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Herbs excel at prevention. That's not to say that they aren't the perfect answer to many existing health conditions. But ultimately, our aim is to get to the point where we don't need 'treatments'. Instead we will be spending our energy on building and enhancing whichever system in the body is mostly affected by disease. Just as there are things in life that sap our immune system's vigour and capacity, there are also things that give it a break, or even actively nurture it. So in the simplest sense, the strategy for strengthening the immune system is to increase the positive influences in our life as much as possible, while at the same time reducing the negative's as much as possible.
A wide array of herbs are proving to have powerful immune boosting and cancer-prevention properties. The most prominent of these are garlic, cumin, turmeric, Japanese green tea, licorice, cinnamon, mint and chamomile. herbs contain nutritional substances which are beneficial to health and can have as profound an effect on the person eating the food, as they have on the flavour and aroma of the food itself. When used to flavour food, herbs compliment and enhance the flavour of the food, making the food more enjoyable. herbs are also employed as substitutes for ingredients that are not allowed in some diets. Celery, thyme and marjoram are used in salt-reduced or salt-free diets, often altogether replacing the need for salt. Nasturtium, savory and basil can be used as a substitute for pepper.
Tonic herbs are a great way to begin with herbal remedies, to try something new and see what it does for you. And they can be taken throughout life. We live in such as toxic and disease-filled world that it cannot hurt to strengthen our "shields." By nourishing your tissues and energy the tonics help combat disease, increase immunity and enhance the quality of your life. Thus one definition of a tonic – the criterion used in most ethnic healing systems – is a herb that, with long term use is "building" in some way. One way to choose your tonics is to think in terms of individual areas of weakness. If you have a family history of heart disease and did not adopt heart-healthy habits until recently, hawthorn berry might be a good tonic for you. If you tend to have respiratory infections and are a former smoker, a lung-affinity tonic such as thyme would be good. If a constant string of varying infections is your complaint, tonics that specifically increase cell-mediated immunity should be included. If you can’t think of a specific area that would help you counter individual disease tendencies, another way to approach tonic use is by rotation. Use one or two for a couple of months, then switch to another one or two, so that every year you are nourishing and balancing two to four major systems."
The best-known herb for the heart in western herbalism is hawthorn, which is a small tree or shrub that grows throughout the northern hemisphere. The fruits, flowers, and leaves are processed into tinctures and other kinds of extracts available in capsules or tablets in the U.S. and other parts of the world. The comely hawthorn is a dense tree with small, sharp thorns growing to 25 feet. It has small white flowers with rose-like petals and bright red berries containing one or two large seeds. Hawthorns are native to Europe, North America and Asia. In both the East and West, hawthorn has been used for millennia as both a food and a medicine. The current use of hawthorn for heart conditions dates back to the 17th century, according to the French doctor, Leclerc. Green, an Irish doctor, is known to have used it extensively--though secretly--for heart ailments. After his death in 1894, his daughter revealed the famous cure to be a tincture of the ripe berries of Crataegus oxycanthus. In Europe, both homeopathic and allopathic doctors used the herb for various heart and cardiovascular ailments from the late 19th through the early 20th centuries--and with great clinical success. Hawthorn had entered American clinical practice by 1896--only to fade from use in the 1930s.
Today, hawthorn is an official drug in the Pharmacopoeias of Brazil, China, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Hungary, Russia, and Switzerland. As a measure of its lasting popularity, it is an ingredient of 213 commercial European herbal formulas, which are mostly for the treatment of heart and cardiovascular ailments.
The fact that these people are adopting alternative medicine and using it in their own lives is fascinating in and of itself, but what is really fascinating about this research is the response it has been getting from the conventional medical community. Prescription Drugs, try to take over the body and hijack the biochemistry. They try to force blood pressure to be lower or force the liver to not manufacture cholesterol. In fact, prescription drugs interfere with normal human metabolism, and that is one reason why prescription drugs are killing people. Yet all the conventional medical doctors are terrified about the unknown side effects of alternative therapies. Today, conventional doctors are finally admitting that people over 50 are turning to alternative medicine because conventional medicine isn't giving them answers. When people are in chronic pain because they have inflammation and joint pain, and when they find out that the drugs that were supposed to be safe are actually killing them at a truly terrifying rate, then of course they are going to turn to alternative medicine. They find out that drugs cause dementia, skin disorders, low sex drive and all these other side effects and think maybe there is something better to be found in the world of alternative medicine. If one school of thought on medicine is failing the people, then of course people are going to turn somewhere else for answers. Those answers are found in the universe of nutrition and natural health.