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What is Herbal Medicine? 
by Chris Daino

I’ve often seen confusion when it comes to supplements and vitamins and herbs. They seem to be used interchangeably.

Supplementation means that you are supplementing your diet with what the body needs but isn’t getting from food you eat.

There are forty nutrients that cannot be made in the body. They are essential fatty acids, 15 vitamins, 14 minerals, and 10 amino acids. Collectively these forty nutrients are spoken of as the body's requirements. From these our bodies synthesize an estimated 10,000 different compounds essential to the maintenance of health. All the forty nutrients work together; therefore, the lack of any one might result in the underproduction of hundreds of these essential compounds. Probably no one nutrient is ever totally lacking from an otherwise adequate diet, but partial simultaneous deficiencies of many nutrients is common.

Thus, you supplement to give your body these vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and amino acids that it needs. 

In school you learn that the body will create energy and repair itself.  But it can only do that with the right tools - the forty nutrients.

Thus, we can see how natural healing comes about. 

But what about herbal supplements? They are not part of the essential nutrients for health. Are these the same sort of supplementation?

How do Herbs Work?

Herbs are referred to as the green pharmacy. Herbs are used to replace or enhance pharmaceuticals (be careful though that you’ve checked with your pharmacist before you mix a drug and a herbal remedy).

Herbs are more natural. Herbs are not chemicals. They can be taken as compresses, teas or infusions. They are also available as extracts in many herbal remedies you might find in your health food store or on the internet.

Herbs are medicinal remedies. Herbs were used by medical doctors and taught in medical school before 1920. In 1920 the schools were standardized to make the standard for “modern” medicine to be pharmaceutical drugs and surgery much to the delight of the pharmaceutical companies no doubt (Note: homeopathy was also taught in medical schools before 1920).

Herbs can help the body to recover, but you always need to know that you have to address the underlying cause of the problem and get the body to heal itself. To heal itself, the body needs the ingredients for health which is the forty nutrients mentioned above.

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