And Being Aware Of:
In the near future, we can foresee that many more people will experiment with herbal medicines for everyday ailments like coughs, colds, sore throats, menstrual problems, minor cuts, scrapes and burns. In such cases, natural herbal remedies may be as effective, no more expensive over-the-counter drugs.
Since herbs lose their essential oils, and thus their efficacy, over time, fresh is best. Whenever possible, shop for herbs in herb shops or in the busiest natural food shops. According to herbalists, you want to use herbs as close as possible to the time they were harvested.
The standard rule is that you should never buy more of an herb at one time than you will likely use in a year. Better yet, if you have easy access to an herb store, buy medicinal herbs in amounts that will be consumed within three months.
Of course, buying fresh herbs and mixing concoctions at home is trickier and more time consuming than buying prepackaged varieties of aloe, echinacea, ginkgo biloba and pepper-mint leaf, for example. But if you have the time and energy, you may find that growing your own fresh herbs will dramatically enhance your health.
Truth be told, few people know the actual strength of herbal remedies. One big problem in herbal medicine today is the lack of comparative standards. Three bottles of echinacea herbal extract, for instance, could have widely varying potency, yet exactly the same price leaving the consumer not knowing which is strongest or weakest.
Standardization of herbal products is a thorny issue because the natural foods and herb industries do not want to invite too much government influence of intervention. Nevertheless, consumers have a right to know what they are buying. You must rely on consumer research and a trustworthy vendor for advice on which brands have the best reputation for product quality. Or, of course, you can grow your own.
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