Friday, February 22, 2008

Herbal Medicine


Life is a series of principles founded on the belief that we are capable of taking charge of our own lives and healing.
Before modern medicine, our ancestors relied on healing methods handed down from their fore parents. As the world turns and the West moves towards the East, we are witnessing the re-emergence of past healing methods, now being practised in the West as natural medicine.
In our modern times, the key to healing is to strike a balance between traditional healing and modern medicine. Each has its merit, value and place. Given that we are our own healers first, it is wise to pay closer attention to how we feed our minds, bodies and souls.
Proven herbs for the heart
This is the month for the heart and it is interesting to note that some herbs, found in many kitchens, are heart stimulants. These herbs included cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic, onions and rosemary. They are called stimulants because they stimulate the flow of the blood.
Cayenne pepper (Capsaicin frutescens) has been popularly used for many centuries particularly by the Aztecs of South America. This spice or herb is said to be a 'cardio tonic' as well as an analgesic (that is, pain reliever). If you check the labels of pain-relieving ointments on the shelves of pharmacies, you will notice the word 'capsaicin' as an ingredient.
Cayenne is taken orally as a powder sprinkled on food or as a spice ingredient added to fruit or vegetable juices for flavour and zest. Cayenne must not be taken with common medications such as anafranil, imipramine tofranil and warfarin. This would increase the side effects of the drugs.

Garlic (Allium sativa) is approved by the Commission - (a reputable international expert committee) as a contributor in treating and improving the blood flow in arterial vascular diseases. The herb may be useful in the treatment of mild hypertension.
Some sources suggest that garlic should not be consumed prior to surgery since it can prolong bleeding as well as it is contra-indicated with blood thinning drugs such as coumarin. Garlic is considered a natural antibiotic with anti-fungal properties as well. This herb has been used for thousands of years even appearing in ancient biblical documents.
Onions (Allium sepa) - Contemporary studies have shown that onions, like garlic, might inhibit platelet aggregation and interfere with fibrinolyis.
Ginger root (Zingiber officinalis) - The dried ginger is an ancient culinary herb regarded as a precious spice. It is commonly used as a spice in cooking and spiking up the taste of drinks. It has been used for centuries for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, and as a stimulant.
The value of many of these ancient herbs is supportable based on their history of use in well-established systems. The British Herbal Compendium reported their actions as a carminative, a peripheral circulatory stimulant and anti -inflammatory. So we can spike up our food and drinks with a touch of these ancestral herbs for our health.
Dr Diane Robertson is a pharmacist and recipient of an honorary doctorate in complementary medicine for her work in herbs; email: yourhealth@gleanerjm.com.

1 comment:

kevin said...

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