When you were little, your parents or grandparents probably gave you chicken soup or some other home remedy to help you get over your cold, probably because their parents or grandparents gave it to them when they were younger.
Before taking whatever they gave you, did you first go to the library and make sure it was actually effective? Did you need to see peer-reviewed medical literature to prove it wasn’t going to have negative side-effects?
Nope. You just took it. Granted, a big reason why you did was because
it was recommended by someone you trusted—in this case your parents.
This is the basis for all folk medicine. Also called “alternative medicine” or “complementary medicine,” these are systems or collections of natural remedies that have been passed down from generation to generation based on what has been found to be effective.
The terms alternative, folk, complementary, etc. as they relate to medicine are both silly and trivializing. I prefer simply to use the word ‘natural’ to describe these original types of healing modalities.
“Alternative medicine” isn’t as weird as you think
It’s important to understand that at one point “alternative medicine” was the only type of medicine that existed. It’s like the term “organic food.” Once upon a time, ALL food was “organic.” The fact that we even use these labels just goes to shows how far we’ve strayed from our natural roots.
No doubt, modern day medicine has its place. Doctors are heroes when it comes to saving lives in emergency situations. No herb or holistic remedy is going to stitch a severed limb back together. No amount of dietary change is going to put a titanium rod in place of a broken neck, as they did with my grandfather this past summer. But these are emergency situations. The vast majority of health concerns that people face are not emergencies.
Over time, we’ve grown lazy about our health and effectively placed it in the hands of doctors, the FDA and the government. We’ve stopped thinking for ourselves and in doing so, we’ve given away our power. Now it’s time to reclaim that power.
Herbs for health
There are SO many options when it comes to natural healing, it’s almost absurd. The list includes modalities like homeopathy, aromatherapy, energy medicine, naturopathy, fasting and many others. The point is, chemotherapy is not your only cancer treatment option anymore. Drugs are no longer your only choice for lowering your blood pressure. You don’t have to have surgery to remove organs that your body can potentially heal on its own if you give it a chance.
For the purpose of this post, I want to focus on one particularly effective method of healing that you can easily incorporate into your life right now and that will have a noticeable and immediate impact on your health—even if you’re already healthy.
That method is taking herbs.
I’m not talking about cinnamon here. What I’m referring to are medicinal herbs. These are things like astragalus, cordyceps and ginseng. Although culinary herbs like pepper, thyme and nutmeg are great and definitely have some health benefits, I’m way more interested in teaching you about herbs that will radically change your life and drastically transform your health rather than just make food taste better.
It’s so interesting to me that many people are still skeptical of natural medicines like herbs even though medical systems like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine from India have had a 5000+ year successful track record!
Why is it that we are we okay with the laundry list of ridiculously dangerous side effects of an “FDA approved” drug, but scared of a powdered root that might cause a mild cleansing reaction?
According to The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), around 100,000 people die each year from prescription drugs. Compare that to zero deaths caused by vitamins, minerals, amino acids or herbs.
In the scope of human history, pharmaceutical drugs are brand new substances, never before seen by humans and we’re just poppin’ em like Skittles. It’s a little weird, don’t you think?
Pharmaceutical drugs = herbalism gone bad
The truth is, most modern day pharmaceuticals are in fact, derived from plants and other natural organisms. Why? Because scientists and researchers know that these are extremely powerful medicines and have been successfully used by humans for ages.
The problem is that there’s not much money in plants or naturally occurring substances since they can’t be patented or easily mass distributed. So what do pharmaceutical companies do? They synthesize, refine, purify and otherwise chemically alter these natural substances so drastically that they are no longer recognizable from their original form and can officially be called a “drug.”*
How you can start using herbs
Now I’m not saying that you that should just take random herbs willy-nilly. These are Nature’s medicines and they should be respected. Herbalism is more complex than chicken soup. But here’s the great news: The beauty of herbalism is that all the guess work has already been already been out for you through centuries of trial and error.**
I’m a big fan of herbal systems like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. These are two of the oldest documented herbal medicinal systems. Native Americans and even African medicine men were also excellent herbalists and healers. Now, although I’ve studied and experimented with lots of herbs over the years, I’m not an expert practitioner of any of these systems. But here’s the great thing: you don’t have to be!
All you need to know to reap the benefits of any herbal system is this: Take the top 5 – 10 herbs in that system consistently.
That’s it. Do this and you’ll have an extremely strong health insurance policy in place.
Nature created herbs for a reason
Why herbs? Because herbs give you vitality. Herbs are hardy. They tend to have bitter substances called alkaloids that usually help the plant thrive under harsh or abnormal conditions (think: weeds). These compounds are then passed on to you and in turn help you adapt to stress and resist disease.
The truth is, scientists still don’t fully understand the many complexities of plants. But what we do know is that they are magical, powerful organisms with their own extremely advanced immune systems. And they are happy to bestow their magical powers to those that are open to receive them.
In a future post, we’ll go over exactly how to use these plant we call herbs, where to get them and why they’re so damn awesome.
In abundant health,
* By the way, this is a fundamentally very similar process to making cocaine. The coca plant is a naturally growing plant native to South America, whose leaves you can use to make a tea. The tea is perfectly healthy, non-addictive and only a mild stimulant, similar to coffee. However, when you add toxic, harsh chemicals like diesel gasoline, ammonia and sulfuric acid to the leaves to isolate and concentrate an extremely powerful and stimulating substance like the coca alkaloid, you now have one of the most addictive drugs in the world. That’s what you get for messing with Nature.
** Modern medicine has only been around 100 years or so and is still in the trial and error phase.