Herbs For Health Series- Part 1 | Using Herbs To Benefit Your Health
The material in this post is for informational/educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Please see a qualified health professional for specific health concerns. Herbal remedies are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.
It’s no secret to anyone who knows me well that I’m a plant lover. Trees, bushes, vegetables, fruits, flowers. All of them are beautiful and fascinating in their own way.
But there’s something really special to me about herbs and the ‘superpowers’ they bring with them.
I used to read books when I was younger that had a character who was a healer. The healer would often use their mysterious knowledge of herbs to save someone from a deadly poison or sickness. I thought it was the coolest thing ever to imagine that tiny plants could have such powers to heal the human body.
Turns out it wasn’t just imagination. People really have used herbs for wellness and healing, and they are still doing so today.
It could be that herbs and natural remedies have interested you at some point as well. But maybe you still have some questions.
What benefit can herbs have for my health? Are they dangerous like some ‘experts’ would have us believe? And can I really trust those herbal remedies that pop up on Facebook and Pinterest?
Using herbs for health purposes doesn’t have to be intimidating or complicated. Nor do you have to go all out into the realm of herbal medicine (unless you want to). Whether you use a lot or a little, there are many herbs that can benefit your health and well-being.
And the purpose of this series is to de-mystify and simplify the process of using herbs for health.
Using Herbs For Health
In her book Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide, Rosemary Gladstar starts off by saying that herbal medicine is recognized as the oldest system of healing on the planet. Perhaps more importantly, it’s still valuable and effective enough to be practiced today.
Herbal medicine is a study all in itself, and I won’t be going into how to treat any certain disease in this series.
I will be going into the power herbs have to build up the body’s immune system and help our bodies function better. And the healthier we are, the harder it is for pathogens to take over in the first place.
A Quick Herbal Definition
Before I move on, there’s one important definition to clear up. In this series, I’ll be going on to talk about certain herbs and simple ways to use them in everyday life. Ginger is one of my favorites and so is cinnamon. (You might be amazed at how powerful these ‘common’ herbs really are.)
Certain people in my family (who shall remain nameless) are very literal. I can almost hear them telling me that cinnamon is a spice, not an herb.
However, in herbal medicine, any plant that can be used for healing is considered an herb. Fruits, vegetables, roots, flowers, and spices can all be considered herbs, depending on how they are used.
And now we can move on.
How to Use Herbs for the Most Health Benefits
Like getting exercise and eating your vegetables, herbs are something that should be used daily for the most health benefits. Your body is constantly being attacked by toxins and pathogens, so you should be constantly reinforcing your defenses.
Starting to incorporate herbs into your lifestyle doesn’t need to be scary. Knowing more about what herbs can do and starting to use them regularly will give you more confidence.
One of the most important things involved in using herbs wisely is knowing which herbs support which systems in our bodies. Different herbs will benefit a different aspect of your health.
Some are immune boosters. Some can aid digestion. Some have a calming effect. Many act in more than one way.
When you start to use herbs daily and for a specific purpose, you will likely start to notice changes in how you feel over time. It’s very empowering to realize that your knowledge about a plant and how to use it can change your overall state of health.
That empowering process is what I hope to help start with this series.
Move Forward Fearlessly
Throughout the next posts in this series, I’ll be talking about one or two herbs in each post. I’ll tell you what the herb is traditionally used for, how it works with your body, and how you can incorporate it into everyday life.
One important thing to keep in mind as we move forward: don’t be afraid of using herbs. Using herbs for health is not like taking medicine that will give you side effects.
There are a few super strong herbs that do have ‘side effects’. (Poison hemlock comes to mind, but I’m not sure if death can be considered a side effect.) I won’t be talking about any of those herbs, and I will always let you know about anything you need to keep in mind.
People can have individual reactions to an herb. These aren’t considered side effects because they only happen to certain people- kind of like some people have allergic reactions to certain foods but it’s not the food’s fault.
Which brings me to my last point- always use common sense. If you read the long list of benefits a certain herb has but it doesn’t react well with your body, decrease the amount you are taking or stop altogether. Always listen to your body, and it will tell you whether something is working or not.
Final Herbal Thoughts
Why do I think herbs can benefit your overall health?
- They work powerfully with our bodies to build us up
- They don’t come with the many side effects that man-made drugs do
- No toxins, synthetic chemicals, etc.
- Used consistently herbs can help our bodies fight off pathogens and recover more quickly
A few things to remember:
- Don’t be afraid of using herbs- people have been doing it for thousands of years
- Do use common sense, listen to your body, and learn what each herb does
- Give herbs time to do their work– they don’t work instantly like we’re used to with modern medicine
Hopefully, by the end of this series you will feel empowered to start using herbs to benefit your own health!
(Coming up next: My favorite herbs to support digestion– including my top herb, ginger!)