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Herbal Medicine as an alternative medicine

Discussion in 'Medical Students Cafe' started by Tasnim Alhilaly, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. Tasnim Alhilaly

    Tasnim Alhilaly Young Member

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    We are increasingly seeking alternatives to compounded chemical drugs with their various side effects on our bodies and the environment; an already recognized and effective alternative is the use of herbs and their oils for the remedy of various body aches.

    Oils extracted from herbs or flowers such as lavender, thyme, basil, clove and many more are effective in the treatment of dermatological symptoms, arthritis pains, dental pain and various other disorders with few to none existent side effects.

    Let's shed some light on arthritic pain for the time being: it is estimated that 350 million people worldwide suffer from arthritis and the most common type is osteoarthritis. Now, the most recognized medications for osteoarthritis allow the following side effects: stomach ulcers, elevated blood fats and blood sugar levels, increased risk of blood clots, heart attack and stroke.

    A convenient alternative is the use of oils extracted from peppermint, nutmeg, frankincense, lavender, eucalyptus, etc.. which are nitric oxide inhibitors and therefore reduce nitric acid that accompanies inflammation and arthritic pain. They typically work like aspirin and ibuprofen in their anti-inflammatory effect.

    Basil works as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, chamomile can detoxify the blood and thus promote healthy circulation, lavender enhances oxygen circulation specifically in joints.

    Olive oil is high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds and is pressed mechanically rather than chemically extracted so it contains active compounds such as polyphenols, oleuropein, and lignans that have been proven to reduce joint damage in RA.

    Frankincense oil has been shown to inhibit molecules responsible for inflammation in RA and also prevent breakdown of cartilage tissue.

    Ginger has been recognized as a great analgesic where it acts on vanilloid receptors which are located in sensory nerve endings, and therefore, relieves pain. Ginger has also been recognized as a possible, natural substitute for NSAID's which, if chemically produced, cause a magnitude of unwanted side effects as liver damage and hypertension.

    A mixture of lavender oil with sweet almond oil is used as a rub for joints: "Participants who massaged 5 milliliters of the mixture onto their swollen joints nine times over the course of 3 weeks reported reduced pain after the first week" (Huizen, 2018)

    Many of these oils are very easy to obtain, whether from markets or homegrown herbs, and surprisingly, some of them are right under our fingers such as citrus oil in orange fruit which has been reported to be the most effective antioxidant of all!

    These oils can be used in a variety of methods; one can place droplets of the oil into boiling water and inhale the steam, inhalation is one of the most effective and fast acting parenteral routes. Another method is to mix the oils in a bath, or create a rub of a mixture of oils and massage it directly to the area of inflammation or pain.

    Some say the future of medicine is in always looking forward to new technologies, advancements and chemical therapies, but perhaps sometimes it is necessary to look backward on the ancient remedies with lesser intervention procedures which may promote our health and lifestyle.
     

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