Why Herbal Medicine?

My first post on this blog was titled, Building a Medicine Cabinet: Master Tonic. Although this is a series I plan to continue, I think it’s important to answer the question, “Why herbal medicine?”
First, let’s get some things straight. I am not against doctors, nor do I think that conventional medicine is evil. I find flaw in that most doctors prescribe medicine to treat the symptom, instead of digging deeper to find the root of the problem. Big Pharma is basically corrupt, and needs to have their compasses redirected to actually caring about the people, and not the money they make. Don’t worry, I’m not naive, I won’t be holding my breath. With that said, I do believe there is a time and place for conventional medicine. I do believe there is a time to visit the doctor or hospital. I do think we have made amazing strides in certain areas of the medical field that have helped save thousands of lives. I am grateful for them, and grateful for a lot of the work they do. At the same time, I also believe that the American people have become overly-dependent on prescriptions (“A pill for every ill!”), and while they may be keeping us alive, they are not helping us get healthier. So, what’s the answer?
Well, it’s NOT herbal medicine. Are you surprised? The real answer is diet. A traditional diet like our ancestors ate, prior to food industrialization, kept them free from disease and chronic degeneration. Additionally, colds and flus were few and far between. Your diet is of primary importance and is one of the biggest factors in the state of your health. Sleep, exercise, and stress all play a role in your health, too, among other factors. By keeping to a traditional diet, avoiding unnatural, refined sugars and processed foods, and by following traditional food preparation techniques you can maintain your health or regain your health if you’ve lost it.
For most of us, our diets are bound to be less than perfect, and colds, flus, and other illnesses will happen, especially during the winter season. Of course, there are a plethora of cold and flu medicines you can buy at the store full of harmful ingredients, like high fructose corn syrup and unnatural dyes, not to mention a whole host of ingredients I can hardly pronounce. Take a look at this example. Here are the inactive ingredients for a Robitussin cough and congestion syrup:
anhydrous citric acid, artificial & natural flavors, carboxymethylcellulose sodium, D&C red no. 33, FD&C red no. 40, glycerin, high fructose corn syrup, menthol, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, povidone, propylene glycol, purified water, saccharin sodium, sodium benzoate, sorbitol solution, xanthan gum (source)
Blech! Sure, the high fructose corn syrup makes the syrup more palatable, but refined sugar is not something you should be putting into your body when you are sick... or healthy. Moreover, these are the inactive ingredients, in other words, unnecessary ingredients. Thankfully, you and your family have healthier options that are just as effective. One of those options is homemade herbal medicine. 
Herbal medicine has been in use for thousands of years. And while we are living in a time when herbal medicine has taken a backseat to allopathic medicine, the World Health Organization estimates that over 80% of the world’s population still uses herbal medicine. In this day and age, we’re often encouraged to believe that herbalism is merely myths and old wives’ tales. The other extreme is just as false. Using herbal medicine is not a cure-all, and I don’t advocate a kind of witch doctor mentality in which herbs have super powers. Herbs do, however, contain powerful medicinal properties that can heal us from various infirmities. Let’s take a look at why you would want to make use of herbal medicine today.
Herbal medicine is effective and safer than conventional drugs. A study published in 2003 that was led by Dr. Gary Null, PhD found that adverse drug reactions cause 106, 000 deaths/year in the United States. Add to that 98,000 deaths/year for medical errors, and 37,136 deaths/year for unnecessary procedures, and you have a lot of people dying unnecessarily (source). Herbal medicine, on the other hand, is much safer. Most herbs don’t have any side effects! They are made from common ingredients you may already have in your home or grow in your garden, like raw honey, cinnamon, cayenne, lavender, and peppermint. 
Herbal medicine is natural. You don’t need to worry that you won’t be able to pronounce the ingredients, or know what they are going to do in your body. Since herbs have been used for thousands of years their uses and benefits are well-known. You don’t need to do the guesswork, and you don’t have to worry that five years down the road that herb is going to be recalled, like so many prescriptions are today.
Herbal medicine is inexpensive. Many herbs can be grown in your own backyard, and I bet you already have a few of them in your spice cabinet. It doesn’t take many ingredients to make a good remedy. Homemade medicine is much cheaper than a prescription.
Herbal medicine is easy to learn. Putting together herbal medicine is not difficult. If you can read a recipe, you can make a remedy. There are some great books out there that contain tried-and-true recipes. They can help aid you in identifying illness and providing the corresponding treatment.
Herbal medicine is a system of healing available to every human who chooses to use it. Using herbal medicine is much more than treating a sickness; it’s about taking responsibility for your own health. Learn all that you can about your condition, and do what you can to resolve the issue. This will take some time depending on the nature of the problem, but it’s worth it to be able to treat the root of the problem. If you still cannot find an answer, a doctor may be able to help you find a different solution. Remember, proper diet, exercise, and rest are going to be the biggest factors in your health, and adjustments should be made to these ares first when sick.
These herbal remedies might be of interest to you:


  1. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

  2. Amanda -- I just found your site from kelley the kitchen kop and I am very excited to learn about herbal medicine. I'm going to start wiht the master tonic first, if I can find the organic ingredients. My hushand and I have just learned about traditional foods. About the spicy taste of the tonic the people on tv drink milk after they eat something very hot to kill the burn, maybe that will help.

    1. Hi, Cindy! Let me know how making the Master Tonic goes. I tend to like spicy foods, so the Master Tonic doesn't bother me. Milk could be a good chaser if someone has a much milder tolerance to heat. Happy tonic making!

  3. Hi Amanda, :)

    What a great post on herbal medicine! Would you mind sharing with Wildcrafting Wednesday? I'm sure my readers would love it!

    Thanks! :)
    ~ Kathy

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  8. Hi
    Nice post. Most of the times i never spend a most of the time on any posts. But i really like you post and i read your post. Thank you for sharing and keep posting a more post on new topics