Taken From Miriam Young’s e book ‘DETOX FOR LIVING Natural Cleanses for Modern Disease’
It has always amazed me that the mainstream view in the western world is to trust orthodox medicine over the healing herb. Since the beginning of time, humans have used only remedies from nature, the pharmaceutical industry has only been around for approximately 100 years. The pharmaceutical industry is most certainly the world’s most powerful industry as a result of powerful marketing and millions of dollars, herbal medicine is natural, has been created by the natural force born in all of us.
In earlier years, when humanity was more in harmony with nature, we would have been far more suspicious of a substance concocted by scientists in laboratories, than we would a plant that grew wild in the meadows that we would pick seasonally and make into tea. Today however the opposite is true, drugs are more the norm and herbs are something to be feared. The Doctor is God and the Herbalist may be considered a dangerous weirdo.
Both orthodox and herbal medicine work at a bio-chemical level within the human body. Many orthodox medications are synthesized, copying active phytochemical constituents from plants. Perhaps the most famous example of this is aspirin, which was originally isolated and refined from the white willow herb (Salix species). Another example of how orthodox medicine copies herbal medicine is with the drug ephedrine having been synthesised from the plant ephedra sinica. Because of what is seen as the dangerous ephedrine content, the herb ephedra is now only available by a doctor’s prescription (in Australia), although freely available as a “dietary supplement” in the US.
Ephedrine is only one of hundreds of chemical constituents found in ephedra. Both ephedra the herb, and ephedrine, the drug is used as a bronchio-dilator in asthmatics. However, one of the side-effects of ephedrine is that it raises blood pressure. There are other phytochemical constituents in ephedra the whole herb which lowers blood pressure. Therefore, when a person takes ephedra, given the correct therapeutic dose, they will experience bronchio-dilating effects, and their blood pressure remains constant.
I am not saying that there are not side-effects or adverse reactions when taking herbal medicines. However, in my twenty years of practice, I have only ever seen two adverse or idiosyncratic reactions. Adverse reactions after taking herbal medicine would probably be thousands of times rarer than those people taking orthodox medications. As soon as you take out an active constituent from an herb, isolate it and then synthesise it, it becomes a drug, and is no longer as nature intended.
Side effects from prescription and over the counter drugs are the 4th leading cause of death in America each year. That is over 100,000 people that die from drugs every year! That’s a shocking statistic, which comes from the US Food and Drug Admin. In 2013, in the state of Victoria, Australia, prescription drugs killed more people than car accidents, Valium being the biggest killer.
At it’s very best, herbal medicine is preventative medicine. Sometimes, it can be difficult for a person to make the change from orthodox to herbal or homeopathic medicine. This may be due to the fact that they are used to the ‘quick fix’. Generally speaking, although not always, orthodox medication may be seen to have a much faster affect than herbal medicine.
In some parts of China, the people visit their local doctor regularly as part of their routine preventative health care. The traditional doctor (using herbs and acupuncture) stops being paid when their patient becomes unwell, despite continual visits! They are paid so long as they keep their patients well.
Orthodox medicine in the way that it works is a bit like a moving arrow. It has a particular target inside the body and reaches it very quickly, however, along the way it can sometimes destroy and create havoc. Herbal medicine will also reach its target, and tends to do so at a slower rate. However, herbal medicine also tends to heal other aspects along the way. For example, when dissolving a person’s gallstones, herbal medicines may also clear their headaches and increase their energy levels as it works.
A medication (generally) will have one action. Herbal medicine has many.