Closing up our May series on herbal medicine we will take a look at some unusual uses for herbs. We’ve looked at common uses for herbs, like in the treatment of colds or anxiety. Today we’ll look at some more unusual applications.
Certain herbal preparations will clot blood on contact. (For those familiar with Chinese herbal medicine, the formula Yunnan Baiyao is one such example.) This has great use for minor & moderate first aid applications, for when bleeding needs to be stopped quickly, or for people who are on blood thinners or have difficulty getting their blood to clot. It’s not useful for major issues where the amount of blood leaving the body is strong enough to push out what is clotting, but if bleeding can be minimized to a more manageable level then herbs can be used as another tool in the box.
When herbal formulas are taken in America, most often they are taken as a powder, made into a tea, or soaked in alcohol and given as a tincture. However, they can also be made into creams, oils, or other forms for external application. These forms are used for conditions like psoriasis, eczema, warts, athlete’s foot, or other conditions where something topical is needed. This kind of topical treatment is also best suited for patients who are on many different medications, where taking an herbal formula internally might be questionable or risky.
A common use for herbs among martial artists, herbal formulas can also be constructed to aid the process of muscle growth. Muscles become stronger by being torn and being rebuilt larger than they were before. This tearing and rebuilding process is the same that thing that the body undergoes when healing from trauma – it’s just on a smaller scale. Looking at it from this perspective, herbal formulas can be made that will help the body clear out lactic acid and toxic metabolites from the workout, while ensuring that blood circulation is maintained at a high level to help the body rebuild what has been torn. These formulas are also given externally because of their toxic nature, but are very useful for athletes looking to increase their strength.
With over two thousand years of history of herbal medicine use, formulas have been developed for almost any medical scenario you can encounter today. Herbs are worth considering as a means of care for their widespread use among different cultures, their history of safety, and their effectiveness. Consider it for your care today.