is with healing at an organic, cellular level. Illness does not typically manifest overnight so recovery may also take linear time.
The more chronic or serious the condition, the longer it may take for natural remedies to work which is one reason they are not always the best choice. For example, a relaxing herbal tea can work the same night to help you sleep better but a heart tonic, such as hawthorn, needs a lot longer to strengthen heart muscles and improve heart function. The quantity and the quality of the water we consume determines our body's ability to metabolize and shed excess fat and properly maintain the body's largest organ, our skin. The person who is truly interested in experiencing the benefits of herbal remedies will embrace herbology as a lifestyle, rather than a quick fix.
In the absence of a medical emergency, where a health challenge has gone untreated to the point that life is threatened and medical intervention is necessary, herbs and other types of natural remedies will become a daily option for such a person. Over time, the health benefits of herbology become apparent to those who decide to embrace natural remedies as first course of action when addressing health challenges. So, long story short: herbology fails when herbs are taken as a quick fix, when inferior herbal formulas are being used and when herbal remedies are turned to in time of crisis.
You are at a point of crisis whenever a health condition has progressed to a dangerous state, where safe, natural, slower healing cannot be facilitated without risk of death. Know where you are in that cycle of disease development. If it's too late for herbal remedies, it's wise to take the medical route but never forget that you can always begin to support your body herbally for a healthier future.
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Health Care Disclaimer: The choice to self-treat with herbal remedies or other natural remedies is a very personal one that entails self-monitoring and self-responsibility. Not everyone is suited to self-treatment and even if choosing health treatment, you should know that the alternative health care information presented here should not take the place of personal medical advice from your health care professional. Please consult with your chosen healthcare professional before adding herbal remedies to your health care regimen.