Thursday, March 03, 2005

Herbs versus pharmaceuticals

Every year, like clockwork, right around the same time (Feb/March), I'm afflicted by a case of bronchitis, or as I like to call it, "the walkin' pneumonia and the boogie-woogie blues". I'm not sure why this happen; possibly, it's the dryness, or some other quality of the late winter air, but I'd be more inclined to say it has to do with my immune system being weakened, as it seems more viral than anything.

What used to happen, when this malady would arrive, was a trip to the doctor and being loaded up with various pharmaceuticals and other prescriptions, including a cough syrup with codiene, to prevent me from hacking up a lung.

Several years ago, I became interested in herbal medicine and naturopathy and came across a book that opened my eyes up to alternatives to my aforementioned belief that corporate medicine and pharmaceuticals held the key to curing every illness and disease.

James Duke's, The Green Pharmacy, brought me into a new world of herbal remedies for many common illnesses and diseases. Duke, a botanist, is an authority on the properties and interactions of herbs on the body and in treating various conditions.

What I've learned firsthand from following the directions in the book, regarding the use of herbs in treating my bronchitis, is that herbal remedies, consisting of teas containing various herbs, as well as plenty of garlic (nice side-effect is that I'm now vampire-safe) are as effective as a 10-day regimen of antibiotics and cough syrup.

I'm no different than anyone else in that I want a magic cure to end my hacking cough and the general malaise that accompanies the walking variety of this malady. However, as Duke mentions in his book, pharmaceuticals, despite the claims of the various companies that manufacture them, are not necessarily superiour to herbs and other remedies occuring naturally.

There is no doubt that pharmaceuticals are stronger--often too strong, with nasty side effects. Sadly, many Americans assume that the drug companies know better, merely because they spend billions on advertising, making their dubious claims of superiority.

I'll follow my herbal prescriptions for teas of ginger, eucalyptus, and other herbs (including my wife's thyme tincture) for the next week, and I'll increase my garlic intake (you may want to give me a wider birth than usual) and before I know it, I'll be back on the beam of good health.

I'd be curious to know about others and their experiences with herbs, versus following the corporately-controlled pharmaceutical route. Maybe you have found something that's worked for you regarding bronchitis, or quieting a cough. I'm open to any suggestions, as I hate the first few days and the lousy way I'm feeling right now.


ChefDunn said...

Jim, try a little lemongrass too. Its great in tea.

Jim said...

Thanks for the herbal tip. I picked some up Friday and have been adding it regularly to my herbal teas.

Remarkably (or maybe not so remarkably), my bronchitis appears in remission and my cough and congestion are dissipating.

One thing I'm learning in life, is how little we modern human beings know about living. We have been lulled by our technology and relative ease of life into a comfortable stupor where we put our faith in so much that is ultimately harmful. We've made a Faustian pact with comfort, at the loss of learning about life.

For me, learning about herbs and natural ways of healing and health is just one small example of that.