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What is a Medicinal Herb?

A little basil in your soup, a sprinkle of oregano on your lasagna, a bit of thyme in your chicken, and voila. That is all you need for a Sunday brunch, classic herbal touch to a perfect meal. Yet, we won’t be discussing the culinary add-ons of your kitchen herbs. We are talking about the untapped health benefits of medicinal herbs. Their use has become the latest fad among health enthusiasts worldwide.

Traditional health experts make use of many different forms of traditional medicine methods. Yet all the systems share a common philosophy of taking a holistic life approach. It does so by

  • achieving a balance of mind, body, and soul

  • highlighting disease prevention rather than cure

  • addressing the root cause of a disease instead of symptomatic treatment

The use of herbs is the hub of all systems of traditional medicine.

What is a medicinal herb?

An herb or plant is medicinal if it’s extract exhibits therapeutic properties. Such plants tout a time-honored history to treat and prevent disease. Enhancing general well-being remains the primary function of many herbs. Any part of a plant, tree, or herb may exhibit such therapeutic properties.

How do medicinal herbs work?

The principle of herbalism's principle rests on facts. One of which is that plants contain different kinds of chemicals called phytochemicals. Almost all exhibit some disease-warding properties. These phytochemicals are of four different types:

  • Alkaloids

  • Glycosides

  • Polyphenols

  • Terpenes

Take aspirin, for example. The active element is salicylic acid, which comes from the willow tree's bark.

Digoxin, a cardiac stimulant drug, has its origin from foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).

Quinine is an anti-malarial drug and its active component comes from the bark of the Cinchona plant.

Many research pieces highlight the various mechanisms by which herbs work. Herbs' primary mode of action is to work parallel with the biological processes. They interact at the cell level via their active metabolites.

Some of the main modes of actions of these super-herbs include:

  • Adaptogens; support your body in adapting to its environment or circumstances.

  • Stimulants; boost up the body's energy stores.

  • Analgesic; function as pain killers.

  • Antimicrobial; interfere with the reproduction and interaction of microbes with the body cells.

  • Anti-oxidants; combat the disease-causing free radicals produced in the body.

  • Astringents; dry and constrict tissues, thereby extracting toxins from the cells.

  • Diaphoretics; promote sweating, aiding toxin expulsion from the body.

  • Diuretic; enhance kidney functions and help remove body toxins.

Herbalism – some facts and figures

Herbalism is not a new phenomenon that was just invented. The use of super-herbs is an age-old tradition in traditional medicine. In fact, herbs' use was common in the Ancient Chinese, Ayurvedic, and African therapeutic remedies. Today, traditional medicine has emerged as a promising therapeutic module. This is true for disease prevention and treatment. Surprised? Read on to know more.

In the U.S., expenditure figures for alternative medicine were about $13.7 billion in 1990. The figures doubled by the year 1997. In fact, herbal medicine took the lead, thereby making it the most popular tool to treat disease.

The total commercial value of the herbal market is overwhelming. In 1995, the annual sales of herbal products in the U.S. was an estimated $5.1 billion. Similarly, the cost of herbal medicine soared sky-high. The cost of herbal medicine manufactured in China reached 17.6 billion Chinese yuan.

Moreover, the trend has continued to rise in Western Europe. The annual revenues (2003-2004) reached the U.S. $5 billion, hence putting the spotlight on the herbs. Meanwhile, the sales of herbal products in China totaled the U.S. $14 billion in 2005. On the whole, the worldwide annual market for herbal products is estimated to reach US $60 billion.

A brief history of Chinese and Ayurvedic herbal medicine

Today the pharmaceuticals are a zillion-dollar industry. This industry develops, tests, and produces synthetic drugs at a mass scale. Indeed, their contribution to changing healthcare has been huge.

Yet we see a similar shift of healing trends towards using herbal elements. This shift is more obvious in developed countries. For example; In the U.S., about 38% of adults were using some form of traditional medicine in 2007.

Recently, governments in developed countries are spending huge money on research. In fact, they aim to explore the possible benefits of herbs to help prevent disease.

However, in developing countries, the case is different. In these parts of the world, allopathic medicine is expensive. That is why people rely on herbal medicines. Of course, it has more to do with age-old traditional and cultural beliefs. For example, about 90% and 70% of the population use herbal remedies for different ailments in Africa and India.

In China, 40% of all healthcare relies on traditional medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is part of their cultural belief system. The truth is it has worked for them for thousands of years. Therefore, 90% of the general hospitals of China provide for traditional medicine units.

Still, one may ask. Why is the account of herbalism different in various parts of the world? The reason is straightforward. It lies in a society’s long-standing traditional beliefs. Indeed, the traditional remedies have passed the tests of time itself.

Chinese medicine consists of traditional treatments based on herbalism. Moreover, the philosophy of physical balance also plays its part. The beginning of TCM dates back to prehistoric times. Even way before the invention of writing. The basis of its traditions rely on:

  • multiple forms of herbal medicine

  • acupuncture

  • massage therapies

  • exercises

  • dietary interventions

Nonetheless, TCM has its cultural influences from other therapies. For example, the Chinese five-phase healing concepts correspond with Greek’s five elements. That includes the earth, water, air, fire, and aether. The Chinese therapeutic concepts also overlap the Indian (Ayurvedic) four elements. These include earth, water, fire, and air.

Ayurveda is one of the most renowned and ancient traditional medicinal systems. The birth of this concept dates back to 2500 and 500BC in India. Ayurveda focuses on living a long healthy life. Therefore named the science of longevity. Its principles follow nutritional protocols to achieve a state of metabolic balance. It is an interactive system that empowers an individual. It does so by switching on the human body's self-healing mode. Hence we see diet, exercise, and use of herbalism as the mainstay of Ayurveda.

Why are herbs the best medical agent?

Here are some of the common reasons why herbalism is on the rise today. Consequently, these are the reasons why people use super-herbs instead of modern drugs.

  • Herbal medicine is more affordable than modern drugs.

  • Herbalism caters to the root cause of disease and boosts your immunity. It thereby helps in chronic disease prevention.

  • Herbal products come with fewer side effects, being natural.

  • They address the need for more personalized care.

  • Such products may correspond more closely to a patient's ideology and beliefs.

Take home message

Herbs have always been an essential part of our lives in many ways. Modern research is tapping into the therapeutic benefits of many ancient herbs. Indeed, there are promising results of these herbs regarding disease prevention and cure. Being natural and safe, their use is becoming quite prevalent.

A great option for building your immune strength and repairing your cellular integrity is Jua Herbs Immunity. This product contains four superherbs that promote optimal nervous, endocrine, and immune system functioning.


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