Natural products: Spotlight on Herbs

Patients often come into the clinic with a tiny bit of information about naturopathy and a very minor understanding of herbs and herbal remedies. Herbs are a natural remedy that form the basis of Homeopathy and also Ayurveda. They are important in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and form an important component of a natural health practitioners approach to health and healing.

Today you can read about the general benefits of herbs and what they can do for you and your general wellbeing.

Historical uses

The medicinal benefits of herbs and herbal remedies have been known for centuries. Throughout the ages, various cultures have resorted to them as the most fundamental and primal of all healing arts and sciences. Historical, archaeological and anthropological records indicate the Egyptians, Hebrews, Romans, North American Indians, South Americans and Chinese all used herbs extensively to treat major ailments and health problems within individuals.[1]

Herbalism versus the Allopathic/Pharmaceuticals approach

The modern pharmaceuticals industry that rules the medicinal world of the 21st century is grounded in the pursuit of isolated and concentrated forms of herbs. These are extracted from natural resources and their potency and concentration is maximised. This approach believes that an isolated and concentrated form of a herb is the best approach for healing.

This is directly opposite to naturopathic approaches and the views of specialist herbalists. These groups believe that nature in fact provides a total and holistic health care in the plant, with nature in fact providing other herbal components within the same plant that may complement or harmonise or counter balance any issues associated with the main herbal compound. This is the balance of ingredients tailored and created by nature.

The use of herbs beyond the western world remains prevalent. The World Health Organisation has stated that possibly as much as 80% of the world’s population depends on herbs and herbal remedies to treat illness and health problems. But the use of these herbs is also grounded in cultural awareness and knowhow and often this scenario does not translate to the modern world because we have lost our connection with traditional forms of herbal medicine.


Herbs are less concentrated than their allopathic counterparts. While they are gentler and less invasive and aggressive on the body, caution should still be exercised. Always check with a natural health specialist or herbalist or naturopath and always remember that the word “natural” is not commensurate with entirely “safe and risk free.”

Use common sense and care when using herbs and herbal remedies.  Use the correct amounts and the correct herbs for specific problems or ailments and always be sure to use the correct area of the plant.

Exercise caution when pregnant and always consult a specialist when giving herbs or remedies to children. And always remember to source a good Medicinal Herbs chart that lists quality information and the natural remedies associated with each herb.[2]