Herbal medicine is growing in popularity in western culture as people seek an alternative to the abundance of synthetic pills and medications on the market. For many, eastern medicine is a last resort when nothing else seems to work.
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However, once you start using eastern medicine, western medicine may become your last resort — it just makes much more sense to treat your body using its natural healing properties.
This switch to herbal medicine is exactly what happened to me (except that I used minimal health treatment before that because I rarely visited doctors of any kind).
Instead, I used to ignore the signs my body would give me when my health was out balance until it got to the point where I had little choice but to address it.
I first tried herbal medicine at a point in my life where I had quit abusing my body with restrictive diets and had begun nourishing it with real food. I was also at a stage in my life where it was a struggle to find suitable meals to eat day-to- day due to cutting out various food groups that were causing distress to my body.
Within a few weeks of taking herbs, my body was back to its optimal state again and I could eat comfortably and enjoy more food options again. I even had the added bonus of learning more about why my body was unhealthy and how it related to other factors in my life at the time.
Now, whenever my health is not where I feel it could be, I get some herbs into me!
The herbs currently prescribed for me are to heal dysfunction of the stomach and spleen, as well as addressing anxiety by nourishing blood and soothing the liver. Some key herbal ingredients in this mixture are Thorowax Root, Cardamom, Orange Peel and Chinese Angelica Root.
To prepare this herbal medicine my herbal doctor gives me the dried herbs and I simmer them with water in a clay pot for 25 minutes, then drain the herbs and drink the remaining liquid.
If you’re also interested in healthy alternatives and you need further convincing on herbal medicine, here are the three main benefits I personally experienced through herbal therapy:
1. Teaches You To Listen To Your Body
When you first see a doctor of herbal medicine, the doctor will ask you many questions about your lifestyle, eating habits, current life stressors and your overall health and wellbeing. The doctor will use this information to determine how your body is operating currently and what it needs for you to be at your optimal health.
My doctor also looks at my tongue and takes my pulse as an indication of how my organs are operating. It always amazes me each time I see her because what she notices about one part of my body correlates with how other parts of my body are currently functioning. One week I had an outbreak of red blemishes on my face and it was linked to heat in my stomach.
While I may not understand all the diagnosing and treating of herbal medicine, it has taught me how to listen to my body. Now when I’m having trouble digesting certain foods or when my body is retaining more fluid than usual I know this is a sign that something is out of balance with my health.
When you gain more awareness of your body, you begin to listen to the signs of dysfunction as a reminder to pay more attention to your health and make it a priority.
2. Find The Mind-Body Connection
By noticing the signs when something is not in tune with your health, it also allows you to shine focus on other areas in your life that are also in disharmony. When my digestion is not working properly it always seems to correlate with current, major life changes that are causing me stress (i.e. job/relationship issues).
Again, herbal medicine amazed me in this area too. When my herbal doctor noticed I had a weak heart pulse she explained this is why I was struggling to cope with current emotional stressors in my life. Once prescribed with herbs to assist with anxiety, I experienced less difficulty in coping with day-to- day stressors.
When you identify the connection between the physical and emotional symptoms of your health issues, it opens you up to long term treatment plans that heal deeper than the surface. Just as a respectable mechanic will repair your car from the inside out rather than just ‘mask the symptoms’, this is exactly how eastern medicine restores your health.
3. Embrace Eastern Philosophy In All Areas Of Your Life
Now, while herbal medicine is amazing, I don’t feel like the herbs alone transformed my health — it was the eastern philosophy I was introduced to. By embracing the teachings of herbal medicine, it turned my overall health around.
Being that herbal medicine is a holistic practice, the focus is on the mind, body and spirit working together as a whole. Therefore, to gain the true benefits of this practice, treatment needs to be focused on restoring balance in all areas of the self, not just the body.
As the core of my health issues were linked to stress and anxiety I began implementing practices in my life to address these underlying emotional issues. Through the practices of yoga and meditation I found a way to bring more stillness and awareness to my mind and spirit, as well as my body.
By using a herbal treatment that restores your health holistically and naturally, your whole being begins to work harmoniously and in accordance with one another — this is what optimal health truly looks, sounds and feels like.