About Herbs and More
By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND
These are single herbs that may be helpful for the
problem. Single herbs work best when the overall energetics
and properties of the herb are matched to the overall pattern of health problems in the person. It is often harder for
beginners to get consistent results with singles.
These are formulas that only contain
herbal ingredients. Herbal formulas combine several herbs
that deal with a particular problem which means that a well-chosen formula will often work better than a single herb
because of the synergy of the ingredients. It is easier for beginners to get results with formulas. Herbal formulas also
have a wide margin of safety, so you can safely double or
even triple the recommended dose on the label, if necessary.
Herbal Formulas will often heal a problem, which means
that they will not need to be taken forever.
These are products that contain standardized extracts from herbs. These are different from whole
herbs in that certain constituents have been isolated and
concentrated. This makes them more medicine-like than
whole herbs. Generally speaking they are both stronger and
faster acting. However, they are often less healing and restorative than whole herbs. You may want to use an herbal
extract (or a nutraceutical blend) to help you get symptoms
under control, while using diet, lifestyle changes, herbs and
nutrients to restore the body to normal function. Also, because they are more concentrated than whole herbs, it is
generally a good idea to stick to the recommended dose
found on the label.
These are single vitamins, minerals and other
nutrients, although a few products in this category may
have an herbal base or contain single nutraceutical compounds. Like single herbs, single nutrients are more targeted
to specific deficiencies. Since the body does not use nutrients in isolation, single nutrients are generally best used for
specific therapeutic purposes to correct specific deficiencies.
For health maintenance purposes, it is generally best to use
Nutritional Supplements that contain a variety of nutrients
that work synergistically together.
These are blends of various
nutrients, such as multiple vitamin and mineral products.
As the name implies they are taken to supplement the diet
with extra vitamins and minerals and are products that can
be used long term for health maintenance.
The term nutraceutical is used to describe
naturally occurring compounds (sometimes extracted from
plants, sometimes not) that are not vitamins or minerals.
Like herbal extracts, these are concentrated substances that
have a more medicinal action than whole herbs or nutritional supplements. Nutraceutical blends contain nutraceutical ingredients and may also contain herbal extracts, whole
herbs, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Like herbal
extracts these products are best for more rapid symptomatic
relief while working on more root causes with other products and therapies. Stick to the recommended dose on the
label when using nutraceutical products unless directed to
do otherwise by a competent health practitioner.
These are highly concentrated extracts
called volatile oils that are derived from various plants.
These products are used differently than all of the foregoing
products in that they are seldom used internally. They are
safest when used topically or inhaled. If they are used internally, they should be highly diluted and used only for short
periods of time. See Aromatherapy in the Therapies Section
for instructions on how to use essential oils safely.
These are homeopathic-like preparations
made from flowers. They are used internally (and sometimes
topically) for emotional healing.
These are products designed for topical application only. The topical category also includes personal care
products like soap, toothpaste and deodorant.