Why take Herbs?

Why take Herbs?

I have a healthy balanced diet, I take a daily multivitamin and, apart from a few niggles, I’m generally healthy.  Why would I want to take herbs?

Good question!

Herbs are very different from single nutrients.  They are complex mixtures of phytochemicals which interact with our systems in complex ways.   Any one herb may contain thousands of phytochemicals.  Take Liquorice, for example.  Did you know that the constituents of Liquorice root include:

  • Triterpenoid saponins (glycyrrhizin, and other saponins);
  • Glycyrrhetinic acid and the aglycone of glycyrrhizin;
  • a wide range of flavonoids which give the root its yellow colour including flavanones (mainly liquiritin), chalcones and isoflavanoids;
  • Sterols

Nature is extraordinary.  Evidence suggests that these many phytochemicals act in a synergistic way when we use them.  it is the classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.  Time and again it has been found that using an isolated chemical from a plant doesn’t have the same effect as using the whole plant – maybe because it misses the balancing effects of the other chemicals?

Evidence suggests that humans have probably been using plants for health purposes for almost as long as they’ve been on this planet.  Pollen from medicinal plants has been found by archaeologists in neanderthal graves and we have early written evidence of plant use that dates back 5000 years.  So using herbs is not a new idea!

Herbalists in the 19th century believed that the human body had its own ‘vital force’ or energy and that if your vital force was depleted you were more at risk of illness or disease.  Amongst other things, they used herbs to build up a patient’s vital force, thus making them more resilient.  Using herbs in this way is something that Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda have been doing for thousands of years.   They used herbs that they called Rasayana (Ayurvedic medicine) or Tonic herbs (Traditional Chinese medicine).   Many of these herbs are known today as ‘Adaptogens’ and we use them in very much the same way as those herbalists did in times gone by – to support our bodies to adjust and adapt to the stresses and strains of life and to boost our own ‘vital force’ to ensure we have more zest for life and can live it to the full.

So, it’s wonderful that you have a good and healthy balanced diet and that you are keeping an eye on the nutrients that you may need to supplement but maybe some herbs could add something else to your life?  Maybe you can ask yourself when is the last time you had a spring in your step or a feeling that you were ready to take on the world?  Maybe the world of herbs is asking you to explore it?


  • Tulay

    My grandmother taught me that drinking yarrow will help every type of gastrointestinal problems. I drink it when I have inflammation or diarrhoea or nausea. It is so effective that you don’t need over the counter medicine. She lived till 106 years old..

  • kim kent

    Hi there, just wondering….is there a compound of herbs that one could take so that the body receives a good dose of everything ? Otherwise we would be spending all day mixing up concoctions and not getting anything else done ….serious question from a beginner… x

  • Lynn Mason

    Interesting read.
    Thanks for the uploading

  • Marie

    hello, I live in Texas, USA. can I get that here?? Or do I order it from you.??

  • Phyllis Jarvis

    Hi I have niggling rotator cuff injuries from care work I take no meds really and I’m 57. I need to help.my pain in the mornings its worse. I have drug test at work ad I drive for a living now its less strain on !y back and shoulders! So what can I safely take without it coming out on a urine test and swab test at work! Many thanks Phyllis jarvis.

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