Herbal medicine is the process of using medicinal herbs and plants for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases and body ailments. Herbal medicine philosophies vary widely in practice and scope. Herbal medicine is practiced in nearly every country and ranges from traditional medication to more modern herbal extracts. Read below for more information on four of the most popular herbal treatment philosophies: Chinese, shaman, homeopathy and naturopathic.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicinal philosophies originated in China hundreds of years ago. Conventional medicine is still practiced alongside modern medicine in many parts of Asia, but it is considered a form of alternative medicine in the United States and Europe.
Chinese herbal medicine is based on many Taoist philosophies and is based on the idea that all body organs work together and support each other. To maintain a healthy body, individual organs must be in balance by coordinating the yin and the yang, opposing energies that affect all life forms.
Shamanism is a practical and adaptable spiritual practice found in many countries in the world. Unlike many health ideologies or formalized religions, shamanism is a group of techniques shared by shamans. Shamans are leaders in the practice that believers regard as having access to the spirit world. Shamans are distinctive in that they not only have access to evil and good spirits in other realms, but they use their relationships with these spirits to bring about changes in the physical world. These changes include healing individuals of ailments and diseases.
The fundamental ideology of homeopathy is that a substance or material that triggered a disease or ailment can also be used to treat that ailment. Homeopathic practitioners believe that the suppression of disease can eventually lead to the dysfunction of the body’s organs. Believers maintain that all illnesses have some chronic, inherited cause that cannot be managed or treated by opposing the symptoms. This philosophy is called the Law of Similars. Many practitioners also believe that diluting a substance or material increases, rather than decreases, its potency. Most homeopathic remedies utilize natural ingredients such as herbs and plants.
Practitioners of naturopathic medicine believe that the body can health itself from within by utilizing a natural vital energy force. The treatment of diseases based on this philosophy use alternative methods to promote the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Naturopaths do not believe in traditional medicinal approaches such as surgery or the use of modern medicines. Instead, practitioners seek to prevent and treat diseases through diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and stress reduction. Many naturopaths do not use vaccines, prescription drugs or antibiotics. Instead, they utilize natural materials such as herbal concoctions and plants.
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