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Alternative Medicine: Herb, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 599

Essay

List and briefly describe the most common forms that herbal medicines come in.

Herbal medicines are dispensed in several forms. They include:-

  • Poultice – the herb is chopped into minute pieces then place over the affected part of the body
  • Essence – this is produced into a type of oil to be inhaled
  • Pills/ capsules – drying and crushing of the herb to facilitate consumption, but the method of preparation could destroy the herbal value.
  • Infusions – This is one of the most popular forms of herbal dispensations. Teas are a form of infusion
  • Raw – this is the herb without being processed. Essentially, the herb is dispensed in its natural form.
  • Tinctures – these are prepared and administered in a liquid form, which can be ingested orally or applied locally to the affected area.

Discuss three herbs that should not be used long term.

Three herbs that should not be used in the long term are black cohosh, goldenseal root and cascara sagrada. Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) is used mainly as a hormone therapy associated with symptoms related to menopause. While there are other uses such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory and sedative, the hormonal action is a short term remedy. Therefore, once the  hormone levels are normalized the drug should be discontinued to prevent further complications (Sarris,  & Wardle,  2010).

Goldenseal root (Hydrastis canadensis) is anti-inflammatory, laxative, emmenagogue,  anticatarrhal, antimicrobial and oxytocic. The main reason for short term use is its oxytocic properties.  Oxytocin constricts blood vessels and stops bleeding. At the same time it could raise the blood pressure. As such, if someone is hypertensive, medications would not work. The individual could go into hypertensive crisis and have a stroke, heart attack or even die (Sarris & Wardle, 2010).

Cascara sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana) is used mainly as a laxative. The peristalsis properties created by emodin, stimulate smooth muscles particularly in the large intestines. Importantly, if this continues unsupervised for a long time the person could develop diarrhea. Diarrhea causes the body to lose electrolytes and ultimately death can occur (Sarris & Wardle, 2010).

Field trip in neighborhood

Sage (Salvia officinalis) has many names such as kitchen sage, black sage, red sage, true sage and garden sage. Similarly, it is used for many purposes inclusive of medicine. It has been best ascribed as a valuable respiratory treatment when ingested. Herbalists have used sage to treat runny nose or sinusitis. The herb has also been applied as an inhalant to relieve congestion in the nose and lungs. Sage is useful for mouth disorders. In some cultures it is applied to the gums as a tooth cleasing treatment. Currently studies are being conducted investigating its use in the treatment of Alzheimer disease because sage has proven to enhance memory functioning (Harrison, 2012).

This evergreen perennial subshrub has woody stems with grayish green leaves. The herb also grows a blue / purplish flower.  Some species even carry purplish seeds. As a member of the Lamiaceae family sage grows plentifully in the Mediterranean region as natural vegetation. However, it is not exclusive to this part of the world, but can be found in the Caribbean forests and some parts of the Florida everglades.  Precisely, the medicinal and culinary historical usage  of sage has been for centuries. Apart from these applications plant lovers have domesticated the herb due to its distinct fragrance. Sage is the name used for many other similar herbs which are unrelated to the original sage family (Harrison, 2012). In my area ( Southern Colorado ) the prevalent disease is tick fever.

References

Harrison, L. (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley

Sarris, J., & Wardle, J.( 2010). Clinical naturopathy: an evidence-based guide to practice. Elsevier Australia.

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