11 important tips for those who use medicinal herbs.
Hello dear friends, I hope you are all well. As I promised a couple of weeks ago, today I bring you a post with recommendations on the use of medicinal herbs, or traditional medicine, this post, and the previous one where I covered more basic elements in this regard are intended to inform us a little better, especially those of us who do not have much experience in the area, on how to safely practice the use of medicinal herbs or naturopathic medicine. Keep in mind that the points presented here are a compilation made through research on the Internet, the sources will get them at the end of the article.
In this article I try to balance different points of view on the subject, because while some authors strongly support the unrestricted use of herbal medicine, some of its detractors can make very solid arguments to avoid it, but if we are in this community is because we believe in the virtues of natural medicine, but not for that reason we must not set aside precautions and above all, we can not, NEVER close our minds to new knowledge no matter how contradictory it may be with our views. Such knowledge is the key to progress.
As always, I want to start getting into the subject with a bit of history, since history is like a mother who always has advice and guidance for us when we are lost. The truth is that if we look back in time, mankind has relied for much longer on herbal medicines or natural medicine than on modern or scientific medicine as you want to call it. Until 100 years ago 80% of the world's population still relied on herbs as a primary means of treatment. And scientific rigor was not widely applied in medicine until about 150 years ago, so pills, syrups and injections are the newcomers in the field of medicine, and in fact still 25% of the medicines we consume get their active components directly from plant processing.
Now this is not to deny the benefits of modern medicine, far from it, the death rate from curable diseases is much higher where there is no access to modern medicine, with this NO ONE can argue, it is a fact as undeniable as the sun will go down and then it will come up again. That is why my first advice in case of illness and disease will always be, SEEK PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ASSISTANCE. While the use of herbal medicine can be used as Preventive Medicine, Complement to treatment or as an alternative if you do not have access to professional medical attention, either because you are in a remote area or some disturbance prevents you from going to hospitals, or because you do not have the financial resources.
An additional argument in favor of naturopathic medicine is that many people believe that the use of medicines in their natural state, as they are processed by the body in healthier ways, an example of the case would be the willow, which can act as a natural aspirin. Being that the normal aspirins that we buy in a pharmacy can damage the tissues of the stomach if they are used in an extended way, while there is evidence that the willow is not, but many of such statements, like many things, have not been confirmed by science which should be our primary source of guidance.
All of this cleared up, let's start with the tips.
Before starting any treatment, whether naturopathic or scientific, before taking any medicine or vitamin supplement, the first task of all should be to ensure a healthy lifestyle, in turn this is the best preventive treatment that exists, a healthy diet, regular exercise and a stable schedule will ensure that your body works in the right way therefore your defenses circulation etc. will always be ready to protect you without the need for outside help, a healthy lifestyle is the best advice that can be given.
Abandon bad habits.
This part I almost feel silly mentioning it, since it is something so obvious and logical that in principle does not seem relevant information, but some people need to be told that there is no amount of eucalyptus or malojillo in the world that makes their lungs work well if they do not stop smoking ... just as there is no amount of turmeric tea on this planet that makes you lose weight if they do not stop eating fried foods and junk food as the basis of their diet. In fact, if you do like those people natural medicine can rather harm you more, as you are not letting its beneficial components can do their job, but the harmful ones can, in the case of malojillo it can cause neurological damage in large quantities... so please, if you want to get better from whatever it is using natural medicine, first stop putting the things that are killing you into your body.
This part is a tricky one, as it is with plants it is difficult to know the concentrations of the active components, there can even be big differences between plants of the same species, so when starting a treatment with medicinal plants moderation is recommended, never exceed the recommended dosage, and if you are not clear what it is, always start small. Remember, medicinal plants should be treated as a medicine and not as food, not because melon helps your kidneys you are going to eat only melon for months.
Do not self-diagnose.
One advice you will always be given is not to self diagnose, and for obvious and simple reasons, most of us are not doctors, so our body may have an ailment that we think we understand but we don't, for example a little anecdote, a couple of years ago I went to the doctor for a severe respiratory condition, and I told the doctor that I felt something in my lungs because they hurt... to which he replied that this is impossible? because the lungs do not have nerve endings, the muscles that surround them hurt because of the effort to breathe... so be careful to diagnose yourself without knowing well what you have and decide the treatment before being sure you know what you have, because this can cause serious accidents or at least, you will lose valuable time treating a disease that you do not have while the one you do have consumes you.
EYE with this I am not saying that in all cases someone cannot decide precisely what they have without going to the doctor, we all know our bodies over time, for example I know that the pain, and my slight lack of balance with my left leg is due to my ankle fracture a couple of years ago, so it is not bad if I take something for the pain....
Inform your doctor.
I know that some doctors are very much in favor of naturopathic medicine, and can give reprimands as if they were a parent, certainly some can also be very arrogant, but it is something that all human beings can have sometimes, there are also doctors who are in favor of the use of medicinal herbs as a complement to the care and treatment they provide, but above this dichotomy is the fact that they are the health professionals, and the numbers back up their effectiveness, so in case you use any medicinal plant always inform your doctor, either before or after consuming it, as he could inform you of its effectiveness or possible side effects.
Beware of your allergies.
Important consideration in all cases, naturopathic medicine or modern medicine, always take into account your allergies, allergy to a certain chemical component can cause much more damage than it was intended to correct, this can happen with anything, there are people who are allergic even to latex, There is a reason why the common medicines in the pharmacy have warnings about allergies, and that is why doctors always ask you if you are allergic to something before indicating treatment, with natural medicine you have to be perhaps more careful because you do not know all the chemical components that are in many plants. It is also not good for someone allergic to pollen to be recommended to look for Chamomile or another flower.
Be very careful when mixing.
Although many traditional remedies involve mixing 2 or more herbs, such processes should be carried out with great care and preferably by someone who knows the proper dosages and which herbs can be mixed correctly, the basis of naturopathic medicine is the same as that of modern medicine, using the chemical components to treat our illnesses, But as I mentioned before the chemical components in plants are not fully catalogued by science, and in chemistry the mixture of two innocent components separately, can create a powerful poison, an example is when we bind vinegar and chlorine, we make a chlorine gas that can dissolve your lungs. Another example would be the famous ayahuasca... it combines herbs that separately have moderate narcotic and hallucinogenic properties, but that combined can make you see a pink elephant manning a flying saucer over the rings of Uranus and in some cases, people have died with ayahuasca... so be careful with the mixtures.
Suspend use in case of adverse effects.
Another common point that appeals to logic, just as normal pharmacy medicines have an inscription indicating to discontinue use and seek medical advice in case of an adverse reaction, the same normal security should apply to herbs, it is very easy to understand why, reasons such as allergic reactions or lack of knowledge of their active components are just some of them.
Testimonials are not evidence.
This requires some clarification on my part, since much of the transmission of knowledge is done by sharing testimonials, but in this case I refer to those testimonials of people with little knowledge on the subject of medicine that speak miraculous cures, remember that if something seems too good to be true, maybe it is not, maybe it is not, the testimony of your gossipy neighbor who says that she cured hemorrhoids overnight with X plants should be taken as a precedent, never as sure evidence that this plant is indeed the miracle cure for hemorrhoids because the testimony of 1 or 2 people can not be scientific proof. After all, there are spontaneous remissions, with and without treatment, there is much that science does not know, and plants are complex organisms, the human body as well, how the two interact can vary greatly from person to person.
A testimony can be a precedent or a clue... if based on a testimony you look for more information and it is corroborated by someone with more knowledge on the subject, then it can be considered evidence.
Up to date information.
When researching about medicinal plants and their uses, try to have the most modern sources possible, old books can be useful as a precedent, but science advances every day, and all the time new properties are discovered in plants that we already knew, studies are constantly being done on side effects, being up to date will help you to be more efficient and avoid problems.
Remember that more than 250 years ago in Europe they did not eat tomatoes, it was only a decorative plant because they believed it was poisonous, and with some reason, some variants were poisonous. And the potato did not become a popular food in Europe until the end of the 18th century.
Caution when buying natural medicines.
Remember that scammers selling miracle cures have been around since civilization existed, so be wary of those street vendors offering miracle elixirs made with snake oil, marijuana and coca, as fun as it may seem to try something like that, it will hardly take care of you with anything. Try to buy your herbs or preparations from properly registered naturopathic stores with up to date perisology, if not possible, try to acquire them from a trusted source, as it is not only a scam that can happen to you because you are gullible, where the herbs are grown can also cause them to come with contaminants as I mentioned in a previous post. So be careful where and how you acquire your natural remedies.
To close and not make this reading longer than it already is, I want to mention that while the advice I give here may seem a bit restrictive, it is based on a selection made by myself, and my primary choice to take care of my health and that of my family is modern medicine, however I have much respect for natural medicine, therefore I try to unite the good of both worlds, that includes the discipline and caution of modern medicine. For I have the firm belief that if we would do more research, and be more organized, we could exploit the benefits of medicinal herbs much better.
I should also mention that in pursuit of such a goal, my next post in this community will be a compendium of archives, books and documents where you can find information regarding medicinal herbs, their uses and characteristics.
Finally, I bid you farewell.
Recommended Bibliographic Reference
 herbal medicine