Conditions For Herbal Treatment

There are seven conditions for herbal treatment that are generally accepted in holistic medicine as the best areas to use herbs. Once again common sense rules, as if you don't get better, try another remedy and perhaps contact your doctor.

  • Disorders and symptoms in older adults

Elderly people often have disorders affecting many organs and symptoms may change from week to week. Doctors often give between 6 to 12 different presciptions and many older people cannot tolerate theraputic doses. As we age, organs tend to slow in processing, so lower doses are best. Think about it though..six to twelve prescriptions with all the associated copays. Treating symptoms with herbs can allow a doctor to perhaps reduce the dose of the prescription, thereby reducing side effects. This may not hold true for all diseases, such as severe cardiac conditions, or cancer, renal failure or severe liver disease.

  • Disorders of the immune system

Some clinical studies have shown that various herbs are effective in allergies, asthma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and perhaps even may help the sypmtoms of multiple sclerosis. Those herbs that gently affect the immune system may help with autoimmune disorders.

  • Psychological disorders

Using herbal medicines for psychiatric disorders should be done with a healthcare provider who is aware of the affects of herbs and can recognize if a patient is having a psychiatric emergency. Combinations of herbs for depression can be quite effective without causing tremor, nightmares and other side effects. Historically, this has worked well for mild depression but severe mood disorder may need further intervention.

  • Subjective symptoms

At times, when a diagnosis cannot be made, it may be beneficial to treat the symptoms. This may be especially true when a diagnosis is known, but cost dictates that funds be spent on other treatments. Some things such as menopause may benefit from herbal remedies for menopausal symptoms. The added benefit is not having to take estrogen which has been shown to have long term effects that are undesirable for many women.

  • Allergic and adverse reactions to drug therapy

A good example conditions for herbal treatment is the use of herbal use in adverse reactions is the patient with arthritis who cannot tolerate oral non-steroidals due to the effects on the stomach. Herbs for arthritis relieve pain the same way COX-2 inhibitors (Celebrex) do and are available at a much cheaper price. The gentle action usually has less side effects and is better tolertated when taken on a daily basis.

  • Combination therapy with conventional medicine

Herbs may strengthen the body's response to rescription medications. A good example is the use of prednisone when treating lupus. By using a specific formula of Chinese medicine with gensing, the dose of prednisone can be lowered, thus avoiding steroid side effects, but still getting the benefits of steroid therapy when needed for certain conditions.

  • Combination therapy to reduce side effects of conventional medicine

Chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment fight the disease but have horrible nausea, vomiting, loss of hair and appetite. Herbs and formulas exist that can reduct these side effects. Herbs can also be used to combat side effects of radiation therapy. Minimizing the effects of cancer treatments can make all the difference when it comes to quality of life with cancer. Too many times patients will say that the treatment was worse than the cancer.

As you can see, conditions for herbal treatment are varied, but there are certain disease states where herbs do serve a place. Don't be afraid to discuss this with your provider. Almost all western medical schools are now teaching the benefits of holistic medicine and alternative therapies. The key is to combine the best of both worlds. Return to herb description and medicinal use.

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