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What is Herbal Health?

A form of alternative health, herbal health practices involve using herbs as a major source of nutrition and medicine. Herbal health practices use plant-based dietary supplements, like herbal capsules, teas, and skin preparations. Practices used in herbal health are applied to fight disease and illness and improve the overall health of the patient. Each herb has its own function and medicinal properties in herbal health, as well as its own dangers. Though many people practice herbal health in small ways in daily life, some also seek the advice of professional herbal health practitioners who can guide them in advanced herbal healing applications.

Herbal remedies have been used in many cultures for a number of centuries, so most people have had experiences with herbal health. Herbs are often ingested, inhaled, or applied to the skin. Commonly used herbal health remedies include cranberry juice for bladder infections, peppermint for digestive disturbances, and chamomile for stress relief. Herbal supplements can also come in the form of herbal vitamins or liquid herbal remedies that claim to boost energy and bodily defenses. Several popular energy drinks on the market, including 5-Hour Energy Shots— and Steven Seagal's Lighting Bolt— Energy Drink, contain herbal ingredients like ginseng, ginkgo, and guarana.

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Practitioners of aromatherapy work with the belief that treatment with essential plant oils can help improve a patient's health. Essential oils are liquid essences derived from plants that are said to contain the most basic parts of the fragrance of the plants. During aromatherapy, essential herbal oils applied to a patient's skin absorb into the patient's skin and create a scent thought to relax the patient and improve his general health. Common herbal essences used in aromatherapy include rose, lavender, and ylang-ylang.

In addition to their medicinal function, herbs can also be included as part of the overall diet to improve health. Some herbs and spices, when eaten in quantities included in the diet, are thought to reduce the risk of cancer. Tasty herbs that can be included in the diet to improve health are many include dandelion greens, peppermint, and chamomile teas, or spices like cumin and coriander.

Some herbs have effects as potent as medicines and should be handled with care. Though they may seem like harmless plant-based supplements, some herbs can cause illness or organ damage if they are overdosed or used too frequently. For advanced herbal treatments, it is best to see a medical professional and licensed herbal practitioner before starting on the treatment. Herbal treatment should always be taken as indicated by the manufacturer or herbal medicine practitioner.

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