what are the principles of herbology?

Question by Ilona: what are the principles of herbology?
I want to know all about herbs!
principles? practices, methods?

Best answer:

Answer by DanceFreakk!!
Natural and herbal remedies have gained enormous popularity over the last 30 years. However, many cultures, including early American settlers, have used the earth’s natural resources to treat, cure and alleviate a variety of ailments for generations.

Herbology is the study of plants and and their healing properties. There are several types of herbology systems used today, they include: Chinese, Ayurved, Western, Native American and European. Despite their terminology and varying types of herbs, they all use natural resources, plants, roots, leaves, flowers and bark to promote health and well-being.

The general method herbology uses for classifying herbs include: aromatic (volatile oils), astringent (tannins), bitter (pheonal compounds, saponins and alkaloids), mucilaginous (polysaccharides) and nutritive (food). As with the general classification of herbs, there are common methods for preparing herbs, such as pastes, juices, powders, poultices, salves, teas, whole herbs, extracts, pills, infusions, syrups and ointments.

The method chosen for preparing herbs and herbal remedies is closely related to the symptoms of the specific ailment that is to be treated. Each method used for preparing herbs can provide different healing components. For this reason, one herb can be used to treat a variety of ailments.

Plants have been used internally and externally use to prevent and rejuvenate the body’s systems for centuries. The medicinal use of plants can be extracted from flowers, stems,seeds, leafs, roots and bark. The knowledge of these plants and what effect they may have upon the body is the practice of herbology.

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  1. There are many different approaches to herbology, and each looks at herbs from a different point of view with different principles and applications. Some of these are Chinese herbs, Aryuvedic herbs, homeopathy, Western herbs, Bach flower essences, and many more.

    If you are interested in learning about these, you should probably look at the different approaches the different “herb schools” take and decide which one resonates the most with you. Once you figured out which one fits best, get a basic book on it and start reading.

    In general, homeopathy deals with herbal substances that have been diluted so much that there are only trace elements and energies of the herbs or substances left, and the general principle is to treat same with same, i.e. you would use coffee to calm someone down, or you would use onion to treat watery eyes associated with colds or allergies.

    Chinese herbs (which is where my specialty lies) look at herbs in terms of energetics, tastes and temperatures. So you have herbs that are very bitter and cold, which are great at treating bacterial and viral infections, i.e. Da Huang (Rhubarb root) or Huang Qin. The herbs that are sweet and bland are generally nourishing, so you would for example use Chinese Jujube (Da Zao) to tonify the qi. For treatments, we usually combine anywhere between 3 and 15 herbs into “formulas” where each herb has a very specific function to address the pattern we are treating. Even though there are base formulas which have been used for thousands of years, in practice we generally modify these formula and add or take out herbs as we see fit for the specific presentation of a certain issue in each individual. For example, we may get 5 patients that all present with nausea and diarrhea, but each patient would get a very different formula based on their specific situation. Studying Chinese herbs also requires a basic understanding of Eastern medicine and how it views the body and problems. It’s a very effective way of studying herbs, but also a lot of work.

    In Western herbology, we look more at the chemical constituents of the individual herbs and what they do in the body. So rather than studying tastes, temperatures and organs entered as we do in Chinese medicine, Western herbologists study the chemical structures of the herbs, and then put together herbal formulas. In western herbology, it is also quite common to only use one herb to treat certain conditions, which is rarely done in Chinese herbology.

    There are many advantages to studying herbs. In many cases, they are just as effective as chemical drugs, only with less side effects. I have for example very successfully treated pneumonia, flu, gastroenteritis and thyroid problems with acupuncture and herbs, and there are formulas around that can knock a cold out in 1 to 2 days. They are also a lot cheaper than prescription drugs. What needs to be understood, though, is that herbs are drugs as well, and unless one knows how to use it correctly, it can lead to serious health problems or even death.

    An example of that is when people used Ma Huang / Ephedra for weight loss. Ma Huang is an incredible herb for any type of lung problems and asthma, but needs to be dosed very carefully because of its cardioexciting actions. When taken without context and in dosages that are way beyond the safe levels, it can lead to heart attacks.

    “The Way of Chinese Herbs” by Michael Tierra would be a good start on Chinese herbs, or “Chinese herbology made easy” by Maoshing Ni, and if you choose to go with this approach, I would recommend Chen & Chen’s Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology.

    Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs with all their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments by Andrew Chevallier and Gillian Emerson-Roberts would be a good start for Western herbs.

    Just go to a Barnes and Nobles or Borders or any other larger bookstore in your area and spend an afternoon weeding through the different herb books, then trust your intuition to choose the one that’s right for you.