Health Benefits of Herbal Medicine

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By Arnold Alvarez

Herbal medicines are increasingly becoming the choice of most patients nowadays. The promise of preserving the natural qualities that promote a healthier method of healing different ailments contributed to the popularity of these medicines. Moreover, as these types of medicines are grown wild or can be tendered at one's home backyard, it is cheaper as compared to manufactured medicines.

What really are herbal medicines and how do we benefit from them?

Herbal medicine is the alternative for commercially manufactured medicines, which are already made available in the market. The herbal medicine differs from modern medicines as it is produced with 100% content of natural plant extract believed to have medicinal values as effective as the modern drugs less the side effects and less the cost. There are popular herbal plants in the Philippines widely used today to treat various illnesses, which includes ampalaya, bayabas, sambong, banaba, luyang dilaw and others. These are among the approved and recommended herbal medicines of the Department of Health. Given this, there are benefits that can already be identified affirming the belief of the DOH on the effectiveness of these medicines as follows:

All-Natural Qualities. At this point, when many of commercially available products have adverse effects to the very health that we are trying to protect, the safest bet would be the products that come and are processed the natural way. In choosing these products, we lessen the risk and our exposure to these negative effects.

Easily Available. In tropical countries like the Philippines, we have an abundance of these plants and herbs. We have access to the raw materials that we need for the preparations and concoctions required for the herbal preparation. For instance, bayabas, ampalaya, luya, and malunggay are considered as backyard plants. They are home-grown plants and do not require much attention. Thus, they are readily available and cheap. It is only necessary to educate the Filipino families which herbal plants to prepare for which ailment, so that every Filipino family can enjoy the benefits of natural remedy.

Effective. Herbal plants are scientifically studied to support the benefits claimed to contain in each plant. These studies are recognized and acknowledged by the medical community to have proven effectiveness recommended to treat multitude of illnesses. Ampalaya, for example, is known to contain elements for anti-diabetes. This claim for the effectiveness of ampalaya as an aid to treat diabetes had been clinically proven by several researches that have identified ampalaya to contain plant insulin that lowers the patient's blood sugar and, also normalizes the production of insulin in the body.

Easy to prepare. Many of the herbal medicines that are recommended and are known to have medicinal values are very easy to prepare. Bayabas and lagundi, for example, have uses that merely require the direct application of the leaves to the affected area. Also, decoctions usually require mere boiling of the plants' leaves and roots. These processes evidently show that we do not really have to be dependent on commercially-manufactured medicines, because preparing herbal treatments really do not take much trouble.

Practical and cost-effective. Aside from all the benefits that have been identified herein, there is one more advantage for using and patronizing herbal medicines - it is cost-effective thereby, it is a practical option. These preparations are considerably cheaper than those chemically manufactured drugs, and more importantly, the results are the same as these modern medicines. It had been discussed that these plants, may be homegrown, or found in the wild abundantly. Therefore, it is much cheaper than the modern medicines manufactured by giant pharmaceuticals, and sold at pharmacies.

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