If you're an herbal junkie like me, you've heard more times than you can count the people who tell you, "Oh yeah, that herb stuff doesn't work for me." Herbal remedies have an unfair reputation of being hit and miss but this isn't the fault of the herbs. The fault lies with Western medicine and the vending machine mentality we have when it comes to treating illness.
We have all been conditioned to match our symptoms to a particular drug. For example, if you wake up with the sniffles, you reach for the antihistamine on your way out the door to work. Then after a few days if your condition worsens, you pay your co-pays and go see your doctor who does the same thing you did, matches your symptoms with an antibiotic and sends you on your way. This process is basically the same for everybody regardless of your age or genetic disposition; the only difference being the dosage--one size fits all. The pharmaceutical manufactures certainly realize that people have varying genetic and metabolic variations, but to produce a drug that took all these variations into account would be cost prohibitive or stated more accurately, would be unprofitable. To compensate for human variation, pharmaceuticals are intentionally made to be very potent in hopes that regardless of the patient, the drug will have an effect. Of course, this is like using brute force to thread a needle with a rope. It's no wonder hundreds of thousands die every year from the very drugs that were supposed to make them well.
Since we are so accustom to how our bodies respond to the powerful man made drugs (usually with a jolt), we often don't recognize the gentle way of herbs. Where Western medicine hit us with a hammer, herbs are a soothing touch. This is why so many first time herbal users don't think they are working and why so many first timers don't ever try again. Besides the difference in potency, nature knows that we are all a little different and unlike big pharma, nature has created an herb that is perfectly matched to our specific disposition. However, when herbs are applied with the same vending machine mentality of matching an illness to an herb, the results are hit and miss, which is the second reason why so many claim that herbs don't work for them.
Selecting the right herb requires a very wide as well as deep understanding of genetic dispositions, illnesses and herbs. By assessing and considering all three, herbs always work as intended and as gently as nature intended them. To date, the pharmaceutical industry has not invented anything that is not already available in nature. However, the third reason herbs have a uncertain reputation is we as a people have lost our herbal knowledge; knowledge that was once handed down from generation to generation. Thankfully this is changing as we re-learn what our ancestors knew. We have been led to believe that our generation is so much healthier than our ancestors but this is simply not true. In fact, when you take into consideration all the pollutants on the planet today, we are by far a sicker lot.
To help us bridge the gap in our herbal heritage, we luckily have ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine records that point the way and fill in the gaps. Both of these disciplines teach the manor in which we should apply the right herbs to cure (not treat) the right person with the right genetic disposition. It's a little more complex than the Western medicine, vending machine method but when herbs are applied correctly, you'll not only get better but you'll not have to worry about the long list of side effects you hear following every pharmaceutical commercial. Seriously, who would take such a risk?