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What Are Therapeutic Herbs?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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Therapeutic herbs are any herbal supplements or whole herbs given for the purpose of preventing or curing a disease or condition. Many herbs are said to have healing powers, and some of them have been scientifically proven to help in the treatment of certain ailments. Most therapeutic herbs can be taken in tincture, pill, or tea form. Some can also be taken in the whole plant form, although many patients would prefer not to take them this way since some herbs don't have a good flavor.

Before there were manmade drugs and medications, people were using therapeutic herbs. Many of the herbal remedies used today date back hundreds or even thousands of years. There was a time when modern medicine seemed to have replaced these more "primitive" methods of treating disease, but many people are returning to herbal treatment options because some have fewer side effects and are more natural than synthetic drugs. Therapeutic herbs are commonly sold in health food stores and they are often given by holistic health practitioners instead of conventional medications.

One of the most popular ways to take therapeutic herbs is to use the whole leaves or other parts of the plant and steep them in water. This will create a tea that can be consumed just as any other tea. It is possible to do this oneself using herbs grown in a garden or purchased in a local store. There are also commercially sold options. Aside from making herbal teas, health food stores and sites also usually have pills and tinctures.

There are benefits to buying herbal remedies in any of these forms. Teas are sometimes milder and can be taken more often since they are diluted in water. Tinctures are often said to be more powerful for faster results. Capsules may contain the whole plant dried and inserted into the supplement, so they may also be very effective. The best choice will depend on the herb being used. Some will be most potent as a tea or tincture, while others will be most effective when used as a pill.

Despite what many believe, therapeutic herbs are not necessarily safer than medications. They can have side effects and drug interactions just like any other treatment method. It is also possible to overdose on many herbs, and some are not recommended for human consumption at all above a certain dosage. As with any drug, individuals should check with a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan before using herbal treatments.

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