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  How Herbs Work  

How Herbs Work

Herbs are nutritional foods that go to the source of the problem, they don't only alleviate symptoms. Striving for health with herbs is a natural, wonderful process which has periodic cycles of (1) building health and (2) cleansing the body. As our health builds, our feelings of wellness increase. Then our body decides that it is well enough to rid itself of some stored toxins (pollutants, old medications, pesticides, etc.) and then we have a period of cleansing, called a "healing crisis." During this time, our past symptoms (that we thought we were finished with) may even get worse temporarily. It definitely is depressing the first time it happens! Old pains, colds, etc. flair up as your body dumps stored toxins into your elimination systems to remove them.

Let me explain. The body has many ways of getting poisons and other intruders out of the body: vomiting, diarrhea and sweating, even having a runny nose and eyes. Consider diarrhea. All of us have most likely experienced diarrhea in our lifetime. We eat something that has spoiled a little, get a case of food poisoning, or have the flu, etc. and our bodies recognize that there are poisons in the body we need to get rid of in a hurry. So our intestinal systems go into high gear and push the poisons our of the body so fast that liquid has no time to be reabsorbed into the body and our waste material is watery - hence diarrhea. This is a survival technique our bodies have - and it is a good one.

Now, let's go to a different scenario - I love watermelon and one summer I bought myself a juicy one at the store. We all know that watermelon is very nutritious and I ate several slices. Later that night, I was surprised to find that I had diarrhea - how could that be? I know there was nothing wrong with the watermelon, and everything else I ate was fine. I did not have the flu, so what was going on? It suddenly came to me - this was a mini-healing crisis! Eating the watermelon gave me lots of vitamins and phytonutrients, and my body said, "WOW! This is GREAT! I now have extra energy and nutrients - exactly what I need to get rid of some junk I've been storing! So let's get rid of it now while I have the chance!" And the diarrhea happened. I had experienced a healing event using wholesome food! This shows that when the body is given a chance, it will try to fix itself. Eating that fruit gave me what my body needed to clean out my intestinal system a little.

This is what herbs and supplements can do for us when we are seriously working on our personal health concerns. After taking herbs/supplements/good food/good water for a time and when our body is ready and strong enough, the body will take a "time out" from building health and do some housecleaning - this is the healing crisis. It is usually not pleasant - it can be only slightly so (with a small fever or tired feeling) or you may experience harsher symptoms, but they are only temporary and you always come out of the "crisis" feeling much better - in truth, better than you were before! One thing to remember: these healing events only happen when you and your body can handle them. They are nothing to be afraid of. In fact, they are to be welcomed because then you know for sure you are on the right track.

Here is a simple graph to illustrate how this process of natural healing works.

path to wellness

Becoming healthier through the use of herbs and supplements is a different path than working through modern medicine. Modern medicine tries in many cases to suppress the symptoms of illness: runny noses, fevers, sore throats, coughs, diarrhea, etc. We must realize that these symptoms are the body's mechanisms for fighting illnesses. When we work against our body's defenses and suppress symptoms, we may develop worse problems down the line. However, if we support the body by giving it the tools (see the diagram below) that it needs to be healthy and have a strong immune system, our body can heal itself; the body does know what it's doing. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a place for modern medicine. I also know that each of us in a loving, caring way can take personal responsibility to help our bodies achieve wellness in these modern stressful times.

Health diagram
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