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Western Botanical Medicine - Phytotherapy

Humans have been using plants to heal since before humans have had memory. Even animals use plants to heal. The main way we use plants is to eat them. Eating is usually one of the main sources of illness. This particularly includes not eating, excessive eating, and eating the wrong foods; like the Standard American Diet (i.e. SAD) that has saturated fats, lots of sugar and salt, processed foods, and with few or no leafy green vegetables.

Herbal medicine uses plants in "medicinal" doses based on the active constituents and other properties of the plant. For example in Chinese Herbal medicine The warming and/or cooling affect of the herb is considered as are other factors. In Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine the three dosha theory (Kapha, Vata and Pita) are considered when selecting herbs. In Western Botanical medicine the emphasis is mainly on the main constituent and what it has been shown to either heal or ameliorate.

Additional information on plants and Herbal Medicine can be found at the following sites:

Delivery Modalities

Capsules and caplets - these are herbs that have been ground or sometimes pulverized, and then put into capsules. Herbs delivered in this manner go through the digestive system. this delivery system is ideal for either very large doses of herbs as well as for herbs with undesirable tastes, such as very bitter. Chinese herbs sometimes use Tea Pills. These are small, hard pills that are best taken with warm water to facilitate dissolving.

Tinctures - tinctures are made by extracting the constituents from the plant. This may use water, alcohol or a combination of both depending on the water solubility of the constituents. Glycerite is sometimes substituted for the alcohol after the constituent has been extracted form the plant material. This is good for people with alcohol sensitivity or who just wish to avoid the use of alcohol. For cough medicines, honey is sometimes used for its soothing properties and pleasing taste.

Decoctions - this is where the herbs are boiled and the liquid ingested. Chinese Herbs are most potent in this form.

Infusions - boiling water is added to the herbs and the container sealed for 8-10 hours. Then the liquid is ingested. Like decoctions this is a potent way to take herbs.

Salves and Creams - the herbs are added to a delivery material like cream, vaseline, or other material and then applied topically

Patches - this is where an herb is ground with a little moisture like water or saliva to create a poultice, generally used to heal external wounds like snake bites or insect stings.

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Caveat EmptorPlease note that the material provided at this site is the opinion of Dancing Bear and does not in any way negate the need for appropriate medical care. Also, there are a number of links to other sites from this site. Dancing Bear is not responsible for the content of these sites.

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