What do you do when you’re feeling off color? Of course you make an appointment with your doctor, he’ll give you a prescription, you buy your medicine, and you’re fixed.
The same cycle is adhered to throughout the medical profession all over the world: examination, conclusion, and prescription.
Were a doctor to prescribe herbs, you would probably question his sanity as well as his qualifications.
In modern times however our minds are opening to the real possibility of herbs being used for medicinal purposes and many studies are under way as we speak.
So called ‘natural’ medicine comes in many forms, differing also from culture to culture it covers a wide range of practices from the use of herbs as medicines, to rituals to cure ills. The original doctors were and in some countries still are seen as ‘magic men’, using a variety of these methods which are for the most part a sworn secret and passed down only through their apprentices.
‘Traditional medicine’, ‘complementary’ medicine, and ‘alternative’ medicine are all said to fall under the umbrella of ‘natural’ medicine.
Way before the medical discoveries of the ‘modern’ world, what we would now term ‘natural’ medicine was relied upon to heal the sick.
‘Phytotherapy’ is the official name for herbal medicine, a form of natural medicine, which has its origins within and is still prevalent amongst the Chinese, Ayurvedic (Indian) and Greek traditional medicine.
When so called ‘modern’ medicine came into being, the medical professionals of the time manufactured medicines which were thought superior and herbs as a medicine in their own right became almost defunct. These same medical professionals however forgot that an important component of these medicines was in fact the very herbs that they had shunned.
Some well known herbs used medicinally such as opium, quinine and digitalis all originate from natural medicine, as does aspirin, perhaps the best known medicine of them all!
Many think of natural medicine as lost to modern humans but, like the herbs themselves absolutely does not mean that it does not work as well now as it did 5000 years ago. In fact, in some instances natural medicine can rival if not surpass modern medicine. The possible applications of natural medicine is being studied and researched by some more enlightened doctors.
It should of course be borne in mind that there are natural remedies are legal so be careful and try only those which have been confirmed safe and effective.
As a medicine to work alongside modern medicine, natural medicine is very useful and in fact this is the only way that the current medical opinion holds that it should be used. If you however have a minor ailment then natural therapies are thought to be the better course of action.
As discussed earlier, modern medicine hinges upon the cycle of diagnosis and prescription. Natural medicines however work differently. Treatments need not only be given in the case of sickness but can be used as part of everyday life, helping the patient adopt healthy living habits.
Ever wondered why our parents told us we had to eat all our fruit and vegetables? Well, it’s partly to do with an idea of natural medicine that we all inherently possess, whether we realize it or not. The adoption of natural medicine in any form will certainly not do us any harm, but it is likely to make us a great deal healthier, thus helping to prevent disease in the first place..
Science is after all the study of nature, and is more and more frequently looking to the past to solve the questions of the future. It’s ironic but heartening that this often results in medical terms at least, to nature’s own tonics and cures. These natural therapies do need further research, but it is encouraging that if proved useful it could have a huge effect upon our lifestyle and health.

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