By Amy Goodrich

When we are sick we go to the doctor, right? Have you ever thought of seeking advice and guidance somewhere else? In America, the use of herbs is significantly overshadowed by dependence on modern medicine. Big Pharma and pill-pushing doctors have made us believe we need those drugs to cure our symptoms and diseases.

While most Americans blindly follow the white coat, know that 75 percent of the global population still use traditional, herbal healing practices to get better. Herbal medicine has been around for more than 5,000 years. These time-tested natural remedies use herbs to promote health and prevent and treat illness and pain.

A clinical or medical herbalist, your trusted health care provider

Unlike modern medicine, the primary focus of a certified medical or clinical herbalist is to treat people as individuals irrespective of the medical condition they have. While conventional physicians use strong, toxic pharmaceuticals to tackle the symptoms, herbalists use living or dried plants and lifestyle changes to help the body heal itself.

Medical herbalists treat the whole person, not just the disease. Therefore, a herbalist will offer you a solution that goes far beyond curing your symptoms. They will dig deep until they find the root cause of the disease.

“Rather than just placating a symptom we try to treat the root cause by uncovering the factors that have contributed to the condition,” Humble Leaf, a California-based herbalist in service of ancient wisdom and your health, told Medium.

As reported by the American Herbalists Guild, in 1987 about 85 percent of modern drugs were derived from plants. Today, only 15 percent has a plant origin. Herbal medicines are prepared from plants or plant parts which contain hundreds to thousands of other compounds.

Unlike herbal medicines, most pharmaceuticals are highly refined and purified single chemicals synthesised in a lab. These compounds are difficult for the body to process and cause an array of side effects. Today, science is beginning to demonstrate that the synergistic effect of the different compounds in herbs play a fundamental role in the safety and effectiveness of herbal medicines.

Does it really work?

Herbs can offer a broad range of safe and effective therapeutic agents to prevent and treat diseases while optimising overall health. Seeking out the help of a herbalist is not merely replacing a pill for a plant, it goes much further than that. They will take other factors such as emotional and social balance into account.

Herbal medicine is the art of treating the whole person, not just the symptoms. Illness and pain are the only signals your body can send to let you know something is out of balance. Instead of masking the underlying cause through the treatment of symptoms, a herbalist will help you search for the underlying reason.

Take chronic stomach issues for example. Conventional doctors may prescribe a pill to ease stomach acids or improve digestion, while a herbalist will seek a solution to what’s causing the health issues and treat the underlying condition rather than the symptoms it causes. This can be anything ranging from food allergies to stress or depression.

Some cases are complicated, deep-rooted, and take a while to unravel, however, once a clinical herbalist is able to figure out what is causing the symptoms, clients experience profound and enduring benefits way beyond the clearing up of a condition. Next to being symptom-free, people often report feeling happier and healthier than before.

Our body and mind are closely intertwined. When our body struggles, our mind will struggle too and vice versa. Therefore, popping pills will not offer a long-term cure as it doesn’t cure the underlying reason. Hence why diseases or symptoms often re-emerge after quitting conventional treatments.

What about their safety?

When used appropriately, the majority of herbs used by clinical herbalists have no adverse side effects.

“Based on published reports, side effects or toxic reactions associated with herbal medicines in any form are rare. In fact, of all classes of substances reported to cause toxicities of sufficient magnitude to be reported in the United States, plants are the least problematic,” stated Norman Farnsworth, Ph.D., professor of pharmacognosy at the University of Illinois, Chicago.