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What are Holistic Herbs?

By Laura Evans
Updated May 17, 2024
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Holistics herbs, or using herbs to treat medical problems, is part of a larger practice of holistic medicine. Holistic medicine practitioners have a different outlook on treatment than traditional medical doctors or mental health physicians. While medical doctors typically focus on the body and mental health physicians are mainly concerned with the mind, alternative medicine practitioners are concerned with both the body and the mind as well as the spiritual aspects of human beings. Holistic herbs and other natural treatments such as massage, oxygen therapy, acupuncture, or acupressure are sometimes used in alternative medicine in an effort to avoid traditional drugs or surgery.

A number of different holistic herbs can be used to treat headaches. Thyme, valerian root and lavender are thought to reduce pain. Ginger may be particularly effective in treating pain from migraine headaches. Ginkgo biloba and periwinkle are thought to increase the blood flow, thereby bringing more oxygen to the brain. Cayenne and skullcap might help the brain to produce endorphins, a natural chemical that the body produces that helps kill pain and produce feelings of wellbeing.

The American Heart Organization estimates that about 35.7 million adults in the United States have cholesterol levels that are considered to be "high risk." High cholesterol levels can lead to other serious medical conditions such as heart attacks, arteriosclerosis, and hypertension. Holistic herbs such as cayenne, hawthorn berries, and goldenseal may assist in lowering cholesterol. Women who are pregnant should avoid using goldenseal. In addition, people who have diabetes, glaucoma, or cardiovascular disease should consult their primary physician before taking goldenseal.

Conjunctivitis is characterized by bloodshot eyes. This condition can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or allergies. Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are contagious while conjunctivitis caused by allergies is non-communicable. A cooled tea made from raspberry leaves soaked into a towel and placed over closed eyes for five to ten minutes may help to stop eye irritation and redness.

The sting in bee stings comes from venom in the stinger. Holistic herbs that are used to treat bee stings include echinacea or goldenseal to help fight off infections. A poultice of lobelia or comfrey, slippery elm, and white oak leaves can promote healing. Most people are able to shrug off a bee sting with simple treatments. Those who are allergic to bee stings should carry epinephrine and should treat a bee sting as a medical emergency.

Even though holistic herbs are natural, holistic herbs should be treated as the same as other drugs. Herbs, like drugs, can have side effects. Herbs taken in combination with other herbs or drugs can have negative effects on the body. In addition, pregnant women and people who have serious medical conditions should approach taking herbs cautiously. Those with concerns about taking holistic herbs can consult with their primary physicians.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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