Herbs that Heal

Herbs having been used in the treatment of diseases and for revitalising body systems in almost all ancient civilizations. Plants were the mainstay 'of medicine and credited with mystical and almost supernatural powers of healing.


Curative properties of some herbs are mentioned in the Rigveda. Many of the plants mentioned in the Rigveda can be identified with reasonable certainty. A more detailed account is found in the Athamaveda. Information about herbs has been recorded in Charaka Samhita and Shusruta Samhita the two most important works on Ayurvedic system of medicine. The latter deals with as many as 700 herbs, some of which have not even originated in India. In subsequent years, more and more plants were used in indigenous medicine and their number gradually increased to 1500.

The Chinese also have a compilation of 1,000 ancient herbs. Even in these modern times Chines herbal medicine is relied upon.

Herbs play a significant role in modern times, when the damaging effects of food processing and over medication have assumed alarming proportions. They are now being increasingly used in cosmetics, foods and teas, as well as alternative medicines. The growing interest in herbs is a part of the movement towards change in life styles. This movement is based on the belief that the plants have a vast potential for their use as a curative medicine. The ultimate objective of their use is that they should interact directly with our body chemistry. They may be used in various forms like food, medicine, cosmetics, or fragrance, but in all cases, their active constituents must be absorbed into the body for deriving the required benefits.

Aword of caution. While most herbs have little or no harmful side effects, some herbs may cause undesirable reactions in some persons. Therefore, try only one herb at a time, beginning in small doses and wait and watch for side effects. If there are none, increase the use or dosage cautiously. Also, not all herbal applications are effective in every case in every person. And in no case should these be used as substitutes for professional medical attention in emergencies or serious chronic diseases.

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