There are two main philosophies around the treatment of illnesses. The conventional approach looks at disease as the actual problem, whereas the holistic approach, which utilizes herbal remedies, sees the disease as an outcome of systems dysfunctioning within the body. In conventional medicine, the illness is treated as a series of symptoms seen as a result of the illness that unfortunately occurred within the body. Medicinal treatments function to soothe these symptoms and enable management of the disease. Unfortunately, these “medicines” are wrought with negative and uncomfortable side effects. This is because treatment usually involves poisoning and killing the bad bacteria, cells, mold, or whatever that has been identified as bringing on the illness. However, this also means that the good cells, bacteria, and so on, which are the very components most needed during illness, are also killed, casualties of the treatment. The result is that such treatments further weaken the systems within the body, leaving it even more susceptible to illness, which often create a vicious downward spiral of illness followed by treatment, followed by more illness, and possibly death.

Another philosophy, the holistic approach, uses natural healing methods, including herbal remedies, which enable the body to heal itself. The practitioner doctor looks at the body as a whole, viewing all systems working harmoniously together to run the amazing machine that is our body; this is where the word “holistic” comes from. When there is a breakdown within one or more systems, the doctor looks for the cause of the breakdown, such as the body being exposed to too much continued stress and over-tiredness, resulting in a shortage of certain vitamins or minerals, all which contribute to the system lacking the materials needed to run efficiently. Herbs can be chosen to add needed vitamins and minerals to gradually and gently balance deficiencies within the body. The above is just a simple example of how herbal remedies can be incorporated into care. In many cases, herbal remedies can be used to augment specific areas within the body. An example would be the body suffering from an invasive virus causing cold or flu. Eating large amounts of raw garlic will quickly stop the virus in its tracks. This is because garlic, called the number one antibiotic for herbs, contains allicin, a strong antibiotic agent, and sulphur compounds, which strengthen the immune system as well as fight infection. An antibiotic remedy, called the “Enhanced Garlic Formula”, calls for 1 part each of garlic powder and powdered calcium ascorbate (form of vitamin C) mixed with ¼ part Cayenne powder (L. Thomas, 1992).

One of the benefits around the use of herbal remedies is there are almost never any negative side effects, when used correctly. Carefully chosen herbs work gently on the body, and are not intrusive. Also, because it is natural, herbs tend to complement the body’s systems, instead of working or fighting against them. Herbal remedies can be used as both a preventative measure as well as a way to help balance the body when it has broken down and is suffering from chronic illness, such as cancer, stroke, heart attack, or high blood pressure. For example, hawthorn- dried berries, leaves, or flowers- is the primary herb for toning and strengthening the heart and cardiovascular system. It is a very safe internal herb for the heart, and can be used for congestive heart failure and angina, among other conditions. Hawthorn increases blood flow to the heart muscle itself, counteracting death resulting from heart attack, which is from lack of blood flow to the heart. The recommended dosage of hawthorn for those with heart disease is 300-450 milligrams every day. As a preventative measure, 100-150 mg will do. Of course any treatment should be overseen by a qualified doctor well versed with the actions and interactions of herbs, and may be used jointly with conventional medicine. However, many have found herbal treatment to work well enough on its own, when care is being properly directed from a qualified person.

Many conventional drugs used today to treat various illnesses originated from the natural healing properties found in herbs. A good example is aspirin, which was originally derived from willow bark for its salicylic content. Through the years, scientists found ways to isolate beneficial compounds found in medicinal plants and create them synthetically in a lab. This was done for multiple reasons. It was more cost effective, as plants vary in potency depending on where they are grown, as well as the growing conditions, which, when these compounds are simplified and copied, can be controlled. With synthetic production, risk of contamination from wrongly identified plant specimen or even contamination from pesticides and other conditions can also be eliminated. And most important, it was economically advantageous to isolate – and patent – individual components of the medicinal herbs seen as beneficial to combating illness.

However, with the introduction and predominant use of synthetic drugs on the market, other unforeseen issues cropped up. The main drawback to these synthetics is its very unpleasant and frequently dangerous side effects that range from mild allergic reactions to poisoning the body’s systems to the point of shutdown. The culprit is usually the result of synthetic medicines using potent compounds that were initially isolated from plants, but were not copied over in entirety. (Remember the patent approach). A simplified example is vitamin C, which has only recently been found to work incompletely within the body because, among other things, was missing flavonoids. Scientists still are far from having a complete understanding of the human body, and as a result, synthetic medicine can have unforeseen and long-lasting destruction on the body. The best that medicine can be expected to do at this time is manage the effects of disease and illness, with the hope that enough of the negative cells and bacteria are eliminated before the whole body system collapses.

The holistic approach centers on prevention and identifying at-risk areas of health before it becomes a problem. Conventional medicine has become little more than disease management. Conventional medicine may be beneficial for acute injuries, such as a car accident, broken bones, heat stroke, frostbite, and the like; however chronic conditions such as the flu, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer can all benefit from a more holistic approach that incorporates herbal remedies into a regimen of care.

Author's Bio: 

Aurelia & Kennon Ward are both founders of a new Company called Herbal Vista LLC, which focuses on selling healthy sustainable products. They are currently developing their own line of all natural herbal skincare that soothes both the skin and achy muscles. The products are planned to be ready for distribution later this year. Kennon is both a Reiki Master and herbalist, specializing in preparing specialty healing teas (coming soon on Aurelia was trained in research and development, and studies aromatherapy. For more information, visit, or e-mail Aurelia at:

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Kennon and Aurelia Ward, the Official Guide To Herbal Remedies