Herbs: Nature’s Enduring Wellness Warriors
by Dr. Bill Rawls | Posted March 30, 2017
Dr. Rawls’ Herbology Essentials Series – Part 1
When was the last time you thought about how important plants are in your life?
Probably not recently, if ever. We all tend to take our relationship with plants for granted, but our very survival absolutely depends on plants. Whether you live on the 20th floor of a New York City apartment, or in the middle of nowhere surrounded by trees, you still need plants.
Plants are the yin of our yang. Our every breath depends on plants converting the CO2 that we exhale back into life-giving oxygen. Plants provide us with food, shelter, and the comfort of a wood stove on a cold day. Even petroleum and coal that power our modern world were derived from plants many millennia ago.
For most of human history, plants also played a key role in keeping us well. But during the 20th century, natural herbal remedies were gradually replaced with pharmaceuticals. Synthetic drugs won out because they worked faster, were more potent, and could be easily standardized.
But drugs have one real shortcoming.
They aren’t natural. Drugs work by artificially blocking symptoms or inhibiting processes of disease. As such, wellness is a less realistic goal than a state of managed illness. Because normal processes are also disrupted, side effects are common with use of any drug. In addition, the body must neutralize and get rid of them like any other toxic substance.
The benefits provided by herbs are fundamentally different than drugs. Herbs work by counteracting the forces that cause the body to degenerate. This allows immune functions and healing systems of the body to flourish.
Herbs do this because plants have to deal with the same disease-causing stress factors that we do. Plants encounter microbial threats of every variety, purge a wide spectrum of toxins, endure physical stress, are subjected to free radicals, undergo potent radiation from the sun and earth, suffer through extremes in weather, and possibly even experience a little emotional stress.
They do it with very sophisticated biochemical solutions that have evolved over millions of years. Every plant on earth generates a wide range of protective chemical substances to fight against all the environmental stress factors the plant has to deal with over its lifetime.
When other creatures consume plants, they gain the same protective benefits.
Humans have known this for thousands of years. The plants that we now define as herbs are plants that happened to have properties that meshed particularly well with human biochemistry. Over time, people gradually selected out these plants over others for their inherent low potential for toxicity.
Because different herbs grow in different environments, the spectrum of chemical constituents is slightly different for each herb. In other words, every herb provides a slightly different spectrum of benefits. Combining multiple herbs provides a wide range of cumulative benefits.
We Need Herbs More Than Ever
Embracing natural herbs has always been a good idea, but it may be more important today than ever before. The modern world has silently become saturated with stress factors that disrupt immune function.
Excessive cultivation and processing has dramatically reduced natural protective substances found in food plants. Humans have never been exposed to the levels of toxins present in the environment today. Artificial energy sources permeate human civilization. The level of chronic stress associated with modern life is palpable. These and other factors unique to the modern world disrupt immune functions and set the stage for illnesses of every variety to occur.
Herbs are loaded with natural protection to all of these modern threats. Consuming herbs provides a higher level of protection than anything else on earth.
All you have to do is make them part of your life.
Fortunately, that has never been easier. Over the next several weeks, in a series of blogs, we will explore the wide range of benefits provided by herbs and the different ways that you can incorporate them into your daily life.