Herbalism: the foundation of natural medicine
Please, meet Ms. Grazyna Swolken, MD Pharmacist, educated in Poland. At our Herbal Village store she works as an consultant: helping people make the right choices with the store’s products. Ms. Swolken is well adapted to the diverse needs of customers and has over 30 years of experience in natural health products industry. She is an expert on, among others, pharmacognosy, or the science of herbs, which was the subject of her two years of study at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Krakow Academy of Medicine.
Can we define Herbal Village as a store of natural medicine?
Absolutely. It is a place where you can find products that are used by naturopaths, and healthy food. It is worth noting that healthy food can be used as products to prevent disease. Herbal medicine has its origins in ancient cultures including those of the Egyptians, American Indians and Chinese. It involves the medicinal use of plants to treat disease and enhance general health and wellbeing. Some herbs have potent ingredients and should be treated with the same care and respect as pharmaceutical drugs. In fact, many pharmaceutical drugs are based on the synthesised versions of naturally occurring compounds found in plants. For instance, the heart drug digitalis was derived from the herb foxglove. In recent years, interest in herbal medicine has skyrocketed, leading to a greater scientific interest in the medicinal use of plants. Many international studies have shown that plants are capable of treating disease and improving health, often without any significant side effects.
Active ingredients and herbal medicine
A pharmaceutical drug typically uses a synthesized version of a plant’s active ingredient. Practitioners of herbal medicine maintain that an active ingredient can lose its impact or become less safe, if used in isolation from the rest of the plant. For instance, salicylic acid is found in the plant meadowsweet and is used to make aspirin. Aspirin can cause the lining of the stomach to bleed, but meadowsweet naturally contains other compounds that counteract the irritant qualities of salicylic acid. According to herbal medicine, the effect of the whole plant is greater than its parts. Critics argue that the nature of herbal medicine makes it difficult to administer a measured dose of an active ingredient.
Herbal medicine aims to return the body to a state of natural balance, so that it can start healing itself. Different herbs act on different systems of the body.
Do not self-diagnose ailments
It is very important that people do not self-diagnose any health conditions. Any medication (herbal or otherwise) should be taken under the supervision of a knowledgeable practitioner.
Special considerations for herbal medicine
Never stop taking conventional drugs without the knowledge and approval of your doctor. Always tell your doctor if you are planning to start a course of herbal medicine for your condition. Always tell your herbal therapist what conventional drugs you are taking.