Read an Excerpt
Open this herbal encyclopedia before you open your medicine cabinet. This book may help with illnesses from colds and flu to chronic fatigue to cancer. You can easily and quickly look up your ailment or disorder, get a clear explanation of what may have caused it, and find a list of herbal options to use in treating that particular illness or condition. You will get straightforward alternatives and establish when and if you should call a health-care professional. Prescription for Herbal Healing is a collection of herbal treatments that are reliable and understood in scientific terms. It offers precise herbal "prescriptions" that can be used to treat an array of health conditions. It lists herbs and formulas that can amplify the benefits of a healthy diet, nutritional supplementation, and natural healing techniques. It presents clear information on the compatibility of herbs with conventional medication in the treatment of health conditions. It points out possibilities for combining herbal healing with conventional treatment with outcomes that neither can achieve alone for various conditions. It's amazing how far we have come in natural healing, without serious side effects. Herbal treatments are capable of healing all kinds of disorders and all parts of the body. Many countries, especially the European countries and China, are ahead of the United States in using natural products such as herbs, but even in North America, many doctors now blend the best of conventional medicine with alternative healing and have found powerful new treatments that work.
Part One of this book defines the principles and materials of herbal healing. Then it lists over 200 of the plants used in traditional herbal healing and the scientific evidence for their use in extending health. It gives the most current scientific explanation of how each herb has been used successfully for centuries as a healing tool. It also provides current clinical information on the herbal formulas of ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, Native American, and South American medicine most widely used today, as well as several modern herbal formulas of great healing potential.
Although every herb and formula listed in Part One has been employed by one or more of the great schools of traditional herbal healing, no herb in Part One is employed only by informal healers. In fact, all of the herbs and formulas listed in this book are used in modern medical practice in Europe, Egypt, Israel, or Japan. The herbs and formulas listed in Part One are at least understood in chemical terms and can be used with predictable results with modern medicine. Interestingly, most conventional drugs were originally derived from plant sources. The problem with this is that to make a pharmaceutical drug, the component of the herb believed to be responsible for its activity is extracted and concentrated. In their whole form, herbs are buffered because they contain many different components. Because of this, they are less likely to cause side effects (which can sometimes be worse than the original problem).
People need to be educated about their treatment options and the potential risks involved. Anything you can do to help yourself, to empower yourself, helps to get rid of the sense of hopelessness when disease strikes. It's never too late to protect your health. There is no reason you should not know about your body and how it works, even as doctors know these things.
Not every herb recommended in Part One has been confirmed by the highest standards of research recommended (if not always actually used) in conventional medicine. That is, not every herb listed in this book has been confirmed as effective by statistically controlled, randomized, double-blind, clinical studies. But every herb and formula listed in this book is known to be safe when used as prescribed and has a long history of healing benefits, which makes for a brighter future for all of humankind.
Part Two of this book shows how these herbs and formulas can be used to treat over 150 specific conditions. This information is also based on scientific studies. It is included for those who wish to provide themselves with the widest range of possibilities for gaining health. This section reveals how herbs correct disease processes. It discusses the use of herbs with diet and nutritional supplements. It also lists dozens of therapeutic practices for which there is objective evidence. Herbs, nutrition, and personally directed healing therapies are included to give the reader even greater opportunity to take charge of his or her health.
Part Three provides information on making baths, compresses, creams, lotions, ointments, and tinctures. This information is included for those who are most comfortable using herbs as a healing art, as a healing connection to the natural world.
This entire book has been written with an acute and personal awareness of the frequently overwhelming cost of health care. The most economical approach to regaining and maintaining health is a combination of conventional medicine with supplemental approaches. Except for minor conditions, the herbs and formulas in this book are not chosen to replace conventional medicine. Instead, they are intended to work with conventional medicine, to help it work more quickly, effectively, painlessly, and economically.
Of course, for herbs to be useful with conventional medicine, it is essential to pay attention to herb safety. Only those herbs that are generally recognized as safe, or that can be processed by known manufacturing practices into safe forms, are included in this book. Special notes on safety for administration to children and during pregnancy and nursing are included where needed. Always read the precautions for each herb before using it. And since the philosophy of this book is that herbs can be used with a doctor's prescribed medication, interactions of herbs and drugs are noted throughout the text.
I want to thank you for choosing to read this book. Its purpose is to make the process of treating disease and returning to health a little easier for you. May this book help you use the best of herbal healing and, when needed, modern medicine to find greater health than you have ever known before.
from Prescription for Herbal Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, Copyright © January 2002, Avery Books, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc., used by permission."