Medicinal Uses of Herbs
Interest in medicinal herbs is on the rise. Dr. Varro E. Tyler is a professor, author and noted expert in the field of pharmacognosy which is the study of the theraputic value of drugs made from plants. Dr. Tyler shared his thoughts with me about several plants found to have proven medical benefits.
When the cold and flu season is upon us, there's a lot of talk about herbal cures and medicines. And you have to wonder, can a lot of the things we grow in our gardens help us? I asked Dr. Varro Tyler, one of the leading experts on herbal medicines, if they really work.
Dr. Tyler: Yes, some of the time and some of them. In other words, there are products that are effective and safe, there are products that are not. And there are products that fall somewhere in the middle. And so you can't just generalize.
A couple of herbs that have been found to be effective are echinacea or purple coneflower, for boosting the body's immune system and garlic for helping with cholesterol. But, according to Dr. Tyler, whatever you take should be prepared in specific ways and in measured doses.
Dr. Tyler: If you purchase these things you want to be sure to purchase them from a reliable source. You want to purchase them as a standardized preparation. Fortunately, there are some companies in this country that are beginning to market nothing but standardized preparations.
So many of these are available in health food stores and pharmacies. But I just had to ask Dr. Tyler, does he take herbal medicines?
Dr. Tyler: Well, I do. But I'm fortunate enough that I don't need very many medicines. And as an old time pharmacist, I don't believe in taking anything you don't need.
Well, that just makes good sense and so does looking a little further into some of these remedies that come out of the garden. For more information, here's a list of books that deal with nutritional and herbal cures:
- Healthy Living, Linda G. Rector-Page N.D., P.H.D.
- Prescription For Nutritional Healing, James F. Balch M.D. & Phyllis A Balch C.N.C.
- Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzomo N.D.
- Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide, The Burton Goldberg Group