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HERBAL MEDICATIONS: Past and Current Relevance
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  1. HERBAL MEDICATIONS: Past and Current Relevance By Kathie Peach RN Edited by Mary Knutson, RN March, 2007

  2. What is Herbal Medicine? • Using plants or plant-based substances to treat various ailments instead of “man-made” or “conventional” medicines and/or drugs • Herbs are leafy, annual plants • True herbalism now includes woody stemmed plants and trees that are used for healing • Herbalism may be helpful in some physical and mental illnesses

  3. Why This Topic was Selected: • Herbalism is another alternative to conventional medicine • Many pts are interested in trying herbalism for medical reasons • Herbal medications are usually cheaper than convention medicine • They are believed to be free of toxic chemicals and to work in harmony with the body

  4. History Of Herbalism • No one knows who first discovered benefits of herbalism • Ancient peoples throughout he world used herbs for healing purposes • Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Arabs and Orientals • Indians and other Native tribes • Each culture used their own tried-and-true herbal remedies

  5. History Of Herbalismcontinued… • Books, scrolls and parchments described plants and their uses • Use of medicinal plants dates back thousands of years • Evidenced by unearthed discoveries in various countries • The earliest publication was in 1542 in Germany entitled: “Nuremberg Pharmacopoeia” • England issued a national pharmacopoeia later in 19th century

  6. Herbalism Today …continued • Plants contain numerous phytochemicals • Many not yet identified by scientists • Man-made drugs contain one, two, or three chemical replications of the natural plant phytochemicals • This may contribute to bacterial resistance to man-made drugs • Bacteria do not develop resistance to “multifaceted” herbal remedies

  7. Herbalism Today…continued • Although man-made drugs may work quicker and be stronger, they can also be too strong • Toxic side effects may result at times • Herbal preparation have less toxicity • But if herbs are used improperly in the wrong dose, they also can have unwanted and sometimes toxic side effects • Our bodies contain many of the same biochemical components found in plants and are able to interact with herbal medications

  8. Quotation • Dr. James Duke writes in his book, “The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook”: • “…That’s why your body responds so positively to them, even in such tiny amounts. They’re compensating for a deficiency…”

  9. Herbal Discoveries • The original tranquilizer, Reserpine, came from the Indian Snakeroot plant, (Rauwolfia serpentina), used to treat insanity or “moon disease” • The phytochemical “reserpine” was first isolated (along with about 50 other ones) in 1952 and had potent depressant and sedative properties • Reserpine is mainly used now for hypertension in U.S. • Used as antidote for snake bites in Indian medicine

  10. Impact Of Herbs On Society • European Doctors are required to take courses to learn about herbal medications, unlike their American counterparts • If more doctors were knowledgeable about herbal remedies, health care could be less expensive and perhaps less harsh • While herbs do take longer to work and they aren’t as strong, they can be an effective alternative, with fewer side effects

  11. Costs of Herbs vs. Conventional Drugs

  12. Cost of Herbs vs. Drugs continued…

  13. Cost of Herbs vs. Drugs continued…

  14. Nurse’s Role • Nurses should be open to discussing alternative methods of healing and OTC medications, including herbs • Assessment of cultural beliefs is important to help plan culturally congruent care • Nurses need to be knowledgeable about herbs, so they can discuss them and their potential interactions with conventional medicines

  15. Nurses Need To Know: • How herbs react with other medications • How herbs act in the body • What are the side effects of herbs

  16. Where To Purchase HerbalMedications • People’s Food Coop • Woodman’s • Frontier Natural Products Catalog • Boericke & Tafel Catalog

  17. Discussion: Why should you tell your physician and pharmacist what herbs are being taken? Why might a nurse suggest that patients take only conventional medication or only herbal medication, rather than both? Can you find comprehensive research about herbal medicines? Do you value folk healing as an important part of culturally congruent health care?

  18. References: Herb Information for Nurses • American Botanical Council (2007) website at www.Herbalgram.org • Drug reference books and PDR for Herbal Medicines • Duke, J.A. (2000). Green pharmacy herbal handbook: Your comprehensive reference to the best herbs for healing. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Reach • Dr. James Duke’s phytochemical and ethnobotanical databases at www.ars-grin.gov/duke/ • Dr. Duke’s mini course in medical botony at www.ars-grin.gov/duke/syllabus • NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine---National Institutes of Health at www.nccam.nih.gov • Tierra, M. (2005). East West herb course and planetary herbs at www.planetherbs.com