Written by Klaus Ferlow, HMH, Honorary Master Herbalist
Growing up in Northern Germany “country style”, I quickly developed a love for the bounties of MOTHER NATURE especially berries, herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables.
The value of herbs to our lives and to our health cannot be overstated, since our ancestors first walked the earth, herbs have formed the basis of medicine chests, cosmetics bowls, culinary spice jars, perfume vials and dye pots. Most herbs in their natural state are safe, and do not leave a residue in the body that could produce negative side effects. Drugs tend to treat or mask the symptoms or condition, while herbals emphasize a preventative approach to healthcare helping to balance and support the bodily functions. The compounds in herbs work synergistically in the body to promote healing. All plants have therapeutic properties as they contain a variety of biologically active substances. Plants undergo photosynthesis, transforming carbon dioxide into energy rich substances. The resulting carbon chains are further transformed into a variety of compounds such as lipids, alkaloids, essential oils and tannins. Through other biochemical processes, minerals and nitrates are absorbed by the roots and transformed into vitamins, trace minerals and antibiotics.
Herbs can affect biological systems in our bodies at the cellular level. Ultimately these high levels of biologically active substances can produce pharmacological and therapeutic affects. The nutritional value of herbs is high and organically grown herbs (no herbicide and pesticide spraying and chemical fertilizer) offer maximum benefits.
Herbs are extensively used in cosmetics, (there is a growing demand for TOXIN free medicinal herbal and personal care products worldwide) herbal creams & ointments, lotions, shampoos, toothpastes, soaps, oils, tinctures, sprays and in cooking. The multitude of uses for herbs as foods, medicines and in products emphasizes how vital botanical plants are to our health and well being. Unfortunately, as the Pharmaceutical industry developed the ability to synthesize medicine from the inert substances such as petroleum and minerals, and developing sophisticated marketing strategies, the therapeutic use of natural herbs diminished and was almost lost, especially in North America.
Recently however, there has been a resurgence of interest in herbs and healing. As people begin to lose faith in prescription drugs and antibiotics, they are rediscovering that herbs and herbal remedies and products are an effective and comparatively inexpensive form of healthcare. Herbal medicine represents a particular approach to healing which differs from allopathic medicine. Rather than relieving a single symptom with single active ingredient, herbs offer a holistic approach by striving to deal with the entire system and treating the cause.
Herbal medicine can only be truly holistic if it acknowledges the social and cultural context in which the illnesses occurred, and then the desired healing takes place. (Body, Mind & Spirit). According to Chris Kilham, the medicine hunter, www.medicinehunter.com over five billion people today are still using herbal remedies for healing! The renewed interest in holistic medicine, as well as a great number of traditional therapies, has encouraged changes within the existing medical profession. Given the severe financial crisis of our medical system (many professional predict a collapse within 5 to 10 years) it is incumbent upon us all to seek out and utilize appropriate health alternatives.
Let me quote you from the “Pocket Herbal Reference Guide”, by Debbra St.Clair, MH (Master Herbalist):
“The art of pharmacy turned to the production of drugs which could bring the quickest relief of symptoms, ignoring the reason that the symptoms appeared. As we look back perhaps it is time to reconsider the path. The use of substances has spawned a myriad of unexpected problems, such as suppression of the very signals that our bodies produce to alert us to a need of change. Pain itself is a call to action; a call to remedy and in balance in our lifestyle. The proficient use of herbal therapy is directly connected to our ability to sense that first signal and to adjust our lifestyle accordingly. It is when these signals are continually ignored that disease has a chance to seat itself more deeply within our bodies. The appropriate use of herbs is one of many health alternatives to our medical system.
And remember: For every disease we know, Mother Earth provides a herb to grow. Those who do not spend time every day on health, will sacrifice one day a lot of time for illness, since HEALTH IS WEALTH!
Words of Wisdom “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in care of the human frame, in diet, the cause and PREVENTION of disease.” Thomas Edison (1847 to 1931)
References: Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, alive books The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook, James A. Duke, Ph.D. Prescription for Natural Healing, James F. Balch, M.D., Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. Indian Herbalogy of North America, Alma R. Hutchens The Herb Book, John Lust Herbs: Wonder Healers, Dr. Bernard Jensen, DC, Ph.D. The Secret Life of Plants, Peter Tompkins & Christopher Bird
Author, Klaus Ferlow, HMH, is an innovator, lecturer, researcher and writer. President, founder and co-owner of FERLOW BOTANICALS, Div. of Ferlow Brothers Ltd, Vancouver, B.C., founded 1975 manufacturing/distributing organic toxin-free (zero-harm) medicinal herbal and personal care products to professional health & wellness practitioners and selected stores with holistic practitioners on staff in Canada and parts of USA since 1993. President of the “Hearts to Health Foundation” and Board member of Health Action Network, Burnaby, B.C. Copyright, all rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. HMH = Honorary Master Herbalist. Dominion Herbal College, Burnaby, B.C., est. 1926,
His educational articles have been published in Health Magazines, Womens Magazines, Newspapers, Newsletters in Canada, United Kingdom, United States, and numerous websites around the world.
This information is offered for its educational value only and should not be used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease, contact your health care practitioner.