The fact that so many people are eager to try herb remedies, particularly when it is often hard to find reliable information about them, indicates that major changes in health care have brought herbal and nutritional remedies closer to conventional medicine.
The main reasons why more and more people are turning to herb remedies:
Affordable. As prescription drug costs continue to escalate out of control many people that cannot afford their cost are turning to herbal remedies.
Readily available. Herbal remedies are available wherever you look. They are found in the water we drink and in the plants we grow.
Credible. Pharmaceuticals have been in use, from a modern perspective, for a relatively short period of time as compared to herbal remedies which have been in existence since the dawn of mankind.
Harmonious to the body. No side effects. Using herbal remedies finds a way to tap the natural body rhythms that make every part of the body work together.
Herbal remedies come in a variety of forms which affect both their ease of use and, in some cases, their rate of absorption.
You can avoid the taste of herb remedies if you take it in tablet or capsule form. Both tablets and capsules are prepared using either a whole herb or an extract containing a high concentration of the herb's active component. In either form, the constituents are ground into a powder which can be pressed into tablets or encapsulated.
These concentrated liquids are made by soaking the whole herb or parts of it in water and ethyl alcohol. The alcohol extracts and concentrates the herb's active components. (non-alcoholic concentrations can be made using glycerine.) Tinctures are taken in small doses-say 20 drops, or 1ml, three times a day.
Less concentrated than tinctures, teas and infusions are brewed from the fresh or dried flowers, leaves or roots of a herb. They can be purchased in bulk or in tea bags. Although tea is generally made with boiling water, I recommend preparing infusions, using hot water on the verge of boiling, which preserves the beneficial oils that can be dissipated by the steam of boiling water. As for decoctions, the tougher parts of a herb (stems or bark) are generally simmered for at least half an hour.
Use these liquid herb remedies as soon as possible after brewing them, because they start to lose their potency within a few hours of exposure to air. Store them in tightly sealed glass jars in the refrigerator, and they'll retain some strength for up to 3 days.
oils extracted from herbs can be commercially distilled to form potent concentrations for external use. These so-called essential oils are usually placed in a neutral carrier oil such as almond oil, before use on the skin. (Milder infused oils can be prepared at home.) Essential herbal oils should never be ingested. The exception is peppermint oil. A few drops on the tongue are recommended for bad breath and capsules are beneficial for irritable colon.
Gels and ointments, which are made from fats or oils from aromatic herbs, are applied to the skin to soothe rashes, heal bruises or wounds and serve other therapeutic purposes. Creams are light oil-and-water mixtures which are partly absorbed by the skin allowing it to breathe while also keeping in moisture. Creams can be used for moisturizing dry skin, for cleansing, and for relieving rashes, insect bites or sunburn.