Why Natural Remedies Are Best
Natural remedies have been used by mankind since the dawn of civilisation. Although it cannot be denied that many scientific discoveries have greatly enhanced the human condition, quite a few have caused more harm than good. Very often the problem is that one invention needs another to offset its damaging effects – such as the internal combustion engine and the catalytic converter – and sometimes the second follows on much later. In medicine, the majority of effective modern drugs are derived from natural remedies.
It has been estimated that over a quarter of all commercial medicines owe their origins to natural products. This number would greatly increase if only scientists were to spend more time studying alternative and natural medicines. We can put men on the moon and send probes to distant planets, but in most cases we just don’t know why a particular herb or plant actually does help ease or cure an illness or disorder.
Nature is wonderful. There are thousands of examples of natural products that help cure illnesses and alleviate conditions. Most of us take natural supplements at one time or another. Another joy is that you can grow your own herbal remedies.
By eating a certain berry (such as cranberry) we can alleviate kidney problems, an apple a day really does keep the doctor away and the bark of a certain willow tree can stop a headache (the herbal derivative of aspirin). When it comes to the Menopause, for example, natural remedies for hot flashes are safer and more effective than the medical route. In our rush to embrace technology and science, to coin a phrase, we’ve thrown out the baby with the bath-water.
Science is frankly baffled by nature and there seems to be some strange resentment of its powers. Plants contain many components, and it is likely that several will work together to produce a beneficial effect. You can also team up different herbal remedies with great results and virtually no side-effects. People who are depressed, for example, have complex reasons for their illness and very often natural remedies for depression can work on several causes at the same time. Commercial drugs often offer only a sledgehammer approach.
Even when scientists have attempted to grow beneficial herbs and plants to use as medicines, their attempts often fail. This is because there are many factors at work deciding how effective a particular plant or herb will be once it is cultivated and harvested. These can include the climate in which it is grown, the soil quality, the general environment and the effects of natural-occurring insects and rainfall. How the plant was harvested can also have a significant effect. It is usually very difficult to reproduce natural healing in a commercially viable manner and when scientists fail, they usually abandon the project and go on somewhere else.
Natural remedies are best because…
- They work with the body, often providing a more gentle solution than harsh chemicals and commercial medicines.
- Often it’s just a matter of eating better. Natural remedies can include what you eat on a day to day basis.
- They tend to be wholistic and organic.
- They are usually far cheaper than traditional medicines. Instead of taking an expensive course of tablets, it is often better and much less costly to add something tasty to your morning cereal.
- Usually you will encounter less side effects.
- They have been tried and tested over hundreds and often thousands of years.
Let us take a look at the history of herbal and natural medicine:
A Brief History of Natural Remedies
We can trust natural and herbal remedies because they developed and were improved over time. Thousands of years of development and progress is not something to be sniffed at. Five thousand years ago, the Sumerians (who ruled an area in what is now modern Iraq) created clay tablets containing long lists of medicinal plants, including opium and myrrh. In 1500 BC the Ebers Papyrus of Ancient Egypt contained information on 867 herbal medicines, listing the healing properties of the likes of aloe, mandrake, castor bean, garlic, juniper, and cannabis.
All indigenous cultures used herbs to cure and treat ailments. Others went further and created whole systems of medication based around natural ingredients. These include Ayurveda and the various brands of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The Indian Ayurveda tradition can be traced back to the ancient Sanskrit texts, The Vedas. It is said that Ayurveda began and developed from the Atharvaveda, one of the most ancient texts. It contains over a hundred verse hymns on the treatment of diseases. A more complete record of Ayurveda can be seen in the 6th century BC texts of Sushruta, which describes seven hundred medicinal plants, 57 preparations from animal sources and 64 preparations originating in mineral sources.
Chinese Medicine was developing independently. During the Han Dynasty, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung wrote Pen Tsao, reckoned to be the first written herbal remedy guide in China. It lists 365 medicinal plants and their benefits. These include hemp and chaulmoogra (an effective leprosy treatment) and ephedra, the herbal source of the modern drug ephedrine. During the Tang Dynasty of the 7th century the treatise Yaoxing Lun was written and is regarded as one of the most complete records of Ancient Chinese Medicine.
The earliest recorded Greek medicinal tracts were written during the Third Century BC by Diocles of Carystus. It was followed by a similar work by Krateuas in the 1st century. From the very few fragments that remain intact we can see that there is a huge overlap with what the Egyptians knew. Whether this developed independently or was shared is unknown.
Modern medicine can be traced back to how the Greeks and Romans handled healing. The writings of Hippocrates were adopted as the basis of modern medicine and indeed doctors today still take the Hippocratic Oath. This requires new physicians to swear upon several healing gods that they will uphold professional ethical standards. Around 60AD, Pedanius Dioscorides a Greek physician wrote a compendium of 612 plants, 90 minerals and 35 animal products. Known best by its Latin name, De Materia Medica was the main textbook of natural medicine (the only kind available at the time) for nearly 600 years.
In the Islamic World, medical schools called Bimaristan started to appear from the 9th century. Arabic scholars were influenced by Roman and Greek culture and knowledge. They translated thousands of Greek and Roman texts into Arabic and used this as a basis for experimentation.
Being traders, the Arabs travelled to India and China and brought back plants and knowledge from the extremes of their known world. Scholars and scientists such as al-Dinawari and Ibn al-Baitar were able to classify and describe thousands of different plants and food stuffs. The Arab Spanish botanist Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati was instrumental in the cataloging of herbal and natural remedies as far back as the 12th century. The Islamic medical tradition of Persia and the Arab world was far more advanced to what was happening in Europe at the same time.
In the early Middle Ages, European and British monasteries were the main centers of medical knowledge. Although most monastic scholars were studying ancient Arabic, Greek and Roman texts, by translating and copying them they meant that the knowledge was preserved and carried on.
Using the knowledge they’d gleaned from the works in their libraries, many monasteries and convents developed herb gardens and it was usual for monastic scholars to be consulted on illness by local people. One of the most famous monastic scholars of the 12th Century was a German Benedictine nun called Hildegard of Bingen, who wrote Causae et Curae in 1150.
Simultaneous with what was happening in the monasteries, an indigenous tradition of folk remedies continued in towns and villages. This centered around traveling herbalists and local practitioners known as “wise women”, who dispensed advice and herbal treatments. They were the focal point of village medicine until the witch hunt hysteria of the late Middle Ages branded them as “daughters of the Devil”.
Once scientists had developed powerful enough microscopes that allowed them to delve deeper into the properties of herbs and other natural remedies, they began to simulate their effects using chemicals and other compounds. This led to the rise of pharmaceuticals and the decline of herbal medicines. Even so, it is estimated that something like 7,000 modern medical compounds are derived from plants and practically all the supplements on pharmacist and health store shelves are essentially natural supplements.
A Return To Natural Health Methods
The World Health Organization has estimated that eight out of every ten people in the world are taking herbal-based medicines for at least part of their primary health care. It’s not just in the so-called “Second World” and “Third World”, either. Nearly three-quarters of German doctors prescribe plant-based medicines, of which some 700 are available in Germany.
Western Countries, in particular in the USA, UK and much of mainland Europe has seen a resurgence of interest in natural remedies and in Alternative Medicine generally. Part of this – especially in the USA – has been because of rising healthcare costs, but much of it can be linked to a general return to natural methods. More people are coming to realize that Mother (Nature) still knows best.
I’m so glad you found the Natural Remedies Guide website. This is a brand new blog dedicated to natural remedies and folk remedies. Remember: the old natural remedy of all is “an apple a day keeps the doctor away…”
We will be listing trued and tested home cures and natural remedies for many disorders and diseases. Back in the old days, people were very practical and were able to use what they had at hand to cure diseases and treat disorders. Now we know more about nutrition, vitamins and chemical reactions, we can evaluate the old natural remedies and see how many of them worked.
When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, natural sleeping remedies are so much more effective than pharmaceuticals and do not have any unpleasant side-effects. When you take sleeping pills, you’ll often feel groggy for most of the next day. This doesn’t happen when you try the natural method. With natural remedies for diabetes, it is maybe not so straightforward. This is a serious illness and should not be taken lightly. Even so, many sufferers report terrific results just by keeping to Nature’s way.
The following video was made by a representative of the medical and pharmaceutical industry, who obviously doesn’t like that people would rather take a safe herbal root extract to get to sleep than become dependent on sleeping pills. It ends by saying that “not everything that grows in the ground is good for you”. I think even an idiot would know that. Most of the world’s most lethal poisons occur naturally. Take a look at the video and leave a comment to tell me what you think…
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