Too Little, Too Late

Sometimes we hear people say that they tried some herbs to handle a physical problem and “it didn’t work.”  Why is that?  Did they take the wrong thing? (Of course, that is always possible.) Is it tainted or contaminated? (That certainly happens in our toxic world.) Does it really not work for anyone? (Unlikely, or the knowledge wouldn’t have been passed down through the generations.) Do they need more than herbs? (Sure, perhaps food, vitamin or mineral supplements, fresh air, sunshine, exercise, a good friend or a new dog.)

However, if they have the right herbs (relatively pure), really do have the body condition they think they do, are keeping up with other basic health requirements, and they have some faith, the herbs should work.

So, why else could it be that it sometimes “doesn’t work.” In this age of pharmaceutical medicine and modern conveniences, people might be used to taking a pill and, fairly quickly, feeling better. This may seem like a good quick fix! But the problem is NOT fixed; the symptoms are suppressed. One example is aspirin, certainly effective for pain, but doing nothing for whatever caused the headache. Herbal medications require more quantity and frequency than pharmaceutical medications, but they are to handle the problem, not the symptoms.

Also, most conveniently, with pharmaceuticals, we only need to take one or two tiny pills at a time. Success with medicinal herbs requires more. Even if the herbs are of very good quality, we’ll need many capsules or cups of tea or several droppersful of tincture at a time. We’ll need to repeat this several, or even many, times during the day, and we may need to drink something that doesn’t taste too good.

My own story to illustrate this is the time I found myself getting very, very sick with a flu or something like that, during an out-of-town trip. I could not miss my appointments and could not accomplish what I was there for, if I were sick. I had just learned how to make a (not delicious) herbal tincture for the immune system. I had a bottle full of it, and I got the entire contents down over the course of a few hours. In the morning, I was completely well and stayed that way.

I first learned of tinctures for the immune system from my chiropractor, who started to get sick on the first day of her family’s vacation. She bought a bottle of echinacea-goldenseal tincture. They packed the car and started their trip. With her husband behind the wheel, she simply sat in the passenger seat and, every once in a while, squirted some tincture under her tongue. By the time they got to their destination, she was completely well, and did not relapse.

In these examples, she and I were sufficiently alarmed by the onset of symptoms that we acted right away. That’s the first successful action. Then, we took a large quantity of the herbal medication over a short period of time, rather than stretching it out. If you only have a little – use it up, don’t save it for when you are even sicker!

If you take pharmaceutical medication to tone down your symptoms, you become less aware of the emergency your body is in. But if you really jump on the first symptoms (little headache, no energy, little sore throat, etc.), you have a chance to nip it in the bud, and you might never actually feel so bad you want to take an aspirin!

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5 Responses to “Too Little, Too Late”

  1. Michelle February 24, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

    I can certainly relate to hearing some people say that “herbal remedies don’t work” when in fact they haven’t taken enough herbs to make much difference. I’m an herbalist and I can tell how much herbs my client’s are taking by the frequency at which they re-order their formulas. They can’t fool me when they say they take their formula according to schedule!

  2. Cheryl February 24, 2009 at 5:20 pm #

    Thanks for visiting, Michelle, and for bringing your professional viewpoint. Your clients are fortunate to have someone watching their intake of herbs. It’s funny when people are so careful to take, for example, an antibiotic from their doctor on an exact schedule, and I’ve known people to set their watches to sound a little alarm when it’s time to take a pill. But leftover herbs are often found in the back of the cupboard. The respect that has been accorded to pharmaceutical medication might be better directed to natural remedies.

  3. Michelle February 25, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    I agree with you Cheryl. I’m really glad this site exists to help spread the word about the proper use and effectiveness of natural remedies.

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