Herbal medicine is one of the oldest methods for treating injury and disease and can help treat everything from acne to an upset stomach to achy joints. Herbal medicine uses parts of plants for healing purposes. It pre-dates pharmaceuticals and is how most modern medicine began.
Treating common conditions
Herbal medicine can be taken through food, supplements, and tea or applied topically in the form of creams, ointments, and oils. Here are some ways it’s used to treat common conditions:
- Acne – Applying tea tree oil to the affected area is a common treatment for acne because it can help eradicate bacteria that are commonly associated with the condition. The diluted oil can be directly applied to the skin or it can also be found in some soaps and creams.
- Arthritis – Curcumin, which is a constituent found in the spice turmeric, is an anti-inflammatory herb that can help manage arthritis. It is most commonly taken in capsule form.
- Headache – To help soothe a tension headache, try lavender or peppermint aromatherapy. You can also try massaging these diluted essential oils into your forehead to help relieve pain.
- High cholesterol – Consuming garlic extract may result in mild to moderate decreases in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. You can add it to your food, but to get the full therapeutic benefit it is best taken in the form of a supplement.
- Sore throat – Althea officinalis root, also known as “marshmallow root” powder, is an herbal remedy that creates a gel-like substance when mixed with water and can help coat a sore throat and reduce irritation.
- Stress – Rhodiola rosea, taken as a supplement, can help reduce stress while also improving alertness and mental functioning.
- Upset stomach – To soothe an upset stomach, try drinking a cup of ginger tea. The root is also available in supplement form.
Get started with the help of your physician
Although you don’t need a prescription to access most types of herbal medicine, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider trained in herbal remedies before beginning this type of treatment. Some patients automatically assume herbal medicine is safe because it’s natural. However, you can still experience side effects and it can even be dangerous in certain circumstances if the right dose is not taken. Your provider can help determine the right treatments and doses for you.
To learn more about herbal medicine, or to schedule an appointment with Megan Schlick, please call 913-632-9860 or visit ShawneeMission.org/HolisticCare.