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Dr Russ Blog - Good Info on Herbal Medicine
Good Info on Herbal Medicine
Created on 1/10/2014

Conventional medicine, including the use of pharmaceuticals / prescription drugs, has the potential to offer us tremendous health benefits. Prior to the great pharmaceutical advances of the 20th century, however, people relied on other forms of care, including the traditional use of plant parts, or herbal medicine.

There is evidence that some of those herbal medicines might still offer health benefits even today.

But not all of them.

And not in place of a prescription drug that's needed.

And we probably should be careful about mixing an herbal remedy with a precription drug. In fact, we should be careful using one herbal medicine with another herbal medicine, or one with an over-the-counter drug.

Some herbal remedies have scientific data behind them suggesting the potential for significant health benefits - examples that come to mind include garlic, turmeric and some forms of ginseng.

But any agent that acts in the body has the potential to act in ways that aren't necessarily good for us depending on our unique health circumstances.

So when you're considering the use of an herbal remedy, perhaps echinacea for the management of a nasty cold, how do you figure out whether or not you should take it?

Here's one good answer - the web site for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (a branch of the NIH) - here's the web address:

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/herbsataglance.htm?utm_source=121913+CIM+eNewsletter&utm_campaign=122013+eNews&utm_medium=email

The "Herbs at a Glance" site offers easily understandable information about a variety of botanical medicines. While you can use this information to help you decide whether to take a specific herbal remedy or not, I recommend first taking the information and sharing it with your doctor or pharmacist who is in the best position to help guide you regarding its use - and whether to use it at all.

Another good way to access medicinal herbs is through the use of spices in your cooking - learn more here - http://www.harristeeter.com/other/videos/yourwellness-Video-Collection/Spice-Up-Your-Life.aspx

Medicinal herbs could be of benefit to you but they should be treated with respect and caution - what is natural is not the same as what is safe for everyone, including you. Look for good sources of information, like the web site listed above, and include your health care providers in the decision about whether or not to take herbal remedies.

Generally speaking, however, the use of spices is almost always acceptable.

Be well.
Dr. Russ
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **


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