Phytotherapy: the Truth and Myths

Thanks to the achievements of modern pharmacology, the myth of a magic pill that can quickly and effectively cure all diseases has settled in our minds. Compared to this miracle of the chemical industry, the grasses growing right under our feet to look unconvincing. On the other hand, we want to return to the natural way of life and follow the traditions of our ancestors, including in the treatment. Finding itself at the crossroads of these conflicting trends, herbal medicine has acquired a huge number of legends.

Herbal medicine is not a science, so you can’t trust it

Myth. The tradition of herbal medicine goes back millennia and has been passed down from generation to generation. This is a harmonious system of knowledge about the basis of what and according to what principles the collection of herbs is compiled for each person. A modern pharmacological preparation “lives” on average 3-5 years. And the herbs, which were described by Hippocrates (who is considered the father of modern medicine), still have not lost their effectiveness.

The side effects of herbal medicine are minimal

It’s true. This is really so because, in phytotherapy, the focus of attention is not on a single problem (organ, function), but on the body as an integral phenomenon. Therefore, any phytotherapeutic collection is a kind of tonic that supports all body systems. Such a remedy allows you to treat the underlying disease without damaging other organs, without disturbing their functions. This is the main advantage of herbal treatments.

Homeopathy and herbal medicines are one and the same

Myth. Indeed, there is confusion on this issue, because homeopathy, like herbal medicine, uses plants in its arsenal. But these medical areas have a significant difference in approach. If an extract is made in herbal medicine, for example, 1:10 (one part of a plant, ten parts of water, alcohol, or oil), then in homeopathy multiple dilutions of extracts of plants are used (to the minimum, “information” level). And yet, homeopathy and herbal medicine have more differences than similarities.
Photo by Katherine Hanlon / Unsplash

For example, in the case of inflammation, an anti-inflammatory agent is prescribed to the patient, which enhances the main process and causes the body to react to overcome this condition. Phytotherapy proceeds from a completely different principle: to achieve a complete cure, the fire is extinguished with the support of all other organs. Besides, in classical homeopathy, one drug is usually used, which acts on the cause that launched the chain of pathological changes. In herbal medicine, a collection is compiled that affects the entire body as a whole.

Herbal remedies are contraindicated for allergy sufferers

Myth. A true allergy can be caused by a specific agent: it can be both plant pollen and household dust. But do not forget that in most cases we are dealing with a false allergy, which is a consequence of the ugly state of the small intestine. If you suddenly have an allergic reaction, it is not known what, it means that you need to cleanse the body of toxins. And just in such cases, herbs can effectively help: regulate digestion and restore the intestinal barrier function. It is necessary to be treated with either herbs or pills, without mixing them.

Herbal medicine in some cases is powerless

True. Herbal medicine cannot cope with acute processes that require a quick effect on the body in order to preserve life. If a person is brought to a hospital in a serious condition, one cannot count on the help of herbal remedies. Strong drugs are needed here, and the liver will heal with herbs later.

Herbs do not help with chronic diseases

Myth. Just the opposite. It is chronic ailments that are the main area of ​​application of herbal medicine, because the long courses of pharmacological preparations necessary in such cases give either the accumulation of side effects, or toxic poisoning of the body, or addiction and dependence. And phytopreparations, the composition of which can be changed every three weeks, make it possible to undergo courses of treatment lasting months and years. Most of the worst diseases today are autoimmune. They require mandatory seasonal prophylaxis: 8-9 months a year, a person must take medicine. Not a single pharmacological preparation gives such an opportunity due to the presence of side effects – only herbal medicine can do it.

There are herbs that men should not eat or drink

True. It really is. For example, such beloved by many herb as St. John’s wort, is purely female. Men should not drink it because it reduces potency. Female plants also include mint, lemon balm, calendula, corn silk, viburnum. In summer, in the heat, you can sometimes put a pinch of mint in a man’s tea, but you cannot drink it for a long course.

Anastasia Fetter

Anastasia Fetter